Controversy over women's dance

July 10, 1991

Controversy over women's dance

By Melanie Sjoberg

MELBOURNE — Months after the event, Northcote City Council has refused to return a bond for the hire of Northcote Town Hall for the International Women's Day dance. The bond was provided by radio 3CR.

The council claims its property was damaged and security officers were harassed. There are also claims that the function lacked a valid liquor licence. No problems were raised by council staff during the evening, though the organisers reported blocked drains and toilets to the caretaker.

The police report on the event includes an anti-feminist tirade, describing the crowd as "hard core radical feminists ... predisposed to violence". It claims the dance brought together "undesirable components [which] formed an atmosphere likely to cause offence and disorder". The gutter press got in on the act, the Melbourne Truth describing the event as a "lesbian rampage".

In reality, several hundred women had a good time without much trouble. Security officers employed by 3CR ensured that regulations such as liquor laws were obeyed. The only obvious harassment of staff appeared to come from carloads of young men yelling as they drove past.

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