With sweeping new powers, that man – Immigration minister Dutton – has deported hundreds of permanent residents in numbers not seen since World War 2. Cases are emerging in the media of non-citizens, who have families here and have lived here since childhood, being deported for a range of minor offences including driving without a license and road rage.
Where then would that have left people like The Easybeats’ singer Stevie Wright – already drug addicted in the early 70s and charged with housebreaking and arrested for heroin abuse? Or Bon Scott, Scottish-born AC/DC vocalist, who served 9 months in juvenile detention for unlawful carnal knowledge, escaping custody and theft? Or the stream of expatriate European musos who came to the attention of the law?
The Countdown phenomenon could never have happened in our current political climate, and certainly not in the reign of heartless right-wing Immigration minister Dutton – a bitter ex-cop. In 2017, many of those key players of that burgeoning Aussie music scene would be in immigration detention, torn from their families and facing the prospect of deportation. Many ironically would be imprisoned in Villawood Detention Centre, the very same ‘hostel’ where The Easybeats first met many years ago.
Following the release of their international hit ‘Friday On My Mind’, The Easybeats gave an English radio interview, only to be mildly offended when the interviewer referred to them as an English band. ‘We’re Australian!’ they retorted loudly. ‘Three of you are British and two of you are Dutch,’ countered the interviewer, ‘What exactly makes you Australian?’
‘The music!’ they replied in unison.
You’ve been watching Countdown 2017 and this is the day the music died. Goodnight Australia.