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Fun police cancel Australia Day Live

By Charlotte Harper - 24 August 2016 37

Children prepare for the Australia Day Live event.

If the argument about potentially dangerous storms raised by the National Australia Day Council in defence of its axing of the Australia Day Live Concert was applied to every outdoor event organised in Australia, most rugby, league, AFL, soccer and cricket matches scheduled to be played in grounds around Australia every weekend should also be cancelled forthwith.

The Australian Open should also go. Music festivals like the Groovin the Moo, the Falls Festival and Splendour in the Grass should be shut down. The New Year’s Eve fireworks in Sydney should be cancelled. I can think of dozens of other examples, but I’m not going to mention them, because I don’t want to give the Federal Government fun police any more ideas.

The Australia Day council’s chief executive officer, Chris Kirby, has told The Canberra Times that weather and safety played a major part in planning for the event, and referred to storms that impacted on the most recent concert, telling reporter Chris Knaus that the weather “brought the event to a standstill and potentially put the public at risk”.

Mr Kirby has made no mention of financial cuts being a factor, but presumably that’s what’s really behind the decision to ditch the event, which has kicked off with the Australian of the Year Awards on the Federation Mall lawns between the Parliament House and the Museum of Australian Democracy every year since 2004.

What we do know is that the organiser has decided to move the Australian of the Year Awards indoors, to an invitation-only function in the Great Hall of Parliament House, removing the opportunity for tens of thousands of Australians to see them presented live, and for the winners to address large crowds in person upon receipt of the accolades.

Should the National Australia Day Council reinstate its canned Australia Day concert?

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The only argument I can think of against this event is that its timing commemorates a day that symbolises all that is wrong about our history in terms of the treatment of Indigenous Australians. It was this fact that made being there to see Gurrumul perform at the concert in 2009 and Adam Goodes win Australian of the Year in 2014 mean so much. Those moments are what reconciliation is all about. Hiding them away at a private function is just plain wrong.

I can understand why other cities have argued against the event being held in Canberra. Of course they’d like to host an event of this scale for their residents. But they’re not the capital city of Australia, and the nation’s Parliament House is not available to them as a backdrop.

The ACT Government was right to contribute $100,000 in funding to the concert, and ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr is right to threaten to pull that funding from the event now unless the decision is overturned.

Though the argument that only Canberrans benefit from the gig is simply not true. Tourists have travelled from interstate en masse to see the likes of Guy Sebastian, Jimmy Barnes and INXS play live on Australia Day Eve ahead of a day experiencing our national cultural institutions. I’ve been to several of the concerts with friends who have driven from Sydney or Melbourne just for the occasion, and I know I’m not alone. Also, the event is televised live across the nation, showcasing the capital city at a time when Australians are thinking about what it means to be a citizen of this great nation.

The concert has long provided one of the few opportunities there are in Australia for families to get together for a picnic while enjoying live music that appeals to the grown ups and the kids. Children dance on the lawns with their siblings, parents and friends on a scale I’ve not seen elsewhere. My children loved this most of all about the concert. They are fans of Bob Evans, Ganggajang, Jimmy Barnes, INXS, Guy Sebastian, Lior and Paul Kelly. When are they going to see acts like that live if not at the Australia Day concert?

It’ll be several years now before they will again be exposed to live Australian music on this scale. They won’t be inviting their parents along for a dance then, either.

What’s Your opinion?


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37 Responses to
Fun police cancel Australia Day Live
1
bd84 9:30 am
24 Aug 16
#

What are we really losing? A concert with a line-up mainly consisting of C grade acts and failed reality tv music competition contestants. The event was never on Australia Day, and the Australian of the Year was almost always known before it was announced.

No big loss. Put the money towards a family celebration event on the day.

2
dungfungus 9:48 am
24 Aug 16
#

bd84 said :

What are we really losing? A concert with a line-up mainly consisting of C grade acts and failed reality tv music competition contestants. The event was never on Australia Day, and the Australian of the Year was almost always known before it was announced.

No big loss. Put the money towards a family celebration event on the day.

I agree with all that.
I stopped going years ago. I got sick of the occasion being used by some performers as a forum to smear one side of politics.

3
gooterz 10:21 am
24 Aug 16
#

They should cancel Australian of the year. They pick terrible people for it

4
John Moulis 10:49 am
24 Aug 16
#

The Australia Day concert was always a Claytons celebration. When that came in we lost a loved Canberra tradition of celebrating Australia Day at Regatta Point and Commonwealth Park. Sheep shearing, woodchopping, skydivers, food stalls from local restaurants and concerts on Stage 88 featuring acts such as Franklin B Paverty, Bullamakanka, the Bushwackers and Simon Gallaher. In its place we got a childrens’ concert on Stage 88 featuring Wiggles wannabees.

When I complained on this site about the childrens’ concert and why there wasn’t a more diverse celebration appealing to all ages I was told that the ACT Australia Day celebrations now consisted of the concert the previous night.

With the demise of the concert let’s hope we can get back to fair dinkum celebrations in Commonwealth Park on the actual day. We’ve put up with fluff and nonsense for too long.

5
theword 11:42 am
24 Aug 16
#

I believe the Australia Day live concert lost its way. It should be a celebration that appeals to a diverse range of people from all ages. You should run another poll asking the Canberra public what they would like to see as a replacement?

