In 1969 during a debate about Independent School funding, Sir John Cramer (1896-1994) Liberal Party member for Bennelong, explained why he thought families were choosing to send their children to private schools rather than government funded schools. On 15 May 1969 he told the House of Representatives:
Certain long-haired professors advocate Communism in almost its nakedness, free love and all these sorts of things. This is dreadful… Perhaps this is one of the reasons why many parents choose to send their children to independent schools.
A quick search of the 1960s Hansard reveals that “long-haired” was quite the useful insult in the 1960s. Used to describe anyone who thought for a living, basically meant academics or what were referred to as theoreticians. Even economists were not safe!
In 1962, ALP Member for Grayndler Francis Stewart was bemoaning the state of the Australian press who he accused of continuing to front page the “rejection of social and ethical standards by long haired individuals” instead of the “thousands of clean, clear eyed, eager, fine young Australian boys and girls in whom any country would delight and be proud”.
Indeed Stewart is a serial offender, throwing ‘long-haired’ around wherever it suits his purpose. For example, he took umbrage with the “long haired , untidy and effeminate looking males” on the ABC.
Similar insults are still in rotation - see Peter Dutton’s famous “dirty lefties” used on the site formerly known as Twitter.
Screenshot of Peter Dutton’s tweet
The more things change in Australian politics, the more they stay the same.
But let’s just remember, in the words of Liberal Party Member Andrew Jones in March 1967:
“No matter what sort of society it may be, whether it be in Russia, China, England or America, we will always find, as one person put it, the militant, left wing, long haired, short brained, intellectual, highbrowed, pseudo radicals. But in Australia today we also have many young people who are not so militant, not so long haired and not so short brained, who are quite willing to stand up and put their point of view. The beauty of this country is that we are allowed to do so. Whatever side of politics we may be on, we must be proud of the freedom we have in Australia that enables us to put our point of view, to speak our minds, and to sit down without any fear of repercussions or reprisals. This is the hallmark of a great society. If Australia continues in this way, with a good democratic Parliament such as we now certainly have, I believe the future is secure.”
- Relevant Hansard report: INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS (LOANS GUARANTEE) BILL 1969 - Second Reading - House of Representatives Hansard - 15 May 1969
- National Archives of Australia, A1200, L96437;, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=114061087