Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25, No. 8. 1962.
Sir,—I wish to protest about the rather inconsiderate and not particularly humorous skit entitled "Life on the Waterfront" in this year's Extravaganza. A large number of University and Training College students seek employment on the wharves as casual labour at various times of the year, and this type of thing does nothing to help the already strained relations between Union and non-union workers. The wharfies who had seen Extrav (including some union officials) and the much larger number who had read the song in Cappicade were, understandably, extremely irate and abusive about its implications.
I have no wish to discuss why the Extrav skit has almost no basis of fact, but rather to point out the harm that can be done by antagonising sections of the working classes bound together by strong union movements, and upon which students are dependent for vacation work. It would be very easy and not out of the ordinary for the Union to pass a resolution refusing to work beside students. As it is some students found themselves having to point out that they did not write Extrav, had nothing to do with it and did not necessarily agree with its opinions, but unfortunately students Lend to be classified as a group and to be considered as representing a single opinion.
There were instances I heard of, of wharfies making working conditions difficult and unpleasant because of Extrav.
This behaviour may seem juvenile and irrational (although no more so than Extrav), but anyone who has worked amongst a strong union well knows that union movements are hypersensitive to criticism, humorous and non-serious, or otherwise, and can be unscrupulous in retaliating, and furthermore students are never in a bargaining position to do anything about it.
There are many topics which an Extrav writer with any ability can use without having to lampoon the hand that allows some of us to be fed.—Yours, etc.,
Robin St. John.
Sir,—I wish to protest against the lack of understanding of the script-writer of this year's Extrav. I refer to the scene called "Life on the Waterfront" where wharf labourers are depicted as Indulging in as little activity as possible.
Does the script-writer not realise that this is just a commonly held but erronlous opinion. Wharf labourers are, in the main, very hard working. More so in fact than the average student who Just sits on his behind all day learning abstruse facts, or playing cards in the common room at the expense of the taxpayer.
The wharfie on the other hand is an industrious worker who pays taxes for the support of students, and as a consequence expects some degree of intelligence from them.
However, the aforementioned Extrav does not seem to be a very effective vehicle for expressing the intelligence of students. For one thing Extrav Is not very subtle, but seems to have degraded into an excuse for a certain number of drunken, exhibitionalistic children to make a spectacle of themselves. No attempt is made to expose the rotten core of politics for instance. The political "lampooning" is confined merely to calling prominent - politicians dirty names. Surely a few pointed remarks could have been made about pressure groups—the vested interests—who influenced the National Party's decision on the cotton mill affair by threatening to refuse to pay party funds.
As I see it, when the Extrav organisation takes itself less seriously it may be able to appreciate I the workings of the world around it.—Yours, etc,