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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 March 2021) . . Page.. 759 ..


Arts—Phish and Phreak Productions

MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (5.38): On plenty of occasions, Madam Speaker, I will get up in this place wearing my hat either as the Greens spokesperson for business or as the Greens spokesperson for LGBTQIA+ people. It is rarer that I get to address you wearing both hats at the exact same time, so it insisted on an adjournment speech today.

I want to acknowledge and pay homage and respect to a small Canberra business, Phish and Phreak Productions, Madam Speaker—no doubt you have heard of them—who have managed to thrive and succeed and employ plenty of local queer artists in this COVID era. To be able put on live productions and live shows, start a small business, have that small business sustain itself, employ people from a marginalised community and present a place of belonging and a sense of home during the last 12 months, when, as we all well know, public gatherings have been particularly cumbersome, is worthy of note indeed.

Phish and Phreak Productions is the brainchild of Corey Passlow and drag queens Toni Kola and Faux nee Phish—fantastic drag names. They have provided entertainment for the community of Canberra for many, many years now in their own individual guises but have collaborated in this collective event.

Now, you know me very well, Madam Speaker. You know that it takes a very, very good reason to get me out of Tuggeranong. But on Friday night I did venture to the north side, the dark side as it were, and I went to the Boardwalk Bar in Belconnen. Ms Clay knows it well, but I had to go and experience it for myself to take in one of Phish and Phreak Production’s shows, a drag takeover. I absolutely recommend it to you and to everybody here in the Assembly. If you have not already been, I am more than happy to shout you tickets and take you along to what is a formative queer culture experience.

I see Mr Milligan’s eyebrows raise with enthusiasm, as if to say, “I didn’t know I was getting free tickets first day back on the job.” Mr Milligan, I will pick you up and take you out there because you will learn a thing or two about a thing or two and see some awesome small business people, some awesome Canberra artists. As art is supposed to do, Madam Speaker, it may challenge you. It may present some new ideas. It may provoke thoughts and feelings, not unlike the Skywhale does to me. I know it is unpopular. It is unpopular to get up in this place and say that the Skywhale does not tickle my fancy in the way that it should, but it does exactly what it is supposed to.

Mrs Jones: What about Skywhalepapa?

MR DAVIS: I will leave that one right alone, Mrs Jones, lest my contribution get unparliamentary. But, yes, art is supposed to provoke. Phish and Phreak do that uniquely well. But what they do exceptionally well, Madam Speaker, and it bears noting and drawing to the attention of this house, is business. The cut and thrust of the business world, not unlike the cut and thrust of the world of politics, they say, is a man’s game. It is particularly challenging to present your differences in areas where


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