In 1970 homosexuality was illegal, God Save the Queen was our national anthem and women pretended to be married to access the pill. By the end of the decade conscription was scrapped, tertiary education was free, access to abortion had improved, the White Australia policy was abolished and a woman read the news on the ABC for the first time.
The Seventies was the decade that shaped modern Australia. It was the decade of ‘It’s Time’, stagflation and the Dismissal, a tumultuous period of economic and political upheaval. But the Seventies was also the era when the personal became political, when we had a Royal Commission into Human Relationships and when social movements tore down the boundary between public and private life. Women wanted childcare, equal pay, protection from violence and agency to shape their own lives. In the process, the reforms they sought — and achieved, at least in part — reshaped Australia’s culture and rewrote our expectations of government.
In a lively and engaging style, Michelle Arrow has written a new history of this transformative decade; one that is more urgent, and more resonant, than ever.
Michelle Arrow is an award-winning historian based in Sydney. Michelle is an Associate Professor in Modern History at Macquarie University, where she teaches and researches postwar Australian history, the history of popular culture, and the ways history is depicted in television and film. She has been a research fellow at the National Archives of Australia and the National Library of Australia. She has won a national award for her university teaching and her two books have both been shortlisted for several prizes. Michelle has also produced history for radio and television: in 2004, she was a historian-presenter for the ABC TV series Rewind, and in 2013, she made her first radio documentary, Public Intimacies: The Royal Commission on Human Relationships, which won the 2014 Multimedia prize in the NSW Premier’s History Awards.