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Stateline (ACT) -

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(generated from captions) needs to be funny first and explains why satire his best and worst performances Coming up - Max Gillies shares I'm Kathleen Hyland. Welcome to the program. like that. my dad doesn't look anything of your impersonation, but in respect I don't want to deflate you, mate

That was the line back in '89. that we can't afford to deal with." "if it's going to find a problem to buy off a survey "but you know, we don't want the Commonwealth is paying for it, "It's OK for Canberra because than we can chew here. "We'd be biting off more "It could be much wider. they threw at me was, but one of the lines they didn't really want to know, back in 1989 about this, to the NSW health authorities I remember when I spoke It is possible. in several towns throughout NSW? that it is in fact perhaps to the Canberra region, that in fact it's not unique of exactly what's happened - the NSW government is petrified REPORTER: Do you think perhaps had the phones running hot. on asbestos insulation a talk-back segment And in Bega, on ABC local radio, into their house. putting asbestos insulation who think they remember someone and even Young Jindabyne, Cooma, Yass by concerned residents in Goulburn, Stateline has been contacted Since that story went to air, in bags to install by hand. which was sold to them by Mr Fluffy also bought asbestos insulation, that residents of Batemans Bay had We then discovered, however, into roofs using a generator. He used to pump the material was based in Canberra. a lone contractor called 'Mr Fluffy' this type of loose-fibre asbestos, that the only person to import This was based on the fact in Queanbeyan. was confined to around 60 properties that the problem it was widely believed of asbestos insulation, on the dangers first started reporting When 'Stateline' we know possibly further. in Queanbeyan and now being exposed to that material and all that time people have been was going to cause a stir and hoped that no one is they've just ducked for cover we told them about the problem, Well, ever since 1989, since and deny responsibility. to decline interviews However, NSW ministers continue member for Monaro. In a moment - Steve Whan, on our absestos coverage. First, a brief update as they landed at Gallipoli. by the Anzacs themselves Also - photographs taken and the politics come second.

of having a program The ACT had the great benefit from the ACT experience? Why not learn it was removed. and if asbestos was found built before 1980 a compulsory survey of all houses in the ACT in 1988 - That's what they did Well they did in the ACT. for asbestos. and say we are going to check enter a person's house I'm not sure if you can compulsorily in a program like that, people are going to participate The question though is whether but I can certainly do that. about at the moment, discussing with the Premier's office It's not something I've been talking about. that the opposition has been but it's certainly something the capacity to do that Well I don't know whether we have to make that compulsory? Can't you at least make legislation So can't you make it compulsory? Exactly. And less than 5% took up the offer. in that process. been offering and helping people and Queanbeyan council certainly has to check out their houses have actually been urging people Well so far I know that councils couldn't you afford that? for less than $100 a house - has an asbestos consultant check it in an affected town has a survey, that every house built before 1980 make it compulsory Couldn't you simply that he was actually asked. that at the time probably would have acknowledged as Liberal leader and Mr Brogden's predecessor a long time ago I think you would have seen action If it was government's liability, and that's one of the issues here. not the government's liability Well, it's very clear that it's the government's liability. and another way when it's perhaps when it's James Hardie's liability, and he can't have it one way of victims of James Hardie because he's championed the cause that Bob Carr has said nothing said that he's surprised The opposition leader this morning to look for themselves. their heads in the roof space and preferably not to stick council to help them to identify it it's a good idea to ask their in their roof, or suspect they have it if people do have it in their roof People need to be wary the ACT to remove it so long ago. the federal government assisted It's loose and that's why in the ACT is obviously a health risk. in the region in the 1970s which Mr Fluffy installed This type of asbestos insulation a health risk? is this or is this not Steve Whan, asbestos insulation -

