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2 - Cold War Rights

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 September 2019

Jon Piccini
Affiliation:
Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
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Summary

The Cold War threw Australian’s postwar hopes into stark relief. Social and economic rights became associated with a menacing global ideology, while the imperative of a new type of war saw political and civil rights challenged like never before. This chapter analyses the career of Australian civil libertarians in this decade, particularly in light of the 1949 trial of Communist Party of Australia leader Lance Sharkey for sedition and a 1951 referendum on whether to ban the party wholesale. While such moves drew calls of government hypocrisy in light of the recently passed Universal Declaration from civil libertarians, supporters could equally point to communism’s human rights abuses abroad. These usages commingled with and were enabled by earlier claims of British citizenship rights as instruments of political power and contestation. Similar problems emerged for Indigenous rights campaigners in the 1950s, who saw the UDHR as a roadmap for Indigenous equality. Such hopes soon gave way to the difficult reality of translating the Declaration's precepts into a very alien context and frustration at the limitations of their global influence or enforceability.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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  • Cold War Rights
  • Jon Piccini
  • Book: Human Rights in Twentieth-Century Australia
  • Online publication: 20 September 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108659192.003
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  • Cold War Rights
  • Jon Piccini
  • Book: Human Rights in Twentieth-Century Australia
  • Online publication: 20 September 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108659192.003
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Cold War Rights
  • Jon Piccini
  • Book: Human Rights in Twentieth-Century Australia
  • Online publication: 20 September 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108659192.003
Available formats
×