This month in Australia - Two Up - April 2008

An independent summary of Australian news and events. Featuring the music and songs of Andrew Baylor, Chad Morgan, the Pigram Brothers, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, Hopevale's Corduroy Country Connection Band, the Gadflies, Tex, Don & Charlie, Percy Grainger, Jimmy Little, Seaman Dan and the Black Image Band featuring Bilgammu on pedal steel. This month's podcast includes: Part 1 - Two Up, Part 2 - Hopevale & Gurrumul, Part 3 - Divorcing Telstra, Part 4 - The Old Soft Screw, Part 5 - Bad Buggers, Part 6 - What is the Australian Voice? Part 7 - What is the Australian Voice?

The hour and a half long commentary is saved in seven parts for quick and easy listening, just double click on one of the links below:

Download and listen or purchase the transcript. For a better quality recording, or for those in rural and regional areas without access to high speed internet, or for those who want the complete commentary on one file, send a blank CDR disk and a stamp addressed bubble rap CD envelope to The Editor, Working Papers, PO Box 29, Barrengarry, 2577 and allow a week for a turn around delivery.

The loose manifesto of the bi-monthly podcast is to:

1) To use the internet as creatively as possible to generate alternative ideas and critical perspectives;

2) Draw attention to high quality Australian music that is often ignored or not played by mainstream, formulaic radio outlets;

3) Continually serve it up to Australia's monopoly, mainstream news outlets, especially the Murdoch press;

4) Try to maintain an ordinary citizen's eye-view of current news and events and what is important;

5) Take a regional, remote and rural eye-view of current news and events;

6) Speak to the international and expatriate audience about Australian issues;

7). Never sit on the fence!

A Summary of this month's commentary and music

Two Up

"The strange land of Australia becomes a giant, open air casino for a half a day each year. From mid morning on ANZAC Day - the 25 April - it is legal for anyone anywhere in Australia to set up a two-up gambling school."

HMAS Sydney and Kaz II

"This year ANZAC ceremonies have been more poignant because of the location of HMAS Sydney. ..April also makes it a year since the disappearance of three fine men with Broome family connections, aboard the Kaz II. Solace and best wishes their relatives."


"For Australian Indigenous men and women the battle field was a bit like the sporting field – a chance to show courage and skill on equal terms with white men. They did so prodigiously but when they returned home after wars, the same old Australian apartheid came into force. It was good to see the second march of Indigenous servicemen and women through Redfern this year. ANZAC is a time of mixed emotions for Indigenous Australians. There are many stories. ...On the 17 May 1942 American soldiers destroyed the Hopevale community’s housing and infrastructure and forcibly transported the entire community 2000 kilometres south to inland Woorabinda with tragic consequences."


"To the north of Hopevale is a sacred area for the (Thuipil) mob, the Thuipiwarra, a clan group of the Guugu Yimithirr nation. This place is called Guumba."


"Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu’s CD entitled simply Gurrumul was released this month to critical acclaim. Gurrumul is from the Gumatj nation of East Arnhem Land. ... Let us hope that one day traditional knowledge will be incorporated into the way Australiamanages its national lands, water and oceans."

The PMs Ideas Summit

"The PMs bobba wobba weekend seemed like a way of breaking the usual ideas flow to Canberra and some thought that the whole process represented a new way of governing. But process increasingly makes a monkey out of the best men and women. The bureaucratic meat grinder reduces the detail of real, organic solutions to general rhetoric. That was the trouble with the summit and that is the trouble with politics and you just cant make it go away. You have to get in and slog through it and hope it doesn’t kill you in the process."

Terrible Telstra

"Telstra is like a Sam Beckett play, the consumers pay the world highest fees, have to deal with the worlds worst customer service and must wait for godot who never comes. Kevin Rudd came to office promising world class high speed broadband for all; we’re going to hold you to that promise Kevin because at the moment Australians are in the middle of a scrapyard telecommunications derby, opportunistic teams are all in the junkyard trying to build contraptions that will satisfy some bureaucrat or regulator or are playing games with politicians; and consumers are left in the lurch."

Labor in Power

"There was a time when Australian Labor governments were messianic rarities. Now with wall-to-wall Labor in every state and with the newly installed Rudd Federal government in power Labor is a dime-a-dozen. Everyone is starting to talk about Labor rhetoric being the problem not a solution...."

