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Happy stand with union flags and a rainbow coloured banner reading 'We Are Union'.

Union and Community Coalitions: Stronger Together

This article outlines some of the key elements of successful coalitions. Coalitions can vary, from ad hoc relationships to deeper, long-term, formal coalitions. Coalitions differ according to their common concern, structure, organisational commitment, capacity and culture.

Cover of the Defending Democracy: Safeguarding independent community voices Report. Photograph of a people marching with climate and Indigenous rights banners and flags with Parliament House in the background.

Defending Democracy and Human Rights

Gillian Triggs, the now Former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, launched the Defending Democracy report at Progress 2017. She argued that advocacy is fundamental to our society but under threat with it increasingly difficult for people to speak up when they disagree.

Cover of Iain McIntyre's 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: The AIDEX '91 Story'.

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life: The AIDEX ’91 Story

In 1991 over 1000 protesters blockaded the National Exhibition Centre in Canberra with the goal of shutting down the Australia International Defence Exhibition. This book includes a detailed account of the blockade, the context of the growth of the Australian arms industry, and the words of the protesters themselves.

Photograph of a number of paper plates laid out on the ground with a person pointing at one. The plates have writing on them describing campaign steps.

Critical-path analysis

A process guide to be used in training workshops and planning sessions to develop campaign strategy. Critical path analysis can shift focus to outcomes rather than tactics and provide experience and skill in defining clear objectives. The process also deepens understanding about how change happens and clarifies key threads running through a campaign.

Photograph of a neon question mark in a dark room.

Strategic Questioning

Strategic questioning is the skill of asking the questions that will make a difference. It is a powerful tool for personal and social change which helps people discover their own strategies and ideas for change. Strategic questioning can be valuable in campaign strategy, group consultation processes, one-to-one organising conversations, coaching and many other contexts.

Diagram shows 5 arrows pointing to the target of Purpose: Symbols, Slogans, Stories, Specifics, Personalise.

Being Purpose Driven

Nothing precedes purpose. The starting point for every organisation or movement should be the question ‘Why do we exist’? A number of tips for focusing an organisation on vision and purpose. An excerpt from Purpose Driven Campaigning, based on Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Church.

Diagram of 5 concentric circles labelled from outside to inside: Community; Crowd; Congregation; Committed; Core.

Levels of Commitment from Community to Core

Rick Warren focuses on five ‘circles of commitment’ – community, crowd, congregation, committed and core, and argue that it’s important to recognise where your supporters fall in these categories, and develop processes to move them from the outside in. An excerpt from Purpose Driven Campaigning.

Photograph of a large group of people in a rural paddock. They are holding signs and banners reading 'No Gas Mining on Our Prime Ag Land'.

Time to move the rock

A follow up article from a workshop presented at Progress 2015 by Holly Hammond and Sam La Rocca with a video presentation from Daniel Hunter. The workshop explored Daniel’s metaphor ‘politicians are like a balloon tied to a rock’.

A large crowd gathered in a conference room with hands raised.

Training as Organising

Tips for training or other events which connect people to a campaign and help individuals overcome their barriers to action. As organisers we can use the momentum of the group to leverage people to action – like a turbo-charged persuasive conversation.

Black and white photograph of a group of men marching with arms interlinked. Banner reads 'Support BLF Green Bans'.

Green Bans

In the 1970s Sydney builders labourers refused to work on projects that were environmentally or socially undesirable. This green bans movement, as it became known, was the first of its type in the world.

Black and white photograph of four protestors standing in front of Old Parliament House. Placards read 'Land Ownership Not Lease', 'Land Rights or Else!', 'Why Pay to Use Our Own Land', 'Which Do You Choose: Land Rights or Bloodshed?'. 'Legally This is Our Land. We Shall Take It If Need Be'.

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy was established in 1972 when the Coalition Government failed to recognise the land rights of Indigenous people. From its inception, the Embassy has been interwoven into Canberra’s physical and political landscape, blending black politics, symbolism and theatre that opponents have found difficult to counter.

Black and white photograph of a large crowd of protestors. Banners include 'Vietnam Moratorium Campaign' and 'Stop the Country to Stop the War'.

The Vietnam War

Case study of the Australian campaign against involvement in the Vietnam War. The emergence of popular protest in Australia during the 1960s presented a fundamental challenge to government decisions and the way those decisions are made. By taking to the streets people challenged the policy positions of government and, in some cases, the very legitimacy and authority of the state itself.

Black and white photograph of protestors standing next to bus.

The Freedom Ride

The Freedom Ride through western New South Wales towns in February 1965 drew attention to the racism in these towns. Aboriginal student Charles Perkins was, by the end of the journey, a national figure in the fight for Aboriginal rights.

Black and white photograph of Mau leaders sitting in front of a building.

The Mau movement: Samoan Independence

Case study of the long struggle for Samaon independence which was ultimately successful in 1962. The Mau movement had its origins, in 1908, in a dispute between the German colonial administration and the Maloa o Samoa, or Samoan Council of Chiefs, over the establishment of a copra business owned and controlled by native Samoans.

A group of smiling protestors under a tarp shelter. A banner reads 'Coal Out, Renewables In'.

Beginners guide to a blockade camp

Many successful campaigns have based their direct action from blockade camps and include the wins against the damming of the Franklin river, stopping the Jabiluka uranium mine, and the proposed gas hub at Walmadan/James Price Point. It can be a scary thing, heading to a blockade camp for the first time. Here are some tips to get you started.

Photograph of students holding a banner reading 'Our Future, Our Reef, Don't Risk It'.

Live tweeting at rallies and marches

Twitter is a very useful way to share your story outside traditional networks. Increasingly Twitter quotes and photos are used to embed in traditional media, and with a small amount of effort you can get your event trending. This will alert politicians and media to your issue.

Photograph of people dressed in suits and bowler hats and brief cases walking together in front of a coal fired power station.

Affinity Groups for Non-Violent Direct Action

Affinity groups are a feature of many large scale non-violent actions. An affinity group is a small group of people (eg: 5-15) who have something in common who take action together. Groups could focus on a specific theme eg street medics or legal observers or more commonly it is a group of people that take action as a team.

Photograph of protestors at the Jabiluka blockade in 1998. Features banners with 'Uranium, Leave it in the Ground'. The march is led by Mirarr elders and Peter Garrett.

Jabiluka: Fight for Country

In 2005 the Mirarr succeeded in halting the development of the proposed Jabiluka mine. It was the culmination of an extraordinary decade-long campaign which saw people across Australia and the world stand up and support Mirarr in their opposition to uranium mining on their land.

Photo of protesters at Leard Blockade. Protestors have arms crossed in 'no deal' sign. There is a banner 'ANZ: Think Again'.

Facilitation at the Frontlines

This article includes reflections and tips for ‘extreme sport’ facilitation at blockades and action camps. Includes notes about logistics, comfort of participants, timing, internal organisation within the facilitation team, holding the space, and being transparent about role and power dynamics.