Mr NEWELL: My question without notice is to the Premier. What is the Premier's response to moves to recognise the contribution of Slim Dusty to Australian country music?
Mrs Chikarovski: May I give my experience, and let you know what actually goes on in Tamworth?
Mr CARR: I can offer my old sparring partner this: She and I will give a rendition of A Pub With No Beer after question time. Perhaps the whole House, by way of tribute, would like to join in now. I will have the words sent up by the Stasi and I will lead the whole House. I do not care what criticism I cop, I will speak out in defence of country music. I do not care what they say, I will not be silenced on my musical tastes. Slim Dusty has been around in this business for a long time. He has been singing for 65 years. Two years ago Slim made his one-hundredth album entitled, appropriately, Looking Forward, Looking Back. Slim Dusty has acquired a lot of accolades.
Mrs Chikarovski: What are they?
Mr CARR: I will tell the House what they are. He was the recipient of the first gold record received by an Australian, awarded for what I would describe as an iconic anthem A Pub With No Beer. He has more gold and platinum records that any other Australian artists and more gold guitar awards—all honourable members know how significant they are—than any other artist. I often exercise my mind on what words would be required to sum up a career at once so ordinary and extraordinary like that of Slim Dusty. At the closing ceremony of the Olympics, I do not want to drop names but, I was sitting with Henry Kissinger. After that song I turned to Henry because I thought some sort of explanation, not an apology, was required. I turned to Henry and I said, "You've got to understand, Henry, we are a very funny country." He said to me, "You know, Bob, this is the only other country I would consider living in." It was a great compliment to Australia in the context of that very funny, very patriotic, very warm, very memorable closing ceremony of the greatest-ever Olympics.
Born David Kirkpatrick in Kempsey in 1927 and brought up on a dairy farm, Slim wrote his first song at the age of 10. With his partner in life and song, Joy McKean, he has been making music ever since. The 10,000 people of Kempsey want to pay tribute to their home-town hero. They have proposed a Slim Dusty Heritage Centre. It will include a Slim Dusty museum as well as a restaurant and shop. Slim no doubt is a bit embarrassed by all this fuss. He has been humble; never pretentious. But as a good sport he has pledged to donate an extensive range of his own memorabilia—old records, tour posters, guitars and an Akubra or two. The second stage of the project will incorporate an entertainment venue to bring the country's best country music musicians to Kempsey.
Mrs Chikarovski: Like Troy Cassar-Daley, Lee Kernaghan and Keith Urban. You don't even know who they are, do you?
Mr CARR: My offer stands, Kerry!
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Baulkham Hills to order for the second time.
Mr CARR: Stage three will see the construction of a state-of-the-art sound recording studio featuring Slim's music. We will work with the Kempsey community to make this dream a reality. We will provide the business plan, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The Slim Dusty Heritage Centre will create up to 18 direct jobs. It will be a tourist magnet for that part of the coast, a major tourist attraction. That means more money for local businesses and even more local jobs. I have just been handed the lyrics of A Pub With No Beer.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Premier will conclude his answer.
Mr CARR: It is a temptation!
Mrs Chikarovski: Let's go, Bob!
Mr Carr, accompanied by Mrs Chikarovski and other members,
It's lonesome away from your kindred and all
By the camp fire at night where the wild dingoes call,
But there's nothing so lonesome so morbid or drear
Than to stand in a bar of a pub with no beer.
Mr CARR: At this moment, as if by magic, the State President of the Australian Hotels Association has come forth in the public gallery. After that, no more words are necessary!