The Weekend Australian - Review - - Profile - TIM DOU­GLAS

It’s hard to be­lieve it has been al­most 20 years since Mid­night Oil made its most po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated state­ment. On Oc­to­ber 1, 2000, the band took the stage at the Syd­ney Olympics clos­ing cer­e­mony and re­vealed to the world T-shirts bran­dish­ing a sin­gle pow­er­ful state­ment: Sorry. That apol­ogy, of course, was aimed at Abo­rig­i­nal Aus­tralia. It would be an­other eight years be­fore the govern­ment, un­der prime min­is­ter Kevin Rudd, of­fi­cially would apol­o­gise to Indige­nous peo­ple, but the Oils in that mo­ment had put the is­sue on the in­ter­na­tional stage. The 2000 Olympics had al­ready been a cat­a­lyst for a kind of cul­tural meta­mor­pho­sis. Run­ner Cathy Freeman’s fa­mous vic­tory in the 400m seemed to unite Indige­nous and non-Indige­nous Aus­tralia on an un­prece­dented scale. (If you haven’t seen Lau­rence Bil­liet’s out­stand­ing doc­u­men­tary, about which Graeme Blun­dell wrote last week in these pages, I urge you to do so.) The Oils’ con­tro­ver­sial Sorry move might have been a sen­sa­tion at the time but it was un­sur­pris­ing in its own way; the band has never been silent about its views on so­cial is­sues. And, as An­drew McMillen writes in this is­sue, in 2020 very lit­tle has changed. Hav­ing re­united last year for a na­tional and in­ter­na­tional tour, the band spent its time in lock­down cre­at­ing a new al­bum of col­lab­o­ra­tions with the cream of the coun­try’s Indige­nous mu­si­cians. It’s an am­bi­tious and timely re­lease, with some of the big­gest names in Aus­tralian mu­sic. It’s an al­bum that asks us to re­flect on Aus­tralia’s re­la­tion­ship with Indige­nous Aus­tralia, and on that mo­ment 20 years ago when the Oils said sorry on be­half of a na­tion. Per­haps the real ques­tion Mid­night Oil is ask­ing is this: has any­thing changed?

Un­wind with a good book on us. Choose from the un­for­get­table first­hand ac­count of a dec­o­rated World War II medic who risked his life to save the heroes of D-Day in by Ray Lam­bert and

Jim De­Fe­lice, the grip­ping fan­tasy novel

Jeff Van­derMeer, and Jef­fery Deaver’s fast paced thriller about two young men ac­cused of ter­ri­ble hate crimes in

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