Bartlett's Blog

Andrew Bartlett has been active in politics for over 20 years, including as a Queensland Senator from 1997-2008. This blog started in 2004 and reflects his own views, independent of any political party or organisation.

4ZZZ’s 40th coming up

Brisbane’s independent music radio station 4ZZZ FM hits its 40th birthday this year. (The actual 40th anniversary of the first broadcast is not until 8th December, but it's something worth building up to!) It was the first community radio and first FM radio station in Queensland. At the time FM – being in stereo, as opposed to the mono sound of the traditional AM band – was a ...


Anita Heiss – positive messages in the face of negative attacks

A few weeks ago I interviewed author Anita Heiss about her new book Am I Black Enough For You?  The book is partly a personal memoir and partly explores the issue of Aboriginal identity.  You can listen to the interview at this link. Anita Heiss was one of a number of people who took columnist Andrew Bolt to court for making a range of false claims which in effect ...

A long time between hits

In amongst all the politics and policy stuff, I try to make time to do some things that are completely disconnected from that*.  One thing I’ve found myself doing recently is doing a bit of practicing with a band, which has led to me doing a live performance for the first time in a long time.  Readers of this blog with a very long memory for minor matters ...

The Ups & Downs of Ups & Downs – interview with Greg Atkinson

I've mentioned before my liking for the 80s Brisbane band Ups and Downs. I got a chance to interview their lead singer Greg Atkinson on 4ZzZ FM a few weeks ago. They've released a compilation CD of 20 of their best tunes and played a gig in Brisbane earlier this month to promote and celebrate it. It was a fairly long interview, but I found it very interesting to ...

Interview with McKisko

One of the best things about doing a weekly show on local radio station 4ZzZ-FM is getting the chance to find out so much about the huge number of local performers producing such a wide variety of fabulous sounds these days - and sometimes I get to talk with some of them on air as well. I had such a chance with my show this week, talking with ...

Interview with Greens’ Senator Scott Ludlam on this week’s 4ZZZ show

This week I had the privilege of having Greens' Senator Scott Ludlam in the studio for an interview.  Together with my regular interlocutor, Mr Peter J Black, we spoke about the recent carbon pricing announcement, the internet filter and the NBN, and nuclear waste, nuclear power and Fukushima. You can listen to it all by clicking on this link - (unfortunately due to copyright laws I have to edit out ...

The future of the Bookshop – interview with the owner of one of Brisbane’s older book outlets

Nick Sherry drew a lot of media coverage (and opprobrium from bookshop owners/representatives) this week for his suggestion that in five years time, the traditional book store as we know it will barely exist outside of major cities.  By total coincidence (or as an example of my uncanny ability to tap into current stories even before they've happened), I interviewed Hamish Alcorn, the proprietor of Brisbane bookstore Archives ...

Today’s 4ZzZ interview with Peter Black + playlist

This is the playlist from my shift on 4ZzZ FM today, plus the file has my interview for this week with Peter J Black - where we talk about the internet, long long weekends, Julia Gillard, refugee policy, an interesting campaign about male depression and suicide and also do some blaming of Canada (for dumb electoral laws, not depression and suicide). Peter_Black_25_April.mp3 Listen on Posterous This week, my suggestion of ...

This week’s shift on 4ZzZ

My regular talk with Peter Black this week covered the NSW election result, some of the criticisms of the Greens from Julia Gillard and regarding Israel policy, plus the LNP, Libya and the Logies.  You can listen to it by going to this link. The playlist for this week's show is here, and my suggestion for a Brisbane band to check out is electronic duo Edge of Colour, who ...

Interview with Natalie Pa’apa’a from Blue King Brown

I was fortunate enough this week to be able to do a live interview with Natalie Pa'apa'a, the singer of Blue King Brown on my weekly show on 4ZzZ FM.  I find Blue King Brown to be one of the more vibrant and interesting amongst what is admittedly a very large, diverse and multifaceted range of Australian outfits. They also aren't shy in singing about social and political ...

This week’s 4ZzZ playlist & Peter Black interview

This week's chat on 4ZzZ FM with Peter Black can be heard at this link.  It covers the shit happens shambles, developments in Egypt, and courts and the media in the digital era. The songlist from this week's show is at this link. My recommended Brisbane artist of the week is Bec Laughton - a local soul singer with a great voice.

Rap Relief: Another Qld floods fundraiser

Soulmate Records, Choose Mics and Born Fresh Records presents Rap Relief - a collective of 7 QLD artists who are raising money for QLD flood relief. Produced by Mules, "Together" is an awesome track available for download for TWO BUCKS from with all proceeds going to disaster relief efforts. Performed by Seven, Syntax, Choose Mics, 4th (Vegas Aces) and Tommy Ill.

Peter Black on the floods, some end of year things + Bris band of the week

My talk with Peter Black on 4ZzZ-FM this week covered a range of topics which regularly appear at the start of a new year, including the release of 30 year old Cabinet papers, new laws coming into effect, end of year lists and campaigning for the next US Congressional elections. We also spoke of the enormous and tragic floods hitting much of Queensland. (You can donate to the ...

From my 4ZzZ show this week: More on wikileaks, anarchy in the UK and banks + my Brisband of the week

You can listen to this week's radio chat with Peter Black by going to this link.  This week we devote a lot of time to the evolving wikileaks saga, plus the London riots, banking reform, Google's 2010 zeitgeist, and more bitching about Australia's cricket selectors. For my Brisbane band of the week, I'll nominate Butcher Birds. They don't have anything new out - I just think they're a great band ...

