Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning

Da! Da! Daaa! (The thumping rhythm which begins this song)

Aussie rockers shouted about land usage in their home country, back in 1987. Probably, you’ve never heard of the Pintupi people, Australian aboriginals considered to be among the last of indigenous people in this country to hang on to their traditional ways of life. Alas, they were evicted from where they lived back in the 1950s and 1960s, which this rocking song is about.

Singer Peter Garrett later became an Australian member of parliament, and even, minister of environment, in a political career from 2004-2013.


Midnight Oil – Blue Sky Mine

With the Keystone Pipeline in the US and the Northern Gateway/Enbridge Pipeline in Canada, both making many headlines in both countries, let’s turn back to Aussie political rockers Midnight Oil.

Protest songs about mines are common folk tune subjects, going back at least to Woody Guthrie.

This 1990 song is actually about asbestos mining. Asbestos is cancer-causing, and it rankles many that it is still exported in Canada. There is even a town in the province of Quebec named Asbestos, where is also located one of the world’s largest asbestos mines. Political debate frequently comes down to banning the extrication and exportation of this blue substance, but the trade off of foregoing the economic value of it has typically trumped such a decision.

The balance between jobs and health, or jobs and the environment, or jobs and safety or… and so on… is a routine political challenge.