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Byron Shire
May 15, 2021

Xavier Rudd eyes a new political solution

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Melissa Hargraves

Echonetdaily caught up with Xavier Rudd at the recent anti-coal-seam-gas pop-up concert to talk about more than just the music he is making.

From his earliest recordings, Xavier has demonstrated an ability to connect with the human spirit and the universal challenges that face us. His music is popular all around the world and has lent itself to numerous worldwide and national environmental campaigns.

Xavier draws parallels with the Save the Kimberley campaign and the anti-CSG movement here on the east coast and identifies the rising of a new political party.

‘There are huge networks of people involved in these movements around the country. There can be quite a divide among these groups but with more oneness there is potentially a new political party.

‘A party needs to be born to become the new face of the environment. The Greens have had their day and are an easy target these days for the conservative parties and industries… it has all been seen and done.

‘It is time for a new movement… we have been having meetings about it with people that I am involved in which has been born out of Save the Kimberley. We are on a mission to tie the two sides of the country together, the east and the west. This (CSG) is a massive reason in that picture.

‘Over the next decade a new party could be way more effective regarding the environment.’

Lack of political representation is a common frustration amongst anti-CSG campaigners which has led many to question their sense of democracy. Xavier believes Australia has never been a democracy.

‘This CSG industry emphasises that we are not living in a democracy, particularly when it comes to the environment, but I don’t think we have ever lived under a democracy.

‘Our government is hopeless, ruthless and toxic in terms of protecting our land. So much land has been ruined in 200 years; so much culture has been devastated.

‘Compulsory acquisition still rings true; it happened in the dark ages when Australia was named Terra Nullius and is still being used today. Land grabs no matter what.’

Unusual alliances have become a common thread in commentary on the anti-CSG movement.

‘You don’t see that a lot in Australia; there is a lot of divide in this country culturally, a massive divide.’

Music and campaigns are not unusual alliances and have married themselves on many causes over thousands of years.

‘These kinds of gatherings here today are ceremony; they are modern-day ceremony of custodians of land. It’s a cleansing ceremony, where there is struggle there always needs to be that cleansing. Music has been bringing people together from the beginning of time all over our Earth. It has represented unity and connection between cultures for a long time.

‘The beauty of music is the fact that without even trying you are stripping away those layers so that people can just have that energetic connection. People can give what they need to give through that and then back to country in their own way, religion, whatever, to just let go.’

Xavier has never separated his music from life and has maintained a sacred connection to it.

‘I have always had a unique understanding with my music that as I have grown as a human I have understood it more. It has come through since I was little, I have just let it come. I have never sat down and tried to write a song, it just happens.

‘I have a rule where I don’t let my mind get involved. I feel it and let it happen, what it is is what it is. I don’t change it for any reason. As I have become popular I don’t change it to affect what people might want to hear, or for the radio.

‘It is still as raw as when I was little, I am just more competent at what I play and my vocabulary is better!’

Xavier claims to not fully understand his music when it happens but comprehends its meaning further along.

‘It can be six months ahead of me, that old spirit comes through and later on I work it out.’

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  1. Hi Xavier,

    I read with interest your comments about a new political party potentially coming out of the Save the Kimberley and anti-CSG movements currently gaining momentum across the country.

    I also see that you felt the need to exclaim that the “Greens have had their day” and are now an easy target. That is disappointing to me.

    I have been involved in much of the central organising in the CSG campaign in NSW having spent the last few years working for Greens NSW MP Jeremy Buckingham and in supporting in a strategic role the Lock the Gate Alliance.

    I am no longer working for the Greens but in an active campaign role still working in the coal and CSG campaign for The Sunrise Project looking to coordinate and build alliances to better support the movement.

    I have been joined with many other Greens members working in their local community groups and in turn we have all worked along side people from every other political party who have been motivated on this issue.

    The idea that there is the making of a new political party I think ignores the fact that the people engaged in this movement come from very diverse backgrounds. Trying to turn the current movement into a political party in my view will only succeed to split the movement as all those people who have seen this as a safe and non-partisan way to engage in an issue they care about walk away. Those of us involved working to change their political parties through community and party activism will also have no place left, and many of them are in leadership roles within the movement.

    People rarely vote on a single issue and within this movement there are very diverse opinions on everything other than the impact of irresponsible mining and the role of Governments in supporting it. To try to tie that together into a single party is fraught with danger for the whole movement. If yesterday’s announcement by the O’Farrell Government is anything to go by, it seems to be quite successful in its current model and gaining more support all the time. With patience it can become a powerful movement that commands all parties to action. Trying to turn it now into something political risks it all.

    Your contribution to the environment and culture is significant and your words carry significant weight, particularly on the Northern Rivers. I am hoping you are careful with those words so as to ensure this movement can continue to grow and be politically effective without the burden of trying to cajole such a diverse group into some other kind of political entity.

    Justin Field

  2. Jon, Xavier Rudd is nothing to do with Kevin Rudd. What a bizzare commen. Xavier is a musician whose songs speak directly to the heart and spirit of the listener.


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