28 December, 2022
Protesters interrupt PM’s pitch at Woodford Folk Festival
ANTHONY Albanese took to the stage at the Woodford Folk Festival on Wednesday afternoon (December 28) to outline his plans for 2023 and honour the late Bob Hawke, only to be interrupted by anti-oil and gas protesters.
In one of his final speeches for the year, the PM addressed his previous announcement about the referendum on Indigenous Voice as well as the revival of the arts, cultural and entertainment sectors.
Whilst doing so, Mr Albanese reflected on the “great legacy” left by Bob Hawke, who was a big fan of the festival.
“Bob Hawke left a great legacy and that’s because he understood that for any legacy to have staying power requires a government that lasts the distance,” he said.
“The words that characterised his leadership – reconciliation, accord, consensus – were all about us heading in the same direction as a nation.
“No one’s time in government is infinite. The clock is always ticking.
“I firmly believe that a good way to make the best possible use of that time is to carry Bob’s example in your heart.”
Blanche d’Alpuget, the late Mr Hawkes second wife, sat alongside Arts Minister Tony Burke and Indigenous Australian Minister Linda Burney whilst the PM addressed the crowd.
Throughout Mr Albanese’s speech, a group of noisy protesters made a scene chanting anti-oil and gas slogans.
He said he would give the group “one minute” to protest, before scolding activists who continued to pipe up during his discussion about next year’s referendum.
“You probably won’t win support for your agenda yelling out and interrupting talk about constitutional recognition in this audience,” he said.
Despite the few protesters, Mr Albanese was generally well received by the crowd, who cheered and applauded him as he outlined his achievements as PM thus far.
Mr Albanese said it filled him with “such happiness” to see so many people return to the Woodford Folk Festival after a three-year hiatus.
“Including of course all the very young ones whose minds and hearts are being filled with the wonder, and indeed, the magic of expression,” he said.
“During the COVID lockdown we missed the engagement that can only come from being in person.”
Mr Albanese said that nothing beats coming together at a festival to celebrate the arts.
“The arts are not a luxury. The arts are central to our very being.”
With over 2,000 local, national and international artists, musicians and presenters performing across the week, Mr Albanese said the Woodford Folk Festival offers the “greatest soundtrack in Australia”.
“Music really does bring people together,” he said.