Children’s singer Aldebert and rocker Peter Garrett of Midnight Oil in duo to save the planet in the heart of an album with prestigious guests
With the climate crisis in full swing, having songs that get us going in the right direction seems more important than ever. When French kids music artist Aldebert asked me to collaborate on a pro environment track for his new record Enfantillage 4, my “yes!” came quickly. Also featuring Greta Thunberg’s stirring words, it’s already riding high in the charts with a Top 5 debut and hopefully inspiring a new generation in France and further afield to join in the fight for a safer world.
Midnight Oil’s mini-album The Makarrata Project topped the ARIA charts last November. A powerful call for justice and recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it featured on most critics’ lists for ‘The Best of 2020’. Next month the band will finally bring that acclaimed new music – plus a slew of other iconic Midnight Oil Reconciliation songs – to Australian concert stages for five special outdoor events.
Today, Midnight Oil are excited to announce leading First Nations vocalists Dan Sultan, Alice Skye, Troy Cassar-Daley, Tasman Keith & Leah Flanagan will join the band for all Makarrata Live dates. Midnight Oil will also be joined onstage at all shows by backing vocalist Liz Stringer and saxophonist Andy Bickers. Coloured Stone’s legendary frontman, Bunna Lawrie, will also feature at the WOMADelaide performance.
In addition to appearing as part of the Oil’s set, Dan Sultan, Troy Cassar-Daley, Leah Flanagan and Alice Skye will also perform special guest slots of their own songs on select dates. For more information and all tickets head to www.midnightoil.com/tour.
Sydney bassist Adam Ventoura will also play with Midnight Oil at all these shows due to the sudden passing of longtime band member Bones Hillman late last year. Adam came to the band’s attention when he guested on a recording session at Jim Moginie’s studio involving “Diesel & Dub” creator Declan Kelly. Adam has previously toured with Cold Chisel’s Ian Moss. In addition to appearing at all the Makarrata Live gigs, he will also perform on the Saturday night at WOMADelaide when Midnight Oil will deliver a one-off set of Oils material that does not feature the Makarrata guests.
“It will be a moment heavy with emotion to go onstage without our long time brother in music, but Bonesy always made it clear he wanted these gigs to go ahead without him so we know he will be with us in spirit”, said frontman Peter Garrett. “We’ve just started rehearsing with Adam, who, amazingly, has been living under our noses in Sydney. There’s something primal about his playing that caught our ears that makes the band sound great.”
“We’re fortunate that so many of the collaborators on our mini-album can join us onstage for these shows and we remain hopeful that one or two more of our friends might be able to jump up with us here and there as well”, said drummer Rob Hirst. “The message of these songs feel increasingly relevant as public awareness of The Uluru Statement continues to grow. It’s time for Australia to stop dragging the chain on this issue and we call upon the government to begin the process of constitutional recognition for First Australians and to also heed their call for a Voice to the federal parliament.”
Tickets for Makarrata Live are on sale now for Sirromet Wines, Mount Cotton, Hope Estate, Hunter Valley and Stage 88, Canberra. The current Covid-safe capacity has almost been reached for Mt Duneed Estate, Geelong but organisers remain hopeful a limited number of additional tickets may also become available if Victorian Covid protocols are eased. As always fans are asked to avoid purchasing through reselling sites such as ViaGoGo which typically cost a lot more.
Raised between inner-city Melbourne and the Northern Territory town of Yuendumu, Dan Sultan began playing music at a young age. Inspired by classic guitar rock and the tribal culture of his heritage, Sultan quickly proved himself an Australian favourite, winning multiple ARIA awards, playing the country’s largest music festivals; also appearing in the film.
Looking forward to performing on these shows, Dan says “The best thing about doing some shows with Midnight Oil is that I get to see them live so much in such a short space of time. Oils concentrated. Can’t wait.”
Alice Skye is a Wergaia/Wemba Wemba person living and writing music in Naarm (Melbourne). Since her first album ‘Friends with Feelings’ she has signed with Bad Apples, the Indigenous-driven label that celebrates and prioritises black excellence. Alice’s upcoming sophomore album ‘I Feel Better but I Don’t Feel Good’ was produced by local artist Jen Cloher. Her work continues to look inwards and explores finding staunchness in softness.
Troy Cassar-Daley is a proud Gumbaynggirr/Bundjalung man who comes from a long line of storytellers. His songs authentically soundtrack the Australian culture, winning him numerous accolades including 37 Golden Guitars, 4 ARIAs, 2 APRA awards, 9 Deadlys (Australian Indigenous Artist Awards), 4 CMAAs, 2 NIMAs (National Indigenous Music Awards) as well as an induction into the prestigious Australasian Roll Of Renown. The latest addition to his legacy is his upcoming album The World Today (out March 19 through Sony Music).
Hometown pride runs deep for 24-year-old rapper Tasman Keith, whose music is indebted to giving back to the community that raised him. From a small town on New South Wales’ mid-North Coast, Keith is carrying on the Gumbaynggirr storytelling traditions of his family through his eclectic and emotive tracks.
Originating from Darwin, Leah Flanagan grew up in a household filled with music and culture – boasting a proud Italian, Indigenous (Alyawarre) and Irish heritage that she credits as early influences to her sound. Flanagan’s latest album ‘Colour By Number’ is out now through her own Darwin based, Indigenous owned and operated label Small Change Records.
Bunna Lawrie is a member and respected elder of the Mirning Aboriginal tribe from the Coastal Nullabor, South Australia. He is a Mirning whaledreamer and songman, medicine man and storyteller of his tribe. He is Coloured Stone’s founding member and chief songwriter.
These concerts seek to elevate The Uluru Statement From The Heart which calls for a Makarrata – or “truth-telling” – to account for the theft of lands and displacement of First Nations people.
For more information and all tickets head to www.midnightoil.com/tour.
In early 2021 Midnight Oil will perform a handful of special outdoor concerts called MAKARRATA LIVE. At each show, the band will be joined on stage by an incredible lineup of First Nations collaborators for a unique concert event featuring music from their #1 mini-album The Makarrata Project plus iconic Midnight Oil songs of Reconciliation from throughout their career.
These gigs will seek to elevate The Uluru Statement From The Heart which calls for a Makarrata – or “truth-telling” – to account for the theft of lands and displacement of First Nations people. The shows will take place in strict accordance with each state’s Covid19 protocols. Due to the huge logistical challenges involved, these events will only be staged at one venue in SA, QLD, NSW, VIC & ACT making them each a unique live experience. The band is aware that many fans will be disappointed that the tour is visiting such a limited number of locations but Midnight Oil will tour in their own right later in 2021 by which time large indoor shows can hopefully be staged safely and without compromise throughout Australia and New Zealand at least.
MAKARRATA LIVE will be previewed at Sirromet Wines (near Brisbane) on Sunday 28 February, before its official world premiere on Monday 8 March in South Australia as part of a reimagined Womadelaide (at which the band will also perform a one-off headline performance two nights earlier). The MAKARRATA LIVE dates will then follow on at Hope Estate in the Hunter Valley on Saturday 13 March and Canberra’s Stage 88 on Wednesday 17 March before a grand finale at Geelong’s Mt Duneed Estate on Saturday 20 March. For full tour and ticketing info see below.