Well, why not do the same again for asbestos insulation? Well I guess, what's happened so far is that um, most people understood that that problem was confined pretty much to Queanbeyan and Queanbeyan city council has been doing that. It's really only in the last week or so that we've discovered that there was product in Bateman's Bay, for example, on your program last week. I understand there are people in Bega now who believe they might have some and I've also received a letter from Jindabyne. But that's been something that's just arisen in the last few days. Now, government 16 years ago might have been aware of that, but as a member who was elected two years ago, I wasn't. Politicians are strange creatures, but if they weren't, Max Gillies would have to find another job. The comic actor has been in town recently to promote a performance at the Canberra Theatre. in NSW. lot of those things have happened things like that - The ACT is not alone in doing available from the NSW government. so there are copies of that asbestos products on identification for people who suspect they have put out a lot of information The NSW government has actually The NSW government has done that. publicity campaign? Well what about a on behalf of the government on that. and I'm not in a position to speak for me alone to make but it's not a decision should be considered, and it's something that very sensible legislation Personally, I think it's considered in NSW. and I'm not aware if it's been is fairly new Well, the ACT legislation to the next person, that stops. and simply passing it off finding that they have asbestos and that why this cycle of people Why not do that in NSW has asbestos in it. whether or not that house interested in buying it they must declare to person is selling a house, where if a vendor, somebody introduced legislation In the ACT, they've very well received. I'm sure that would be and offer the same thing to NSW wanted to come through and if the federal government to actually remove the asbestos funded by the federal government

As part of his trip he visited the National Film and Sound Archives. There, he reminisced about some of his successful shows and characters and one that was a bit of a dud. Emma Renwick has the story. David Stratton said of my performance in this film that Max Gillies gives the worst performance in this film since the 1930s. I was quite fond of this scene. Max Gillies' career has spanned many decades and whilst he's most famous for his political caricatures, his early work included feature films held deep in the vaults of the National Film and Sound Archives. Well it was a bit of a shock - I just walked into the room and there was a young fresh face person I vaguely recognised, but I didn't recognise what was coming out of its mouth. It's very hard to describe the feeling, particularly when you're not expecting it, there were things there that I'd forgotten I'd done. There were other moments. There was a night at the Logies that I'll never forget. Oh I remember this moment so well. A second before I went on I was told the script I was going to use had disappeared out of the autocue. It was the most freaky moment. Over the years, Gillies' portrayals of our public figures have been scripted by some of Australia's best writers. I like to think that Don Watson was my speech writer and he moved over to the professional politicians late in his career. What happens in a writer's head is pure magic - I don't understand it, wish I could do it myself. But this is what any actor would say about any good script - it demands to be performed, and you do need a very close relationship with a writer for that to happen and I've been lucky. He's like a magician. It's about the language, it takes your mind off to keep you watching, because you're not going to understand what he's saying. However good the script, Gillies still has to wing it at times, and that requires an intimacy with his characters. I don't want to deflate you mate, but in respect of your impersonation, my dad doesn't look anything like that. He hasn't got so much hair for a kick off. It's all very well for you to smirk, Michael, but you try doing that to your own Prime Minister. I don't actually think of what I do as mimicry. I think there are much better mimics, vocal mimics, physical mimics. I use a bit of mimicry - that's one of the tools but basically what I'm doing is as an actor what you do with any role you play. There is something though when you are playing recognisable-known public figures who you share a knowledge of with the audience. You play with an idea of a person that we all recognise but beyond that you are making it up. I've played Bob Hawke for many years, I don't know any more than you do about what the real Bob Hawke is like. I've met him a few times, he's a personable fellow and we get on, the relationship has been a bit spiky from time to time but I don't know him any more that any other Australian does, really, except by watching him. So the rest of the exercise for me is just imagining yourself inside into another person. You ask yourself all the time what produces that behaviour. If I found myself doing that - where would it come from? Why would I do it? And why would I do it when I do it? They're sort of actor's questions. Given that all politicians these days are very media savvy, very conscious of how their performance will look and sound, it's very important to try and get those little moments where you see behind the mask, see behind the spin, when the guard is down. So you watch obsessively for those moments. If that's studying, well you do a lot of studying. Sometimes I feel like I'd like to be in your line of business. Politics is full of bloody prima-donnas, mate. I often feel that I'm celebrating these people as much as I am critising them - it's hard to draw the distinction sometimes. I don't have a favourite, they're like your children - that's how I think of them and you're fond of all of them. Depending on the day you might feel fonder of one, but it's a passing thing. Even the PM who I don't have a lot of time for politically, I'm quite attached to. So