Joan Keeping It Reel As Always

25 / 06 / 2015

Joan Kirner may have been depicted hundreds of times wearing polka dots, but it is the image of her in a leather jacket, holding a guitar, and belting out a rock song, that many Victorians remember the most.

When Mrs Kirner appeared on the ABC’s The Late Show in 1993 – months after she had lost the state election to Jeff Kennett – she not only shook up the stage, she shook up her image by taking on Joan Jett’s I Love Rock n’ Roll. With the former treasurer David White joining her on-stage – slashing up a guitar whilst wearing a suit – it became a classic moment in Australian television.

Five years after the original performance, Mrs Kirner repeated the rock anthem as part of her 60th birthday celebrations at the Plaza Ballroom beneath the Regent Theatre. This time, she and White were joined by the “Fishnets”, including a young Julia Gillard who, in one photograph of the performance, looks on adoringly as she provides backup vocals for Mrs Kirner. The Fishnets also included Jennie George and Sharan Burrow, who would both go on to become ACTU presidents, and singer Jane Clifton.

Excerpt via The Age
Photo: Fay Pirotta

You can watch the full  clip on YouTube by clicking here.


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