Midnight Oil originally planned to play some MAKARRATA LIVE concerts earlier this year including a headlining slot at Splendour In The Grass. Those plans were unfortunately delayed by Covid19 and were then thrown into doubt by the harrowing terminal illness of long-time bass player, Bones Hillman. However, Bones urged his bandmates to proceed with these live shows to help draw focus to the new recordings the group had all made together late last year. In fact, just a few hours before his tragic passing he received confirmation that The Makarrata Project had debuted at the top of the ARIA Album Charts. It was Midnight Oil’s first new music #1 since Hillman’s very first record with the band, Blue Sky Mining, way back in 1990.
“Bonesy leaves giant shoes to fill but we’ll need to find a new bass player for this tour”, said drummer Rob Hirst. “On this issue Bones was clear: ‘the show must go on!’, he said, ‘as soon as it’s safe to play gigs again’. We’re hoping that these Makarrata Live shows will increase awareness of The Uluru Statement From The Heart and further the reconciliation between First Nations and non-Indigenous Australians and we’ll also be dedicating the tour to Bones.”
For Womadelaide shows, event pre-sale starts 9:00am local time Wednesday 9 December and lasts for 24 hours or until allocation exhausted. Head to www.womadelaide.com.au/tickets for more info. Band pre-sale starts 9:00am local time Thursday 10 December and lasts for 24 hours or until allocation exhausted. Pre-sale information will be sent out via newsletter at 5:00pm AEDT on Wednesday 9 December, sign up via bit.ly/OilsNews. General public on sale from 9:00am local time Friday 11 December via www.midnightoil.com/tour.
For all other dates, fan pre-sale starts Monday 14 December from 11:00am local time, and ends after 24 hours or until allocation exhausted. Pre-sale information will be sent out via newsletter at 5:00pm AEDT on Sunday 13 December, sign up via bit.ly/OilsNews. General public on sale 2:00pm local time Wednesday 16 December via www.midnightoil.com/tour.
ULURU STATEMENT FROM THE HEART
“We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from all points of the southern sky, make this statement from the heart:
Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs. This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’, and according to science more than 60,000 years ago.
This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown.
How could it be otherwise? That peoples possessed a land for sixty millennia and this sacred link disappears from world history in merely the last two hundred years?
With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.
Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future.
These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness.
We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.
We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.
Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.
We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.
In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.”
Midnight Oil to receive the gold medal for human rights by the Sydney Peace Foundation for their “commitment to the pursuit of human rights over an extended period … with a powerful, far-reaching impact”.
For tickets to the live stream ceremony on Nov 26, click here.
Midnight Oil to receive the gold medal for human rights by the Sydney Peace Foundation for their “commitment to the pursuit of human rights over an extended period … with a powerful, far-reaching impact”.https://t.co/8Hfh9B1XNh
— Midnight Oil (@midnightoilband) October 13, 2020
How can we develop a stand – up, fearless form of leadership that moves us beyond the failure of business/and partisan politics/ as usual?
The second part of the question: What does a climate emergency response look like?
As a young boy I loved walking through the bush, it made me feel alive, and heightened my awareness of the natural environment.
In my early adult years I came to understand how important the environment was to human health and happiness, and started working with environmental organisations whilst still making and performing music.
Climate change was known about, but sat under the radar. It seemed a long way away, the province of experts and scientists.
Over a decade and a half ago I entered the Federal parliament, primarily because Howard government were not taking the issue seriously. Climate change had become, as predicted, a major issue of concern.
On a sunny afternoon five and a half weeks ago, with the New Year barely underway, I stood aghast, looking towards the Kangaroo Valley escarpment, near where I live in southern NSW.
A massive blanket of smoke unlike anything I had ever seen, or imagined rimmed the rocky, wooded cliffs of the escarpment rising to 600 metres.
This was the Currowan mega fire, a big one amongst hundreds of bushfires alight and on the move down the eastern seaboard, and in four states across the country.
Despite the herculean efforts of firefighters -many volunteers – for weeks the smoldering giant had been advancing inexorably towards Kangaroo Valley village and its outlying hamlets.
As I watched, a deep orange glow like giant footlights on a stage illuminated the huge curtain of brown from the other side of the escarpment.
In a matter of minutes above the smoke blanket, a bundle of pyrocumulonimbus clouds formed, spiraling skyward as the fire spawned its own violent weather system.
A water bomber swooping over the ridges to drop its load was like a tiny insect spitting into the mouth of a dragon.
The fire had been declared catastrophic, lots of residents had left for safer locations – a difficult task as areas to the north, west and south were already ablaze – roads were blocked, birdcalls had been replaced by sirens.
A tipping point had been reached. We had lost control of the weather. An extra 1degree or so of heat already in the system was causing havoc.
The calamity we had been warned about for years had come to pass.
Whilst the fires raged, and people were evacuated by naval vessels from the coast, ice sheets were melting quicker, carbon dioxide filled oceans were turning to barren hot water. These phenomenons were part of the same process.
We were in a climate emergency.
The destruction of homes and farms, the decimation of wildlife, the collapse of local economies, are a reminder, as if one were needed, that the social, environmental and economic impacts, and hence costs, of climate chaos are astronomical.
Costs that will only rise unless we take urgent action now.
The Currowan mega fire ended up burning for over 70 days, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. We were spared, others were not so lucky.
With more than 16 million hectares burned in hundreds of fires, cities shrouded in smoke with air quality plummeting, including in the nation’s capital, the climate crisis was literally in Australian’s backyards.
Then community spirit rallied, and the fireys toiled bravely day and night, showing our best qualities.
Yet none of this could undo a cataclysm that would affect people for decades. We were face to face with the future, a world of pain, heartache and harm. And this was only the beginning.
So how do we develop a stand up, fearless form of leadership, given the failure so far to implement any far-reaching national measures to help confront and minimize the impending climate apocalypse?
One thing is certain. We no longer have the luxury of prevarication or deferral, of wishful thinking or blind denial. The time for half measures and incremental action is well and truly over.
But there is hope too.
Consider the ‘thought’ and ‘action’ leaders in this Town Hall, including on the panels to come. There are plenty of fearless advocates right here, and I’ll draw on some of their insights today.
Still we need to ask ourselves why have we failed to deal satisfactorily with the climate crisis that is upon us?
Of the many reasons offered, from the disproportionate strength of the resources industry to voter apathy, the answer is that notwithstanding these and other factors, above all we are experiencing an abject failure of national leadership.
People are mobilizing. The environment has reemerged as a leading issue of concern and support for declaring a climate emergency is higher than ever.
The Governor of the Reserve Bank just yesterday called for certainty to allow the nation to exploit ‘fantastic’ renewable energy opportunities.
European governments are setting ambitious reduction targets, and renewable energy is now established as a cost effective way of producing electricity.
