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AT WORK: WORTH FIGHTING FOR’
Kid Confucius playing to 50,000 people at The Overflow, Olympic Park,
Olympic Park hosted ‘The Last Weekend’ event on Sunday,
7th August, 2005.
Approximately 50,000 people attended.
The event was organised by Unions NSW to promote public
awareness of the impact the Federal Government will be able to make
when it takes control of the Senate.
This is an important change because a Government majority in
both houses of Federal Parliament means the end of the traditional
role of the Senate as a House of Review with the power to adjust, or
even to block proposals before they become law.
One major concern to the Unions is the workplace laws would
be altered to exclude ‘basic rights at work’.
Corinne Grant (Rove Live, The Glass House and Skithouse
fame) who acted as the MC on the day stated, “I think we’re
going to have to be vigilant, I think there is always room for
hope” she said with a laugh. “We
just have to keep hoping that there are voices of reason, I think
there are voices of reason somewhere within the Liberal Government
and the Nationals, we just have to keep plugging away at them and
hope that good sense will
prevail in the end.”
Grant acted as MC on the day
Corinne went on further
to say, “As an entertainer our biggest problem is that a lot of
our members tend to work in hospitality and industries like that,
and these are the kind of industries that will be hit by the
changes. The work that
actors do when they are not acting will be really compromised by
these changes, so we are trying to protect them from that”.
Though some entertainers felt they may not be directly
affected by the perceived workplace reform due to the fact that many
of them are part of small businesses or self employed, all present
on the day displayed support and awareness of how changes would
affect them in some way as part of the Australian Community.
Hooley Dooleys ensured young children enjoyed the event
Butts, The Hooley Dooleys
(Children Entertainers) commented, “We see the
advertisements on television about working mums and so on, and see
that is an unsettling environment to be in.
I think we need compassion, and on the other side we need to
have businesses that can operate effectively. We have to balance
between people having some security in their lives and some sense of
being dealt with compassion”.
Antoine Demarest, The Hooley Dooleys stated,
“I think it’s good to see that a lot of people are
turning up which is showing everybody is interested and voicing
their opinion.” He
went on further to say “You don’t want to lose what people have
fought pretty hard to retain, that’s the main thing.” David
Butts added “Or have things lost by stealth.”
David continued by saying, “In a way it’s always a
dangerous position when the checks and balances that we hope to be
in the system of government, may disappear. So it’s a way the
government needs, I guess, is to know there are other voices out
there that also need to have a say”.
Guirguis, Rhythm Guitarist, Kid Confucius
Confucius’ Andrew Guirguis commented that Kid Confucius was
involved with the event to provide a style of music and performance
that is geared at younger workers out there.
“This event is attracting tens of thousands of people with
families. Kids and
people of all ages and different professions, some
who have just left school, while others have been in the
workforce for a couple of decades.
There’s got to be entertainment that appeals to
everyone”. Kid Confucius’ nine piece band with it soul based
sound including brass and rich vocals harmonies, definitely achieved
that for the event.
Tim Freedman (The Whitlams) performed solo, as well as
performing with Astro Tabasco
(Lounge/Latin style instrumental band).
Tim didn’t feel that the proposed work reforms would have
an impact on him as a performer but he commented, “I think it’s
important we show them (the government) that there are enough people
watching so they can’t basically go on doing the bidding of the
employers and the Employers Association”.
Tim Freedman performing with Astro
Andy Kell, Astro Tabasco's Saxophone
Andy Kell was very passionate about the cause and could see the
bigger picture of how the work reforms could affect the
entertainment industry and themselves as performers.
“I guess speaking from the point of view of the
entertainment industry, particularly musicians, we are a bit worried
about the impact because we see the increase of work hours and the
broadening of work hours, and the potential reduction in conditions
and pay as generally stressing out your average worker.
This means they are probably less likely to go out on a Friday
night, if there is pressure on their wallet they are not going to go
Other concerns that Andy highlighted included the general
idea of free weekends disappearing and the proposal of people
cashing in their annual leave. “As people start cashing in their
annual leave you will probably see the disappearance of the music
festivals and all of that kind of stuff.
Well, perhaps not the disappearance of festivals as such, but
the pressure on those people who now attend the festivals will need
to organise their work somehow differently, as they won’t be able
to take holidays to go.”
Whilst providing entertainment to families and supporting
the event, Andy commented, “It’s just a real thrill to be able
to play to a whole bunch of families and kids and stuff like that.
We are really excited about that.
We love the fact that we are able to do this while supporting
a fantastic cause.”
Andy summed up what appeared to be all of the
entertainers feelings on the day, “I think today is a real
opportunity to get out and support a really worthy cause, but still
have a great time while doing it”.
and photos by Chrissy Layton