The political implications of music
Candidates with a social conscience may feel justified in condemning Anna Bligh and Andrew Fraser for putting pokie revenues ahead of:
- Community concern over widespread severe gambling addiction, especially amongst despairing and hopeless aged pensioners, and futureless youth;
- An entire generation of youth, who have been denied access to healthy Oz Rock in local pubs; and
- Forcing youth to socialise in the only alternative... seedy CBD nightclubs, which are the haunt of drug pushers and sociopathic violence addicts; predators that can be avoided only by patrons using their own motor vehicles and, therefore, risking participation in the weekend road carnage.
Few candidates and their supporters have realised that, because of the balance of power situation that has evolved, the key to the 2009 Queensland Elections will be the youth and muso's campaign run in Bligh's seat of South Brisbane, and Andrew Fraser's in Mt Cootha
Hundreds of fans and supporters of seventy-nine Sunshine and Gold Coast bands will descend on these tightly fought electorates to warn residents about the wider implications of poker machines and undemocratic and unreasonable noise pollution regulation charges laid against pub and club workers and musicians.
Whilst some candidates may regard such issues as peripheral, in fact the Queensland Government's repression of youth music has serious ramifications for drug abuse, CBD violence, and the scenario that has all parents of socialising youth tossing sleeplessly each weekend night... the dreaded early morning police knock on the door: 'Your child has been killed in a motor vehicle accident'.
Both Anna Bligh and Andrew Fraser are coldly aware of the horrific price parents and youth pay for their arbitrary regulations, but the 80% revenue from poker machines is needed (vis a vis cynical finance juggling) to pay for increasingly expensive election campaigns. The slogan that this money goes back to the community is merely that... a marketing slogan. For centuries, to avoid corruption, all government income has been required to be paid into consolidated revenue and not to bribe certain sectors of the community. It is no coincidence that the Minister for Pokies and Liquor and Fines for Music as Noise Pollution is also Treasurer; what some may regard as an unacceptable conflict of interests.
Although the history of introduction of pokies and subsequent repression of Oz Music is quite well known, we will provide a cameo history of this shameful event:
This all started when in the mid-eighties, poker machine corporations tried to become established in Aussie pubs and clubs but were told they were not welcome. Thoughtful patrons saw pokies as a threat to the community, and publicans made more much money than pokies could hope to, through hosting local bands. This healthy situation so promoted the development of Australian music that at one point seven of the world's top twenty were iconic Oz Rok bands: AC/DC, 10cc, INXS, Men At Work, Cold Chisel, Billy Thorpe, La De Das, Australian Crawl, Jerry Rafferty, and Split Enz.
The poker machine corporations were stymied. In desperation they poured funds into politician's election campaigns, on the condition that henceforth youth music was to be regarded as noise pollution. The Queensland ALP enthusiastically married the poker machine corporations and willingly sacrificed what young people value more than any other activity... music: music to sing to, to dance to, and to inspire their youthful dreams. And when we grow old, music enables us to relive our happiest moments.
With pubs prevented from playing youth dance music, kids have been forced to dance in CBD clubs, which is the perfect killing fields for drug pushers. Patrons intending to return home by taxi run the risk of being bashed by gangs of violence addicts, or being beaten and raped in the side streets. Not unnaturally, young people prefer to drive their own cars home and, fatigued, and under the influence of alcohol or even drugs, serious accidents become a probability.
All people with even a rudimentary social conscience, who have studied this situation have concluded that pokies have to go, and dance music reinstalled in suburban pubs where containment of social ills is more manageable, and patrons can walk home unmolested.
Youth is not the only casualty. The enduring music of youth eventually becomes the music of a nation, and is its most admired banner on foreign shores; contrary to the claims of politicians, greatly surpassing our reputation in sports.
Music is also the window to a nation's soul, and it is the very echo of its spirit. Music provides a nation with hope when the dawn is darkest, and music inspires courage, nobility and sacrifice in times of crisis. A nation without music is no nation at all. And it is music that is the greatest casualty of Anna Bligh's unholy relationship with pokies, and Andrew Fraser's killing of music in the name of noise pollution.
Moreover, those talented Queenslander's who bring us the priceless gift of music, are now Queensland's worst paid workers, that is, if they can find work at all; all due to Anna Bligh. Could a politician who does this to music, really care about us?
In this we are adamant; music can never be noise pollution, except, of course, to a cold and ruthlessly manipulative megalomaniac. This description pretty well sums up Premier Anna Bligh, and if voters want Queensland to be strong, and with vibrant and happy youth, destructive Cap'n Bligh must go down with her pirate ship, with bosun Andrew Fraser chained firmly with her to the mast.
The organisations known variously as Bring Back The Music, Bring Back Oz Rok, Pokies Out; Music In, and G-Dogs, are organised by musicians, youth workers, a past liquor authority project researcher, parents, venue organisers, supporters and an army of young people.
We request the support of all candidates, acknowledging as we do, the better recognised crises of health, dental services, hospitals, school bullying, centralising of local government, and the devastating economic implosion on the horizon.
Tony Ryan, 10 March 2009