FROM THE EDITOR
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