Saturday, April 02, 2011

Dead Kennedys' Jello Biafra On Touring Queensland In The Early 1980s :

It's the state that's referred to, in other parts of Australia, in hushed tones, because it's so openly racist and repressive. It's run by a state dictator, a kind of Huey Long, named Joh Bjelke-Petersen. His National Party hardly holds any power anywhere else in Australia because they're considered the right-wing lunatic fringe. But at home he's been able to keep in power by outrageous forms of gerrymandering, and is widely rumored to have rigged every election. He has beefed up the police force, and given them carte0blanche to do what they want to keep people from questioning things.

In Australia, there is no constitution and no laws about search and seizure, so the cops can, and do, kick in your door, and smash up your house, if they want. They've been known to break up conversations on the streets involving three or more people, cause they didn't want any assembly on the street. I met many people in Sydney who had fled Brisbane because they were being pulled over and detained for a holf hour or so every day. I met a lot of very warm people there, very radical in the head, but very afraid to talk. I felt safer walking around on the streets of East Berlin than I did in Brisbane.

Brisbane is also where Darren, our drummer, was picked out of a crowd of about 15 white people, and arrested for drinking in public, even though his can of beer was unopened. When Ray, our guitarist, tried to intervene, he was thrown in another police car and taken away. Also, Bjelke-Petersen's people are trying to take away the Aborigine's right to vote and own land, claiming they "haven't gotten that far up the evolutionary scale." And still, his party is kept in office. Some of his cronies, in fact the head of the Chamber of Commerce, wants to enact forced sterilization laws to kill off the Aborigines.

Summing up Brisbane, all I can say is it was the closest thing to a heavy, heavy, junta-style police state I've ever been in. I was looking over my shoulder a lot!
Biafra also supplies a state by state roundup of the Australian rock and punk music scene in the first half of the 1980s.