A number of local councils, regional, state and national governments, here and overseas, have ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, some have declared a climate emergency, and more will surely follow.
Yes the broad arc of history suggests that when enough people stand up, believe deeply and are willing to move mountains, then change will come.
And yes, one common element when the times demand that change is in different ways, leaders, both elected and unelected, are essential.
Yet in Australia the absence of such leadership is holding us back. As a New York Times headline said, “When will Australia’s PM Accept The Reality Of The Climate Crisis?”
Local and state governments, let alone communities and individuals, cannot do the heavy lifting required on their own.
Ultimately the only institution that can guide and underwrite a major challenge of the scale we face in the time we have left is the national government.
This crisis is also about our core Australian values.
Here surely it is a matter of returning to first principles, as understood in a religious, humanitarian or even planetary sense.
And if by these principles – say ‘do unto others’ or ‘do no harm’ or ‘protect all living things’ – a certain action is understood to be wrong, the task of opposing and putting it right is the only reasonable thing to do.
That and being willing to work in collaboration with others, cooperating to achieve together what one individual or group would struggle to do alone.
It is wrong to irresponsibly jeopardize the future by polluting the atmosphere to such an extent the world becomes a furnace, committing “national suicide”, as the Nobel Prize winning Australian researcher Professor Peter Doherty stated.
Who can deny this? Only those who betray the interests of their fellow citizens.
It is wrong to leave the poor, who can’t afford to cushion themselves against climate impacts, and less well off Pacific neighbours who played no part in bringing the world to the brink, with nowhere to turn.
Who can deny this? Only those with such rampant self – interest or blinkered ideology they persist even when the evidence is spray canned big on the wall. Their power and influence must be taken away.
It is wrong to frustrate real actions on reducing the risk of climate chaos, to pretend the situation is under control, and to sabotage international efforts to reach agreement on reducing emissions.
Who can deny this? Only those unfit to govern.
Leadership comes from every person who stands up, takes a principled stand and declares we must act now, as young people have begun to do.
Leadership comes from those who get involved and stay involved, whether in lobbying, education, or non-violent direct mass action – all worthwhile, all needed more than ever – until the race is won.
Leadership of this kind cannot be described down to the last detail, but I see it emerging from many different parts of the country.
I see it in the work of environmental organisations like the ACF, taking polluters to court, and Greenpeace, showing up to keep fossil fuel exploitation out of the Great Australian Bight. I see it in campaigns Like Stop Adani.
It is present in local governments and communities, and in this place today, even if still absent in the corridors of power in Canberra.
So what does a climate emergency response look like?
In 1942, Australian Labor Prime Minister John Curtin contemplated the threat of Japanese invasion.
To secure Australia’s survival would require nothing less he said, than “…the reshaping, the revolutionising, of the Australian way of life until a war footing is arrived at, quickly, efficiently and without question.”
This meant the resources of the state must be mobilized to that end above all others.
Climate chaos most resembles war in the scale of threats to humanity. We don’t have long, and the changes needed are far reaching. The climate emergency dictates the nation must go onto a ‘war’ footing.
So think John Curtin as Japan advanced in 1942, US president Franklin Delaware Roosevelt in the Depression, Winston Churchill in WW2, and more recently Jacinda Ardern at Christchurch.
What might a national leader determined to respond to the climate crisis actually do?
Here’s a scenario.
He/she walls into the House of Representatives and moves that Parliament:
‘Accepts the best scientific advice that to hold temperature increases in check to around 1.5 degrees and avert an increasingly dangerous climate crisis we must act immediately to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
Recognizes that Australia is particularly vulnerable to climate chaos, caused by consistently hot weather nationwide, as evidenced recently by the largest, most destructive bushfires in living memory;
Understands that any delay imposes incalculable costs and greatly increases the risks to national security and the stability of our immediate region equivalent to war in terms of impacts;
Acknowledges that real action has been left to the eleventh hour, and that the unjust burden of repairing this negligence will increasingly fall upon the young;
Recommends to the House a joint sitting of the Parliament to declare a climate emergency, and approve plans to enable the Commonwealth government, working in partnership with state and local governments, large and small business, unions, farmers and the community, to deal with the crisis immediately. ‘
A super department aligned to Treasury, similar to the Department of Post War Reconstruction headed up by Nugget Coombes in 1946, is formed with the specific task of implementing the transition.
A stand-alone ‘War’ Cabinet committee chaired weekly by the PM, charged with the responsibility of overseeing the new plan, ensuring Australia meets new ambitious emission reduction goals.
The Australian Defence Forces and the Army Reserve must be geared up to play a greater role, given climate chaos will put significant pressure on domestic infrastructure and emergency services, as well as the unpredictable ways it will reshape geopolitics in our region, including growing numbers of climate refugees.
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) should be directed to ensure planning, investment and infrastructure decisions are aimed at smoothing the transition to zero emissions and managing climate chaos.
At a time of record low interest rates the government should issue long-term climate bonds to boost investment in new zero emission industries, and enact sensible tax reform measures targeted at unsustainable activities and free riders.
The economy should be stimulated by a massive public works scheme to build resilience to extreme climate, including the provision of large scale tree planting and vegetation management to draw down carbon already in the atmosphere, rehabilitating degraded waterways and landscapes, involving farmers and regional communities, with substantial participation by First Nation’s peoples.
A rapid transition out of coal, with an immediate moratorium on future coal, oil and gas developments, whilst increasing the target for renewables – the most successful measure for reducing emissions we’ve had so far – is essential.
A special transitions fund, with a minister responsible, for displaced workers to provide support, retraining opportunities and adjustment would be established.
Above all there should be a targeted price on carbon to enable a faster reduction in greenhouse pollution, with the revenue used to compensate those unduly affected, stimulate clean technologies and strengthen our physical and industrial infrastructure for the consequences of wild weather that’s coming.
Before the Gillard government’s scheme was bought down by a climate denying former Prime Minister – and let the record show it was Tony Abbot who destroyed the scheme – it actually worked. Emissions came down for the first time in years, and the sky didn’t fall in.
This is where future growth will be. New jobs are already being created in so many areas. Grey water specialists, builders expert in fire protection, manufacturers of new battery technologies, developers of solar farms.
These new jobs already exist. More will come.
So there is a positive future which is also kind to the planet.
And with leadership of people who care about the Great Barrier Reef, care about the fate of the world and the future of their children it will be realized.
People from all quarters; school students, senior citizens, in sports clubs, homes, farms, factories and boardrooms.
All of us naming the climate crisis a real emergency, demanding our leaders respond, ensuring this great challenge can be met and a safe future won.
But as the mega fires of 2020 showed us, there is no time to waste.
Over the coming weeks, you’ll start hearing about some of the specific things we’re doing in 2020, so before all that starts we wanted to tell you directly about the broad brushstrokes.
After coming home from Europe via Birdsville in mid-2019 we started recording new music together for the first time in nearly two decades. Our mate Warne Livesey travelled from Toronto to Sydney to produce these sessions just as he did on Diesel & Dust, Blue Sky Mining and Capricornia. It felt good to be back in the studio, and intriguing to see where it all ended up.
