The Brag Media
News January 27, 2021

Australia Day is done. ScoMo should follow Triple J’s lead [Op-Ed]

Australia Day is done. ScoMo should follow Triple J’s lead [Op-Ed]

Canberra, we’ve got a problem.

If Australia Day really is for all Australians, a line regurgitated by pretty much every politician on the right, then why does that statement fall so flat with our young and First Nations people?

We know that to be the case because triple j asked the question five years ago.

Since its national rollout in the early 1990s, the Hottest 100 countdown and Australia Day — 26th January — were mutually dependent. Our national day all wrapped up in a baking summer, at the back-end of the long holidays. Mates, tunes.  You couldn’t have one without the other.

Actually, no.

Triple j has long prided itself on its progressive agenda, for having a finger on the pulse of our youth. Some years back, the network’s leadership team sensed a shift. Holding its flagship day-long music event on “Invasion Day” had become a country-sized problem.

triple j are looking for a TikTok host

triple j

Triple j polled its listeners, and took a stand. From 2018, the Hottest 100 would change the date.

There was blowback, from all the usual blowhards.

Commercial networks moved to fill the void with their own all-Aussie countdowns on that most Aussie of days. Mitch Fifield, the former Minister for Communication, castigated the ABC and urged the state-funded broadcaster to reconsider its decision.

No doubt, tougher words were used in the boardroom.

The ABC stood by triple j, the decision was final.

With monotonous regularity, music and sport steps in to do the work for which our elected officials have no appetite.

While our chiefs bestow a national honour on a tennis great who retired in 1977 and in the decades since has generated headlines for her unusual interpretation of the bible and her warped attitudes towards LGBTIQ people, it’s too often left to artists and athletes to identify the moral high ground and seize it.

Cricket Australia is ditching the use of the words “Australia Day” as part of its Big Bash League (BBL) promotions, a decision that got a bashing from ScoMo.

I’m reminded of the 2003 Cricket World Cup in South Africa, when the English team was scheduled to play a fixture in Zimbabwe, and inadvertently slotted over a political landmine.

The image of then captain Nasser Hussain shaking hands with Robert Mugabe before the match was, rightly, a ghastly one for most Brits. The government spoke out, the media had a frenzy. Cricket was left to make the big call. In the end, the Poms didn’t travel to Zim, forfeiting the game. England didn’t progress in the tournament.

Never mind that more than 200 British companies were still operating in the pariah state at the time, making a mint. Sport made the tough decision.

Music, with its ability to move quickly and mobilize millions, so often plays the right tune.

abc building


Think Band Aid, Live Aid, Live 8, Hear ‘n Aid, Wave Aid, Artists United Against Apartheid and 2020’s Fire Fight Australia. And consider the ABC and its decision to move its date, after thoughtful consideration.

Our elected leaders could learn a thing by following the beat of triple j.

Ask your constituents, listen to them. When the data comes in, study it, set up a balanced panel. Make it a priority. The outcome will infuriate some people, yes, but you can’t keep everyone happy all the time.

If you’ve listened to triple j’s Hottest 100 this week and you can’t give a stuff about Australia Day, congrats. You’re probably young, you’re in the majority and you’re the future.

Australia Day, as a day of belly laughs, taking place each year to commemorate when the Brits came and claimed the place, is an idea that’s both flawed and outdated.

The January 26 party is over.

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.

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