Bill's Speeches

ADDRESS TO SOUNDTRACK AUSTRALIA – LABOR’S MUSIC POLICY LAUNCH - SYDNEY - FRIDAY, 30 NOVEMBER 2018

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Good afternoon everybody and thank you Auntie Norma for the welcome, and I too would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the country upon which we meet, and I pay my respect to elders both past and present. 
 
Well goodness me, Tony and I, and we've got Madeleine King, Warren Snowdon and a few other federal colleagues here, we spent all week looking at the government - and then we get to spend a day with you so thank you very much. 
 
Thank you very much for coming here and giving up some of your time - and congratulations, I have to say, to Tony Burke who has been a real champion for today's policy announcement. Well done Tony. 
 
I had a bit of a prepared speech, and I will talk about our policy in a moment but can I just say I've been blown away by the last 30 minutes. 
 
You really make the case for investing in live music, and for investing in music. 
 
That line, workers of song. You know, I'm a former union rep, I think which the Government bangs on about all the time, but what I realise is that's a great way of looking at some of what we need to do. 
 
If we're to have a fantastic music industry then we need to invest in our workers of song. 
 
And then when I heard about the role of music is to make sure that those who are not at the table, get to be at the table. 
 
I thought, what a fantastic description of the importance of equality in this country. 
 
So already I feel the case has been made for what we're going to announce, but I should also explain a little bit about my personal journey while I stand up here in front of you.
 
When Chloe and I got together and we married, she moved down from Queensland and while she had been someone who loved singing in her teenage years and early twenties, she'd had a little bit of a interregnum for a decade.
 
And she came back and we set up, and she started to sing jazz at the local pub, and  I get to see what music can do, and she's explained so much to me from the point of view of someone who loves music passionately - the importance that music can play in life. 
 
So, she's a big reason that I'm standing up here. 
 
The other reason is my kids. All of my kids are musical which shows that genes do flow through the mother quite often. 
 
But they all love it. They play instruments, they sing, they perform and what that's done in that journey is introduced me to a lot of music teachers.
 
 And a lot of the music teachers I've met are also accomplished artists, but they can't make a living out of their art alone. So they teach which is fantastic and I've seen the benefit of choirs and bands, I see the benefit which has been much more eloquently spoken about by earlier speakers. 
 
But I also see how much this nation relies upon our musicians in many ways which you don't get credit for. 
 
You know, the music teachers of Australia, do such a wonderful job in the nation of Australia for educating our young people. 
 
So today is not just about what we're going to talk about, but for me this is my way as a parent and as a husband saying thank you to all the musicians of Australia for what you do for everyone else. You bring joy to our lives.
 
I had an opportunity in my job to go to, perhaps at the end of the year, you go and see the Christmas performances where school choirs would perform in homes of the elderly. 
 
Growing old is not for the faint hearted and dementia is a terrible thing. 
 
But I physically see, almost a miraculous transformation. The kids are singing the songs of these residents' youth and they sing and you can see the animation return to the features of the audience, you see the tears running down literally out of the eyes of the audience, where they have a connection.
 
And it really is right, the researchers are right, that music has a way of penetrating the psyche of the soul.
 
I mean I wonder what the alternative is. What if the live music stopped?
 
Imagine if we didn't have live music in Australia.
 
Imagine if we didn't have Australian music.
 
It'd be a very different world. 
 
You know, I think musicians are brave. I think for you, what you do now, what Alex just did then, will stay in the souls of generations to come. 
 
What a marvellously modest yet amazingly talented human being. And she's assertive, and she performs.
 
What she will do will stay in our souls for generations. 
 
The other thing about musicians is that it's live. 
 
Live is scary. You can't go back and edit it and it's not an Instagram photo where you can carefully crop those, remarkably you know, inauthentic images. 
 
What instead is that when a musician comes here and performs, you give it your own emotions.
 
You look accomplished to us but you're vulnerable at the very same time and no performance is exactly the same as any other performances - it's unrepeatable and unique. 
 
I think this is worth cherishing. 
 
I think this is something - this is a gift and it's a gift which as we heard, enriches.
 
You know I think when you perform live, truth comes in live things. 
 
In a world where we complain about inauthenticity - you should see my workplace - where we complain about inauthenticity, what we've seen already today in very special snippets, is we see truth, we see what we create.
 
There's no surprise in my mind why many more Australians go to concerts than watch Question Time - there's other reasons too. You should hear the answers they give. 
 
But it's live, it's emotional, it's authentic. You can't sugarcoat it. 
 
And I also think that when you're an artist, and you perhaps get that right set of chords, you get that harmony with your band mates or your accompanist - you can be in a rapture. 
 
It is the gift that you just give yourself and those you perform with.
 
So I love our musicians, you are sincerely our best selves when you perform.
 
And I also think that our music is much more than just entertainment.
 
Fundamentally, of course it's that emotional honest connection, that vulnerability but it's also at different levels it's about our identity - our sense of self.
 
It's about who we are as a country.
 
You are when you perform, you may not realise this or maybe you do - you are the nation that you're inviting us to see in the mirror.
 
