As Brisbane Lord Major, Campbell Newman was intent on hiding the homeless from public view. He was responsible for introducing discriminatory move-on laws and removing public furniture frequently used by the homeless.
"Bitter Bench / 4 voices" was installed without permission on the site of a recently removed William St bus shelter that was popular amongst the homeless sleeping rough in the city.
The work consisted of a seat fitted with a motion sensor that triggered recorded voices of homeless citizens, attracting pedestrian's attention, while a mechanism gently tipped them off when they sat down. Engraved in large letters on the seat's wooden slats was the phrase "BITTER BRISBANE". An official looking Council plaque accompanied the seat with a quote from Campbell Newman's repentant alter ego:
“After cutting funding to almost all public programs addressing homelessness and removing many public furnishings where the homeless sought refuge, I offer this bench as token of my Government’s penance. I have come to deeply regret my support of the most powerful over the most vulnerable. We judged developers and big businesses most deserving of Council’s favours. It is also true we assumed a constituency of privilege, denying the city should also welcome and support the disadvantaged. These acts will be remembered with contrition. Where once there was cruelty let there now be compassion.”
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