Last night as I stood on the land of the Gadigal clan of the Eora nation cheering AB Original on stage as the opening act for Midnight Oil’s homecoming, I realised that we’ve come quite a way from the 1980s. I first saw Midnight Oil live when I was 16 years old and they changed the way I viewed the world.
They may be white boys from the white bread northern beaches of Sydney but in the early 80s for many of us white bread teens from the suburbs they were our introduction to what was actually happening to indigenous Australians. I learnt nothing of Aboriginal culture at school, I was only taught about the white invaders. So many of us had no idea of the atrocities and abuse committed by white governments and their White Australia policy; Midnight Oil opened our eyes to what was actually happening. The Oils were writing Australian songs and telling our stories and I’d never heard anything like it.
And those biceps. I will never forget standing near the stage at the Sydney Entertainment Centre and watching Rob Hirst drumming. Uh oh! My first musician crush, setting myself up for a lifetime of being attracted to players. Sigh.
Last night, as we waited for Midnight Oil in the shadow of the glowing Deutsche Bank sign, I thought of how the Oils have sung about many big companies that have raped our planet, and how we need protest music more than ever. When they played Blue Sky Mine I thought of the hideous she-devil Bishop defending James Hardie and making a dying Bernie Banton wait for compensation. This year she was briefly our Acting Prime Minister.
As the crowd roared from the opening bars of Armistice Day, I thought there is nowhere else I’d rather be right now. When Peter Garrett spoke of stopping the giant Carmichael mine and the carnage that Adani could bring to the Great Barrier Reef, one idiot in the crowd behind said,
“Shut up and play the music.” Only a moron comes to a Midnight Oil gig and demands that politics aren’t mentioned. Before I had a chance to tell him to go home and listen to Kylie Minogue, the band came back with more raw, punching rawk:
I see buildings, clothing the sky, in paradise
Sydney, nights are warm
Daytime telly, blue rinse dawn
Dad’s so bad he lives in the pub, it’s underarms and football clubs
Flat chat, Pine Gap, in every home a Big Mac
And no one goes outback, that’s that
You take what you get and get what you please
It’s better to die on your feet than to live on your knees
I love that Midnight Oil are a band with strong political opinions, and musically, they were simply brilliant. They’ve done so many shows this year the band is tighter than ever. And they were backed by the incredible Hunters and Collectors horn section. I don’t know what painkillers the injured Jim Moginie was taking but his guitar playing was inspired. I’d forgotten how good they are live. The waves of screaming energy and excitement kept coming as my hips reminded me how their music made me feel in my teens.
Today my body aches, but my heart is filled with the thought that perhaps I’m not the only one who cares about changing our world.
Not much time, but time to try
This morning Brandis is threatening to stall the same sex marriage debate if he doesn’t get his way. Unchristian Porter, Corgi and the other right wing rednecks all advocate butting out of people’s lives, except when it comes to telling people who they can marry. The problem with the Lieberal Nationals being elected is that the balding white males who run the party don’t want the world to change. The system works for them, it has made them rich. If we want a just political system we have to get rid of these dinosaurs. At least the independent parties are passionate about creating a fairer Australia.
I’m a yes person. I’ve done infomercials for washing machines, how hard can politics be? I thought. But after running in Joe Hockey’s electorate last year, I now know why women last don’t last too long in parliament. Hanging out with blue-suited number crunchers having endless discussions with accountants is more than this koala could bear.They reminded me of living in Britain in the late 80s when Dragoness Thatcher was in power.
Politicians are overpaid, and also the dullest people on earth, they receive far too much attention. How do the political journalists do it? How can they watch the games of preening and self-congratulations and emotional manipulation and not want to bash heads in? How can they listen to the well-rehearsed sound bites and faux sincerity all day and stay sane?
My acting teacher Hayes Gordon said, “I don’t regret doing cigarette ads, I don’t regret alcohol ads but I regret teaching the politician Robert Askin how to be charming on camera so people thought he cared.” The Liberal party feed their candidates self-confidence pills so they believe they are the masters of the universe. That kind of self-assurance is breathtaking. Last year I found myself seduced by people whose policies are abhorrent. The Libs are so good at faux sincerity it’s like watching Tom Cruise acting. You start to think he’s actually a nice guy even thought your logical brain knows he’s a Scientologist and that he dumped our Nickers so he must be an arsehole.
I know this is unusual, but as a politician, I wanted to be transparent. I thought I was the prodigal daughter returning to North Sydney to save the electorate from the Liberals. But I wasn’t even a contender, the old boys club has too much money and they want it to stay that way. I know how Ricky Muir feels.
