Queen’s Terrace in Parliament House was a packed house last night for the second annual Parliamentary Friends of Australian Music event. The venue change to the public area of Parliament, from one of the courtyards used last year was because Department of Parliamentary Services wouldn’t accommodate it, according to the evening’s MC, Herald Sun journo Rob Harris. “Thanks for nothing, DPS”.
Harris also suggested having a moment’s silence for Mark Latham. “But, fuck it.”
Opening the event was The Australian‘s indefatigable Strewth scribe James Jeffrey on the bagpipes playing AC/DC’s Thunderstruck, which brought the house down but not in a way that means more security measures are required. Liberal MP Nicolle Flint and Labor MP Stephen Jones led the proceedings. In a lengthy intro, Flint listed six ways she thought politicians and musicians were similar, including a reference to being opposed to nanny-state laws impacting live music. This prompted one Labor (we assume) staffer in the audience to make a sly reference to former Liberal Premier Mike Baird’s lockout laws.
Diesel, Megan Washington, Montaigne, Ross Wilson from Daddy Cool, and Kav Temperly from Eskimo Joe all rocked the House with helpful interludes talking about how good copyright is, songwriting courses, grants and other things APRA and the Australian Hotels Association (as sponsors of the event) wanted to lobby the parliamentarians on.
Darryl Braithwaite and his bright white hair stole the show, however. In an era where the Parliament is so divided on party lines, never has there been a better show of unity than watching parliamentarians and staffers of all stripes from Labor, to Liberals, to Greens, to the Nick Xenophon Team, and even One Nation chief of staff James Ashby (conspicuously absent from the Peter Slipper portrait unveiling) all singing the early-’90s classic The Horses in unison under the Australian flag of Parliament waving on a crisp and clear Canberra night.
Wilson did not play Eagle Rock, which one parliamentarian suggested was because, if he did, everyone would have to drop their pants. And no one wants that.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for DPS told Crikey that the venue was chosen by a member, and DPS had nothing to do with it.
“Thanks for nothing, Rob Harris,” the DPS spokesperson said.