First green bans | National Museum of Australia

A man wearing a white polo shirt and grey trousers is looking at the camera and standing with his arms crossed. - click to view larger image

Green bans

‘Black ban’ was a term already used by the union movement to describe a particular kind of activism that involved strike action against a particular job or employer in order to protect the economic interests of workers.

Drawing on the new conception of unionism, Jack Mundey coined the term ‘green ban’ in 1973. There were three main kinds of green ban:

  • defending open, public, spaces
  • protecting existing housing from demolition when its demolition was intended to make way for freeways or high-rise development
  • preserving older, not-yet-heritage-listed buildings.

The term ‘green’ was chosen – rather than ‘black’ – because it was considered more in keeping with the nature of the activity, which involved a strong concern for the environment.

1971: First green bans imposed in Sydney

Source: First green bans | National Museum of Australia