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UNION of AUSTRALIAN WOMEN, PEACE COMMITTEE vs.SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC

The Airmail postcard has the $1.20 pink cockatoo stamp of 1994, and the date and place from which it was sent, was illegible. It states: Dear Sir, The people of Australia urge you to: Please negotiate; Please stop this terrible war. Signature D. Dudman 5/4/94. Card produced by Union of Australian Women, Australian Peace Committee. It is addressed to M. Le President, Slobodan Milosivic (sic), 1100 Belgrade Serbia, Yugoslavia (Figure 1).

The reverse has four placards stuck in the ground, from left to right, PEACE IS THE ONLY SHELTER, a picture of a dove, YES to PEACE with a dove, and NO TO WAR (Figure 2).

Established in 1950, the Union of Australian Women (UAW) is a left-wing social change organisation. Its aim is to work for the status and well being of women across the world. The Union of Australian Women (UAW) was established at a conference in Sydney in August 1950. The New South Wales branch was the first to be formed, with other state branches forming in quick succession. The state branches came together in 1956 to establish a national organisation.

Foundation members included communists, Labour Party supporters, Christian activists, and members of the New Housewives' Association. Early goals included improving the status of women and children, disarmament and a halt to nuclear testing and mining, equal distribution of wealth, increased welfare services, equal pay for women, equality for Indigenous Australians, abortion law reform, and opposition to the White Australia Policy. Current campaigns concern child care, woman and family friendly workplaces, health and housing, reconciliation and Indigenous rights. The organisation affiliated with the Federal Council for Aboriginal Advancement in the early 1960s and contributed to campaigns for racial equality for Indigenous Australians and for their right to land. The Union of Australian Women was under surveillance by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, which considered it as a front for the Communist Party of Australia.

When the UAW was formed in 1950, the dominant view was that women's place was in the home, with children. At the same time women were welcome in the factories as a source of cheap labour. There was no day-long child care. Whole suburbs were without kindergartens and libraries. Equal Pay was opposed. Contraceptive advice was difficult to obtain. Abortion was a crime. Indigenous Australians were not citizens and White Autralia ruled supreme. The Cold War was at its height.

The women who founded the UAW had grown up in an Australia of hard times, of deprivation and loss, arising out of two world wars and a devastating economic depression. The UAW founders wanted a world which minimised the risk of war through disarmament and a society where wealth and opportunity were more equally distributed. They were prepared to work publicly for their goals, not just by attending meetings, writing letters and lobbying politicians, but by making themselves visible on the streets.

Miloševiæ was found dead in his cell on 11 March 2006 in the UN war crimes tribunal's detention centre in the Hague. An official in the chief prosecutor's office said that he had been found at about 10 a.m. Saturday and had apparently been dead for several hours. His trial had been due to resume on 14 March with testimony from the former president of Montenegro, Momir Bulatovic. A request for the autopsy in the presence of a Serbian pathologist was granted, and his body was transported to the Dutch Forensic Institute, but there are his followers who do not accept the confirmed heart attack as the cause of his death. A picture of Slobodan Milosevic during his Presidency of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1997-2000) is seen in Figure 3.

Two pictures of the women, the first at a demonstration of the UAW in Sydney, and the second a small protest about children’s war toys, are seen in Figure 4 & 5.

I could not find any comment about his demise at the UAW website. You will note that the postcard spells his surname incorrectly.

 
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