Sydney’s iconic New Year’s Eve fireworks display has sparked debate due to its political messaging. Mayor Clover Moore, an outspoken advocate for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, hinted at a political theme for the night. Addressing the crowd, she expressed her regret over the failed referendum and emphasised the need to support First Nations people.
“Tonight was about acknowledging Blak power and resilience through music, art and fireworks,” she later wrote on social media.
The City of Sydney Council faced criticism for the early evening fireworks, with Indigenous rap group 3% delivering a politically-charged performance.
Their song ‘Our People’ features profane lyrics such as ‘They stole the land in the name of their kings … They locked us up and then they threw away the key … You can suck my Moby D***’.
The show, titled ‘Calling Country’, touched upon sensitive topics such as Australia’s colonisation and the Stolen Generation as parents questioned its place in a family-oriented event.
Singer Angie McMahon’s participation further fuelled the controversy. Wearing a ‘no kids in prison’ shirt, McMahon voiced support for raising Australia’s criminal responsibility age. She also made a statement on the Israel-Hamas conflict, declaring, ‘Palestinians should be free’.
Prominent figures, including anti-Voice campaigner Warren Mundine, condemned the politicisation of the event.
“We just want to have a relaxed start to the year and have fun, because it’s going to be a big year this year,” Mundine said.
“NYE is an incredible landmark occasion for Sydney, and the world, in fact. It’s telecast all over the world, and I think people are getting sick and tired of the politicisation of things.
“We’re sick and tired of the politicisation of everything. We Australians are pretty laid back.”
Meanwhile, the ABC defended its broadcast, highlighting its commitment to showcasing ‘diverse Australian talent’ on New Year’s Eve.