Star’s Fury Over Cheek
Use of the Hunna’s “Holy Grail” by the Tasmanian Liberals elicits a passionate response from Mark Seymour. This resulted in this large front page article in Tasmania’s “The Mercury” newspaper.
Author: Martine Haley, Chief Political Reporter for “The Mercury”.
Date: 10 July 2002.
Newsbreaker: Singer blasts Libs for using band’s anthem
The Tasmanian Liberals came under fire yesterday for playing the signature song of the Australian band Hunters and Collectors at the party’s election launch this week.
Mark Seymour, the former lead singer with the band for 20 years until it disbanded in 1998, said yesterday he despised the Liberal Party.
He said he was outraged they had chosen one of his hits to play at the launch.
On Sunday at the Liberal Party campaign launch, the hit song Holy Grail was played as Opposition Leader Bob Cheek arrived at the venue with wife Stephanie and daughters Lucy and Melanie.
Holy Grail, which is an anthem for many Australians under the age of 40, was played loudly by Liberal strategists to build atmosphere at the event.
The Liberal Party did not seek permission from either the agents representing Hunters and Collectors or Mr Seymour, who now has a solo career.
Mr Cheek yesterday said the Liberal Party had checked with the Derwent Entertainment Centre – the venue for the launch – prior to the event to ensure it had an Australian Performing Rights Association license, which it did.
“I’m very pleased with the way the launch went,” Mr Cheek said.
But Mr Seymour said the song had been played without permission.
“We are disgusted by the appropriation of our much loved anthem by a political party that we utterly despise,” he said.
“To redress any damage that this may have caused to the memory of our band and its music, we would like to make it known to the people of Tasmania that we are opposed to everything that the Liberal Party stand for.”
Mr Seymour said the Liberal Party’s policy in a number of areas did not reflect the band’s political views “in any way, shape or form”.
He said the Liberal Party had a “pathetic record” on the natural environment, including old-growth logging.
He also listed several issues which fall within federal responsibility, such as the Kyoto Protocol on global greenhouse gas emissions and the Coalition policy of mandatory detention of asylum seekers.
Although the band is no longer together, Mr Seymour has performed Holy Grail at AFL and other grand finals in recent years.
Because of the APRA license and the fact the Liberal Party did not include the song in any advertising or campaign material, the Liberal Party is unlikely to be in breach of any copyright laws.
Another Australian hit, Better Times Ahead by the Black Sorrows, also was played at the hour-long launch.
Black Sorrows lead singer Joe Camilleri was not available for comment yesterday, but is understood he has previously turned down requests by political parties wanting to use his music.
[Typed out by Miriam Norman]
The Liberals lost the Tasmanian state election that followed not long after the above article.