6
Mordd - IndyMedia 11:52 am
24 Aug 16
#

Saw this last night on CT, was pretty shocked, seems a flimsy reason to cancel it, I smell BS politics.

Some people don’t like it? Sure, I don’t go either. But last I checked, a lot of people do go, and seem to greatly enjoy it.

I am not going to begrudge those that do like it, and $100K for the concert is cheap, not expensive, compared to normal concert costs / booking costs for acts.

Bring it back, or find your 100K somewhere else National Australia Day Council.

7
Masquara 12:58 pm
24 Aug 16
#

Perhaps the people behind the decision are of the “it’s Invasion Day and to be discouraged” persuasion.

8
Skidd Marx 1:10 pm
24 Aug 16
#

Part of me laments the fact that kids have one less thing to do on Australia Day.

The other (cynical) part of me laments the manner in which Australia Day is “celebrated” – teenage girls using the Aussie flag as a fashion accessory mixed with intoxicating doses of Seppo-style patriotism. It feels crass.

9
Rollersk8r 1:46 pm
24 Aug 16
#

Don’t particularly care about the concert itself – but it’s another case of Canberra missing out on exposure. NT Chief Minister Adam Giles is actually celebrating this – as he doesn’t want Canberra to feature at all in Australia Day celebrations. Pretty rich considering he did his time here as a public servant! I would argue exactly the opposite – as the capital Canberra should be the centrepiece of Australia Day celebrations!!

10
dungfungus 1:53 pm
24 Aug 16
#

Mordd – IndyMedia said :

Saw this last night on CT, was pretty shocked, seems a flimsy reason to cancel it, I smell BS politics.

Some people don’t like it? Sure, I don’t go either. But last I checked, a lot of people do go, and seem to greatly enjoy it.

I am not going to begrudge those that do like it, and $100K for the concert is cheap, not expensive, compared to normal concert costs / booking costs for acts.

Bring it back, or find your 100K somewhere else National Australia Day Council.

I assume your phrase “BS” in “BS politics” stands for “Budget Shortfall” in which case you would be correct.
There is simply not enough money to go around anymore.
The $100K cost of the concert is only the ACT’s contribution, it would cost a lot more that just $100K.
I would like Mr Barr to chsange his attitude and accept it. He could also consider canvelling the New Year/Canberra Day fireworks which is a huge waste of money.

11
dungfungus 1:56 pm
24 Aug 16
#

Masquara said :

Perhaps the people behind the decision are of the “it’s Invasion Day and to be discouraged” persuasion.

More like they are taking away a forum that the pro-invasion day lobby will use to promote their fable.

12
Blen_Carmichael 2:21 pm
24 Aug 16
#

Australia Day? Just a day for me to light the barbie, have a few sherberts, and be content. While I don’t feel the need to wrap myself in the flag, I’m disinclined to join the latest fad in publicly dumping the bucket on our country and its peoples. As for the Australian of the Year, it’s been discredited by elitist snobbery. In the last decade, and with some notable exceptions, recipients seem to think the award comes with an obligation to deliver gratuitous and self-righteous homilies. Spare me. Scrap it too.

13
creative_canberran 4:35 pm
24 Aug 16
#

This has been coming for a while. Technically the awards and concert are two separate events, with their own organisers contracted by the Aust Day council. Merging the stages stank of cost cutting, because the Parliament House stage was not at all ideal for performers. And the line up was hit and miss year to year, last years was a write off.

There’s another aspect too that they’re not saying but that’s security. Security at this event has always been very weak. The staff aren’t well trained and there’s no screening even to the VIP area other than pass checks. Some police are present, but the bulk of them (several Specialist Response units) only cover the awards when the PM is there. Conditions now would dictate a security overhaul for the whole thing, and that costs money, but they wouldn’t want to admit that.

14
Mordd - IndyMedia 5:14 pm
24 Aug 16
#

dungfungus said :

Mordd – IndyMedia said :

Saw this last night on CT, was pretty shocked, seems a flimsy reason to cancel it, I smell BS politics.

Some people don’t like it? Sure, I don’t go either. But last I checked, a lot of people do go, and seem to greatly enjoy it.

I am not going to begrudge those that do like it, and $100K for the concert is cheap, not expensive, compared to normal concert costs / booking costs for acts.

Bring it back, or find your 100K somewhere else National Australia Day Council.

I assume your phrase “BS” in “BS politics” stands for “Budget Shortfall” in which case you would be correct.
There is simply not enough money to go around anymore.
The $100K cost of the concert is only the ACT’s contribution, it would cost a lot more that just $100K.
I would like Mr Barr to chsange his attitude and accept it. He could also consider canvelling the New Year/Canberra Day fireworks which is a huge waste of money.

No, it stands for bullsh#t politics, as in the Council is playing bullsh#t political games with the concert and the NT chief minister is encouraging them and goading them from the sideline. This isn’t bi-partisan politics, it shouldn’t even be political at all, yet the Council is clearly playing bullsh#t political games with this for political mileage, not genuine concern for safety.

15
Masquara 5:17 pm
24 Aug 16
#

If it ends up being in the Great Hall there will be a Welcome to Country. Awkward!!!!

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