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October 04th 2011 print

Philippa Martyr

Canberra knows best

Poor old Angry. It’s a shame, because he’s got the bald head right – but if only he’d written more songs about fashionable minorities and the rape of the environment.


You know, I love it – I love it when Australian politics rolls over for a moment and we get to see its flabby underbelly of snobbery.


Former Rose Tattoo frontman Gary ‘Angry’ Anderson wants to run for the Nationals. Anderson is over the age of 18, has strong political views and is prepared to articulate them, and there doesn’t appear to be any law in place to stop him.

But Labor MHR Dr Andrew Leigh thinks Anderson’s plan is utter nonsense. Rather than waiting to see if the Nationals would actually accept Anderson as a candidate, Leigh has immediately weighed in with his two cents’ worth on Anderson’s chances.

Let’s look at Leigh’s qualifications to pass judgment on Anderson’s suitability to enter politics.

Leigh is 39 years old, and comes from a well-travelled family: both parents being academics, he completed his primary school education in Sydney, Melbourne, Malaysia and Indonesia. He studied arts and law at the University of Sydney, and then went on to Harvard for postgraduate studies.

Leigh has worked as a lawyer for firms in Sydney and London, and as an associate to Michael Kirby, and as advisor to both UK’s Labour Party and the ALP, and for the Progressive Policy Institute in Washington DC.

Leigh has also worked at ANU in research economics, one of his specialties being labour economics.

And finally, Leigh has held the extremely safe Labor seat of Fraser since 2010. He lives in Canberra, is married and has two children.

Now let’s look at Anderson. He is now 63 years old, and grew up in Coburg in Melbourne in the 1950s. A dud at schoolwork, he went to Coburg Technical School, but fared so badly there that relatives had to pull strings to get him a job in a factory as a fitter and turner. By the 1970s he had lots of tattoos and still hated his day job, but he was now in the music industry by night and doing well.

As scary frontman for both Buster Brown and Rose Tattoo, Angry chalked up considerable success and moved into acting, including a standout performance as Herod in the 1992 Australian production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Since the Tatts finally split, Angry has worked almost non-stop for a vast array of charities, which is why since 1993 he has been Angry Anderson AM. He is married and has four children.

Poor old Angry. It’s a shame, because he’s got the bald head right – but if only he’d written more songs about fashionable minorities and the rape of the environment.

And if only he’d decided to run as a Labor candidate – the PR people would have fallen over themselves to present him as the acceptable face of Labor’s heartland, recaptured by the current regime’s devotion to traditional values and deep-seated love of the working man, tatts and all.

Perhaps even Andrew Leigh might have had a good word for him – after someone explained to him who Rose Tattoo was.