Paradigm Shift 18 Jan 2019 (4ZZZ fm 102. Friday at Noon).
Ian interviews Victoria Brazil who booted 4ZZZ off campus at UQ on 14 December 1988.
Jumping Fences – The Quiet of the Winter Moon & Distancia y latido*
*’Distancia y latido’ means distance and heartbeat (yearning) and was written by Cuban Frank Gonzalez whom Sue Monk and Lachlan Hurse met in Havanna during the 1990s. It is a contemporary bolero sung with beautiful intonation by Sue Monk.
Victoria’s Eviction Vindictiveness
Interviewer: Can you please introduce yourself?
Victoria Brazil: My name is Victoria Brazil. I am Professor of Emergency Medicine and Director of Simulation at Bond University.
INTERVIEWER: Where did you study?
Victoria Brazil: Havard and Stanford Universities.
INTERVIEWER: No, I mean before that.
Victoria Brazil: I did my Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Queensland.
INTERVIEWER: When was that?
Victoria Brazil: That would have been in the late 1980s.
INTERVIEWER: Did you participate in any extra-curricula activities?
Victoria Brazil: Yes, I was President of the University of Queensland Student Union.
INTERVIEWER: Oh. How many members did the student union have in 1988?
Victoria Brazil: Not sure but off the top of my head about 20,000 members, I’d say.
INTERVIEWER: That many?
Victoria Brazil: Student unions were compulsory back then.
INTERVIEWER:What sort of business did the student union run?
Victoria Brazil: You mean like the refectory? Well, it had Clubs and Societies, a Medical Centre, a Crèche, a bar and of course it organised parties for the students.
INTERVIEWER: Didn’t it run an FM radio station called 4ZZZ?
Victoria Brazil: Oh yes, it did have that as well.
INTERVIEWER: Didn’t it run a newspaper called Semper Floreat?
Victoria Brazil: Yes, that too.
INTERVIEWER: Didn’t the student union run a cinema called the Schonell Theatre?
Victoria Brazil: I didn’t have much to do with the Schonell.
INTERVIEWER: But wasn’t the Schonell Theatre a big money spinner for the union putting on World Premiers like Woody Allen’s Annie Hall?
Victoria Brazil: Annie Hall was before my time; besides, I was too busy studying.
INTERVIEWER: What can you tell the listener about 4ZZZ?
Victoria Brazil: Not much.
INTERVIEWER: I’d like you to comment on this eviction notice you personally served on Darren a volunteer announcer doing the graveyard shift at 4ZZZ on 14th December 1988.
Victoria Brazil: I have no comment. That was 30 years ago, I’ve moved on.
INTERVIEWER: I’m wondering if you were in breach of the broadcasting act shutting down a radio station while it was operating.
Victoria Brazil: No comment.
INTERVIEWER: Wasn’t the eviction of the student radio station a cause célèbre at that time?
Victoria Brazil: There was a lot of fuss but, from memory, there was really not much to it.
INTERVIEWER: Didn’t hundreds of people turn up to defend the station that very morning?
Victoria Brazil: I don’t think it was that many. From memory I received legal advice that the station owed the union money and to be quite frank, the station was a rathole with all kinds of illegal activities going on there.
INTERVIEWER: Didn’t the station continue to broadcast from Mt Cootha after you locked them out of their premises and placed armed security guards at the entrance?
Victoria Brazil: I don’t recall what the station did.
INTERVIEWER: Didn’t student union members occupy your office in the UQ union complex until you withdrew your attempt to evict 4ZZZ.
Victoria Brazil: Yes, they climbed into my office through ceiling tiles. We entered into negotiations with the station for them to vacate their studios in a responsible manner.
INTERVIEWER: Who supported your attempt to evict the station.
Victoria Brazil: The Queensland government, Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, and the University Senate.
INTERVIEWER: The University Senate is going to take a wrecking ball to where 4ZZZ studios once stood. They propose demolition of the whole UQ Union Complex: the forum area, the Schonell theatre, the refectory, and the union building. How do you feel about that?
Victoria Brazil: I can’t really comment, I work for a rival university … but remember this, if you are one of those horrid Triple Zed types, I won. Your precious station was booted out. You had no place there. I hope they leave no trace that you were ever there.
INTERVIEWER: I was one of the people who turned up to defend the station in December 1988. We were defending free speech and independent media. It is true, the station fell on hard times after it left UQ. Triple Zed was never perfect but at least we stand for something. We came out of the struggle against the Vietnam war and opposition to racist apartheid in South Africa. Before you were President the student union did support us and some time after the station left, so did the Communist Party by selling 4ZZZ its headquarters in Fortitude Valley at an affordable price. At least we are not at the mercy of a corporate University eager to turn its back on our heritage by demolishing a space that was theatre to democratic rights struggles against vile and reactionary governments.
Victoria Brazil: We left you nothing, you are nothing, you have no history, you can no longer rely upon the student union that squandered money on you for years. We stopped all that. [Hangs up].
Interviewer: That was one time President of the University of Queensland Student Union now Professor at Bond, a privately owned University on the Gold Coast. You are on 4ZZZ, still going strong in its 44th year as an independent radio broadcaster and 30 years after its eviction from the University of Queensland.
[In Victoria’s Vindictiveness, Victoria Brazil was played by Hectoria and the Interviewer by Ian]