Hey Triple J: please change the date (again)!

I celebrated Australian music and the Hottest 100 on Sunday. But I want the date to change.

Preferably in a way that isn’t so overly political this time. That reduces and not compounds the division in our society.

The Hottest 100 should be on a day that all Australians, from all walks of life, can celebrate. From our Nation’s First People, fifth generation Australians, the person who just received their citizenship during an Australia Day ceremony, and perhaps most troublingly here, Jewish Australians who should not have to suffer the indignity and harsh injustice of Triple J allowing the Hottest 100 to air on International Holocaust Survivors Day.

Albrecht Dümling’s 2011 book, The Vanished Musicians: Jewish Refugees in Australia, reveals the previously unknown experiences of scores of Jewish refugee musicians who fled Nazi Germany.

Sadly, the Musicians Union of Australia prevented (or hamstrung) many of these talented musicians from gaining work in the profession. Richard Goldner, a first violist in the Musica Viva Orchestra in Vienna was forced to work a factory job after the Musicians Union intervened to prevent his joining the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Instances like this have no doubt significantly limited the cultural contribution made by those refugees and the understanding and respect the average Australian has for their historical ethno-cultural plight. But this can change.

It may not seem like there are a significant number of people upset about Triple J’s decision to broadcast the Hottest 100 on 27 January 2019. But then, 30 years ago, when the first “Hot 100” (as it was then known) went to air, there were not a great many voices motivated to speak out on “Invasion Day”, the increasingly, socially permissible lexicon for “Australia Day” amongst woke millennials who, like lemmings, will follow each other off the cliff of social justice. They support Triple J’s decision with no regard to consistency and no thought of the identity group they are now marginalising instead.

We can only hope that one day a prominent Australian artist will take Triple J to task for choosing to celebrate the year in music on an internationally recognised day of mourning for the Jewish community, much like Australian hip-hop duo AB Original, who can be credited with positively contributing to the “change the date” movement with their track “January 26.”

The Australian media have their share of blame of which they are ignorant. The journalistic class sharpened their swords on Monday, publishing pieces attacking a Western Australian model who was filmed drinking beer on Australia day from a Didgeridoo. They quoted people on social media who accused the woman of being “trashy”, “ignorant” and a “disgusting human”.

Yet there was stark silence for those maligned by the trashy and ignorant decision to host the Hottest 100 on a day when holocaust survivors recounted their harrowing experiences to audiences across the world.

Perhaps Triple J simply failed to appreciate the global significance of the date and in future years we won’t see the Hottest 100 scheduled for January 27. Perhaps they do believe all minorities deserve to be heard.

If Triple J’s goal was to appear more contemporary, relevant and ‘progressive’ then the date change has likely been a raging success. If our public broadcaster’s objective was to encourage positive conversation and unify the country then it has been tantamount to an unmitigated disaster.

Mitchell Ablett-Nelson

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