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Early feminists wrote books in the 1950s that questioned the roles of women in society. The women's liberation movement grew very rapidly. Main areas of concern were culture and education, health and sexuality. Germaine Greer's work as a writer and journalist was central to the women's movement in the 1960s and 1970s. Greer belongs to the second-wave of feminism which looked at sexual liberation and the repressive qualities of 1960s society. The women's movement made important changes to Australian society. As a result, there are more employment, social and political opportunities for women today. There are, however, proportionately fewer women in key positions in the Australian workforce.
Jack Mundey was a union leader and environmental activist who led the successful Green Bans in the 1970s. The Green Bans were industrial actions intended to block or protest the destruction of parks, bushland or historic buildings or precincts. The Builders' Labourers Federation (BLF), traditionally male and working-class, joined forces with resident groups and feminist university students in the Green Bans. Areas in Sydney saved by the Green Bans include The Rocks and Centennial Park
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Australia today, a multicultural society
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Today, Australia is a multicultural society. After World War II the government developed an immigration program to increase Australia's population. People from Britain and other European countries immigrated to Australia. The White Australia Policy deterred non-Europeans from moving to Australia. The Migration Act 1958ended the use of the White Australia Policy.
Today there are large communities of Italians, Germans and Chinese people. Asian culture is now a visible part of mainstream Australian life. Australia's immigration policy has changed from one of assimilation to multiculturalism.
The years after World War II played an important role in shaping modern Australia
Successes of the women's movement
The women's movement made huge changes to Australian society. Throughout the 1970s, 1980s and to a lesser extent the 1990s many initiatives were put in place in the areas of health, work, law, education and welfare that attempted to redress the imbalance between men's and women's power and opportunity. Women slowly began to infiltrate areas of power that had hitherto been closed to them and some attempted to use this power for the benefit of women in general.