Men At Work singer slams Bernardi’s alternative music countdown

Posted January 18, 2018 19:19:10

Men At Work frontman Colin Hay has slammed South Australian senator Cory Bernardi’s attempt to start his own Hottest 100 playlist.

Senator Bernardi, who leads the Australian Conservatives Party, is asking people to vote in what he has termed an “alternate Hottest 100”, following triple j’s decision to change the date of its annual music poll from Australia Day.

But Hay, whose song Down Under is first on Senator Bernardi’s Spotify list, said the meaning of his song had been hijacked by the politician’s poll.

“It would appear that the true meaning behind Down Under is lost on Mr Bernardi,” he said.

“When the lyrics were written some 40 years ago, I was worried about people like him, and movements he represents. Turns out I had good reason to be.”

Hay’s hit track Down Under reached number one on the Australian, US and UK Charts. He urged Senator Bernardi to reconsider his party’s poll.

“May I suggest Mr Bernardi, if you haven’t already, dabbling in some light hallucinogens. Wander into a field, and sit in front of a tree, and look at it, really study it, at a molecular level,” he said.

“It may not change your conservative views, but it may make you realise you’re not quite as important as you think you are.”

A number of musicians included in the list have protested against the playlist, including Savage Garden’s Darren Hayes, Jimmy Barnes, Powderfinger and the Hilltop Hoods.

But Senator Bernardi is unapologetic and claimed the outrage would only lead more people to participate in his poll.

“I suspect a great many more people have voted in the poll, and will listen to it, because of the outrage the industry that have attached themselves to it,” he told 7.30.

The AC100 Top 10

  1. Down Under – Men At Work
  2. Khe Sanh – Cold Chisel
  3. You’re The Voice – John Farnham
  4. Great Southern Land – Icehouse
  5. I Still Call Australia Home – Peter Allen
  6. I Am Australian – Judith Durham, Russell Hitchcock & M Yunupingu
  7. Solid Rock – Goanna
  8. A Pub With No Beer – Slim Dusty
  9. The Boys Light Up – Australian Crawl
  10. C’mon Aussie C’mon – Let The Music Play

“It’s preposterous they [musicians] draw attention to something they pretend they don’t want to endorse.

“This is the modern take on politics, that you have to be tolerant of everyone else’s ideas unless you disagree with them.”

The senator said he did not mind the criticism from those in the industry.

“They may not like my politics, I don’t like their politics. That’s OK,” he said.

“I can still recognise their artistic talent and artistic craft and most Australians have no place, or don’t have any time for moral lectures or virtue-signalling from people in an industry that has a very chequered history.”

Topics: music, government-and-politics, australia

‘Intolerant censorship’: Bernardi lashes musicians’ criticism of alternative Hottest 100 list

Updated January 18, 2018 10:47:39

Cory Bernardi has told Australian artists asking to be removed from his party’s “alternative to the Hottest 100” playlist that they should be thankful for the royalties, after one band included in the list told him to “f*** off”.

The senator’s Australian Conservatives party announced the #AC100 yesterday, saying the move was prompted by triple j’s decision to move its annual Hottest 100 countdown away from Australia Day this year.

The party released a Spotify playlist of tracks from Australian artists and invited people to vote for their favourites.

But some artists, including Savage Garden frontman Darren Hayes and hip-hop group Hilltop Hoods, are demanding to be taken off the list.

Senator Bernardi said the reaction amounted to “intolerant censorship” and said all Australians should be entitled to enjoy music regardless of whether their political views aligned with the artists’.

“Suddenly artists are saying, ‘You’re not allowed to add my songs to your playlist … because I don’t agree with your political views’,” he told RN Breakfast.

“This is absurd, it’s outrageous.”

The senator denied claims he was politicising the playlist by sharing it on his party website and Twitter account.

“I want people to listen to great Australian music and I’ve made it easy for them to do so,” he said.

“[Artists] can beat it up and complain, they can threaten me with legal action … the simple answer is: take your songs off the streaming service if you don’t want people to play them and support them.”

Responding to the request from Hayes to remove Savage Garden’s To The Moon And Back, which is at number 61 on the alternative list, Senator Bernardi suggested the artist should be grateful for the royalties.

