Pamphlet - Against Conscription
'Against Conscription. Forty Questions Answered by Maurice Blackburn, M.H.R.',
State Library of Victoria,
Maurice Blackburn, Papers, MS 11749, Box 51Contributors
The issue of conscription was raised again in World War Two. Although the circumstances were different, Maurice Blackburn and many others remained true to their anti-conscription beliefs, and Blackburn became the only member of parliament to vote against the legislation that allowed conscription for overseas service during World War Two.
In this pamphlet, Blackburn reprises many of the arguments that activists, including John Curtin himself, had used during World War One. The pamphlet also calls – unsuccessfully – for a referendum on conscription in World War Two. As a result of opposing the ALP policy in Parliament, Blackburn was disendorsed by the party and subsequently lost his seat.
In contrast John Curtin, anti-conscription activist from Brunswick during World War One changed his views in the different circumstances of an aggressive Nazi Germany and the threat of invasion of Australia by Japan.
Curtin as Prime Minister was able to persuade the majority of the ALP and the Union movement to support his position, and his government included conscripts in the forces fighting against Japan during World War Two. However the area in which these conscripts could be used was limited to the region immediately surrounding Australia — Curtin argued that he was simply redefining what ‘Australian territory’ meant. In the end, Australian conscripts served in only three locations outside mainland Australia, at Merauke in Dutch Western New Guinea and in the British Solomon Islands, and also in eastern New Guinea, which at that time was an Australian Territory.
Australia and World War One
Photograph - Send-off to the Brunswick Soldiers
Photograph - Brunswick Town Hall Honour Board
Memorial Plaque - Leonard William Telford
Poster - 'Australia has Promised Britain 50,000 More Men'
Labour Activists of Brunswick and Coburg
Photograph - Frank Anstey
Photograph - John Curtin
Photograph - Frank Hyett
Photograph - Maurice Blackburn
The Trade Unions' Anti-conscription Campaign
Handbill - 'The Blood Vote'
Cartoon - 'The Charge of the Would to God Brigade'
Handbill - Slave Conspiracy
The Women's Movement During the War
Photograph - Vida Goldstein
Photograph - Adela Pankhurst
Handbill - Conscription and Woman's Loyalty
Photograph - 'Women's No Conscription Demonstration'
Bella Lavender - Brunswick Campaigner
Photograph - Bella Lavender
Cartoon - Bella Lavender
Letter - Bella Lavender to Education Department
Photograph - Labor Women's Anti-conscription Committee
Religious Perspectives on Conscription
Handbill - Conscription and Christianity
Handbill - Conscription Questions for Voters
Handbill - How Would Christ Vote?
The Catholic Church and Conscription
Photograph - Daniel Mannix
Article - Cause of the War
Article - Revolt Victims
Cartoon - Australian Workman's Burden
Brunswick and Coburg During the Campaigns
Article - No Anti-conscription Meetings in Brunswick
Handbill - Public Meeting Against Conscription
Advertisement - Recruitment Meeting
Article - Remarkably Quiet Day
The Two Referendums
Handbill - Vote Thus Against Conscription
Article - Military Service Referendum Poll
Article - Conscription. Mr Hughes in Queensland
Article - 'Bourke'
The Soldiers' Votes
Diary - Claude Ewart
Photograph - Jack and Bert Grinton
Handbill - Returned Soldiers' No Conscription League Manifesto
Photograph - Soldiers Voting
Consequences for the Campaigners
Inscription - Police Just Raided
Article - 'Failure to Enrol'
Letter - Adela Pankhurst to Sallie Walsh
Article - 'Serenading Miss Pankhurst'
Story education resources
Education Against the Odds: The Victory over Conscription in WW1 Education Resource
The Against The Odds Education Resource provides a stimulating range of activities for students undertaking the compulsory Victorian History Curriculum Level 9/10 unit Australia at war (1914 – 1945). It helps students reflect on the complexities of the conscription debate through a range of analytical, creative and research tasks.
Education Against the Odds: The Victory over Conscription in WW1 Walking Map
The Against the Odds: The Victory over Conscription in WW1 Walking Map is a map of some of the sites described in the digital story or related to individuals therein. Download the map to use it for a self-guided tour in the area.