you get to know somebody over the years, warts and all, and you know their highs and their lows and you feel like you've lived through all of that. So over time you do feel you're close to somebody even though we've never actually met. Even though I don't believe in God myself, as I think you well know, I have it on good authority that God believes in me. Mercifully, so far, I'm not aware of deeply distressing anybody by my portrayal, certainly not the politicians. Politicians as a class, tend to be more thick-skinned than any other class of being because they are out there all the time and they spend all their time trying to psychologically trying to destroy each other, so they've got natural defences, antibodies that just sort of bounces off them. And Gillies feels it's now satirists being bounced, bounced right out of mainstream media. What satire we do have at the moment is savage and I feel the show that I'm doing at the moment has not just my savagery, there is some savagery in there because we live in very dark times. Sometimes the best you can do is make fun of the situation but it's like laughing in the face of a void and that's why what satire there is has a very dark hue to it these days. One is certainly aware of internal censorship and preemptive buckling in broadcasters - hello! - and in newspapers and we've got to guard against it. But for all his desire to protect and project a voice of dissent, it's the sound of laughter that really makes his world go round. I grew up in the 1950s in the middle of the Great Depression. The laughter is more important than the message. I'm surprised to hear you say that. Well, whatever message there is in there is whatever makes you want to get up and perform. As a performer you know that all performing is just about showing off, wanting people to like you so you go on stage, but you can't admit that, you can't say that. You've got to tell yourself you are doing something much more significant than that, it's got to be about stuff. So it's the stuff that it's about that you seriously want to do but of course when you get out there it doesn't matter a damn. 90 ago, the Anzacs landed at Gallipoli. Many of them were armed with cameras as well as weapons. They took hundreds of photos of the landing and the ensuing days of April 1915. The pictures now belong to a series owned by the Australian War Memorial called "The Dawn of the Legend". They haven't been seen on television until now. Their curator is Peter Burness. There wasn't a lot of censorship during the Gallipoli campaign. Later on the Western Front, a soldier simply wasn't allowed to own a camera. You couldn't take a camera anywhere near the front line on the Western Front, but clearly on ANZAC, because small portable cameras were now available - pocket cameras, soldiers were carrying these with them, and taking shots, so remarkably, the Gallipoli campaign is quite well covered in the photographs. It was quite a while before the photographs appeared in Australia. Prior to that, it was mainly artists impressions, and this is where you get the great disparity. The artists' impressions were always greatly heroic of course, you know - men charging up the hills with bayonets thrust before them. The photographs show a more gritty realistic scene, you know, of soldiers going about day to day activities under fire. What these photographs do show us is that the conditions on Gallipoli in the first days - they were landing on a rugged shoreline, heavy vegetation, and all that was swept away later - you look at later photographs of Gallipoli, and the vegetation was mainly burnt off or stripped away during the fighting. But you can see on those first days, the thick vegetation was impenetrable in parts, now and that contributed to the way the campaign was fought in those days. Yes, the photographs come in a bit of a series of course. You see the men getting off the boats, into smaller boats to go ashore, you see them rowing ashore, landing on the beach. And then, of course the next segment is the fighting in the hills and that's where the real fighting at the landing of Gallipoli took place - up in the hills, not on the beach. But you see this progress, and of course once their fighting in the hills, they're under fire, it's much more difficult to take photographs. You do get the moments when they're in the trenches, they're opening they're tins of bully beef, you know - they're waiting for the Turk, those sort of scenes but perhaps the most interesting ones are those as they're rowing ashore. I'm not too sure the photographs are of the quality that give us a deep insight into the soldier, most of them are of the snapshot variety, and you just get these glimpses of moments as soldiers are climbing hills, occupying trenches, eating a meal, taking up a position waiting for a Turkish counter-attack, and so forth. Later on you'll get photographs, which perhaps are more revealing, as you see the development of the trenches and the static war developing, and the positions they're taking up and the stores developing on the beach and the supplies coming in from the sea. That general way of life on Anzac is more revealed in later photographs. I think the interest in the photographs is that they provide the reality of the situation, as opposed to the artistic impressions. The Australian public, for weeks, was fed illustrations, artist impressions. Impressions by artists who were only drawing what they'd read in