Music legend and political activist Billy Bragg is set to lock horns with former Midnight Oil frontman and current Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, Peter Garrett.
Both Bragg and Garrett made their names in the 1980s with politically minded music, Bragg as a solo artist and Garrett with Midnight Oil. Bragg, usually associated with working class issues, formed the musicians alliance Red Wedge in 1987 with Paul Weller which aimed to oust the UK Thatcher government.
The “There Is Power In A Union” singer is currently in Australia to perform a series of shows including a set of tribute performances for American folk icon Woodie Guthrie.
Bragg also played a free concert outside Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station this morning after accepting an invitation from the National Union of Workers to perform for Anti-Poverty Week.
He explained his involvement to The Age, saying he was just trying to “live up to Woodie’s example”.
“I’m here to celebrate the legacy of Woodie Guthrie,” he said. Bragg said Guthrie sang about “ordinary people needing to earn proper money” and believed they “should be taking part in the success of a society… But it has to be more than just singing the songs … I had to do more than just do some gigs,” he said.
Bragg is no stranger to the Q&A format, having appeared on UK equivalent Question Time earlier in the year.
He told The Age secure jobs are the key to a strong economy, along with a guarantee that people will get a proper wage. “There should be a living wage, not a minimum wage,” he said.
“Particularly major companies making huge profits, we should be encouraging them to pay a living wage. It’s ordinary working people spending their money in shops that make the economy grow.”
On the other hand, Garrett will likely try to get music fans on side by pushing the Government’s Labor Loves Live Music campaign, as previously reported. The initiative aims to connect with younger voters and calls on local councils to enact planning controls that promote live music and the protection of existing venues and live music culture.
At the time, Garrett pointed out the crucial role that live music venues play in Australia, and especially Sydney’s cultural development. “Our city should have heaps of places available for musicians of all genres to play,” he said.
“Even in a digital world, being on a stage in front of an audience is essential for most musicians to express their craft and build an audience, and of course make a living,” added the former Midnight Oil frontman.
With a panel that also includes former Howard Government minister Amanda Vanstone and Shadow Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, there’s no doubt there will be some fireworks come Monday night. Knowing the shows popularity on Twitter, you can expect a social media meltdown, so you better get your witty #qanda tweets in early.
Q&A will air on the ABC Monday night at 9.30pm.
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