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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

triple j's Hottest 100 is about music, the government makes it about politics

triple j's Hottest 100 is about music, the government makes it about politics

ABC's national youth radio station, triple j, caused shock-waves on Monday, 27 November 2017, when it announced that it would no longer broadcast its annual iconic Hottest 100 on Australia Day. This caused a massive wave of lemon-sucking lip-pursing from people who have can't even spell JJJ ... and from a few who claim they're triple j fans, but apparently would rather be listening to Kyle and Jackie O.

lemon-sucking lip-pursing from people who can't spell JJJ

One of the reasons for the move, is that the Hottest 100 has been unwittingly caught up in the increasing debate over moving the Australia Day holiday to a more culturally sensitive date. The show plays the 100 most popular new songs played on triple j during the year prior, as voted by listeners.The show was never meant to be political and was never about Australia Day and all it's patriotic 'glory'.

The station surveyed its audience and found that some 60% of 65,000 respondents were in favour of the move(1).  After also consulting with artists, the community and indigenous groups, triple j's management moved the Hottest 100 to the last weekend in January commencing 2018. This does mean that on occasion, including in 2019, the weekend will coincide with Australia Day ... and the next time that will happen will be 2030. This removes the political element of the the show being held on a day that is increasingly the subject of significant political debate about indigenous recognition and the genocide and human rights abuses that followed white settlement.

It may surprise some people, but the Hottest 100 was not played on the First Fleet that landed in 1788. It is not played during citizenship ceremonies and it certainly isn't required listening to be a dinky-di ocker.

The lemon-suckers who are arguing against the move, clearly are not aware of the history of this great radio show and the fact that it hasn't always been held on Australia Day. The Hottest 100 first went to air on 5 March 1989. It wasn't until 1998, that it began regularly appearing on Australia Day, however, in 2004, the show was held on 25 January(2).

So what does Australia's conservative government do about this move? They threaten to cut funding to the ABC if the show is moved. It is a radio show playing music for god's sake, yet the government is acting as though the ABC should be its propaganda arm, sycophantically falling in lock-step with every government policy. Who says that conservatives welcome freedom of speech?

Every time the ABC dares to challenge the government, it is accused of left-wing bias and not being patriotic. This is a disturbing development by the government, to constantly challenge the independence of the national broadcaster, one of Australia's few truly independent networks with fair and balanced reporting. The Liberal and National Party coalition does not consider criticism of the government to be fair and balanced, and considers anything outside of its myopic viewpoint to be a personal attack on Australian values. As if the Liberal and National Parties are the sole guardians of Australian values ... god help us ... the only values the coalition has been the guardian of are those of racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and the systemic human rights abuses meted out on persecuted and suffering peoples seeking asylum.

triple j has been accused of making a political statement by moving the Hottest 100, yet that is exactly what their management is attempting to avoid. It is the coalition government and those opposed to the move, who are making this political. The government, yet again, is hiding behind its dog-whistling by accusing the ABC of being 'left-wing' and 'politically correct'.

Ironically, while many in the government are currently arguing for marriage equality legislation to allow for conscientious objection, it is also opposing those who have a conscientious objection to being part of an increasingly toxic debate about Australian values on day that is synonymous with invasion.

The Hottest 100 is an awesome show playing awesome music. Yes, it was a great accompaniment to a BBQ and a few beers with mates on the Australia Day public holiday. However, it will still be a great accompaniment to BBQs and beers on a weekend. If anything, it will be better because triple j will countdown the Hottest 100 on the Saturday, and then follow up on the Sunday with the top 100 to 200 songs. What a fantastic way to spend a weekend.

What's better than one day of the Hottest 100? Two days of the Hottest 200! Party time!

You rock, triple j.


1. ABC, Paul Donoughue, The Hottest 100 won't be held on Australia Day next year, triple j says, 27 November 2017, Accessed 28 November 2017.

2. triple J, triple j's Hottest 100 is moving to a new date and here's why, 27 November 2017, Accessed 28 November 2017.

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