Now the idiots want to strip funding to carers while wasting millions on a plebiscite. I’ve been a single mother living on a small income for years, I know all about financial planning. Shonky Mal Turnbull may not know how to be a leader, but he could get a few single mums in his cabinet, then he’d be able to pass a successful budget.
Politics? Anyone still interested? In Australia we are near the end of one of our longest ever election campaigns. In the US the fun has barely started.
Our world is in a mess.
Australia’s land clearing emissions have nearly doubled in the last three years. Most Australians want the Great Barrier Reef saved at the expense of coal mining. Idiot conservatives who have protected paedophiles for decades want to waste hundreds of millions of dollars on a same sex marriage plebiscite, babies are being harmed in detention centres, and many of our politicians pay lip service to ending violence against women. Funding to the arts and education have been slashed.
For the future health of our children, no further open cut mining or coal seam gas drilling should be permitted in residential or good agricultural land or near our waterways. Our long-term future is more important than coal, and nothing can replace the loss of our food bowl. To ensure a fossil fuel-free future we must vote the dinosaurs out of our parliaments.
This election, vote wisely. On Saturday July 2nd, we get to decide our next prime minister (until he gets knifed in the back by one of his party faithful).
Please think about what you’re voting for. You control your preference in the order you choose. Handouts at the polling booth are the way each party wants you to vote for their own best results, which is usually not the ideal outcome for the future of our country. It is time to make our votes count. We must honour the legacy of Jo Cox.
Your vote is powerful.
In the voting booth, everyone is equal – Barbara Boxer
Why don’t you vote for me?
Not everyone in North Sydney would pay to meet Bronwyn Bishop.
This Thursday April 21st and Friday April 22nd, I’m performing my funny new show all about Australian politics, Vote One Lou Pollard at the Factory Theatre in Marrickville for the 2016 Sydney Comedy Festival. In this election year, come along and hear my crazy tales of politics in North Sydney.
When the other candidates are a joke, vote for the comedian
In a month, I’m performing my fourth solo comedy show for the Sydney Comedy Festival at The Factory Theatre in Marrickville. I’ve written a show about my brief but dazzling foray into the political arena at last year’s North Sydney by election.
Vote One Lou Pollard
Written and authorised by Lou Pollard for the Single Mothers having a party Party
Buy tickets: Vote One show tickets
2015 was a year of hard work, heartbreak and incredible joy. Some people I love and admire endured tragedy this year, we lost more friends to cancer and many of my friends lost parents.
In March, my Clown Doctor colleagues, Dr S. Duffer and Dr P. Brain and I had a lovely visit to Sydney Children’s Hospital with three members of the Australian cricket team, Brad Haddin, Nathan Lyons and the captain Steve Smith. Lovely blokes who spent hours with very sick kids, told corny jokes and when we took the mickey out of them they were great sports.
My mum went to live in a nursing home
I visited beautiful kids at the Royal Deaf and Blind School with Dr Noodles
In May I received a four-star review for my second solo show and sold out my last performance a the Enmore Theatre for the 2015 Sydney Comedy Festival Looking For Mike Brady
I didn’t find Mike Brady but I developed a crush that lasted all year
In September I wrote and performed my third solo show A Real State for the 2015 Sydney Fringe Comedy Festival
The worst federal government in Australian political history realised they had to ditch the idiot at the top and replace him with a sly fox
In October I played Dream Cricket in Bowral with very special children
In November I travelled to Queensland to giggle, train, sing, laugh and be inspired by my Clown Doctor colleagues from around Australia
In December, I kissed a few babies, met Fred Nile and stood for the federal seat of North Sydney for The Arts Party. About 2% of the electorate voted for me
Then I spent an incredible night with Dr Boogie at Taronga Zoo for Dreamnight, and a week later flew around Sydney with a bunch of amazing families on a large QANTAS jet then had a joyful day at Bear Cottage
I shot two ads and did some fabulous corporate jobs thanks to my marvellous agents
The heartbreaking deaths of Sandra Bland and Miss Dhu taught us that we still have a long way to go if we want to end the high rates of black people dying in custody
White Australia failed to acknowledge Aboriginal people in our constitution
Sharks ate lots of humans this year, Adam Goodes retired and despite finding a Boeing flaperon, MH370 is still missing
In Paris, Syria, Beirut and Afghanistan innocents were murdered and suicide bombers went off
I spent another wonderful year being a fool in hospitals in the presence of beautiful families, while the mothers of MEB helped me parent. 2015 has been an exhausting and inspiring year of madness