How Low Can You Go

During the Australian National Day of ‘Art’ Action musicians and artists collaborated to record the audaciously political HOW LOW CAN YOU GO penned by Andrew Garton.

Rehearsed and recorded within a hour by a handful of residents from Hurstbridge, St Andrews, Nutfield and Heidelberg, Victoria. Most had never sung together before, some never ever!

Performed by Kerry Wailes, Sharon and Craig Turner, Anika Van Hulsen, Suzie Williams, Lois Ponting, Mirranda Burton, Rachel Low, Carolyn Lawson, Sarah Bedggood and Andrew Garton.

The project was created against the backdrop of a community of artists that continues to thrive in one of Victoria’s few remaining green wedge shires.

When: 2pm, Friday 17 July 2016
Where: Bridge to Eden Cafe, 6/920 Main Rd, Hurstbridge, Victoria


All around country one day we drew lots
chucked another to Capital Hill
scorned by millions and loved by less
to lead us back to our bigoted ways

How low? How low will you go?

You don’t have to be pretty to do the job
You don’t need trousers to take up the Lodge
One after another they’re letting us down
Still bending over for the British Crown

How low? How low will you go?

You didn’t budge on climate change
Ignoring the science to balance the books
You’d rather Jonesy set the agenda
Preferring race riots to a carbon free future

How low, how low can you go?

You wouldn’t say sorry to the First People Nation
the one who did met political castration
You didn’t give a toss about the Balibo Five
Embracing Suharto as thousands more died

How low, how low can you go? How low, how low can you…

(Change) Ah ha ha, Ah ha ha how… x 4

You didn’t give a shit about Julian Assange
Didn’t give a toss about Afghanistan
Didn’t care much for refugees
or the violence they had to flee

How low, how low can you go? How low, how low can you go?

You don’t care much for intelligent discourse
Building a surplus at any cost
Spending up big on yer campaign spin
There’s baby’s overboard, you chucked them in

How low, how low can you go x 3

Download lyrics and charts – AG_HOW-LOW-CAN-YOU-GO [PDF]

Why were we doing this?

Artists across the country, through the work of the loose collective The Protagonists, have come together in the wake of recent Australia Council funding decisions affecting the independent arts sector as a result of a succession of cuts to their budget, and an atmosphere of hostility towards independent artists. We are taking this crisis as an opportunity to take action and fight for a future for artists and arts workers in this country.

I have worked within the arts, either independently or within numerous organisations and collectives since turning 23. In May of this year I turned 54. That’s 31 years of choosing a life of financial uncertainty over the conviction that art matters as much as does a meaningful life, and as Rebecca Conroy lays out in her tell it as it is appeal on Facebook, I concur that we have both known an “abundance of love and meaningful activity.”

Rebecca, co-convenor of the National Day of Action, writes:

To be able to work in a field that MATTERS seems to be a diminishing ‘commodity’. Even as I am further reminded by the explosion of “creative jobs” that jump on the false bandwagon of co-working entrepreneurial zeal about working 247 for a passion (kill me now) – I am also reminded, as we call for this action, that there is NOTHING about the work that I do that isn’t connected to the many other sectors of our economy and social fabric that have also been savagely brutalised by this neoliberal austerity.

WHEN WE STAND TOMORROW. WE ALSO STAND FOR: single mothers whose welfare has been cut in a survival economy characterised by the gutting of women refugees across Australia, cuts to disability pensions, cuts to higher education, destruction of the gonski reforms for education, the vicious and nasty assault on safe schools programs, the dismantling of the CSIRO, continued homophobic attacks on queer communities and denial of rights, the insane ISLAMAPHOBIA and FFS the continued brutal assault on our indigenous communities IN EVERY PART OF AUSTRALIA. All the while the most insane extraction economy hums on like business as usual and fracking licences pop up like it’s nobodies business.

Well it IS our business. All of ours. Including artists and art workers.

What you can do

Support independent artists, attend their shows, take time to listen to their music and read their books, draw and write a little or a lot. We are there for you…

You can also show your support for the arts in Australia by signing this petition.

filmmaker, musician, artist