Laura Rovetto

National Archives of Australia/Australian Historical Association postgraduate scholar, 2018-19


Peace Activism, Community Mobilisation: the social and political agency of the Campaign for International Cooperation and Disarmament, 1960-1985.

Biographical note

Laura Rovetto is a history PhD candidate in the School of Arts and Education at Victoria University. Her thesis, supervised by Emeritus Professor Phillip Deery and Associate Professor Dianne Hall, examines the role of the Campaign for International Cooperation and Disarmament (CICD) in the Australian peace movement from the 1960s until the 1980s. Her Honours thesis, which examined CICD's approach to activism during the first Melbourne Vietnam Moratorium Campaign, from 1969-1970, was a key component in her being awarded both the 2016 Victoria University Medal for Academic Excellence and the Centenary Postgraduate Research Scholarship.

Project summary

Laura's project seeks to explain the significant contribution of the CICD to the Australian peace movement over a twenty-five year period. It argues that the effectiveness of the CICD was due to its willingness to resolve tensions between its defining, yet contradictory, features: on the one hand, its commitment to broad inclusion and extensive collaboration; on the other, its hierarchical organisational structure and its embrace of particular ideological positions.

Since its formation at the 1959 Melbourne Peace Congress, the CICD has been a continuous and coherent organisation. It fostered a particular set of community values and developed networks of local community alliances for the organisation and mobilisation of mass peace, disarmament and anti-nuclear protests. The historiography of the Australian peace movement during this period, has generally focused on student and youth activism and has neglected the CICD. This project will, therefore, represent the first scholarly analysis of the organisation and will contribute to redressing a significant gap in the history of grassroots political activism in post-war Australia.

Through the National Archives of Australia, Laura intends to access records created by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) concerning the CICD and its lineal predecessors, the Australian Peace Council and the Australia and New Zealand Congress for international Cooperation and Disarmament. ASIO records will represent a crucial counterpoint to CICD's organisational records by providing insight into "official' perspectives on the CICD and illuminate the scope and character of the organisation's activities.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019