Scene News: Music Matters: ‘Rn Or Busk’ Movement Grows Across The Country

‘RN or BUSK’ is a grassroots group affiliated with the ‘Hands off Radio National Music’ campaign team. The online campaign, has attracted over 16,000 online supporters protesting the recent decision by the ABC Board to axe a range of specialist music programs. Prominent Australian musicians have spoken out about the cuts including Paul Kelly, Missy Higgins, Archie Roach and Katie Noonan.

The busking movement has grown rapidly throughout the past week; attracting almost 300 buskers and organisers who have been working behind the scenes to let the ABC Board know that their recent announcements are strongly protested by members of the music community and Radio National listeners. The following events were held over the weekend and are just the beginning, with many more planned in coming weeks in major centres and regional areas.

At 1.30pm Monday December 5, buskers greeted ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie with #SaveRNmusic cupcakes at Melbourne ABC studios at Southbank.

Fed Square, Melbourne
Fed Square, Melbourne


Sydney started the busk protests rolling on Friday at ABC studios in Ultimo. Musician Melanie Horsnell arrived at midday from country NSW to represent the regional musicians and listeners.  She was met by Rosie McDonald, Nigel Lever, Carl Pannuzzo, Rebecca Moore and the busk gradually expanded to a rousing audience of around 100 Radio National listeners and ABC staff. Speeches were made by musicians and the ABC employees union and ABC management were made aware that the busk was about to go national.


In Adelaide a passionate group of around 35 people came together on the steps of Parliament in support of Radio National music programs.

These included musicians John Baker and Gayle Buckby from The Baker Suite, Daniel Havey and five others from the Drumming in the Park MEETUP group, strong show of members of SA Friends of the ABC including President SA/NT Sue Pinnock along with friends and music lovers making up the core group. Including passers-by who stopped to talk or sign the petition.

In Hobart 50 people turned up at Salamanca Lawns including musician Emma Anglesey, Erin Collins -Artistic Direct of Cygnet Folk Festival, Peter Hicks from the Tasmanian Grass Roots Union Choir and musicians Peter and Sue Tilly. The protesters marched through the Salamanca markets spreading the word to the multitude of market-goers.

In Melbourne a crowd of 200 supporters filled the Federation Square Urban Garden Amphitheatre in support of performances by Rebecca Barnard, The Dusty Millers Charles Jenkins, Pugsley Buzzard and Band, Jeff Lang, Nick Barker, and Harry Angus, Deborah Conway and Willie Zygier. Sax player extraordinaire Paul Williamson led a rousing march of musicians and supporters waving banners through Federation Square at the end of proceedings to the delight of the crowd.

Fed Square, Melbourne
Fed Square, Melbourne

In Perth 12 determined musicians and supporters jammed for an hour in protest outside the front door of ABC studios much to the delight of passers-by and inspiring an impromptu solo performance from audience member Jaon of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”. Guitar, sax, piano accordian and passionate voices turned up the noise on the protest about RN Music programming cuts. A big shout out to musicians Paul Gioa, Jamie Mercanti, Bill Lawrie, David Goia; folk singer Colleen Dixon (past president of Fairbridge Folk Festival Board); along with Ben from GIGReview, Terri Brown from friends of the ABC, Caryl Goia, and Judith Westaway representing Radio national music program lovers from Margaret River.

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