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Which Way Treason?
Monash Labor Club Committee for Aid to the National Liberation Front, Melbourne, August 1967

Eight-page booklet published Monday August 28, 1967 by Monash Labor Club Committee for Aid to the National Liberation Front. The Monash Labor Club established a fund in July 1967 to collect ‘unspecified’ aid for the National Liberation Front (NLF) of South Vietnam. Sydney students had begun collecting medical aid for civilians in NLF-held areas of Vietnam in 1966 but direct financial (‘unspecified’) aid to the NLF (the first $500 of which was sent in August 1967) was widely interpreted as military support for the ‘Viet Cong’ and carried the connotation of ‘treason’. The Commonwealth Government responded by bringing down the Defence Force Protection Act. The Act was defied and Monash students continued to collect for the NLF, setting off another skirmish with the Vice-Chancellor. Measured in terms of audacity and impact, the Labor Club’s ‘Aid the NLF’ campaign was the most important political intervention ever undertaken by an Australian student political club. Debate on Vietnam ‘moved to the left’, the ranks of protestors grew and support for national liberation struggles against imperialism became accepted as a legitimate part of the anti-war struggle. The established peace movement was forced to debate the issue of support for the NLF. The following year specifically pro-NLF demonstrations were held by student groups in Australian cities. - [Ken Mansell]