Workers BushTelegraph readers may wish to have a look at the article Exploiting Native Talent in the Arts Section of The Australian, 2 July 2007. No, the title of The Australian article is not meant to be ironic, or is it?
Following the quote in the article of obligatory self-promotion:
“The reunion of the Saints — Chris Bailey, Ed Kuepper and Ivor Hay — for a big nostalgic concert celebrating Brisbane’s rock’n’roll history was only possible, Grabowsky says, as a result of his musical ‘bona fides’. “
This is what Paul Grabowsky is quoted as saying about the Pig City Concert:
“Bailey and I had played together on the Vizard show, and so we shared that connection and I could sit down with Kuepper and know there’s a shared lineage. The Saints have been asked to reform countless times but the requests generally came from the rock’n’roll industry, not an arts or music festival. I think that was the fillip, because a festival is a respectful environment, not an exploitative one.”
It makes you wonder how this report manages to mention all the events in the festival without once making reference to Pat Mackie’s role in Red Cap, or the 1970s Queensland street marches’ role in Pig City?
And why is Paul Grabowsky so coy in his description of Red Cap as “the history of the mining dispute that cruelled relationships between workers and management in a town dominated by its enormous mines.” So little is revealed in this media grab.
Not so in Pete Thomas’s Storm in the Tropics: the historic Mt. Isa dispute 1964-5:
“Police had power of entry, search and arrest without warrant; a ban was placed on forms of speech and dissent; and printing presses could be seized at will.”
More important still — what about the cruelled relationships inside the labour movement when the Mt Isa miners got sold out by the right-wing ALP officials of the Australian Workers Union? But the current Arts fraternity would not like to offend the ALP government that is handing out the money, would they?
But, I forget myself, this is an arts festival that brings us “The Greatest Show on Earth” to Longreach so what do the workers matter?
We should not be shocked by the paternalism in the Melbourne-based Grabowsky’s final comment:
“The locals are going to love it.”
And when you think about it, it should come as no surprise that this final quote in The Australian are not unlike Joh’s old line about “feeding the chooks”.
The image below depicts a typical evening scene in Albert Street Brisbane, during the street marches of 1977-78, where thousands of workers were arrested in their attempt by street marching to rid the state of the anti-democratic, Bjelke-Petersen government.