We had over 20 songs we wanted to record and eight of them shared a strong focus on the issue of indigenous reconciliation, so we invited some of our First Nations friends to collaborate with us in various ways on each of these eight tracks. Our collective work will be released as a mini-album called The Makarrata Project in June/July. Band profits from this release will be donated to charities which elevate The Uluru Statement From The Heart (ulurustatement.org/the-statement). This mid-year release of The Makarrata Project will be accompanied by a small handful of themed live performances in Australia featuring some of the very special guests who helped create this mini-album.
Then toward the end of the year we’ll release a new Midnight Oil album which is currently at final mixing stage. This completely separate batch of material deals with various lyrical themes including climate chaos, no surprise after the mega fires we’ve just experienced in Australia. We plan to follow the album with lots more Australian and international touring across late 2020 and early 2021.
Over the next 12 months we will also be releasing various singles from both The Makarrata Project mini-album and the new Midnight Oil album. We’re seriously excited about all of these songs and the two separate works on which they will feature. Stay tuned for more detailed announcements about our new music and our touring plans. Thanks in the meantime for your patience … we know it’s been a long wait but good things take time!
Image: ALEX ELLINGHAUSEN via SMH
Here’s what we know.
The natural world – our environment – the basis of our existence, is under threat as never before.
We are surrounded by fires, force fed by a super hot spring. Our cities and towns are blanketed with smoke and the sun has gone out, it’s hard to breathe.
Rivers and springs are drying out, big and small towns are running out of water, out of life.
The planet is burning and weather is veering out of control and it’s going to get a whole lot worse, very quickly, unless we act with a sense of urgency, and get ourselves on a zero carbon pathway.
These aren’t disputable facts nor an ideological position, this is our reality. We are facing a climate crisis equivalent to war in terms of the scale of the threat.
Other than for a brief, ‘Eureka’ moment when the Gillard government’s scheme to put a price on carbon kicked in and emissions actually starting coming down, the anti-science, anti-environment stance of a belligerent coalition has derailed the debate, frustrated real action, and cost the country dearly.
The Prime Minister cuddles a lump of coal in Parliament and lies when he says the situation is under control, and that we will reduce greenhouse pollution to the extent necessary. In fact, emissions are slated to rise. And are rising.
There is no economic incentive in place to reduce greenhouse gases spewing into the atmosphere, nor the political will to save the Great Barrier Reef, no plan for how we are going to survive the climate emergency and the environment department has just been dismantled.
So the Labor Environment Action Network – the largest non-factional grouping in Labor – which aims to ensure the environment is central to decision making and policy-making in the party, and when elected, in government, is more important than ever before. Indeed, LEAN is the future of Labor because it is LEAN that is tackling the fundamental new social reality.
Whether it’s heat driven droughts and bushfires, rising seal levels already washing over our Pacific neighbours, vanishing forest cover and retreating ice caps, increasing deaths in cities and suburbs from heat waves and air pollution, the signs of the new social reality are unmistakable.
Whilst it’s not too late to avert the worst of the climate catastrophe, we are running out of time.
We have just over a decade to act if we want to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, which means cutting emissions by half by 2030 to have an even chance of surviving in a livable world.
If we act with purpose a great future is possible with Australia a clean energy superpower, nature repaired and revitalized and our cities and towns clean and livable gain.
What does this mean for Labor, and the Labor Environment Action Network?
There must be real ambition. The party must have the wits to realize what’s at stake. Labor was founded in response to a social reality.
Historically Labor represented the ideal that everyone should have a fair go, safe working conditions and decent pay. In the 1980’s Labor’s response to the social reality meant preserving the safety net while modernizing the economy.
Today Labor again needs to be that party. What we used to call ‘the environment’ is now a mainstream threat to the lives and realities of working Australians – indeed all Australians.
We need to move past the false dichotomy debates of jobs versus the environment, to develop national policy that will enable us to rise to the scale of the challenge, in the time required.
Politics has been lagging behind. Too often in Canberra climate and environment are seen as just another issue for argument. But this is a deadly category error because the changes we are seeing are not a matter of opinion or ideology, they are of a different order of magnitude altogether.
Recognizing the decade of failure we’ve experienced and the intensity of the culture wars, Labor must be its best in rising above the short term, building coalitions not descending into tribes, responding to the crisis with real leadership.
Climate is such a big issue that building a national consensus and delivering a nation wide transformation of the economy is the answer to the question about the legitimacy of political parties and the relevance of Labor. This is not business as usual politics. Labor’s future is tied to its capacity to rise to the biggest challenge in its history, arguably the biggest challenge in the nation’s history as well.
Labor must draw on its proud record in protecting the natural environment, and its proud history of bringing the country together to face the conflict of World War Two, remembering the green movement and the Green Party are not necessarily the same thing. Millions of Labor voters are proud and committed environmentalists, because they trust in Labor and in the ideals of social democracy as the best way to unite the country on a challenge of this magnitude in a way that is both fair and effective.
As many Australians worry they no longer live in a cohesive society, whilst at the same time expressing greater concern about climate change, Labor can build a sense of shared purpose, drawing these parts of our tradition together.
Our true believers are dying now. The suburbs of western Sydney and Melbourne are being crucified on the altar of inaction, regional and rural communities are hostage to climate damage, and only a party with an understanding of a just political economy can deliver lasting climate solutions.
Labor must face down self interest and sectional interest, whether from some in business, or some in the CFMEU, or from individual members who eschew reality and are not committed to the challenge, and indeed in the case of the Shadow Minister for Agriculture & Resources Joel Fitzgibbon, deliberately undermine the party whilst still holding their position.
It’s important to realize that we are witnessing a tectonic shift in the world’s climate at the same time as faith in established institutions and the liberal democratic experiment is waning. Only by responding with courage can any political party hope to establish lasting legitimacy in the eyes of the citizen.
This past week saw concern about the environment reemerge as a key issue for Australians. For young Australians it always has been important. They will be more radical and less forgiving then their parent’s generation for it is they who will bear the brunt of the climate crisis if we fail to act now.
This is Labor’s great challenge, and there is no time to waste. Labor’s mission then is not simply to avoid catastrophe, but to build a just, decent country where the world we inhabit is healthy, and the prospects for our children fair.
A hell summer in Oz, super storms smashing people world wide, a million species on the chopping block. The incoming national govt must take emergency steps now. My address to Carbon Market Institute:
Sidestepping the Apocalypse
I want to thank the Carbon Market Institute and CEO Peter Castellas, for the invitation to deliver this keynote address.
This year’s summit is titled ‘Future proofing the Australian Economy’. I’ve been in the field of climate politics for a while now, and given the task facing all of us is much greater than this measured conference title implies, I’ve decided to title my address ‘Sidestepping the Apocalypse’.
I came of age in a time of optimism mixed with fear. On the plus side; the moon landing, no major wars or economic depressions, at least in Australia.
On the negative side; the build up of nuclear weapons, a cold war with the potential to go hot, emerging environmental degradation and widespread poverty in many developing countries.
