Labor HQ probably thought that Leader and Prime Minister-hopeful Anthony Albanese got the worst gaffes out of the way on day one of the campaign.
Over the weekend, the Byron Bay Bluesfest music festival made its triumphant return after being cancelled for two years due to Covid health orders. It was a huge win for music fans, who nearly lost out when floods in New South Wales threatened to derail the event.
Albanese decided to use the event on Sunday night – and its audience – to promote himself to the public before introducing crowd favourite Jimmy Barnes. On paper, it looked like a great idea, but the moment Albanese took the stage, the crowd started to boo.
Worse for Labor’s image, the booing and jeering got louder as he spoke, drowning out Albanese as he tried to make his campaign pitch after being introduced as ‘the man that represents the working class people’.
There were a few brief cheers when he tried to mention Indigenous rights and his support of the Arts – but even the ABC had to admit that stunt was a major error.
“I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land in which we meet, pay my respect to elders past and present and what we want is to recognise First Nations people in our Constitution.”
By this stage, Albanese was clearly struggling, no doubt realising that he had to get off the stage with the cameras broadcasting the boos. The rest of his speech appeared to be cut short.
“Australians have been magnificent over the last couple of years, and what we want is a government that backs the arts sectors. So, ladies and gentlemen, welcome Jimmy Barnes!” At which point Albanese evacuated himself from the disaster.
Albanese looked blind-sighted by the response, as he had some success walking through the crowd earlier with his partner Jodie Haydon and Tony Burke.
The success wasn’t to last for ‘DJ Albo’.
According to one festival worker, who said that they had expected a ‘warmer welcome’ for the Labor Leader, the boos were loudest at the front of the crowd. She blamed the frosty reception on ‘anti-vaxxers’ – more reasonably referred to as pro-choice Australians who lost their jobs and many of their civil rights during Covid.
While Albanese and the federal Labor Party are not directly responsible, they have shown support for vaccine mandates issued by Labor state premiers and have also supported the various unions who have brought mandates in – causing thousands of blue-collar working-class Labor supporters to lose their jobs.
While many private businesses are dropping mandates, union-run industries are not leaving Albanese to cop some of the anger and frustration.
A long-awaited music festival where everyone is trying to have fun and forget politics may not have been the best choice either, with the MC receiving a less-than-warm reception introducing the topic of the federal election.
The appearance was meant to back up Labor’s announcement to begin an expansion of Double J onto radio, with Labor commissioning the ABC to engage in a feasibility study. The news does not appear to be exciting enough to outweigh the frustration of Labor voters that lost their jobs.