The ‘right to disobey’: Conscientious objectors,climate protests and First Nations resistance

Today is January 26th. While the Australian Government continues to declare today a ‘public holiday’ and fund the Australia Day campaign, many – especially First Nations people – know today as Invasion Day; a day of protest and mourning.

Choosing to protest or work today may not be a radical act of civil disobedience. However, it is nonetheless a rejection of the Government’s stance on the historical implications of today’s date.

Throughout Australian history, there have been a number of acts of disobedience arising from conscience and resulting in social change. From the anti-war protests of the 1970’s to today’s climate change activism, ordinary citizens have been willing to denounce or even break a law that clashes with their conscience.

We spoke with Dr Jon Piccini, Lecturer in History at the Australia Catholic University in Queensland about the ‘right to disobey’. Dr Piccini is currently writing a book on Australia’s experience of decolonisation.

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