Peter Black on wikileaks + Brisband of the week: this week’s 4ZzZ show

As usual on my Monday morning radio shift on community radio 4ZzZ-FM (which is celebrating it's 35th birthday this week), I had a prolonged chat with social media consumer, commentator and lawyer Peter Black.  You can listen to this week's talk at this link.  A large part of our conversation this week focused on the Wikileaks issue - a debate with quite a number of aspects to it. ...

Interviews from my 4ZzZ show: Peter Black, BEMAC + the Church

Click on this link to listen to the interview I did with Peter Black on my show on community radio 4ZZZ-FM this week.  We talked about the USA midterm election results and the Brisbane International Film Festival, as well as a bit of bank bashing and a mention of Longreads - a website dedicated to long-form journalism. I also interviewed Jo Pratt, Director of BEMAC, a local organisation dedicated ...

The Church – then and now

I did an interview on my radio show this morning on 4ZZZ with Tim Powles, drummer and producer of The Church. It was nominally about the 30th anniversary tour the band is about to embark on – including shows in Brisbane this month - but it really went more to the history of the band and where they and the music industry is at these days. I remember ...

Listen in to Choose Mics

Hip hop fans in Brisbane might be interested in tuning in to my radio show on 4ZZZ FM this Monday morning around 7:30am. I’ll be talking with the Gold Coast based duo Choose Mics, who are launching their debut full length album Beggars Can’t Be Choosers at the Step Inn in the Valley this coming Friday night as part of what will be a big night for fans of hip-hop/rap/urban ...

Riptides reforming for a one off Brisbane show

Riptides reforming for a one off show. Ground-breaking Brisbane band The Riptides, who played an influential role in the post-punk independent music scene in Brisbane and Australia, are reforming for a one-off show at 4pm on Sunday 18 April at the University of Queensland’s Great Court. It’s happening as part of the University’s centenary celebrations. The band was formed in the late 1970s by students at the University, crystallising as ...

New book on Palm Island’s history

The latest inquest into the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee in police custody on Palm Island – now well over five years ago - has concluded.  Once again Mulrunji’s family and the wider community will wait for findings to be published – just as they still await the publication of the report by the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) in the flaws in the Police investigation into the death.  The ...


Mini Posts

  • Rhetoric vs reality

    I’ve had a break from writing for a variety of reasons, but the reckless approach the new Queensland government is taking to their spending decisions – and the straightout nonsensicality of some of their claims – roused me enough to pen a piece for New Matilda. Time will tell whether the Newman government will start trying to ensure their statements have some connection with reality – I suggest the way they respond next year to the findings of the inquiry into child safety which they’ve established will be a significant test.

  • End of LP the end of a blogging era

    Back in October, I wrote here about the decline or re-defining of blogs, at least in the Australian political arena.  The relatively few posts I’ve done on this blog since then shows how much less useful I find it to do my own blog than I used to, and as I mentioned back then, a big reason why I don’t read many of the blogs I used to is because the valuable links to many interesting stories, ideas and pieces of information can be found more easily through Twitter or Facebook, sometimes with comment threads which are also at least as good.

    The recent announcement by the Larvatus Prodeo blog that they are ceasing to operate is quite a significant one. (more…)

  • A final comment on Labor’s leadership laments

    Fundamentally, I don’t greatly care about the outcome of Labor’s leadership travails. As my previous post indicates, the bigger issue is that the ALP is being fundamentally damaged by the toxicity of this brawl, and the fact that the brawl is happening in this way is a sign of some much greater problems within Labor. Whatever the immediate outcome, I think those problems are likely to continue.  The outcome of the leadership contest (including the size of what will surely be a Gillard victory) will shape how those problems play out, but they will still be there.

    Not surprisingly, I see this as presenting an opportunity for the Greens to build some support, but more importantly it presets extra responsibility and obligation for the Greens to be a stronger counter to what is a seriously reactionary Coalition.

    But seeing we’re all pundits now, and despite having little inside knowledge, my prediction is that there will be no ‘third candidate’ in tomorrow’s leadership ballot.  Julia Gillard will win comfortably. The instability will not disappear. It’s quite possible there will be another leadership ballot before the election but Kevin Rudd will not become leader then either. No matter how good Kevin Rudd looks in the polls, that polling lead would disappear very quickly if he was back in the PM’s job.

  • The Ups & Downs of Ups & Downs – interview with Greg Atkinson

    I’ve mentioned before my liking for the 80s Brisbane band Ups and Downs. I got a chance to interview their lead singer Greg Atkinson on 4ZzZ FM a few weeks ago. They’ve released a compilation CD of 20 of their best tunes and played a gig in Brisbane earlier this month to promote and celebrate it.

    It was a fairly long interview, but I found it very interesting to hear the views of someone who has been active in the independent sphere of the music industry for so long about what has changed and what is the same.

    You can listen to the interview at this link.

  • Speeches to refugee rally + SIEV-X exhibition

    A local activist helpfully recorded speeches given by myself and by Julian Burnside at a refugee rights rally held in Brisbane last Saturday.  You can listen to them here and here. The rally was held to mark the tenth anniversary of the sinking of the SIEV-X.  353 refugees drowned when that refugee boat sank on the way to Australia on 19 October 2001.  There is a beautiful exhibition at The Studio on the ground level at the State Library of Qld this week, commemorating that anniversary. It finishes this weekend – I strongly recommend you try to get along for a look if you have a chance. The Library also has a screening of the documentary Hope on Friday October 28 – this film tell the story of Amal Basry, one of the few survivors of that tragedy.