Some of these issues have been partly or fully resolved, a number are still works in progress. But now catastrophic climate chaos is propelling the foundations of our existence into a tailspin, making it even harder for us to prevail over multiple global and local challenges.
I have experienced a lot of confronting things over a lifetime fixed on music and political activism. You may not be surprised to know that I also had some bring-you-up-short moments during my decade in the federal parliament, firstly serving as a Labor shadow minister with responsibility for climate change, then spending six years in cabinet as environment and then education minister.
However, the most confronting event I experienced in that period actually had nothing to do with federal politics.
As it happened, I was one of the first politicians to visit the towns of Kinglake and Marysville, just an hour’s drive north of here, after the monster Black Saturday bushfires of 2009.
Nothing prepared me for the staggering scale of destruction so close at hand.
Some 173 people perished, many more were injured – a loss that to this day still ripples out through families and the community. The razed bush was then eerily silent, with hundreds of tens of thousands of native species gone. The hills were a moonscape, where battalions of bare, blackened sticks stood forlornly in a huge sea of ash that stretched as far as the eye could see.
As I stood looking out I was confronted by what I’d seen, but also by a thought that must have occurred to others … “this is just a taste of things to come”.
Bushfires are a part of Australian life, to be sure, but it was obvious how vulnerable many communities were as days grew hotter and summers longer. Of course this was a part of the Labor government’s rationale for acting to
curb greenhouse gas emissions. These events would happen with greater ferocity, and unless we pressed the start button and began to reduce carbon, we would be consigning future generations to a dangerous life in the land of the blazing inferno.
This was the great moral challenge of our time. That’s what I thought then. I believe it even more strongly today.
Fast-forward ten years and the Great Barrier Reef; the greatest natural wonder in the world, generator of masses of income and many thousands of jobs, is being scalded beyond recognition. As is another World Heritage area that we are duty bound to conserve, the Tropical Rainforests of North Queensland, with ever warming conditions the main culprit.
We have emerged from another record breaking hotter than hell summer, where our single most important major river system has been brought to its knees, stopped flowing altogether, and bushfire activity is again off the scale.
The fire chief of the central Queensland region – below the site of the proposed giant Adani coal mine – was moved to observe that he’d never seen anything like such intense early season wildfires, again with warmer weather the culprit. To the north emergency services were stretched to breaking point by cyclones and floods that followed the fires.
As temperatures keep inexorably rising, coupled with yet another drought elsewhere in the land, it was inevitable that water shortages weren’t far away. Sure enough Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne are now preparing for water rationing. Inland NSW towns are desperately low, some have run out of water, and you.can’t.live.without.water. Even Darwin in monsoon land will have to restrict water use for the first time ever.
So I find myself, amidst the talk of Kyoto, Paris, RETs, NEGs, carbon markets, costs and opportunities, percentage reductions, and parts per million, laboring the point, restating what has been bleeding obvious for some time. We are turning the world upside down and inside out, boiling it almost over.
“Climate change” is not remotely adequate to describe what we are seeing all around us. The term I choose to use is “climate chaos” as it’s simply a more accurate description of what is happening all around the globe.
Much of the media and mainstream culture are still actively or passively in denial, although it will grow ever harder to tackle climate chaos with each passing month of ignorance, be it willful or blind.
Despite – or maybe even because of this – I retain the hope that we can get on top of this raging, runaway monster. But to do so we will need to squarely face the reality of what the science is telling us.
I retain hope because through the smoky haze of history, and presently visible in schools and boardrooms, on farms and in families, a growing human resolve to respond to this crisis can be discerned. People can and will organise, galvanize others and bring forward planet saving solutions.
And contrary to the accepted wisdom repeated ad nauseum that Australia has experienced a decade of woeful climate politics and inaction, I contend the truth is a little different.
After a rocky start, marked by obstructive politics from the Coalition and the Green Party, accompanied by a loss of nerve by the then Labor leadership when the initial carbon pollution reduction scheme foundered, Australia did start to get on top of dangerous climate chaos. With good policy in place, we soon had the highest per capita installation of Solar PV on households in the world.
The eventual introduction of a price on carbon in 2011 saw actual emissions reductions – the holy grail of climate policy – and notwithstanding the warnings of various Chicken Littles the sky didn’t fall in. It was a brief but successful interregnum, despite it’s limited ambition.
The market mechanism was working until wrecker in chief Tony Abbott reemerged and the climate wars resumed. But given the right leadership and sufficient will, we can do it again.
We know there are powerful voices which still argue against change.
Some recalcitrants – nations states, corporations and individuals – have a threatened business model.
Some deny the facts and choose fanciful conspiracy theories to justify their superstition, even whilst occupying the Treasury benches.
Some persist in thinking a magic technology pill will emerge that can instantly cure the ‘warmer planet’ disease. Or get excited about people, maybe America’s rich listers, settling on Mars, where conditions are so conducive to fertility, growing your own vegies will be a doddle.
Others seem plain afraid of humanity coming together. Perhaps their deepest fear, as Nelson Mandela once observed, is being ‘powerful beyond measure’, and actually taking a giant collective step.
So it’s worth recapping what we know.
There’s too much CO2 in the system already, and concentrations are increasing. We passed 415ppm – an unthinkable statistic when we were first alerted to global warming – on Hawaii only two days ago.
The current economic model is literally unsustainable. Business as usual expectations, such as ramped up activity across a range of sectors like air travel or forecast GDP growth increases, make a mockery of current policies and targets. That is unless drastic steps are taken to reach the mandatory goal of zero net emissions by 2050.
The extent and effect of cumulative and non-linear climate chaos impacts is just beginning to emerge, whether by mega droughts and super storms affecting agricultural productivity and risking food crises, or sea level incursion spreading disease and sparking social unrest.
The nearly 8 billion people on earth – mainly in the major emitting nations – poured around 37 billion tonnes of CO 2 into the atmosphere last year, the highest amount ever.
Now there are those who say. ‘Well I accept that we can’t go on pumping out vast quantities of greenhouse gases. I agree we have to do something’. This usually means a so called orderly transition to a low carbon economy; harnessing the market; creating new value, utilizing innovation, advancing renewable technologies and the like.
I agree market forces with redirected capital investment and expanded trading opportunities can accelerate emission reductions. In fact they are essential. But an approach fixated on risk management, existing market processes and incremental steps will not by itself be enough.
That was an option in 1997 when the Kyoto Protocol was agreed. It is not an option today. The ambitious transformations now required will not be without pain and not without large losses for some sectors and their investors. It should be noted they were duly warned and informed. They chose to deny and delay rather than act, so they will soon have to reap their own bitter harvest.
As you would be aware the major recent scientific study by the IPCC, has worked through the data challenging previous assumptions about the speed and scale of global warming.
The tipping point cautious scientists refer to when positing when we lose control of earth’s climate is closer than most people think.
We must halve CO2 emissions by 2030, and reach net zero emissions by 205 to limit warming to 1.5 degrees, past which point we experience a runaway climate.
