Music

Tony Abbott Has Endorsed Australia’s Top Heterosexual Band Savage Garden After NRL Drama

Uh oh.

Tony Abbott

In a stand for all decent Aussies who think sport should be sport and gay rights have no place at an event dedicated to blokes smooshing each other, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has given a shoutout to our favourite homegrown heterosexual band Savage Garden. Stay with me.

Tony Abbott was invited onto 2GB this morning for a chat with Ray Hadley about the NRL Grand Final, among other things. The past week has seen an awful lot of conservative bellyaching about US rapper Macklemore playing his hit song ‘Same Love’ at the pre-game entertainment, and Hadley asked Abbott to clarify his position.

“I hadn’t seen anywhere where you said let’s ban the bloke,” Hadley offered. “You said the NRL made a bad call [in choosing him to play].”

“That’s exactly right,” Abbott replied. “Certainly I think we could have got someone who was a) Australian and b) not going to be contentious on this current issue.”

The pair then started talking about what they did or did not know about the rapper beforehand (they did not know much). In 2012, Hadley recorded a parody of ‘Same Love’ not knowing it was a song in support of marriage equality legislation in the US.

“Like me, Ray, you probably don’t listen to any music from after 1975 except the Travelling Wilburys. And Savage Garden! They were pretty good!”

Blink and you’ll miss it but that was Tony Abbott, hater of all that is “contentious”, throwing his support behind the work of Darren Hayes — an iconically gay musician and long-time campaigner for marriage equality. Hayes has married his husband three times in an act of strength and solidarity. He regularly calls out Australia for its lack of action on the issue.

In fact Darren Hayes was campaigning for LGBTIQ rights before he even came out as gay. 1999’s ‘Affirmation’ — indisputably one of the band’s most popular songs — includes the line “I believe you can’t control or choose your sexuality”.

“I wrote that lyric 16 years ago when I was trying to tell the world that I was gay,” Hayes has written since. “I still remember the moment when I performed it on the Jay Leno show, and on that particular line I looked toward the camera and winked. I wasn’t ready to do a sit down with Barbara Walters or have my ‘story’ on Us Weekly magazine. But I needed to let the people who loved me know that I was slowly starting to love and accept who I was.”

So stoked to hear Tony Abbott had his support during this time.

This actually isn’t the first time Abbott’s talked about being a fan of Savage Garden. He’s regularly name-dropped the band over the past few years. Each time, Darren Hayes has made it repeatedly clear that the love does not go both ways. Today is no exception.

Yep, this is an extremely dumb story at the back-end of an extremely dumb news cycle about a debate that should not have happened at all. But it’s also a worthwhile moment to note that hey, if you’re backing Tony Abbott in a debate about the intersections of music, culture and politics… you’re probably on the wrong side.