by Mary W Maxwell
As we have recounted before on Gumshoe, I produced a Fringe program a year ago (called “Puppetry of the Watermelons”) that had a lot to do with 9-11 and a little bit to do with the Port Arthur massacre (or PAM, as some call it.)
Yesterday, February 16, 2016, with Dee McLachlan’s help, I produced an Adelaide Fringe show at the Burnside Library that had mainly to do with PAM. The name of the performance was “A Pardoner’s Tale for Our Era,” with reference the pardoner of the Canterbury Tales. I guess you could say I am sneaky as I did not fully disclose the plot in the title of the show, but even the Chaucer scholar that showed up was enthusiastic about the focus of the show – the Port Arthur massacre.
I had subscribed to the Fringe’s optional category of “no foul language, no nudity, and no adult themes.” Mind you, the Port Arthur massacre is an adult theme, calling for all responsible adult citizens to step forward today, please — but that is not the kind of ‘adult theme’ we had eschewed.
The main event, as far as what we hope for Bryant’s “and all our sakes” was the reading of “the Fodder Note.” I’m not ready to put it in print. In fact I could see that it truly shocked one member of the audience and so we are thinking about how Gumshoe should handle it. The Fodder Note is set to revolve the Port Arthur case 180 degrees. Stay tuned.
Note: our intention was to play Cherri Bonney’s song about Martin Bryant, but our allotted time ran out too quickly. (See link below.)
Somebody Cares for the People, in the Tassie Legislature
The following, which is very nice news, is unrelated to the Fringe. We recently discovered that the nonsense of not allowing Martin Bryant to have visitors is just that: nonsense.
In the case of Jahar Tsarnaev in the US, depriving him of visitors is allegedly justifiable on the grounds of terrorism. Congress gave the US Attorney-General, via the Bureau of Prisons, some scope to keep the prisoner isolated from mankind (so he won’t, say, teach mankind how to do pressure-cooker bombings. Ah, it’s such a worry, isn’t it?).
There is no similar law in Australia. And anyway, Bryant’s case is wholly under the law of one state, Tasmania. So he is entitled to prison visitors. And every prisoner has a legal right under specific Tasmanian law to complain to the government, or if he prefers, to the Ombudsman.
The Corrections Act of 1997
Moreover, someone in the Tassie legislature must have seen the problem of cruelty in jails (thank God), and came up with legislation called the Corrections Act 1997. It particularly provides for an Official Visitor to inspect the prisons regularly. It is:
“An Act to provide for the establishment, management and security of prisons and the welfare of prisoners and detainees.”
Section 10 of the Act (including amendments through 2011) says:
(1) The Minister may appoint persons as official visitors to each prison in accordance with this section….
(3) The term of office of an official visitor is 2 years.
(4) An official visitor is to – (a) visit at least once a month, and (b) inquire into the treatment, behaviour and conditions of the prisoners and detainees in that prison; and (c) receive and investigate any complaint of a prisoner or detainee….
(6) An official visitor may report to the Director or Minister any matter relating to the treatment or condition of prisoners.
(7) An official visitor, at least once in every 12 months, is to make a report to the Minister on the inquiries made….
(8) A correctional officer is to give full assistance and cooperation to an official visitor…. [Emphasis added]
Very good. And now here is Cherri’s song, which – as it is written “in Martin’s own words” (metaphorically) — should stand as a complaint by him to the Official Visitor. I shall send the Visitor a copy of it. Note: since last week Cherri has added some beautiful pictures (and some terrible pictures). The first few seconds are silent.
Please watch, and share the link via your email list:
At 4.19 Cherri provides the lyrics.
–Mary Maxwell lives near the Fringe. (You may have noticed.)