Extinction Rebellion

Midnight Oil inspires protest against ties to climate criminals

Midnight Oil inspires protest against ties to climate criminals

By Extinction Rebellion Australia, on 30 March 2022

Rebels use ‘burning beds' to block Adelaide traffic outside the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) office.

The DISER office in Flinders Street is linked by a bridge to the Santos building; a stark reminder of the shameful and corrupt connection between Australian governments and the oil and gas industry.

The action referenced the famous anthem by Australian rock band Midnight Oil, who were bringing their final tour 'Resist' to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre that night.

XRSA Spokesperson Ben Brooker said:

Beds Are Burning was originally written as a call for First Nations reparations and sovereignty, but now has an increased literal resonance: while racist dispossession continues, the land burns underneath us from the catastrophic consequences of the climate crisis.

"Through this action we stand in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples fighting back against colonialist violence in the form of profit-driven fossil fuel companies that ignore First Nations voices and continue to despoil and destroy Country and sites of exceptional cultural significance.”

As part of the action, rebels dressed as Angus Taylor and Scott Morrison parodied the abhorrent relationship between Australia’s leaders and fossil fuel companies. Rebels Eugene (Scott Morrison) and Andrew (Angus Taylor) were arrested and later released with minimal bail conditions.

Rebels representing Angus Taylor, Scott Morrison and Fossil Fuel companies

The driving music and powerful lyrics of Midnight Oil added intensity to the action, and provided a reminder of the band’s fine record of political activism, particularly in aid of anti-nuclear, environmentalist and indigenous causes.

The ‘Resist’ tour is taking place nearly 20 years after Midnight Oil’s last full length studio release. The band say they will continue to make music together but have confirmed that it will be their last tour. Midnight Oil leaves an unmatched legacy; music journalist Karl Loder noted that Midnight Oil were "reputed to be Australia's most formidable live act", while Cold Chisel singer Jimmy Barnes called them "one of the greatest bands ever”.

Midnight Oil at the festival Des Vieilles Vharrues, France, 2017

Midnight Oil at the festival Des Vieilles Vharrues, France, 2017 - Photo by Thesupermat

The video for We Resist combines submissions of protest actions by Midnight Oil fans from around the globe (spot the clips from Extinction Rebellion Australia and related campaigns) as well as archival footage from events staged by the band over the years.

The video begins with statements by band members from archival footage:

“As we end this 20th century, we recognise that we’ve got a mega-crisis on our hands, that we’ve got to all approach and deal with, and a crisis that our leaders and corporations and governments have a prime responsibility to address seriously.”

“If there was anything that we’ve tried to achieve… it’s that Davids can stand up against Goliaths.”

“That’s what we’ve always believed in. We’ll keep on speaking. If they don’t listen now, someone will be listening tomorrow.”

The quotes are chilling, knowing that in the intervening 22 years our governments not only failed to act on environmental issues, but have become increasingly beholden to the fossil fuel industry. We Resist is a song for our times - we must stand up for our planet and fight back against the capture of our governments by climate criminals.

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