The Brag Media
Opinion August 30, 2021

Could Gladys Berejiklian actually save the music industry?

Could Gladys Berejiklian actually save the music industry?

What a wild statement.

NSW Liberal government, the party who were single-handedly responsible for killing Sydney’s nightlife with pro-property developer “lockout” laws could actually be the party to show the nation that living with COVID is possible, and if successful, Gladys Berejiklian will be the premier who presents a compelling model to the rest of the country to (God willing) bring live music back to Australia.

The music industry has never been friends of the Liberal government. We are, as a community, left leaning. And a vocal one at that. The result is that the Liberal government has no incentive to support us, throwing billions of dollars at sport, with countless COVID exceptions, and only giving their loose change to us, if only to shut us up.

The double standard angers me greatly. However if I’m honest with myself, this poor support from the Liberal government is the best we are ever likely to get. Why would any political party give money to its vocal opposition? Particularly when there is next to no chance our collective industry would vote for the Libs.

The fact we get any funding at all is a huge credit to the leaders in our industry (like Dean Ormston) who continue to fight for us.

Check out Dean Ormston on our Fear At The Top podcast:

I don’t have an answer here. I personally haven’t ever voted for the Libs, and I believe my voting track record mirrors most of the music industry. 

So the situation we find ourselves in is that the party who our industry has been at war with for decades, is the party who is our best chance at survival.

Look around the country, every Labor Premier locks down their city in the most severe way any time someone even mentions COVID. Playgrounds are even closed in Melbourne! (RIP parents).

As a left wing music industry, a lot of us have been left feeling conflicted. Somehow, a global pandemic has been politicised (and we’ve taken the bait). The far left want severe lockdowns at all costs, and the far right want to carry on as if nothing is wrong. The Australian people are picking sides like there are only two choices. 

However there is a tremendous amount of hope for our industry now if Gladys Berejiklian’s new strategy works.

Here’s what Berejiklian said at her press conference on Sunday;

  1. Cases numbers don’t matter, only hospitalisation & death rates do:

    This means, theoretically even if every person in NSW has COVID, as long as the death and hospital rates remain low, we can open up and presumably gigs will be revived. Gladys Berejiklian is using the same logic to COVID as we do for every other virus (like the flu) or any other “risky” legal activities like swimming and driving. In other words, deaths and hospitalisations will tragically happen, but as long as the rates remain extremely low – freedoms can continue.

  2. Trust vaccinations:

    For death and hospitalisation rates to remain low, Gladys Berejiklian says we need to vaccinate the state before we can re-open. Obviously all the data shows that although vaccinations aren’t bullet proof, they are extremely effective in keeping hospitalisation and death rates low, and this is the positive data trend Gladys Berejiklian is betting will continue as she looks to open once we hit vaccination milestones despite record high COVID cases.

  3. Language change:

    There has been a conscious change in language from the government when reporting deaths. They are no longer saying “died of COVID” unless they are super sure that COVID was the primary cause of death. They are now reporting “died with COVID” indicating that although the patient had COVID, there were other comorbidities which contributed to the death. Although a subtle change in language, it is a meaningful shift in attitude necessary for a re-opening agenda.

If the Liberal government’s philosophy is right, this is great news for our industry.

The road crew who live paycheque to paycheque will be able to work again. The touring artists who aren’t yet fortunate enough to have a healthy streaming income can finally get back on the road to re-start their dream.

But it’s more than that. It’s the promoters, the managers, the hospitality teams, the venues, the agents, the marketers, the publicists, Uber drivers and production companies.

So many people whose livelihoods have been taken away from them, as they’ve been told on one hand that lockdown is necessary for the good of the nation, while also seeing sporting stadiums at its modest capacity filled with athletes in combat, and at the most contradictory, filled with fans.

NBA star Andrew Bogut pointed out this hypocrisy in a recent anti-lockdown rant on his Instagram;

“Imagine being told you are not essential to go to work and make money for your family? But the elites, people with money like myself, I can get a permit really easily…….. This whole thing about “sticking together, we can get through this.” It’s not as easy that for the working class…..for people who live in a 2 bedroom unit with 2 or 3 kids….. what about that neighbour who can’t go to work, and can’t pay his mortgage and probably going to lose his house?”

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A post shared by Andrew Bogut (@andrewbogut)

Personally, I am extremely angry at both the NSW and Federal Liberal government for their flip-flopping attitudes on vaccines and lockdown as well their extremely poor vaccination acquisition strategy.

Handling both issues in such a harmful manner were in my view not because of a lack of competence but an intentional misleading strategy motivated by polling and politics. Unforgivable.

Tim Borrowes summed the Government’s intentional manipulation perfectly in his Mumbrella newsletter on July 3rd this year when there was a very different strategy and attitude in play by both Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian;

The situation is made even more complicated by the policy failure that means Australia did not order sufficient vaccine supplies early enough.

For the government, running a vaccine confidence campaign that would increase public demand to the point where demand cannot be met creates political peril.

It’s hard not to suspect that instead, the communications policy has been front run by politics. Somebody as polling-driven as Morrison will not have failed to notice that state elections have favoured those who favour lockdowns. He may figure there are more votes to be had in the forthcoming federal election from staying closed to the world than there are to be lost in the vaccine debacle, even if it is a necessary part of one day reopening to the world.

Which might help explain why there’s been no significant communications push from the government to sell the benefits of vaccines.

However regardless of their past sins (as horrific as they are), or our political leanings, if Gladys Berejiklian’s new approach is right and her plan works, it will save us all.

Just this morning, the deputy premier was on Channel 7 committing to getting “pubs, clubs and cafes opening from 70% (vaccinations) onwards” regardless of COVID cases active in the community, and he even hinted at trialing openings before then. 

Our best chance at getting our industry back is the NSW Liberal government, who would have thought.

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


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