“[Darren Hayes] gets a royalty for every time it’s played, he should be thanking us.”

The complaint from Hilltop Hoods employed more colourful language, with the band simply tweeting at Senator Bernardi to “f*** off”.

“I actually do enjoy their [Hilltop Hoods’] music, but I don’t have to like their politics,” Senator Bernardi said.

“I don’t have to enjoy their political or social activism to say, ‘Hey, they’re talented, they’re Australian, and they’ve got some boppy little songs that I kind of enjoy’.”

Men At Work’s Down Under tops Senator Bernardi’s list, with Cold Chisel’s Khe Sanh and John Farnham’s You’re the Voice rounding out the top three.

Topics: human-interest, minor-parties, government-and-politics, music, australia

First posted January 18, 2018 10:18:58

‘It’s inappropriate’: Sydney MP wants Australia Day celebrations moved

Updated January 15, 2018 13:06:12

The harbour city’s Australia Day celebrations should be moved from January 26, according to independent MP for Sydney Alex Greenwich, who says he felt uncomfortable on the date last year.

Mr Greenwich, who is also the co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality, said the current date was “inappropriate”.

“It was the day that brutal colonisation started and it was horrific for Australia’s first people,” he said.

“While I was watching the citizenship ceremonies at Circular Quay last year I felt a huge deal of discomfort seeing all the naval vessels in the harbour.

“I thought that showed a huge disrespect. I think we can tone it down a bit.

“As Australians we should always reflect on our history in an honest way.”

His tough stance came as the New South Wales Government unveiled its official Australia Day festivities, which will include fireworks and a concert featuring Christine Anu and John Paul Young.

Mr Greenwich was among the most senior advocates for same-sex marriage during last year’s debate.

He said there was no reason changing the date of Australia Day could not follow a similar path.

“What I learnt last year is that when governments fail you, you can trust the Australian people to have these conversations and to do the right thing,” he said.

“Federal governments have let down Indigenous communities.

“I think Australians are expecting our Government to be taking the reconciliation a bit more seriously.”

Boycotting Australia Day ‘un-Australian’

The issue of changing the date continues to divide many Australians, with “invasion day” protest marches now a regular feature on January 26 in Sydney.

Mr Greenwich said he would not boycott citizenship ceremonies, but would continue to use them as a platform to remind people of their cultural responsibilities.

His views are at odds with many of his parliamentary colleagues.

NSW Minister for Multiculturalism Ray Williams today described not celebrating January 26 as “un-Australian”.

“Anyone who’s boycotting Australia Day, I think that’s the most un-Australian thing to do,” he said.

“I mean the fact of the matter is that Australia Day is not divisive; it’s an inclusive day.”

He said an Indigenous ceremony at Barangaroo would be an important part of Sydney’s official celebrations on January 26.

Ms Anu, a presenter on ABC Radio Sydney who has Torres Strait Islander heritage, said she wanted the conversation about what the day represented to continue.

“We as Australians all have the right to be proud and celebrate our diversity and cultural heritage whatever that may be, we all have a right to have a day to celebrate that,” she said.

“I also think it’s an important day to remember and acknowledge the history of the First Nation’s people and never forget that.”

Topics: australia-day, event, carnivals-and-festivals, events, arts-and-entertainment, government-and-politics, state-parliament, sydney-2000

First posted January 15, 2018 12:54:23

Trump nukes strategy could see US ‘blundering into nuclear war with Russia’, critics fear

Updated January 14, 2018 12:00:25

With Russia in mind, the Trump administration is aiming to develop new nuclear firepower that it says will make it easier to deter threats to European allies.

Key points:

  • The nuclear doctrine is expected to be published in early February
  • It is not yet approved by President Donald Trump
  • It is the first review since 2010

The plan, not yet approved by President Donald Trump, is intended to make nuclear conflict less likely.

Critics argue it would do the opposite.

The proposal is spelled out in a policy document, known officially as a “nuclear posture review,” that puts the United States in a generally more aggressive nuclear stance.

It is the first review of its kind since 2010 and is among several studies of security strategy undertaken since Mr Trump took office.

In many ways it reaffirms the nuclear policy of President Barack Obama, including his commitment to replace all key elements of the nuclear arsenal with new, more modern weapons over the coming two decades.

