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Rock Eisteddfod winner’s political fight

By Kerces 12 July 2006 144

Last week the Canberra heats of the 2006 Rock Eisteddfod were held and Calwell High school won with a performance the Canberra Times described as “a satirical look at the Federal Government’s controversial industrial relations changes”.

I knew nothing of this, having had to rely on RA for Canberra news last week, however I was intrigued by a letter to the editor in today’s CT (the last one on the linked page), which said the Federal Government has “once again shown just how out of touch it is with the youth of today” by saying the Calwell performance was “hijacked” by the political agenda of teachers involved.

A Calwell High spokesman, John Chisholm, told the CT the day after the Rock Eisteddfod that the students had put a lot of work into creating the performance, including analysing satirical shows such as The Chaser (if only I got to do that at school!) and looking at how the legislation affected workers.

“We had contract signing in our performance and one scene showing workers being manipulated by bosses and becoming devoid of colour,” Mr Chisholm said.

The precis for the piece, titled “The Devil’s in the Detail”, read:

Penalty rates … gone! Annual leave loading … So long! Pay rise … are you kidding! Public holidays … no way! Meal breaks … uh uh! Radical new industrial relations laws are being used extensively to axe hard won and long standing working conditions and cut the take home pay of millions of Australian employees.

The Australian reported that federal Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews said the performance was “totally inappropriate, regardless of which side of politics is being targeted”.

Mr Andrews said it was one thing for the school to teach students about current issues, “but it’s another thing entirely for teachers to politically hijack a rock eisteddfod, which is designed to promote positive lifestyle messages for our youth”. He also said it was “difficult to believe” that students had come up with the idea on their own.

Calwell’s dance teacher, Cheryl Diggins, told the Australian pretty much what Mr Chisholm told the Canberra Times and added that because the school was concerned some parents might be upset by the show, an explanatory was sent home with all the performers but that they “didn’t get one withdrawal or complaint”.


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Rock Eisteddfod winner’s political fight
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rachael_cowgirl 5:22 pm 29 Dec 06

hi i go to calwell high school and i was in this years rock eisteddfod. how dare anyone say the teachers are brain washing us, we aren’t stupid teenagers we can make decisions to. we chose the topic designed the sets made the costume and made the dance we put a lot of work into our rock eisteddfod and it was hard. and no one can take away what we did. we won because we were the best on the night. and we did it all ourselves.

Cassie 9:20 pm 20 Oct 06

“Has anyone actually seen the RE piece by Calwell in here? (Besides me).”
I was in it, and for bonfire’s benefit the STUDENTS CHOSE the theme because we feel it is an issue that effects us, our friends and family, ect here and now and is a current issue. The teachers allowed us to go ahead with the performance because they agreed with our views and also because they feel we have the right to express ourselves and our views, they guided us and DID NOT direct us and tell us what to do.
As for what RE is about http://www.rockchallenge.com.au/modules.php?op=modload&name=PagEd&file=index&topic_id=0&page_id=2 will tell you all you need to know:
“The Rock Eisteddfod Challenge® is a unique and exciting opportunity for schools to take part in a dance, drama and design spectacular where the students are the STARS. While the result is a professional event staged in some of Australia’s top venues, the Rock Eisteddfod Challenge® is about encouraging participants to have fun while enjoying a 100% drug free experience.

Over 400 schools and 40,000 students will compete in 50 Rock Eisteddfod Challenge® shows in 17 regions across Australia this year. Teams as small as 10 or as large as 140 students, plan an eight minute performance around a theme of their choice, set to contemporary commercially available music.

You don’t have be a dancer, a performer or even part of a group who has participated before… you don’t even have to have an existing performing arts programme – or teacher – in your school… you could even be a community group… and up to three schools can join talents to become a combined team. The Rock Eisteddfod Challenge® is open to all schools at all levels, all over Australia.

Rock Eisteddfod Challenge® is about the combined beliefs in Health, Life Skills and Creative Thinking.

HEALTH. Participants commit to being 100% drug, alcohol and tobacco free. Research has proven that the event builds resilience and raises awareness of the health problems associated with substance abuse.

LIFE SKILLS. REC can also be an innovative way to encourage students to represent their school outside the traditional sporting arenas, work collectively towards a positive goal and perform o­n stage in some of Australia’s biggest venues while developing essential life skills and experiences in a fun and motivational environment. Plus it’s a great skills springboard where students can develop tangible social and management skills, teamwork, leadership and communication skills, acquire problem solving ability and see first hand the rewards of commitment to a task. Practically they also get vocational experience through designing and building sets, make-up, fundraising and budgeting, planning and scheduling, designing and sewing costumes and of course, performing

CREATIVE THINKING. The Rock Eisteddfod Challenge® strives to inspire, educate, and entertain secondary students and gives them a creative platform o­n which to express themselves. Students, teachers, parents and communities work together helping to prepare the school’s performance. After many months of budgeting, design, construction and rehearsals they present their performance to thousands of screaming audience members in some of Australia’s premier venues. Show time is a night of true inspiration and entertainment. Awards are given to recognise a raft of achievements including performance, dance and production, community support, student achievements, school initiative and more.

The focus of this friendly and vibrant competition is o­n youth being the best they can in a 100% drug free environment.

The Rock Eisteddfod Challenge® is an event produced by young people for young people and this gives it a unique energy and innovation.”
BTW nyssa76, I was in year 7 at Calwell in 2004, what subjects did you teach? I might know you lol.

caf 3:02 pm 14 Jul 06

Do you disagree that a founding priciple of political conservatism is a distrust of big government? That a low-taxing government providing minimal services is considered by conservatives to a be a desirable objective?

Thumper 1:13 pm 14 Jul 06

If you call bagging out the government conservative, then I guess you are right.

But you’re wrong.

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