the newspapers themselves, anyway - they weren't eyewitnesses. Whereas the camera, of course, is an eyewitness to the event and you get a different perspective. You see men calmly coming ashore on the beach, as I said the real fighting was up in the hills, you see the beach becoming crowded later in the day with all the wounded as they try to evacuate them. A crisis was developing on the beach. Well of course is was not revealed in the heroic drawings of the event but it's there in the photographs. I think the photographs - as far as Gallipoli legend - are interesting in as much as they show to us that the soldiers present realise they were making history that day. The fact that as they are landing under fire, they are taking photographs! Charles Bean - the official historian - in his diary even talks about as soon as he stepped on the beach he turned around, took a photograph and then made his way smartly off the beach. Just the awareness that this was a historical event, you know this was Australia's entry into the war. Eric Napper produced that story. The War Memorial can't display all its relics, instead it stores thousands of them at its Mitchell warehouse known as the Treloar Centre. Some items are too fragile or need restoring, while others just need a rest every now and then - a short break from the demands of public life! This little dog's name is 'Driver' and he's a terrier. He was born in 1915 and as a puppy he was taken by some Australian troops heading overseas and he ended up in France in 1916 and stayed with them in France until the end of the war and didn't come back to Australia until 1919. He was very good at ratting, got into a few adventures, managed to produce, via a French dog, a daughter who also travelled with the unit. When he came back it was quite a to-do, because of course there were quarantine regulations so he was smuggled on board the ship. The captain learned he was on board the ship coming back to Australia and threatened to actually dispose of him fairly violently, the troops of the unit however, said that if anyone touched the dog they weren't going to be around any longer. Taxidermied, stuffed and mounted animals can't be displayed for a long time - they're too fragile. He'll be seen in public again but at the moment he's having a bit of a quiet time. When the Australians landed at Gallipoli, these were one of the major things they had to eat. Some bright spark came up with the idea of taking one of these biscuits, writing a letter on it, sewing onto it an address and place for a stamp and mailing it to Australia and we have a number of these biscuits which arrived in a perfectly legible state so you can imagine how hard and indigestible the biscuit is to actually make it through that. One of the ones we have in our collection, the solider writing on it makes a quip about how it would make a good iron stand. What the families thought when these arrived we can only guess at but I think everyone would have got the joke. This is a chess set. It was made by a German prisoner of war by the name of Heinrich Sanger. Mr Sanger was captured in the Western Desert and went as a POW to America. After the war he went back to Germany, got back together with his wife Lotte, and decided to emigrate to Australia and arrived in the early 1950s. But while he was a prisoner of war and a man with a lot of time on his hands he made this beautiful chess set. It was intended to be a 25th birthday present for his wife Lotte. All hand carved, hand painted, that's a knight of course. You can see the little details done with ink, the grill and grating for the door of the castle there. This is the regimental colour for the Richmond Volunteer Rifle Company. This actually is the oldest existing Australian colour - it was presented in 1861. The silk is now so fragile that it can't be displayed in a vertical position. Because we had to reach right into the centre of the flag to get the appliques off, it meant a good deal of strain on the back so we decided that we'd be a bit inventive and we slung a shearer's harness from the ceiling in the lab and I was able to rest on that and lean over and reach into the centre and undo the stitching. When it came to putting the flag back together again it actually involved stitching from the top of the flag, you pop your needle through from the top and you actually have to get in underneath the flag to retrieve the needle and then insert it again so, it was a very time-consuming treatment. In 1944, this was one of the most advanced weapons in the world. It's the first practical ground to ground intercontinental weapon. They were fired by the Germans against targets like London. For its time it was an extraordinary weapon - it could fly at several thousand kilometres an hour. The big piece at the end that's painted yellow is the warhead - it contains a tonne of explosive. If that landed on a city it would level several blocks. Because it flew so fast there was no defence against it. It's quite badly deteriorated, we need to do a lot of work on it so we've done quite a number of years of study and we're just about to begin work on it for a program which will last maybe two to three years. Kathryn Roberts produced that story and that's the end of the program. Have a happy and safe Anzac Day weekend and we will see you back here at the same time next week. So until then wish me luck as you wave me goodbye. Captions by Captioning and Subtitling International.