It says the US will adhere to existing arms control agreements, while expressing doubt about prospects for any new such pacts.

The Trump nuclear doctrine is expected to be published in early February, followed by a related policy on the role and development of US defences against ballistic missiles.

How it compares with Obama’s approach

Where the Trump doctrine splits from Mr Obama’s approach is in ending his push to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in US defence policy.

Like Mr Obama, Mr Trump would consider using nuclear weapons only in “extreme circumstances,” while maintaining a degree of ambiguity about what that means.

But Mr Trump sees a fuller deterrent role for these weapons, as reflected in the plan to develop new capabilities to counter Russia in Europe.

The Huffington Post published online a draft of the nuclear policy report on Thursday (local time), and The Associated Press independently obtained a copy on Friday (local time).

Asked for comment, the Pentagon called it a “pre-decisional,” unfinished document yet to be reviewed and approved by Mr Trump, who ordered it a year ago.

Russia and China nuclear policy problems

Russia, and to a degree China, are outlined as nuclear policy problems that demand a tougher approach.

The administration’s view is that Russian policies and actions are fraught with potential for miscalculation leading to an uncontrolled escalation of conflict in Europe.

It specifically points to a Russian doctrine known as “escalate to de-escalate,” in which Moscow would use or threaten to use smaller-yield nuclear weapons in a limited, conventional conflict in Europe in the belief that doing so would compel the US and NATO to back down.

Plan to re-establish Cold War era missiles

The administration proposes a two-step solution.

First, it would modify “a small number” of existing long-range ballistic missiles carried by Trident strategic submarines to fit them with smaller-yield nuclear warheads.

Secondly, “in the longer term,” it would develop a nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile — re-establishing a weapon that existed during the Cold War but was retired by the Obama administration in 2011.

Together, these steps are meant to further dissuade “regional aggression,” which means giving Russia greater pause in using limited nuclear strikes.

Interest in the condition and role of US nuclear weapons has grown as North Korea develops its own nuclear arsenal it says is aimed at the US.

The Trump administration views the North Korean threats, along with what it sees as provocative nuclear rhetoric from Russia, as evidence that security conditions no longer support the idea that the US can rely less on nuclear weapons or further limit their role in national defence.

Dealing with Russian drone torpedoes

The nuclear report also makes rare mention of a newer Russian weapon: a nuclear-armed drone torpedo that could travel undersea to far-off targets.

Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons specialist at the Federation of American Scientists, questions whether the administration is overstating the Russian threat and responding with the right solution.

But he said it is clear that Moscow has raised fears in the West by its aggression in Ukraine.

“Clearly, the Russia situation is much more of a direct confrontational situation,” he said.

“The gloves are off.”

‘Blundering into a nuclear war with Russia’

Bruce Blair, a former nuclear missile launch officer who co-founded Global Zero, which advocates the elimination of nuclear weapons, called the report “basically a status quo document” except for the plan to develop new nuclear options for countering Russia.

He worries these could lead the US into “blundering into a nuclear war with Russia”.

Mr Blair based his comments partly on knowledge of the report’s content before it appeared online.

“The Pentagon’s underlying motivation … is fear of Russia’s new option for striking US and Western European civilian infrastructure — financial, energy, transportation and communications — with cyber and conventional forces,” Mr Blair said.

Moscow developed this doctrine in recent years to exploit vulnerabilities in vital Western infrastructure, such as communications networks, he said.

This falls into a category of threat the Trump administration calls “non-nuclear strategic,” meaning it could inflict unacceptably high numbers of casualties or costs.

Trump doctrine argues it will lessen risk of war

Authors of the Trump nuclear doctrine argue that adding new US nuclear capabilities to deter Russia in Europe will lessen, not increase, the risk of war.

They worry the nuclear-capable aircraft that are currently the only Europe-based nuclear force to counter Russia have become less credible, in part because they may be vulnerable to Russian air defences.

Thus, the focus on adding sea-launched US nuclear weapons to the mix.

“This is not intended to, nor does it, enable ‘nuclear war-fighting’,” the draft report said.

Instead, the goal is to make nuclear conflict less likely by ensuring that “potential adversaries” see no possible advantage in escalating a conventional conflict to the nuclear level.


