'The Parliaments Call Them Thugs': Public Space, Identity and Union Protest
This article examines two union-led public protests against changes to industrial relations legislation-the 1996 Cavalcade to Canberra, organised by the Austra lian Council of Trade Unions, and the 1997 Third Wave campaign, organised by the Trades and Labor Council of Western Australia. The labour movement in both cases used space (in and around the environs of Canberra's and Perth's Parliament houses) for the purposes of mobilising a 'counterpublic' to challenge the respective pieces of legislation. We analyse how organisers of the campaigns used public space to create an alternative public sphere. The 1996 Canberra rally was much less successful than the 1997 Western Australian protest in using public space for the formation and represen tation of a union counterpublic. The article concludes that an understanding of the relationship between public space, the public sphere and the complexities of forming collective identities across individual differences is necessary for the effective mobilisa tion of protest by the labour movement.
Journal of Industrial Relations