Priority One, Pig’s Bum

Posted: February 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

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In 1985, the International Year of Youth, the Hawke Labor Government launched their ‘Priority One’ campaign. The campaign’s stated aim was to encourage Australian youth to express their concerns and ideas for the future. On top of the distribution of thousands of newsletters promoting the Government’s policies, a special ‘Priority One’ rock concert, and TV appearances by Bob Hawke to highlight that youth were now ‘priority one’, the campaign included a national youth phone-in. According to Hawke, the phone-in would help his Government hear and address young people’s concerns about education, employment and training. Since he was “closely associated with young people” he knew they “didn’t want things just shoved down their neck”. Appearing on Countdown with Molly Meldrum, Hawke announced he’d be taking calls from young people around the nation, broadcast live on various radio stations. Of course, not all callers would be put through to the Prime Minister. His minders would select certain calls for him to answer. The rest would be handled by a different “trained operator”.

The ‘Priority One’ campaign’s TV ad was first aired on Countdown on December 10, 1985

On the day of the national phone-in I was ready to let Hawke know about some of my concerns. I’d prepared a question I thought Hawke would be keen to answer. It was something like; ‘Can you tell me what your Government is doing to lessen youth unemployment?’ His minders decided this was exactly the type of question they were looking for, and after a fair bit of waiting on the line, I was put live to air. Hawke replied with the Government’s standard line that they were busy creating 500,000 jobs. I then asked him how many of these jobs were going to be full-time and permanent. At the time, the Government was busy manufacturing as many casual, part-time and temporary positions as possible, to disguise the unemployment figures and to give the impression they were creating jobs (see The WOW Factor for more on this). The Prime Minister wasn’t happy about the follow up question, or my continuing interrogation of his Government’s employment and training policies. After a fairly lengthy and fiery exchange, someone pulled the plug. The announcer apologised to Mr Hawke and made a derogatory comment about my behaviour and unemployed people in general. To which Hawke replied; “Oh well, don’t let’s knock them too much. They haven’t been doing well”.

 A short time later, Sydney band Mutant Death produced their song ‘Priority One, Pig’s Bum’, which used cut-up excerpts from our on-air exchange. Although the song never made it onto Countdown, the video clip has appeared on Rage a few times.

And here’s another song, from the same Mutant Death single, ‘Police Verbals’

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