ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
The nation risks losing a generation of creative artists should the government go ahead with their plan to drug test recipients of the New Start and Youth Allowance, according to a report commissioned by the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA).
In particular, our pantomime and slapstick acts.
Concerns for the future of the industry are growing, the report says, leaving some to come the conclusion that planned measure by the Morrison Government might wipe out pantomime all together.
“If the government drug tests Youth Allowance, where will the next Umbilical Brothers come from?” the report asks.
Known to fans at the ‘Umbies’, the Umbilical Brothers have become one of the nation’s premiere live entertainment exports, selling out arenas from Armidale to Zurich.
Born out of a Western Sydney drama programme, the report says the comedy duo received the AusStudy Youth Allowance while studying at a tertiary performance college.
“If you’ve ever seen an Umbie show, you’ll know that a lot of bamboo schooners have gone into it,” said the report.
“When they were studying, no doubt most of their Youth Allowance was going toward rent, food and that sticky green shit. As it was the early 90s, perhaps the odd clean, cheap Beirut yippiebean was budgeted in from time to time,”
“If the government starts to drug test Youth Allowance and New Start, will Hillsong Pop be the only music left that’s made by young people? Newsflash! Rich people don’t make music! They put on a leather jacket twice a year and go see someone the reanimated corpse of Van Morrison or Joni Mitchell!”
“If Australia wants to have a rich creative scene with great music and pantomime theatre, then we can’t drug test the Youth Allowance!”
The Advocate reached out to Prime Minister’s Office for comment but have yet to receive a reply.
More to come.