Harry Van Moorst interviewed by Greg Swanborough for 'The sharp end'

Accession Number F10622
Collection type Film
Measurement 9 minutes 5 sec
Object type To be confirmed
Physical description 16mm/colour (Eastman)/sound
Maker The Notion Picture Company Pty Limited
Van Moorst, Harry
Swanborough, Greg
Place made Australia: Victoria, Melbourne
Date made 28 May 1992
Access Open
Conflict Period 1990-1999
Vietnam, 1962-1975

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright

Copying Provisions Copy provided subject to permission from copyright holder

During the 1960s and early 1970s Harry van Moorst was directly involved in organising anti-war and draft resistance activities and was the Vice-Chairperson of the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign. Scene 34 Take 1. Describes the various resistance campaigns apart from the "Don't Register Campaign"; "Fill out a Falsesy" was here people would complete false registration forms to block up the bureaucracy; incitement campaigns where people incited young men not to register for National Service; this itself was an offence and led to a lot of court cases and civil disobedience activities; occupations where people would occupy members of Parliament and National Services offices where people would sit for days as a way of protesting and resisting the whole apparatus of conscription; Scene 38 Take1. Support for the [Vietnamese Communist] National Liberation Front (NLF)because they had historical correctness on their side to wage war against Australia; decision to raise money to send to the NLF for medical supplies; this done firstly to assist them in their struggle and to raise consciousness in Australia; it was not the intent to see this money led to the death of Australian conscripts but at the same time seen that the issue was too important and that this would not stand in the way; it was seen that sending the money would strengthen the NLF in the fight against Australia and that anything that strengthened the NLF's position against Australian and US aggression was a good thing; they did not see the NLF as the enemy simply because the Australian government did; their studies showed that the US government was the enemy and that the Australian government was toddling behind the US; this was therefore seen as not the case of supporting the enemy but those that were right and just in that war; the problem that the Australian soldier was being sent to fight was the Australian government not theirs; Scene 38a Take 1; being beaten by the police was common for protestors; on being beaten in Carlton police cells and going to gaol; harassment by gaol warders such as having his hair hacked and pushed around and threatened; receiving death threats from police and anonymous callers; these were things that came with the territory; received four gaol sentences and many other arrests; Scene 38b Take 1. the first Moratorium march was the culmination of anti-war sentiment; it was the first time large numbers of people took to the streets around 100,000 in Melbourne and 50,000 in Sydney despite the fact that politicians and media were lambasting them; Jim Cairns the figurehead of the anti war movement and played a major role in developing the public the public front of the moratorium movement; Scene 38c Take 1. difference between Melbourne and Sydney First Moratorium was that Melbourne was much larger due to a stronger left wing labour movement and left wing of the Australian Labor Party; set the scene of a much more active militant movement generally; Scene 38 d Take 1; major shift between the Second and Third Moratoriums from a tacit support to a more active stance against conscription; culmination in the Third Moratorium which featured a truck with five draft resisters addressing the march; Scene F; Ambivalent feelings towards the Australian soldiers serving in Vietnam; at times felt sympathy with people being sent to an unjust war and at other times angry with them for not standing up and saying no to the government and not being prepared to fin out why they were being sent in the first place; he didn't see it like some in the anti war movement that the soldiers were traitors to the Vietnamese people and to justice in general; at time found empathy with the returned soldiers since they faced confusion and betrayal by the government and their supporters; his sympathy ultimately lay with the NLF; Scene F Take 2; retake of take 1.

  • Video of Harry Van Moorst interviewed by Greg Swanborough for 'The sharp end' (video)