By Richard Phillips:
“Australian values” attack on rock concert organisers
2 February 2007
Each year in the last week of January, as Australia’s summer holiday season draws to a close, tens of thousands of young people attend Big Day Out (BDO) rock festivals in capital cities across the continent.
The popular outdoor event, which is one of the country’s longest-running and most successful rock events, featuring local and international bands, is generally ignored by politicians.
This year, however, BDO organisers were suddenly denounced as “unpatriotic” and “unAustralian” and targetted in a series of jingoistic attacks by Australia’s corporate media, Prime Minister John Howard and a coalition of federal and state parliamentarians—Liberal, National and Labor alike.
What had BDO management done to deserve such treatment?
They had simply pointed out that last year, gangs of drunken youth draped in Australian flags had intimidated concert patrons, demanding that they swear allegiance to the national flag.
Some of those who refused to comply were assaulted.
The BDO organisers declared that they would do whatever they could to prevent any repeat of such behaviour.
The 2006 BDO was held six weeks after the Cronulla Beach race riots when a mob of 5,000 drunken youth, stirred up by right-wing radio announcers, media commentators and government politicians, indiscriminately attacked people of Middle Eastern appearance.
Many of the rioters brandished or were wearing Australian flags. (See “Government and media provocations spark racist violence on Sydney beaches”).