Jimmy Barnes Criticises Lockout Laws At Parliament House Performance

Aussie rock icon Jimmy Barnes had a good old go at the NSW lockout laws during a performance for politicians and staffers outside Parliament House last night.

The gig was instigated by government backbencher Ewen Jones in a bid to get others in parliament engaged in the music industry. A number of other Australian musicians were also present, including Josh Pyke, Paul Dempsey and Baby Animals’ Suze DeMarchi.

Jones is the the Federal Member for Herbet, Townsville, and is keen to include music in the innovation and small business portfolios so it can garner more formal support. He said, “You won’t find a more creative, more innovating industry than music. This is perfect for our agenda.”

Jimmy Barnes performed an acoustic version of Cold Chisel‘s Flame Trees and spoke passionately about musicians needing support, while also criticising the state’s lockout laws.

“The live music industry needs to be supported, the hotels association needs to get behind us,” he said. “We need politicians to help us with lockout laws, there’s got to be better ways with dealing with that, that don’t compromise live music.”

“Musicians struggle for most of their careers. There needs to be more funding around the arts, for music, for rock music. I’ve seen a lot of great musicians, a lot of great songwriters, come and starve to death and disappear.”

Jones even pitched the idea of having a music festival on Capital Hill in Canberra. “I want to see it looking out towards the War Memorial, looking out down the drive with electric guitars,” he said. “My dream is to see Tim Rogers and You Am I, playing Berlin Chair at full throttle, because no one in the world attacks a guitar like an Australian.”

To put hard figures to the hardships of the Aussie music industry, Jones highlighted that while the top 2% of Australian artists make $200,000 a year in the $15-billion-a-year industry, 78% of artists make less than $10k a year.

If Barnes’ popularity among pollies at the gig was anything to go by, maybe this is just what the music industry needs.

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