PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Australians Unite

Nikki Tranter

We discovered, in the most painful and tragic way, that we're not so safe, after all.

Australians Unite

Airtime: Sunday, 20 October, 6.30pm
Cast: Andrew Daddo, Melissa Doyle
Network: Seven Network, Australia
Creator: Seven Network

On the anniversary of September 11, images of the effects of terrorism were again splashed across newspapers and television screens around the world. The day was dedicated to the memories of the fallen, and those declared heroes for helping others through the devastation. While such destruction is not uncommon in many nations around the world, here in Australia, such images were nearly impossible to comprehend, as we'd never experienced anything like this destruction. And, because we are so far removed from terrorism centers like the U.S.A., the Middle East, and Ireland, we doubted we ever would.

Sunday, October 12 changed everything. Glued to our television sets that night, we saw that two bombs had torn through Bali killing many of our own countrymen and leaving hundreds more injured or missing. We discovered, in the most painful and tragic way, that we're not so safe, after all.

The Indonesian island of Bali has, for many years, been a second home to Australians. Because of this, it's not surprising that the targeted Sari nightclub in the village of Kuta was filled with happy-go-lucky Australians enjoying a beer, a dance and the opportunity to catch up with friends. Football teams on end-of-season breaks, honeymooners, and adventure seekers alike felt the brunt of the first bomb which exploded inside the club forcing party-goers to evacuate the building. Outside, only moments later, a second bomb went off.

Images of injured men and women dragging others out of the flames and the rubble have appeared in the news media for the past week, along with heartbreaking videotape of friends and family waiting at airports to see if their loved ones will arrive on planes returning from the island. Such images have inspired in Australia a sense of unity similar to the flag-waving patriotism experienced in the U.S. following 9/11, a response born of a new-found and pervasive sense of fear. While the attacks occurred outside our boundaries, so many Australians have been affected. For most of us, terrorism is no longer something that happened Somewhere Else, but has hit home.

Acting out of a spirit of mateship and in order to raise money for the families and victims of the bombings, the Seven Network aired Australians Unite, a hastily thrown together two and half hours of tributes to the dead, and those working tirelessly to assist the wounded.

It all started out well. Andrew Daddo (always the consummate professional) and Melissa Doyle introduced the program, urging Australians to call "the number on their screens" to donate to the Red Cross Bali Appeal, then pointing out a host of Seven Network celebrities manning the phones. The show then moved to Perth here a panel of Seven celebrities read out messages from callers, as well as the names of some donors. In between, the cream of Australian musicians performed stripped down, sober versions of their chosen songs, much in the same vein as those featured on the 9/11 tribute America: A Tribute to Heroes.

Though the producers' and participants' intentions were surely good, Seven's entire broadcast was overshadowed by its blatant commercialism and outright greed. Australians united all right, but only those in Seven's employ with The Panel's Kate Langbroek and Glenn Robbins the only non-Seven affiliated celebs in sight.

Using stars of their own network was just one of the annoying moves made by Seven in the name of unified tribute. It also ran commercials for its own television shows throughout the appeal, and had Daddo and Doyle, as well as each of their panel members, constantly reminding viewers exactly which station they were watching.

The event was obviously put together quickly, to coincide with the "day of mourning" (as the one-week anniversary of the event was labeled) and to make sure it aired before any other network came up with a similar idea. Seven's self-promotion was tacky, and did little to help the cause.

All that said, the victims of the Bali bombings were certainly honored throughout the night, by heartfelt spoken tributes. Performances from such seasoned greats as John Farnham, Marcia Hines, Mark Seymour and Jimmy Barnes (who chose a rousing version of "Higher and Higher" in contrast to the generally solemn numbers performed by others) were exquisite, demonstrating that music might be as healing as much-needed cash (donations ranged from a 14-year-old's $10 to phone company Telstra's $100,000). It is such generosity that should have been the star of the show. Instead, Seven kept the spotlight all to itself.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





20 Songs from the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.


Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.


The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.


Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).


Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.


Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.


Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.


Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.


Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.


Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.


Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.