Billy Bragg hails election of old friend ‘Albo’ to Australian prime minister as Labor pledges arts rejuvenation | Australian politics

Singer-songwriter Billy Bragg has taken to Twitter to congratulate Australia’s incoming prime minister, Anthony Albanese, as Labor’s new arts minister, Tony Burke, promises the art and entertainment sector will be prioritized by his government.

Burke, known for his parliamentary office guitar collection and playing in a Labor caucus band, said he would not waste time rebuilding the sector heavily impacted by Covid-19 lockdowns.

With his appointment on Wednesday, he declared the political attack on the arts and entertainment sector over.

“The neglect, the contempt, and the sabotage of the previous government have ended,” he said.

“I am determined to deliver a better future for Australia’s creative sector.”

Burke has committed to prioritizing the development of a new national cultural policy.

The policy promises to be a comprehensive road map for Australia’s arts and culture that reaches all government areas, including cultural diplomacy in foreign affairs, health, and education.

Meanwhile, politics and pop songs will collide in the next term of parliament as Albanese cements his love for music with each passing press conference.

The prime minister is well known for his love of music and moonlights as DJ Albo, spinning tracks at gigs and ALP fundraisers.

Kicking off his election campaign Albanese quoted lyrics by The Ramones – “Hey ho, let’s go” – and later told reporters he would “shake it off” like Taylor Swift after he fumbled over unemployment figures.

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On Wednesday, he answered a question about Labor members receiving a promotion to the ministry over others by quoting British icon Billy Bragg’s famous tune To Have and to Have Not.

“The team isn’t just the people in the leadership group, the ministry, the team is the entire caucus,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“The Billy Bragg song, ‘just because you’re going forward doesn’t mean I’m going backward. It’s a good song, and that’s true.

“Because [some] people are going forward [in cabinet] isn’t a reflection on the capacity of others.”

The singer-songwriter took to Twitter to congratulate Albanese on his election win and revealed the pair first met more than 20 years ago.

Billy Bragg

Bragg said they bonded over a shared love of music and a commitment to the politics of compassion.

I woke up this morning to find that the new prime minister of Australia had quoted my lyrics in his first press conference: “Just because you’re going forwards, doesn’t mean I’m going backward”. Here’s my response to that welcome news.

— Billy Bragg (@billybragg) May 31, 2022

“The defeat of the Morrison government has given an uplift to many in Britain, where the Tories [Conservative party] seek to use wedge issues to rally support,” he said.

“That the Australian electorate rejected such divisive politics offers hope to all of us fighting against the rising tide of populism.

“Obviously, for me, there’s the added joy of seeing my old mate Albo become the prime minister of Australia.”

But the responsibility of making the world a better place through something other than music was not desirable, Bragg said.

“The people have given him a mandate for change – to create a new Australia committed to acting collectively in the common good,” he said.

“I know Albo is the right person for the job. He has a socialism of the heart.”

Bella E. McMahon
I am a freelance writer who started blogging in college. I am fascinated by human nature, politics, culture, technology, and pop culture. In addition to my writing, I enjoy exploring new places, trying out new things, and engaging in conversations with new people. Some of my favorite hobbies are reading, playing music, making crafts, writing, traveling, and spending time with my family.