103 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. Theoretically and among rational people civil disobedience is an established democratic right but it didn’t go down well back in the day. Does anyone else remember this?

  2. @Julie Thomas

    Does anyone else remember this?

    Not specifically, I didn’t have a tv back then and I didn’t go to movies to watch the newsreels any longer.

    Could almost have been anything, couldn’t it – anti-apartheid, anti-Vietnam. It was back in Frank Nicklin’s final term as premier, and I basically don’t remember him at all. But there were a few more ‘civil disobediences’ over the 19 years of the reign of the Peanut Farmer from New Zealand.

    I do remember Jeff Kennett though, and one of his ‘adventures’. Here’s a bit of a description:

    Shortly after coming to office in Victoria in 1992, the Kennett government announced a range of cuts to public services, which included closing 55 schools. One of the schools targeted for closure was the Richmond Secondary College (RSC).

    Teachers, parents and students at Richmond had other ideas. For almost a year, they occupied the site and ran a rebel school, frustrating the Directorate of School Education (DSE) bureaucrats and their political masters, who originally planned to demolish the school and sell the land to private developers.

    Only the fact that people were prepared to fight stopped those plans in their tracks. While other schools were occupied in the immediate aftermath of the closures, only the occupations at Richmond and Northland survived long enough to pose any sort of threat to the Kennett government’s agenda.

    A leader of Militant and one of the main participants in the campaign to save RSC, Jolly gives us insight into how it unfolded. We get a good feel for the debates that were a constant theme of both the occupation and the aftermath of ” Bloody Monday”, when picketers were violently attacked by the police.

    Jolly also gives a good feel for the continual tension faced by the occupiers and a horrifying glimpse of the police tactics leading up to and including the infamous baton charge on December 13, 1993. Not only did the DSE have no intention of reaching agreement with the occupiers, but it and the Kennett government were only too willing to use force to get their way.

    Of course, the campaign has to be seen against the broader struggle to reverse the Kennett government’s attacks. Jolly goes into detail about the sell-outs of the union officialdom, despite the willingness of the membership to fight. The VSTA branch, for example, stood behind the Richmond campaign, while the leadership shied away from any meaningful industrial action.

    [From www greenleft org au/content/battle-richmond-secondary-college ]

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