Whilst the human race won’t be extinct in eleven years, that is the logical endgame of climate chaos – rising seas, spreading deserts, economic collapse, nations warring over scarce resources, ecosystem breakdown – in a longer timeframe, if we don’t take decisive action now.
Given this scenario it is a relief that there are positive signs of a reinvigorated thirst for change. The community is starting to rise up.
The polls show that climate/environment has moved higher as an issue of concern for voters in the upcoming election. Young people, who will bear the greatest burden of a failure to act, are on the streets.
Civil disobedience – the type of activism that defined my early days as a campaigner against nuclear weapons – has emerged courtesy of the Extinction Rebellion and the school strikes for climate. This is to be applauded.
There is a growing momentum within the business community, as evidenced here tonight. Internationally there is much activity aimed at transitioning from fossil fuels to renewables, with many European nations on the front foot and China and India out of the blocks as well.
There are a growing number of examples.
The UK government has announced an early phase out of coal-fired power. And the recent parliamentary declaration of a climate emergency driven by the Labor opposition is a sign of things to come. The election commitment by Federal Labor to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030 is a positive start.
On this issue alone the Coalition have forfeited any right to be taken seriously for reasons too obvious and depressing to rehash tonight. Just think lumps of coal brought into Parliament by the current Prime Minister, arguably the most misplaced talisman in recent memory.
If we fail to act on climate chaos at this point in our history then Australians will be hostage to external and increasingly unpredictable events of an order of magnitude and seriousness of threat most reasonably compared to war.
I’m not comfortable with the military analogy but it is applicable for the simple fact that it is the closest example we have for an incoming government to reference.
Climate chaos washes across borders, it is on a world scale. Our national interest is at stake, as is our relations with other nation states.
So let me sketch out what satisfactorily coming to grips with this crisis might entail. An approach if we took the science at face value and responded – as we do on matters of national defence and security – to logically address major and existential risks that threaten our peace and stability.
Firstly the incoming government must follow suit and declare runaway climate change a bona fide national emergency.
Next, if a Labor government is elected it should call for a bipartisan approach, supported by Liberal and minor party MP’s who understand the issue and are willing to cross the floor, along with any elected Independents, most who have already shown themselves to be so minded. This is how nations behave when they are threatened as ours now is.
Parliament should – as soon as possible – pass into law Labor’s existing climate policy commitments including on emission reduction targets, and stronger environment laws. Whilst leaving open the capacity to ramp up those measures once diligent consideration has been given to how best to manage the climate chaos emergency.
The government should also convene climate emergency national summit (one is already planned with unions) with stakeholders of goodwill. Drawing on existing expertise from BOM, CSIRO, The Climate Council, The Chief Scientist, Universities, security agencies, relevant departments, unions, churches and civil society, to better delineate the scope of climate chaos impacts across all sectors, and plot the transition path to zero carbon.
Businesses that are genuinely engaged and want to be part of this great economic transformation should be welcomed. Their energy, excitement and expertise is needed to open up the possibilities ahead.
Many of them will profit hugely from the myopic leadership of the old fashioned businesses they replace. We should celebrate that success as these true leaders help to build more sustainable businesses for the benefit of all.
Then there are those that resist and delay change – and seek to socialize their losses. To put it mildly, they should not be welcomed. Their resistance helped get us into deep trouble and the market should be left to deal with them through the consequential loss of value. As I say, they were duly warned and chose to ignore those warnings.
Returning to the idea of a national emergency government.
Our national interest also requires a reconfiguration of COAG so as to better direct planning and infrastructure decisions aimed at managing climate chaos. It is untenable for local government, territories and small state governments to be expected to bear the brunt of those costs when an integrated national approach is clearly essential.
There are a raft of to do’s needing urgent attention including; Lifting commercial and residential building energy efficiency ratings and vehicle emissions standards; substantially improving water efficiency infrastructure to better handle longer, hotter periods including droughts; containing coastal development, especially that vulnerable to sea level rise and storm incursion; ensuring grid improvements, accelerated adoption of electric vehicles.
How about a massive public works scheme to make the country more resilient to extreme climate, including the provision of large scale carbon sinks to drawdown carbon – also a way to engage our farmers and regional communities – and rehabilitation of degraded waterways and landscapes, with substantial participation by First Nation’s peoples?
How about a speedy and rapid transition out of coal, with an immediate moratorium on future coal, oil and gas developments, whilst increasing the target for renewables and then let the market continue to get on with the job? This is where all the jobs growth will be.
How about the provision of regular and clear information on the progress of climate change via weather reports, a state of the carbon budget report, a natural set of accounts alongside the current budget?
The government should issue long-term climate bonds to boost available finance, and enact sensible tax reform measures targeted at unsustainable activities and free riders.
So as I say, there’s a lot to do and we need to act now otherwise the challenge gets harder and the ‘to do’ lists grow longer.
Of course many of these proposals have already been canvassed, some have been in place and had success. Others are self evidently needed. What is required to drive the change is this sense of urgency.
Ladies and Gentlemen this is about much more than “future proofing the economy” this is about ensuring that the economy – and the people who it notionally serves – actually get to have a future.
Internationally Australia needs to return to the table with a pro-active and constructive stance to advancing global action.
It is nothing short of scandalous that as a first world nation with high per capita emissions, exporting coal at the volumes we do, we have been a laggard and spoiler in international climate negotiations whenever the Coalition has been in office. History will judge our role in this period harshly.
We should strengthen our relationships across the Pacific and South East Asian sphere with co-operative policies and action on climate as the primary driver. This approach has the added benefit of lessening our vassal state status, providing ballast in the region against the expansionist tendencies of China, and the quixotic nature of current US foreign policy.
A super department aligned to Treasury, similar to the Department of Post War Reconstruction headed up by Nugget Coombes in 1946, with the specific task of implementing the transition should be established, as should a stand- alone ‘War’ Cabinet committee, charged with the responsibility of overseeing the new initiatives, and ensuring Australia meets it’s emission reduction goals.
We should breathe life back into our democracy by establishing and empowering climate panels, with representatives from local government, civil society institutions and community groups to feedback on the progress and details of implementation to their community, local MP’s and to the Parliament. There are many lessons from WWII of the power and benefit of such an approach during a national crisis.
Globally we will see shifts driven by the end of fossil fuels, with many countries that are rich and powerful today facing massive economic hardships and resulting societal blowback occasioned by their loss of oil income.
Regionally, we could see food and climate crises driving climate refugees our way on a scale beyond anything we have ever faced. This isn’t so implausible, for even with the best-case global emergency response to climate, as past emissions will continue to lead to climate chaos and worsening impacts for decades after the carbon curve finally gets bent downwards.
This climate emergency approach needs to be central to future security and defence planning as well defining a strong and positive engagement with our neighbours – in our national interest and in theirs.
Without sounding alarmist I believe the Australian Defence Forces and the Reserve need to be geared up and ready to play a greater role given climate chaos will put significant pressure on domestic infrastructure and emergency services, and the unpredictable ways it could reshape geopolitics in our region.
This is just a sketch of what we must consider. It is not farfetched or utopian. It is what any rational response to the climate science tell us we must do if we are to manage the difficult new world of climate chaos.