Bad Buggers

"It is not only democracy that is dead in the Australian Labor Party. The last Federal election reached an unprecedentedly high level of expenditure. The ALP raised over 40 million dollars and this was supplemented by the independent advertising campaign run by the Australian Council of Trade Unions which ran into the tens of millions. The costs of elections have doubled and quadrupled over the past decade primarily because television is recognised to be the most persuasive way of getting a message across to the electorate..."

Don Watson"s American Journeys

"Don Watson like his former boss Prime Minister Paul Keating is a melancholy tragic. The good thing about melancholy tragics is that they journey into the darkness and ugliness to find beauty and light. In American Journeys Watson has an on and off again affair with a mystery woman called Julie; battles giant cockroaches and mingles with the US equivalent of cattleclass Southern Aurora passengers."

What is the Australian Voice?

"I’ve had some challenging feedback from last month’s show. One of the most interesting emails came from Londoner Graham T. who is living and working inCopenhagen at present...Graham asks is there an indigenous Australian voice or are we just copy cats?... Well Graham thank you very much for your email and it does lead us to a profound and interesting question, What is the Australian voice? And how derivative is it? I guess I'd start by asking: Did we on the outskirts of the empire really copy New York, London, Los Angeles, Paris? Or did they copy us? ...Percy Aldridge Grainger was born in Brighton, Victoria on July 8, 1882. Percy was a very wild young man who fell in love with his mother Rose who wielded a whip. He made suits out of terri-towelling and devised free music. But it was Grainger from the colonies who collected this folk song from the old country and made it famous...." or

"..if you’d asked me who Curly Putman or Porter Wagoner was back in the late 1960s I wouldn’t been able to tell you. For me there was only one person who I associated this next song with and that was the great Yorta Yorta statesman and elder, Jimmy Little, and now even when I have heard the versions by those great American singers or even the English troubadour Tom Jones, its Jimmy who I prefer. So when Jimmy sang this song was he thinking of the tragedy that befell his Yorta Yorta countryman. Was he thinking of Broger from my own area of Kangaroo Valley who was hanged with only a summary trial for killing two white man who had molested Aboriginal women? Nearly 50 years after his debut Jimmy is still going strong.."

This Month’s Music List

Strange Land, Andrew Baylor, The Bush is Full of Ghosts 1993-1996,

Come in Sucker – Chad Morgan, Sheilas, Drongos, Dills & other Geezers, 20 ChadMorgan Greats, EMI Records Australia, 1981

Saltwater Cowboy – Pigram Brothers Stephen Pigram, Alan Pigram, Colin Pigram, David Pigram, Phillip Pigram, Gavin Pigram and Peter Pigam are the Pigram Brothers.Saltwater Cowboy is from their album Saltwater Country available or write to PO Box 1012, Broome, Western Australia, 6725

Hopevale – Dylan Harrigan - The Black Image Band, Beautiful Land and Sea,, email:

Guumba, Cordroy Country Connection, for details and information for contact write to Executive Director, Balkanu, PO Box 7573 | Cairns QLD 4870

Wiyathul , Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, Gurrumul,

Wedding Ring – Sports, Bon Bons, Mushroom Records, 1982

Bobba Wobba Wedding – Chad Morgan, Sheilas, Drongos, Dills & other Geezers, 20Chad Morgan Greats, EMI Records Australia, 1981

The Old Soft Screw – Robyn Archer, The Ladies Choice, Larrikin Records, 1978

Strangely Dusty – Gadflies –Many Happy Returns, Festival Mushroom Publishing, 2000, Copyright, Mongrel Jazz,

Harry was a bad bugger - Tex, Don & Charlie – All is Forgiven (Universal Music Group, 2005)

Country GardensPercy Grainger, Leslie Howard Plays Percy Grainger, ABC Classics, 1991

Green Green Grass of Home, Jimmy Little, The Country Side of Jimmy Little, Summit Records, St Leonards, SRA250-018,

Allons A Lafayette, Andrew Baylor, “Tonight”, Andy Baylor’s Cajun Combo,

Blues on a Ukulele, Seaman Dan, Island Way, Steady Steady Music, or write to Seaman Dan, PO Box 154, Thursday Island, Qld, 4873

Convict Streak, Dave Warner From the Suburbs, Mugs Game, 1978,

Singing the Blues Seaman Dan and The Black Image Band, Beautiful Land and Sea, featuring Gerhardt Pearson on pedal steel,, email:


Don Watson, American Journeys, Knopf Books, 2008