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Episode 160: Michael Hutchence, The “Quiet Activist” with Paulie Stewart

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

It was cool in the 1980s as a rock star to loudly proclaim and attach yourself to worthy causes—think Sting (Brazilian rain forests, Russian leaders), Little Stevie (Artists Against Apartheid) and Bono/U2 (Chile, Ireland, drugs, September 11, Greenpeace, and the vegan hippos of Botswana North, East and South 😜).

Less virtue-signalling were INXS, who quietly attached themselves to the people of Kuwait, the anti-nuclear movement, and Amnesty International. What was even less known publicly were the efforts of Michael Hutchence, whose links to the East Timorese/Indonesian incursion were done with sincerity, true altruism, and often, anonymity.

Today we are joined by Paulie Stewart, founder of seminal Melbourne 80’s band The Painters and Dockers. With links to the East Timorese conflict in 1975, the Indonesian invasion changed his and his family’s lives forever with the tragic killing of his brother and four other journalists, known as the Balibo Five. This undeniable atrocity led to Michael and Paulie creating a true kinship to the cause that Paulie recounts for us.

We also have time for levity as we share the Painters and Dockers’ unique story and ascent to being inducted into the Victorian Music Hall of Fame. Forever quirky, subversive, effervescent, and challenging to society’s status quo, the Dockers are a true national treasure.

So, sit back and savour the warm, giving, and generous words of Paulie Stewart in this unique episode of INXS Access All Areas.

Love and Peace ✌️

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