Topics: nuclear-issues, unrest-conflict-and-war, government-and-politics, world-politics, strategy, donald-trump, united-states, russian-federation

First posted January 14, 2018 11:51:37

Bannon was talking about Trump Jr, not Manafort, book author says

Updated January 09, 2018 09:58:58

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s claim that a meeting between Trump campaign officials and a group of Russians was “treasonous” focused on President Donald Trump’s son and not his former campaign manager, as Mr Bannon now maintains, the author of a book containing the remark said.

Key points:

  • Steve Bannon said in the book that a meeting that Donald Trump Jr attended was “treasonous” and unpatriotic”
  • He has since said his comment were directed at former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort
  • Author Michael Wolff says the comments were indeed directed at Mr Trump’s son

In the book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, Mr Bannon labelled the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower, which Donald Trump Jr attended, as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic”.

The reference angered the President, who last week lashed out at Mr Bannon, saying he “lost his mind”.

Mr Bannon sought to make amends, saying in statement his description was not aimed at Mr Trump’s son but at Mr Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

But author Michael Wolff told MSNBC’s Morning Joe: “It was not directed at Manafort, it was directed directly at Don Jr.”

“Steve was incredibly helpful on this book, and his insights are penetrating, and I don’t feel great about putting him in what seems obviously a difficult position. But he was talking about Don Jr.

“He was not talking about Paul Manafort.”

Suppression efforts ‘flagrantly unconstitutional’

A Trump lawyer last week threatened to block publication of the book and demanded an apology and retraction from its publisher, Henry Holt and company.

The publisher responded by bringing the release date forward.

Elizabeth McNamara, a lawyer for Macmillan, the publisher’s parent company, also fired back in a letter to Mr Trump’s lawyer, Charles Harder.

“My clients do not intend to cease publication, no such retraction will occur and no apology is warranted,” she said.

The book publisher said any effort by Mr Trump to suppress the book would be “flagrantly unconstitutional”.

In a letter to company employees shared with The Associated Press, Macmillan chief executive John Sargent wrote “no American court” would go along with Mr Trump should he sue to have Fire and Fury withdrawn.

Bannon’s comments ‘repugnant, grotesque’

Trump and other White House officials have attacked Mr Bannon and the book, which they have said is riddled with lies.

The book depicts a chaotic White House led by a man who is mentally unstable and unfit for the job.

“I don’t believe there’s any way back for Mr Bannon at this point,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said on Air Force One.

“When you go after somebody’s family in the manner in which he did … it is repugnant, it is grotesque.”

The President’s allies also attacked the book in a round of television appearances.

Chief policy adviser Stephen Miller, in a combative appearance on CNN, described the book as “nothing but a pile of trash through and through”.

CIA director Mike Pompeo said Mr Trump was “completely fit” to lead the country.

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said she visits the White House once a week, and “no-one questions the stability of the President”.

Bannon’s mea culpa

Mr Bannon is chairman of Breitbart News, and his comments caused one of his key backers, Rebekah Mercer, the billionaire GOP donor and Breitbart co-owner, to distance her family from him.

In his statement, Mr Bannon praised Trump Jr as “both a patriot and a good man”.

“I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the President’s historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency,” Mr Bannon said in the statement, which was first obtained by the news site Axios.

Two days after the book’s release, WikiLeaks tweeted a link to an electronic image of the text.

Posting the text of a book without permission would violate copyright restrictions and potentially damage sales.

Yet, hours after WikiLeaks tweeted the link, Fire and Fury remained at the top of Amazon’s lists of hardcover and ebook bestsellers.


Topics: donald-trump, books-literature, political-parties, world-politics, government-and-politics, courts-and-trials, united-states

First posted January 09, 2018 09:54:09

Hanks, Streep and Spielberg defend free press against ‘fake news’ accusations

Updated January 08, 2018 08:16:40

The free press is under fire and modern-day “heroes” who report the truth are unfairly labelled as fake news, Hollywood heavyweights Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep and Steven Spielberg say.

The trio are behind the new film The Post, which details how the media reported on the leaked Pentagon Papers into US tactics in the Vietnam War in the 1970s.

At the time, newspapers faced significant pressure from the Nixon administration to stop publishing articles, and Hanks said there were similar issues today.

