Celeste Barber hosted last night’s historic Fire Fight charity concert, using her platform to drag Prime Minister Scott Morrison for his less-than-stellar efforts during the Australian bushfire crisis.
Taking to the stage in one of Scott Marsh‘s ‘Merry Crisis’ t-shirts, the comedian praised the efforts of the Rural Fire Service volunteers this past summer, while slamming the government in comparison.
Barber – who herself has raised more than $50 million for the Rural Fire Service – praising the efforts of volunteer firefighters around the country and comparing them to Morrison’s ill-timed Hawaiian holiday.
“Our volunteers across this entire country, they are the ones who saved us,” she told the crowd.
“They are the ones who cancel holidays to stay here and look after us, and I will speak now very confidently on behalf of a nation when I say to those volunteers: Thank you.”
She was referring, of course, to Morrison’s ill-timed holiday to Hawaii while Australia burned.
“As Aussies, we band together because we have to look after each other – because it turns out people at the top don’t,” she said, prompting massive cheers from the 70,000-strong crowd.
“God knows people in power haven’t really done much…It is the people making the change and specifically it’s our volunteers,” Barber continued.
“Thank you… I’m sorry you had to do it all on your own, we love you.”
The charity gig raised $9.5 million for bushfire relief last night, and featured a slew of performances by iconic Aussie and international artists, including: Queen + Adam Lambert, Alice Cooper, Olivia Newton-John, Amy Shark, Daryl Braithwaite, Delta Goodrem, Guy Sebastian, 5 Seconds of Summer, Jessica Mauboy, k.d. lang, Tina Arena, Michael Bublé, and John Farnham.
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Queen, performing with Lambert as a fill-in for Freddie Mercury, reprised their legendary 1985 Live Aid set, playing a 22-minute run of songs including Bohemian Rhapsody, Radio Ga Ga, We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions.
The running theme of these unprecedented fires – which have killed 33 people, destroyed almost 6,000 homes, completely wiped out towns and killed an estimated half a billion animals – is that its people on the ground, not those in charge, which have helped contain the worst of it. Fire Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons has become both a household name and a hero, while Morrison’s handling of the fires will go down in history as one of the poorest moments of his career.
Judging by the mood last night, nothing has changed.
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