An extraordinary event took place in Sydney last Sunday night. At very short notice and calling in favours from right across town, a one-night stand called ‘SEDITION!’ hit the stage of the Sydney Theatre in Millers Point.
‘SEDITION!’ was staged because writers, performers and journalists realised the dangers inherent in the sedition provisions of Howard’s proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill. The unfettered ability to openly criticise the government and the establishment is the defining characteristic that differentiates a healthy democracy from the authoritarian, closed and fear-ridden regimes we are supposedly fighting in this War on Terror. ‘SEDITION!’ was staged to loudly proclaim that Howard and Ruddock’s attack on freedom of expression is wrong, and must be resisted.
Rocketed along by Wendy Harmer and Andrew Denton as co-comperes, ‘SEDITION!’ will be long-remembered by all those lucky enough to have been there. Long-time activists commented that it was ‘the best political protest event’ they had ever witnessed. Others, who had come along out of a sense of duty and solidarity expecting a bit of convivial or even tribal fun were overwhelmed at the professionalism and talent on display.
Raucous laughter combined with serious intent was the order of the night.
Combining stand-up comedy with skits, musical satire, cartoons, video, interviews and speeches, ‘SEDITION!’ presented the best side of progressive politics in
If last Sunday is any indication, satire is set for a huge revival in
There were also speeches from writer Tom Keneally (read out by the STC’s Robyn Nevin), journalist Chas Savage, online political activists David Madden and Jeremy Heimans from GetUP!, and representing New Matilda: Professor Spencer Zifcak. On behalf of New Matilda, I had the privilege of thanking the 850 people attending the sold-out performance. Proceeds from the box office will go towards New Matilda‘s Human Rights Act Campaign.
There are two pieces from ‘SEDITION!’ in today’s issue of New Matilda: the speeches by Chas Savage and Spencer Zifcak. Other pieces from the performance will be published over the next couple of issues.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all the performers and speakers who contributed to SEDITION!’ Thanks to Robyn Nevin and the STC for making the
Meanwhile, the union-organised marches around the country on Tuesday galvanised hundreds of thousands of ordinary Australians who are clearly not happy with Howard’s Industrial Relations agenda. New Matilda urges all our subscribers and readers to continue making your voice heard through your parliamentary representatives.
Many of you have already contacted your MPs and Senators. Thank you. Some of you have not yet received a response. Call again. Email again. Write again. Arrange meetings. Demand answers.
For those of you who haven’t emailed or written or called your parliamentarians, I encourage you to do so. New Matilda has included a list of questions about the Anti-Terrorism laws and ways of identifying and locating your electorate and representatives in previous issues (click here).
This is a critical period in
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