Tex Perkins, who rose to prominence as a member of Beasts Of Bourbon and The Cruel Sea, will be running as an independent candidate for the marginal seat of Albert Park in the upcoming Victorian State Election.
The St Kilda-based Perkins’ primary platform is to raise the necessary funds needed to save beloved but embattled Melbourne music venue the Palais Theatre. The Age reports the repair bill for the Palais Theatre is estimated at $32.5 million, after almost 90 years of neglect.
Port Phillip Council, who have managed the building since ’06, recently pledged $7.5 million on the basis that the state flips the bill for the remaining $25 million. Since the state has so far failed to comply, Perkins, who has been campaigning for state funding as part of I Love My Palais, has decided to put his hat in the political arena, with the election only three weeks away.
“We’d been brainstorming about how [to further] the awareness campaign,” Perkins told Fairfax Media. “We’d like to get enough profile and momentum … enough to scare the major parties into adopting this as their policy.” While Perkins continues to tour in the lead-up to the election, his campaign will be run by members of I Love My Palais committee.
Perkins is hopeful that “the depth of voter disillusionment” could result in the “frightening possibility” that he might win, and oust current Albert Park MP Martin Foley of the Labor Party.
In a statement released by Perkins, the Australian music icon said “the neglect of such an iconic performance venue, along with all the buck-passing from both sides of politics – it’s just not good enough.”
“The Palais is a state-owned heritage building and there are policies for how you maintain these buildings,” stated Perkins. “”Instead, she has been neglected by both sides of politics for far too many years.”
With “loads” of artists booked to play the still operational, though scaffolding-covered venue, Perkins said “push has finally come to shove”. “She needs a funding commitment now.”
Perkins entry into the state election comes only days after The Rolling Stones urged fans to donate in order to repair the Palais Theatre. “I’d just like to tell you, we played at the Palais Theatre about 50 years ago,” frontman Mick Jagger told fans during the Stones’ gig at Rod Laver Arena. “We’re still here… The Palais Theatre is just about still there – give generously.”
Victorian politics is currently facing the possibility of having two rock acts in their midst, with Gotye-inclusive trio The Basics securing party status for their grassroots Rock ‘n’ Roll Party in the upcoming election.