On Tuesday, Australia’s freshly minted prime minister, Anthony Albanese, drew on the words of a songwriter – and committed socialist – in announcing his first ministry. “Just because you’re going forwards doesn’t mean I’m going backwards,” Albanese said. He was citing one of Billy Bragg’s early songs, To Have And To Have Not, a bitter attack on inequality and privilege. Bragg said he was thrilled for his “old mate”, whom he has known since the 1990s.
Albanese has made a habit of casually dropping song lyrics into his public appearances. At the beginning of the election campaign, he quoted the Ramones’ rallying cry “Hey ho let’s go” (from arguably that band’s best-known song, Blitzkrieg Bop). In 2013, he enjoyed the rare distinction of programming the Australian music television staple Rage, alongside former foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop and Greens leader Adam Bandt.
While not as image-obsessed as his predecessor Scott Morrison, whose background was in marketing, there’s no denying that “DJ Albo” is part of the Albanese brand. Unlike Morrison, though, Albanese is not just mugging for the cameras. Quoting a dedicated activist and polemicist like Bragg tells us that Albanese’s music fandom goes beyond image: it speaks to who he is – or at least, how he defines himself.… Read more..