Kids' IR show angers Libs

Matt Price
The Australian, July 08, 2006
A CANBERRA high school has vigorously defended its scathingly one-sided portrayal of the Howard Government's industrial relations laws, which swept its students to victory in the national capital's rock eisteddfod
grand final.

Sounding like a Labor Party advertisement, the theme of Calwell High School's eight-minute The Devil's In The Detail revue reads: "Penalty rates ... gone! Annual leave loading ... So long! Pay rise ... are you kidding! Public holidays ... no way! Meal breaks ... uh uh! Radical new industrial relations laws are being used extensively to axe hard won and long standing working conditions and cut the take home pay of millions of Australian employees."

The Calwell show, deemed "totally inappropriate" by the federal Government, featured a spoof John Howard arriving on stage to the Eurythmics' Would I Lie To You, flying pigs and a girl physically coerced by malevolent boss figures into signing a gigantic workplace agreement.

The winning eisteddfod performance on Thursday night depicted the demise of Christmas holidays and distressed workers being banned from going to the toilet. The central character was a sinister spruiking MC dressed as Lucifer.

The act, advertised as a "satirical take on Work Choices", was performed on a stage decorated with three large banners reading, "Proudly sponsored by the Australian Government."

Through various agencies, the Howard Government supports the rock eisteddfod. As well as the major award, the Calwell students won a Health Department trophy for "best concept". Judges praised the performance, based partly on Fritz Lang's Metropolis, the bleak 1927 anti-capitalist film.

Afterwards, one of the Calwell girls explained to a packed audience that the piece had been devised by the students to express concerns that their rights were being eroded. CONTINUED>


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