Beds Are Burning By Midnight Oil

Diesel And Dust

1987 | Rock

Spotify | Amazon

“The time has come, a fact's a fact. -- It belongs to them, we're gonna give it back.”


  • The song hit #6 on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks, #17 on the Hot 100, #20 on the Hot Dance Club Play, #45 on the Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales and #26 on the Cash Box charts.
  • Was named one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll as well as #95 on VH1's 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s.
  • Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) celebrated its 75th anniversary by naming the Best Australian Songs of all time, as decided by a 100 strong industry panel. "Beds Are Burning" was declared third.


Luke Tatum

I had no idea there was a political component to this song until today. This is about the Aboriginal people of Australia, and their forced relocation from their native lands. To put it in a more recognizable frame of reference, consider the Trail of Tears here in the United States. The chorus, which was always a little weird not realizing the full context, asks us how we can sleep when things like this are occurring in the world. History is full of man's inhumanity to man. What looks like progress to the casual observer is really just a change of form. The brutality has never left us, it just gets dressed up in more niceties.

Sherry Voluntary

This song is more on the progressive side of things, and while we may differ on the solutions I think libertarianism provides the ultimate solution to this kind of outrageous treatment of less powerful people by more powerful peopls. When you believe in non-aggression and complete personal autonomy, then you understand that every single individual on the planet has the right to live and not be interfered with. This paradigm change is what the powerless people need. The kind of mistreatment that natives around the world have suffered would be greatly lessend and far less tolerable to people who believe in libertarian principles. This is what we stand for, freedom and a recognition of rights for every individual on the planet.

Nicky P

A big criticism of libertarians is that we're heartless individualists that have no concept of human decency on the grand scale. While i'm sure the writers of this song are bleeding heart progressive types, I personally take affront to the idea that i'm heartless, since I firmly believe my humanitarian card is in tact. And if for the past 400 years we had bowed to the need to pay attention to the individual we might find ourselves with a few less complicated situations. Reparations of various kinds being something that is much easier to handle when we pay attention to individuals problems instead of collectives. Whether it's native American's here in the US, aboriginals in Australia or Palestinians in Israel, adherence to property rights for individual claims cuts through the most bullshit. Now I understand that humanity has been a collectivist garbage dump and sadly little attention has been given to this so far therefore there is an inherent arbitrary decision that needs to be made at some point and perhaps this is where individual charity comes in. Any collective way to rectify these issues smells of theft from a different angle. I want less theft against everyone.

Created By
Nicky P

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