There is another component of sidestepping apocalypse that needs hard thinking, and that is how we humans act.
Most of what I’ve suggested can only be undertaken by a strong national government, deploying the full arsenal of the modern state to meet a clear and present danger. It is fanciful to think it can happen any other way.
But politics is on the nose at present, with fractured party loyalties and extreme on line gatherings stirring the possum. Governments and their bureaucracies, panels, committees, companies and communities are only as capable and responsible as the people that make them up, and, as the people who vote for them and must hold them to account. Now our values must be strengthened to meet this desperate time as well.
We have to reprioritize doing no harm, and try and peel away the cynical, greedy parts of our nature (note to self) that is so subject to manipulation by the marketing and advertising industry.
We must nurture our capacity for empathy, and love for others, and the living planet that sustains us.
We have to truly embody the principle of intergenerational equity; in our actions and those of the institutions we are a part of, not in empty proclamations and facile PR, but in real action.
We have to think clearly about the interconnected nature of the natural world, one where a million species are now threatened with extinction, in part by climate dysfunction. No one will escape from global warming in a gated housing complex.
Water and soil and atmosphere, oceans and forests, already in a parlous state, must be made healthy again. Ecosystems cannot continually be depleted, especially when under such pressures as extreme weather, till a wasteland is the final framed photograph of our era. And all we have left is a snapshot memory of missed opportunities, life dimming at the end of a waste ridden, rutted road.
To be blunt, the collective ‘we’, have to stop indulging in fantasy and denial and get on with the job at hand.
Now I happen to believe we can succeed. After all, what is the alternative? And there are many reasons to think we can.
Firstly while the task can seem overwhelming it’s not that difficult. We have the technologies and more are on the way. We have an economy that can respond very quickly to new inputs and constraints, new opportunities, a zero carbon model to aim for, exciting innovation to drive the system, multiple job creation, and little socialising of loss, providing government institutes the right settings – this world is an exciting place to be.
Secondly Australians have a good chance of managing the transformation required. We are good at consensus. We have experienced overall improvements in living conditions, with notable exceptions, and our knowledge base is broad. Our relative peace and stability are incredible domestic assets in this time of turmoil we are now entering.
Thirdly, this is the spirit of the age. Climate chaos is the meta issue above all others, not in importance, but in urgency and irreversibility, and to be a part of waging the good fight to bring the mother ship back into balance can bring meaning and purpose to each and every person in this age.
Now tonight I’ve deliberately avoided using the term “Climate Change” but in closing I’ll use that term just once … I actually believe we urgently need a ‘climate change’ if we are to deal with deadly climate chaos. Governments, corporations, NGO’s, Unions, Individuals. We all need to change and lift our approach to climate. To quote a rock’n’roll band I know and love “it happens to be an emergency, some things aren’t meant to be”.
So let’s get on with sidestepping the apocalypse, and start making the world a safer, saner place in which everyone can survive, prosper and grow.
– Peter Garrett, Melbourne 2019
Iconic Australian rock band Midnight Oil today announced two intimate gigs for late May. These will be the Oils’ only Australian concerts for 2019 apart from their headlining appearance at the world’s most remote music festival, The Big Red Bash, near Birdsville on July 18.
Tickets for the two warm up shows at Anita’s in Wollongong on Thursday 23 May and Canberra’s Royal Theatre on Monday 27 May will go on sale to members of Midnight Oil’s mailing list from 2pm AEST on Tuesday 9 April. Given the unusually small size of these venues they are expected to sell out quickly. A second batch will then be available to the general public from 10am on Friday 12 April. Strict anti-scalping measures will be in place for both dates and further ticketing information is detailed below. As always, fans are strongly advised to avoid using search engines like Google to find tickets as they steer buyers to unscrupulous and expensive overseas resellers. Instead fans should avoid getting ripped off by simply clicking the links to the official ticket agencies at midnightoil.com/tour.
Appropriately for a band who are longtime advocates for First Nations peoples, the Canberra show will take place on Reconciliation Day, which is a public holiday in the A.C.T.
“Meaningful steps towards reconciliation are long overdue, including a whole of government response to the Uluru Declaration, so it will be good to be in Canberra on this important date to kick up a fuss and help get the issue back on track,” said the band’s frontman, Peter Garrett.
Special guests for the Wollongong show will be local experimental pop band Shining Bird, while acclaimed Darwin singer-songwriter Leah Flanagan will open proceedings in Canberra.
Immediately following these gigs, the Oils will head to Europe for headline concerts in cities including London, Manchester, Dublin and Paris, as well as major festivals in France, Switzerland and Germany, before returning home for The Big Red Bash. Tickets for that unique music event in the QLD desert are already selling fast. Transport and camping packages are available here for anyone still considering a trip to see Midnight Oil play at sunset with a gigantic outback sand dune as their backdrop.
In other big news the Oils have also confirmed rumours that they hope to track some new music for possible release in 2020. If all goes to plan these would be their first recordings since 2001. At this stage it is not known whether a new song or two will be previewed at some point during their tour, but the band currently plans to head straight into the studio when they come off the road.
Oils drummer Rob Hirst said,
“We’ve been talking about recording again for years but The Great Circle Tour in 2017 was such a positive experience that it made us even hungrier to get back to making new music together. It’s a bit early to know what might come out of it yet – we’re just looking forward to getting back into that creative mode.”
Last, but certainly not least, Midnight Oil also announced today that they will perform a couple of songs acoustically at the 1 Million Women LoveEarth Festival, which happens from 9:30am on 25 May at Carriageworks, Sydney. 1 Million Women is one of the world’s largest women’s movements acting on climate chaos. This is their big birthday bash after 10 years of action on climate change and it will be streamed online around the world. Their LoveEarth Festival is a morning of inspiration involving speeches from world leaders, women from the front lines of climate change, sustainable fashion gurus, zero wasters and musicians, including a brief but special acoustic performance by Midnight Oil. For tickets and more information please go to eventbrite.com.au.