“The free press is under fire right now, because it is a free press,” he told News Breakfast.

“The [film] speaks to today’s headlines.”

US President Donald Trump often attacks major media organisations that report on his administration, and routinely labels articles “fake”.

In October he suggested he had coined the term “fake news”.

While none of the Hollywood trio mentioned Mr Trump by name, they all said current events made filming of The Post particularly timely.

“There was a sense that it was relevant to the things that were happening in the news,” Streep said.

“The way the press was besieged and the idea of the truth as delivered by a credible press was under question [in the ’70s].

“So there was that incentive to make it, and make it right.”

‘The modern-day heroes’

Spielberg is the director behind The Post and said he felt now was the right time to make a film “extolling the virtues of news and journalists that seek the truth”.

“These are our heroes today, those who have devoted their entire lives to finding and publishing the truth against all odds,” he said.

“We’re in a situation right now where people are trying to tell the truth and yet they are labelled fakes.

“The words ‘fake news’ [are used] every time something that is truthful comes out that rattles and shakes the timbers of those who do not agree.”

Spielberg said he hadn’t set out to make a political statement, and instead believed his film to be a patriotic one.

“This isn’t a partisan movie, despite our political leanings; this is an American film about American values,” he said.

“And the values of a free press are core values because freedom of speech is what our Founding Fathers first gave us, first offered to us, and I see that slipping away more and more.”

Topics: film-movies, government-and-politics, journalism, united-states

First posted January 08, 2018 08:05:18

Here’s why Lorde’s cancelled Tel Aviv concert is causing so much drama

Posted January 02, 2018 14:47:54

Lorde has been making headlines of late, and probably not for reasons she had hoped.

A decision to host, then cancel a concert in Israel has culminated in the New Zealand pop star featuring in a full-page attack ad in one of the world’s most read newspapers.

So how did the 21-year-old get entangled in one of the world’s most controversial issues?

Let’s take a look.

So what actually happened?

In late December, Lorde announced a concert in Tel Aviv in June as part of her Melodrama World Tour.

A few days later, The Spinoff published an open letter urging Lorde not to play her concert in Tel Aviv.

“Playing in Tel Aviv will be seen as giving support to the policies of the Israeli Government, even if you make no comment on the political situation. Such an effect cannot be undone by even the best intention and the best music,” the letter read.

That spurred on more pressure from pro-Palestinian activists, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which has advocated for a cultural boycott of Israel to pressure Israel to end its occupation of the territory Palestinians seek for a state.

A few days later, Lorde officially cancelled her 2018 Tel Aviv concert.

Why are some people upset with her decision?

The decision to cancel the concert has been interpreted by some as Lorde taking a side in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A pro-Israel organisation took out a full-page ad in the Washington Post calling the singer-songwriter a “bigot” and accusing New Zealand of “growing prejudice” against the Jewish people.

The ad called attention to Lorde’s decision to keep tour dates in Russia, while dropping the Tel Aviv concerts.

“While Lorde claims to be concerned with human rights, she hypocritically chose to proceed with her two concerts in Putin’s Russia, despite his support for Assad’s genocidal regime which has already claimed the lives of over 500,000 innocents,” the ad said.

Israel’s Ambassador to New Zealand Itzhak Gerberg called the cancellation “regrettable” and asked Lorde to meet with him.

But others have praised Lorde for cancelling the concert

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel posted a statement on Twitter thanking the artist for “heeding appeals from your fans against Israel’s art-washing of its brutal oppression of Palestinians.”

The BDS movement praised Lorde’s decision on Twitter:

What has Lorde said?

Not a whole lot.

She acknowledged the initial criticism of the tour announcement in a tweet before making the decision to cancel the show:

Lorde then released a short statement explaining her decision to cancel:

She’s yet to respond to any other criticism, including the Washington Post ad.

Is she the only person to cancel a concert in Israel?


Roger Waters, Lauryn Hill and Elvis Costello have boycotted Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians in recent years.

But there are also plenty of artists who have played Tel Aviv in recent years — Justin Bieber, Elton John, Guns N’ Roses and Lady Gaga to name a few.

Topics: world-politics, government-and-politics, arts-and-entertainment, music, israel, new-zealand