Watch: Island Home
Don’t know about you, but it feels like Australia is waking from a slumber. During the last decade our public life has been a minefield of bad politics and lost opportunities, and our reflex is to blame the politicians for the malaise. It’s a default reaction. It feels good to indulge that anger. But it’s a cop out.
“In a democracy, people get the leaders they deserve,” wrote Joseph de Maistre, and in that sentence de Maistre puts the responsibility squarely back on us, the populace. Ten years of mismanagement was, ultimately, our failing. But it feels like it’s coming to an end. After years of torpidity, of national conversations falling silent, foreign interests beating domestic concerns, human rights attacked by culture war, and a big fucking elephant that can’t be discussed in an adult manner, a tipping point has been reached. It’s too soon to say that change is in the air, but at least now the conversations are being had.
Gary Parker and Matty Hannon are two friends originally from southern Victoria. They once lived together in a share house in Warnambool, and now, many years later, they’re living near each other on the NSW north coast. Between those two places they’ve walked many paths: Gary as filmmaker on various projects, Matty as artist and producer. Both of their work has appeared on Swellnet at various times: Gary via his film work with Need Essentials, while Matty rode a motorbike and horse from Canada to Patagonia, his words and images appearing in a 2015 feature.
‘Island Home’ is their joint effort to add to the growing conversation around energy use. “The film” says Matty, “is just a tiny facet of a much bigger movement that we’re seeing around the world.” Clearly I’m not the only one sensing a rising tide of people power. “I mean, when have you ever seen tens of thousands of surfers mobilise like this?”
He’s referring to the Fight for the Bight campaign of course, that began as a homegrown murmur in Elliston town hall and grew into a full-blooded cry across each surf town in Southern Australia. The other flash point is the proposed Adani mine in the Galilee Basin, where Matty travelled last year to see for himself.
“Hanging out with Uncle Kenny for a few days left a lasting impression on me,” says Matty, “the way he lives, what he stands for, and the things he said really stuck with me: wise, old messages that are missing from mainstream dialogue in Australia.” When the media story gets bogged down in minutiae, it helps to step back and take an expansive view. Open up to other possibilities.
It’s no coincidence that the fellas are releasing this on the eve of the federal election. "Perhaps this little vid might help a surfer stop and think before they cast their vote on Saturday,” explains Matty. “Further than that, maybe there’s even people who’ll see this and consider taking things a step further, and realise that it’s a good thing to join a rally, or a group, or just be a bit more aware about what’s happening in our community.”