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September 5, 2014


Wally De Backer aka Gotye has decided to give Victorian State Politics a run for its money by starting a political party with Basics bandmates, Kris Schroeder and Tim Heath.

The party hope to run in the November Victorian election, for an Upper House seat, under the name the Basics Rock’n’Roll Party, with Kris Schroeder on the ticket.

Motivation for the band has been the proliferance of what they call “lifelong politicians” within Australian politics. Most Australian pollies come from affluent families, live privileged childhoods, who move from their private school education into Uni student politics, Young Liberal/Labor. Who then spend their entire working lives as politicians (in either party).

It’s rare that we see anyone in Aus Pol that hasn’t come from this background and when we do they’re mercilessly criticised in the press, and considered inferior to ‘real’ politicians. Of which, a great example is Ricky Muir, the sawmill worker who unexpectedly won a seat in parliament and has been lambasted in the media. Schroeder said all of the media attention made him feel for Muir.

The Basics, Wally De Becker, Kris Scroeder and Tim Heath.
The Basics, Wally De Backer, Kris Schroeder and Tim Heath.

The Basics RNR Party want to be the antithesis of this kind of “lifelong” political career culture. Speaking to the Australian Associated Press, Schroeder said:

“There are few other countries in the world that have had this epidemic of career politicians. Politics in this country is treated like it belongs to the elite. We have these career politicians who often come from well-to-do families … and they are groomed into becoming these lifelong politicians that have no other life experience outside of either being in the young Liberals or young Labor, and becoming a member of parliament.”

“Decisions don’t have to be made by these elite, you can just be musicians. We’ve all got higher education degrees so we’re not just musicians, but we haven’t come up through any political ideology. We just care about certain things like Indigenous affairs and education.”

The party has what it describes as “three pillars” to its movement – innovation, education and rock’n’roll.

Objectives include improving Indigenous local education in Victorian schools and compulsory first-aid training in high schools. They’d also like to see all politicians undergoing psychological testing, to remove any and all psychopaths from the political arena (a brilliant idea). Although Schroeder insists that’s not a reflection upon current Parliament members. Yea, right.


In addition the party, staying true to its roots, would like rural areas to have greater access to music.

“We’re interested in giving an equal opportunity to all as far as access to music is concerned, and I guess that’s across the board what we’re really interested in,” Schroeder said.

Another objective is to see a ban on all alcohol advertising at live music events, which they don’t see as biting the hand that feeds you. Speaking to Larissa Nicholson (The Age), Schroeder said that he believes if promoters can’t afford to bring international acts to Australia, without alcohol-brand advertising, then local acts should be supported. A very valid point.

To be eligible to run in the Nov election, the party will need 500 members to be registered with the Victorian Electoral Commission and if successful, the trio (along with its 497 other party members) say the plan is to tackle federal politics.

“A lot of the issues we’re discussing are really federal issues, I can see that being an arena for the future,” he said.

Describing how the trio formed the idea for the party, Schroeder told the ABC:

“It was a bit of a spur of the moment thing, we’re not politicians,” he said. “We’ve come to accept the way things are a lot of the time and I think we’re demonstrating it doesn’t have to be that way.”

“We’re putting our money where our mouth is, rather than just have whinge about things.”

We all remember Midnight Oil’s frontman Peter Garrett’s foray into politics. Beginning his career in the Nuclear Disarmament Party, his move into Labor seemed a disastrous choice, given much of the party’s policies differred to his own. Adding to that is the commission into the Pink Batts Scheme and its media backlash.

Unlike Garrett, the trio plan to steer very clear of the major parties, with Schroeder saying the former pollie missed a great opportunity by joining Labor.

“I think it was a bit of a compromise between his own ideals and what was convenient at the time,” he said. “We look up to the ideals that Midnight Oil espoused through their music, and we would like to look at his example as a lesson learned and think if you’re going to do something like that you should do it on your own.”

Although, the musician stresses that moving into political life won’t change who they are as people, with Schroeder saying:

“We’ll just be the same guys but [we] get to stand up for what we believe in.”

We’re looking forward to the day when the Basics Rock’n’Roll party join a coalition of forces with the Sex Party and take over the country. Better yet, if the coalition is joined by the Hemp Party, then they could be the Sex, Drugs and Rock’n’Roll Party. The election fundraisers would be wild!

If you’re interested in joining the Basics Rock’N’Roll Party, you can check the bands Facebook page (here) for more info.


And just like that, everything changes. It seems that Gotye (Wally De Backer) isn’t planning on running for parliament after all. Misinformation was spread (with a lot of assumptions) that De Backer was beginning a political career, when in actuality he plans on helping form the party along with his bandmates and 497 other members. The misinformation certainly isn’t hurting the Basics RNR media coverage. In addition to that, it seems odd that Schroeder when asked directly (in the original ABC interview) about De Backer being in the party ranks said he didn’t think it would hurt their chances. Perhaps Schroeder is already walking the well heeled path of the pollie-speak after all? It’s likely that he was misquoted or misunderstood. It seems De Backer may join the party but not enter into a political career, either way the media attention sure isn’t hurting the new party.

De Backer visited the Triple J studio today, to clear up the misinformation in no uncertain terms, saying:

“I am not running for parliament in Victoria as some publications have been not even implying but actually stating,” he said. “For me it’s been a funny experience to see in one day’s news cycle how a certain element of truth can be spun into what the media would like to think will get them the most clickbaits on their website. and then they’ll simply run with whatever they think will get them the most out of that story for as long as possible even though it goes into the echo chamber and cycles internationally, it becomes actually and factually untrue.”

“The facts are that my other band, The Basics, with my good friends and musical cohorts Tim Heath and Kris Schroeder, have considered forming a political party in Victoria called The Basics Rock and Roll Party,” Wally revealed. “As of the moment, the party doesn’t exist, we have not registered yet, we have got almost the membership interest to be able to register that party. We’re interested to do it, and if we do so, my bandmate Kris Schroeder will be the candidate to for that part to aim for the legislative council in Victoria. It’s an initiative from my bandmate Kris Schroeder; me and Tim are definitely supportive of him in our shared interest in local and state politics, and we’ve certainly talked about the initiatives we’d hope to bring some interest to.”

We’ve updated the original article to clarify that Schroeder will be one entering the political arena, and that all three will be forming the party (along with 497 other members), according to the above quote.

So now Gotye is just some politician that we used to know, or rather, will never get to know. OK it’s a bad pun, but we really couldn’t help ourselves.

The Basics at Albert Studios.
The Basics at Albert Studios.




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A Complete 4-Part Series
Issue 71