ACT News

'Kill Climate Deniers' perfectly predicts Brendan Smyth's outrage

No one could accuse opposition Arts spokesman Brendan Smyth of being predictable - but the authors of 'Kill Climate Deniers' picked his words almost exactly, four months before he made them.

The controversial play, the government funding of which provoked savage criticism from across Australia on Wednesday, almost perfectly predicted the response of Mr Smyth in the first lines of their script.

'Kill Climate Deniers' play predicted Brendan Smyth's outrage months ago.
'Kill Climate Deniers' play predicted Brendan Smyth's outrage months ago. Photo: Rohan Thomson

According to a sample posted to the production's blog on May 31, the play opens with lines intended to be spoken by a generic politican:

"I am appalled and disappointed that this organisation has chosen to fund a theatre project entitled 'Kill Climate Deniers', using, let me remind you, taxpayer money," the politican says.

On Wednesday Mr Smyth used similar words when denouncing the $18,000 grant from the ACT government to fund the production.

"Embattled Arts minister Joy Burch has presided over yet another example of bad judgement and appalling taste by granting over $18,000 to a theatre group to develop a work with the completely inappropriate title of 'Kill Climate Deniers'," he said.

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He went on to say using taxpayers' money to fund the work had been both 'stupid and irresponsible'.

Director of 'Kill Climate Deniers' Julian Hobba said on Thursday their full application had stated clearly and explictly there was nothing in the work that encouraged or endorsed violence.

"The work is a reponse to the paralysis around proper action to address climate change and it explores some dangerous ideas. However it does so satirically, playing with the tropes of the hostage-crisis action film genre," he said.

"Reactionary negative responses about a work of art based on partial impressions are a common part of our cultural life. It's a good way of keeping artists in their place, but it most often misunderstands the full nature of the work."

Mr Smyth laughed when told about the similarity between his comments and the play, but said it didn't change his opinion on the government's $18,000 grant.

"If you substitute any other group or organisation for 'climate deniers' there would be outrage. If we said "kill feminists" people would be furious or if we put a religious group in there, or a disability group in there or a disadvantaged part of the community in there, there would be outrage," he said.

"And there should be outrage over anything that says kill anyone."

ACT Arts minister Joy Burch said she found it amusing the playwright's had predicted Mr Smyth's response so accurately.

"The playright behind Kill Climate Deniers actually has Brendan Smyth pegged as a cheap political shot against the community artists here in the ACT," she said.

"He came in late, he came in loud and he's completely missed the mark."