You are the nation that we want our kids and our grandkids to see in the mirror.
 
You’re the story of our times for the future to interpret.
 
You’re the story of hope for our future to aspire to.
 
You know, Alex again - Tony and I don't mean to particularly to embarrass you anymore but that not worth hiding - sometimes in life you can sum up the mood of a nation - that is a real gift.
 
For you though, to give strength to people, to sum up their mood, to give them that validation, that sense of confidence to get up and get on, that is what you do in music every day.
 
You do of course also carry us over the oceans.
 
You carry us over the oceans in a marvellously positive way.
 
Really, when you look at our population - we're a small number in a big and crowded globe but when you look at our contribution through music we are disproportionately influential - we carry the Australian story and you are our best ambassadors.
 
But of course all of this doesn't just happen.
 
You know, it's the product of our culture, it's the product of our education system.
 
But it's also about celebrating artists, about championing your industry.
 
Australia is a better country when we back our arts when we back our culture, when we back our music.
 
You know, when you come and think about all the things you've done in a day or in a week, or a year.
 
The things you most remember I believe, are the creative moments.
 
So we want to work with you.
 
I mean politics in this country doesn't just have to be the sledgehammer politics of destruction.
 
Of course we've got to deal with national security, of course we've got to deal with all of the important issues which consume the front pages of our paper. 
 
But we are here today, Labor is here today because we actually think that the political debate in this country has to change.
 
People are cynical about politics they think we're all in it for ourselves, they think individuals can't do things, no wonder they love their music.
 
In music you can do things - in politics it all seems to be a fixed deal, a vested interest, it's all too hard. It's all too scary out there.
 
We are constantly told to be afraid of the future.
 
Now, do I think that live music is going to change the next election - no. 
 
But what I do think is that we've got to have some hope in our political debate. 

Labor has chosen to back live music today because we want to give people something to look forward to, we want to have a vision of Australia which is proud.
 
You can either write Australia small, or you can write Australia big - as our songwriters do, as our musicians do.
 
Trust me I've learnt more today than I'm going to tell you.
 
What I feel out of today is a renewed conviction to write Australia big. 
 
Our young people in particular, they get written off every day but what are we doing for them? 
 
We are not taking action on climate change. 
 
We are not properly funding universities.
 
We are not even properly funding and supporting live music.
 
So today we are going to invest in live music, we are going to create community music hubs so that people can fall in love with music.
 
I love what I heard when we realised that music is remarkably democratic.
 
Any walk of life, any gender, your region, where ever you live - music has no bars. 
 
It has no cage which bars people from entering it. 
 
So we want to invest in community music, we want to protect your copyright.
 
We want to make sure that going forward, the ticket scalpers and the Viagogos and  - well done to Gang of Youths - I never want to really annoy you because you are very effective advocates. 
 
So we're going to say to the scalpers, no more. 
 
Just stop it, go and find your scams with some other area of endeavour.
 
But for the people who have invested in their product, for people who have invested in the time and the energy, we want them to see the returns go to the industry, not to the freeloaders and the parasites who take double and triple what the musicians are making and much more because there is no regulation. 
 
We want to make it easier for musicians to follow their dreams. 

We want to invest in more music education, we want to invest in more music teachers. 
 
Our policy today is going to also support managers because we understand that the managers are crucial and that we need to make sure that they're getting the support they require.
 
We also want to invest in support actors, we've said we want to invest in Nordoff Robbins.
 
We want to provide music as a therapy to kids who might have an impairment but shouldn't be just treated and defined solely by their impairment. 
 
We also, also, absolutely want to invest in Sounds Australia. 

We want to make it easier for the talent we've seen here and the talent in this room and the talent in the nation to be shared with the rest of the world.

We’re going to back music because I think music is about writing Australia large. 

But I have to say that again, we shouldn't overcomplicate politics. 
 
You get out of politics what you put into it.
 
If you think that today's policies make sense, please tell some people.
 
Politics isn't some remote control video game that you sit at home and watch. 
 
What it is it's about engagement, it's about people. 

We won't get the live music industry we deserve in this country without all of your effort.
 
I love the fact you're here but we need to go from here and tell other people that we think that music is an important political issue - not what is in the music but the fact that music should be supported. 
 
I promise you from increasing funding to the ABC, to making sure that we do a lot more of the other creative art forms - we'll have a lot more to say about that.
 
Labor has made the choice to make live music a national political issue.

We're going to fund it - I hope that the government just see this and as they do sometimes, just immediately copy us but that's good. 
 
We don't copyright on a good idea.
 
But what we also want to do is say to all of you, thank you.
 
We believe in you, you bring a remarkable gift, we want to keep faith and in particular for me - I want to keep faith not only with our very elite acts.
 
I want to keep faith with every person who has been a musician.
 
I want to keep faith with everyone who has pursued a creative love and a passion. 

Has had that emotional honesty to perform, has had that connection with their colleagues and provided emotional connection with their audience and fans. 
 
We can be a truly fantastic country if we back ourselves, we back our identity and we have no better way to back ourselves and to back our identity than to back music. 

Thank you very much for coming. 


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