History of FoE Brisbane Second Phase

Friends of the Earth Brisbane Second Phase: 1979 – 1984

Fight for Civil Liberties

In 1979, FoE continued to operate from the Vulture Street Resource Centre, but the Civil Liberties campaign against anti-street march legislation had dominated the agenda of the organisation for several years. Much of the energy for the radical ecological campaigns of FoE Queensland had been sapped by this focus. The bike rallies continued, although now more intermittently. Whilst the members remained committed to the FoE Queensland principles, including libertarian socialist and anarcho-socialist politics and an emphasis on community empowerment through skill development and action, the active campaigning of FoE significantly decreased. In August of 1979, the law against street rallies was lessened: permits were easier to acquire, but the legislation remained. By this stage, more than 2000 people had been arrested, at an estimate cost to the state of $5 million.

In 1981, the core membership of FoE Queensland had decreased to just four, and the major active campaign was opposed to the continued use of lead in petrol. Meetings were now held in the Red and Black Bookshop on Browning Street in West End. In 1983, the group moved to Mitchell St, West End, but by 1984, FoE Queensland was formally dissolved and ceased to operate.

There was a resurgence of Friends of the Earth Queensland, with another group forming in the late 1980s in Mitchell Street, West End, and another short-lived FoE Queensland in the early 1990s, which campaigned on against sand-mining. However, it would not be until 1996 that the seeds for Friends of the Earth Brisbane in its most enduring form would be planted.