Peter Garrett – Lead Vocals
Rob Hirst – Drums + Vocals
Martin Rotsey – Guitar
Jim Moginie – Guitar, Keyboards + Vocals
Bones Hillman – Bass + Vocals
With special guests Shining Bird (Wollongong) & Leah Flanagan (Canberra)
Presented by Frontier Touring
FRONTIER MEMBERS PRE-SALE
Begins: Tue 9 Apr (2pm AEST)
Ends: Wed 10 Apr (2pm AEST)
or ends earlier if pre-sale allocation exhausted
MIDNIGHT OIL PRE-SALE
Begins: Tue 9 Apr (2pm AEST)
Ends: Wed 10 Apr (2pm AEST)
or ends earlier if pre-sale allocation exhausted
GENERAL PUBLIC ON SALE
Begins: Fri 12 Apr (10am local time)
Thu 23 May
Anita’s Theatre | Wollongong, NSW
With special guests Shining Bird
Lic. Over 18 (minors must be accompanied by parent/guardian)
ticketmaster.com.au | Ph: 136 100
Mon 27 May
Royal Theatre | Canberra, ACT
With special guest Leah Flanagan
Lic. Over 18 (minors must be accompanied by parent/guardian)
ticketek.com.au | Ph: 132 849
Thu 18 Jul
Big Red Bash | Birdsville, QLD
Tickets via bigredbash.com.au
All tickets include 3 day unlimited access to festival site plus 4 nights camping on site
UK & EUROPE
JUNE & JULY 2019
Full details and tickets via midnightoil.com
Sun 9 Jun O2 Apollo | Manchester, England
Tue 11 Jun Olympia | Dublin, Ireland
Thu 13 Jun O2 Brixton Academy | London, England
Sat 15 Jun Festi’neuch Openair Festival | Neuchatel, Switzerland
Mon 17 Jun Stadtpark | Hamburg, Germany
Wed 19 Jun Porta Nigra | Trier, Germany
Fri 21 Jun Zeltfestival | Mannheim, Germany
Sat 22 Jun Rock the Ring | Hinwil, Switzerland
Thu 27 Jun Grand Rex | Paris, France
Sat 29 Jun Festival Retro C Trop | Tilloloy, France
Mon 1 Jul Tollwood Festival | Munich, Germany
Wed 3 Jul Killesberg | Stuttgart, Germany
Fri 5 Jul Rock Zottegem | Zottegem, Belgium
Sat 6 Jul Zitadelle | Mainz, Germany
Tue 9 Jul Les Nuits De Fourviere Festival | Lyon, France
Thu 11 Jul Guitare en Scene Festival | Saint-Julien-en-Genevois, France
Sat 13 Jul Amphitheatre | Gelsenkirchen, Germany
The Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, representing the Mirarr traditional owners of Jabiru township in Kakadu National Park, today welcomed the announcement of Coalition and ALP backing for the town’s masterplan and for the revitalisation of Kakadu.
In July 2018 the Mirarr presented and negotiated a vision and detailed masterplan for the economic future of the former mining town and the surrounding park. While the NT provided in‐principle support, until today the position of federal politicians was unclear.
The Mirarr have primary responsibility for the town which is the service centre for Kakadu and West Arnhem Land. Gundjeihmi will now work closely with both the federal and Northern Territory levels of government to transition the town from its mining past to a future destination for visitors from across Australia and the globe.
“We look forward to welcoming more people to Jabiru and Kakadu to share our country and cultural heritage,” said Mirarr Traditional Owner Simon Nabanardi. “As the town changes, we hope Jabiru will be recognised around the world as a significant Australian cultural destination, a place where learning about living culture is accessible in a meaningful way.”
“Today’s announcements are very welcome and timely as the town needs certainty for its future viability and Kakadu is in dire need of a refresh,” said Justin O’Brien, CEO of GAC.
“For this investment to succeed it needs the genuine engagement of Traditional Owners, outside the usual bureaucratic processes of the National Park Board of Management. This means a direct hand in the new tourism masterplan and roads strategy for the Park, and more direct control over the protection and care for the significant Indigenous cultural heritage in the Park.” Mr O’Brien said.
“The Mirarr plan for Jabiru embraces emerging technology and provides for meaningful partnerships with industry to create innovative and meaningful cultural tourism experiences. The vision is to set a new standard internationally for visitor engagement with Indigenous country and culture,” Mr O’Brien concluded.
Gundjeihmi has consistently advocated for Jabiru’s transition from mining to tourism and service delivery. As early as November 2000, Mirarr senior traditional owner Yvonne Margarula and then Australian Conservation Foundation president Peter Garrett signed the ‘Kakadu Charter’, calling for ecologically sustainable development of a viable economy without mining and for recognition of the primary decision‐making role of Traditional Owners.
Media release from The Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation: GAC media 13Jan19
Image courtesy of ABC News, 105.7 ABC Darwin: Emilia Terzon
Environment laws – strengths & weaknesses – in the spotlight today courtesy of The Guardian – click here.
Today I am becoming an official ambassador for #stopadani. For me, stopping the grotesque Adani mine is the key environmental campaign of this year. We need to give the Great Barrier Reef a fighting chance, and carve out a cleaner, renewable energy future for Australia. This dud project has warts all over it, as more and more people are coming to understand. Sanity must prevail and this is the year to chart a new planet friendly course for our country.
Peter Garrett has today been announced as a special guest artist at Spinifex Gum’s live shows in Melbourne and Adelaide this March.
SEE SPINIFEX GUM LIVE IN CONCERT
TICKETS ON SALE NOW
SUN 11 MAR Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University Clayton campus, Melbourne. Tickets are available HERE.
TUE 13 MAR Adelaide Festival. Tickets are available HERE.
The Spinifex Gum journey has evolved to include transcendent live performances at Her Majesty’s Theatre as part of the Adelaide Festival and at Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University, Clayton campus, Melbourne in March 2018.
Blending the lush choral vocals and exuberant energy of Marilya – together with performances by Felix Riebl and Ollie McGill, Spinifex Gum are now excited to announce special guest artists Peter Garrett, Briggs, Emma Donovan and Christine Anu at all Australian shows in Adelaide and Melbourne in March.
Spinifex Gum is a distinctly Australian experience. It is equal part provocative and uplifting, and intended to inspire national dialogue through music. At the heart of the production is the ensemble Marliya – made up of current and former singers of the Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir, led by their Artistic Director, Lyn Williams (OAM).
Assisted by the Australian Government’s Major Festivals Initiative, Australia Council and Ryan Cooper Family Foundation these stirring, joyous and thrilling concerts will be performed over 2 nights.
The Spinifex Gum journey started for Felix Riebl in 2014, while he was in the studio recording with The Cat Empire. Lyn Williams (OAM) contacted Felix and asked whether he would like to go to the Pilbara and write music for The Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir (members would go on to form Marliya).
Felix, and long-time friend and collaborator The Cat Empire’s Ollie McGill (engineer, arranger, and co-producer) along with Marliya were inspired to tell contemporary stories of this remote part of Australia, and developed a distinct production technique for the album. Felix cites “we tried to invert what a choir traditionally does, and most of all make music that would be exciting for those amazing teenagers to sing.”
The songs of Spinifex Gum are powerful in content and style. Expect to witness moving performances from Briggs who raps about the disproportionate detention of Indigenous youths in Locked Up, Peter Garrett’s live rendition of Malungungu about a suicidal FIFO worker, and Emma Donovan’s Gospel Yindibarndi rendition of Tom Waits’ Make it Rain.
Peter Garrett says today “I’m excited to be a part of this groundbreaking collaboration. The songs are terrific; heartfelt and full of meaning. The Spinifex Gum project evokes and portrays experiences and issues confronting people living in a distant part of Australia in a poignant and hard hitting way. We need music and words like this.”
Spinifex Gum is a project that reaches across the country. Its lyrics are a combination of English and Yindjibarndi, its stories emerged from the Pilbara, and its choir of Aboriginal and Torres Strait teenagers hails from North Queensland.
Album ‘Spinifex Gum’ OUT NOW