Artists Make Their Voices Heard

Mark Seymour promotes Labor for the 2007 Federal election.

Author: Kathy McCabe, Daily Telegraph.

Date: 10 November 2007.

Original URL:,23599,22731523-5012863,00.html


Article Text

Australia’s most popular musicians are choosing to voice their support for political issues rather than parties during the 2007 election campaign.

A year after Rob Hirst used Midnight Oil’s induction to the ARIA Hall of Fame to slam the decline of protest rock in Australia and Silverchair’s Daniel Johns sprayed “PG (Peter Garrett) 4 PM” across the stage, few have been vocal for or against the major parties.

One who has is Shannon Noll who is supporting National MP for Parkes John Cobb, who represents his home town of Condobolin.

“I think with this election people are concerned about issues that are going to affect them personally and musicians are no different, whether it be petrol or interest rates,” he said.

Mark Seymour, Sarah Blasko and Tim Freedman and independent Sydney singer Perry Keyes will perform at the ALP’s arts policy launch at Parramatta’s Riverside Theatre today.

Seymour said while the public advocacy of his peers for green and indigenous issues was to be commended, the election campaign was the time to be heard.

“At the end of the day we all have a responsibility at some time in our lives to make our core values known, even if it’s just to our friends over a barbecue,” he said.

Freedman said several artists had contacted Opposition arts spokesman Peter Garrett to offer their talents for his launch, including Tim Rogers and Damien Leith, but there was only space for three performances during the event.

“I think Garrett has got more support in the rock’n’roll industry than any arts minister ever,” he said.

“People do get behind the issues now and artists have always been loath to be identified with a party but if they are getting into climate change and reconciliation, they are issues that Labor is good at.”

Clare Bowditch, who used the opportunity of her ARIA award win last year to protest against the lack of government assistance for the arts, confirms she will not be supporting the Coalition but is yet to state which party will win her vote.

“I will not be voting for John Howard because he took us to war, has been slow in reacting to the environmental crisis and is splashing money around like he thinks we are stupid,” she said.

Missy Higgins, who has been a major player in environmental programs in the past year, has revealed she will be voting for the Greens but giving her preferences to the ALP.

John Butler refused to be drawn on his vote at the ARIA awards, saying it was up to the individual.

His website hosts a party poll with the ALP and Greens the preferred parties of his fans.