Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from ACM, which has more than 100 mastheads across Australia. Today's is written by ACM editorial trainee Dan Holmes.
"Well it's bloody good to see the union spirit is alive and well!"
Bob Hawke had just stepped up to the microphone, after spending half an hour singing along to Irish rebel songs, and union ballads.
I'm surprised by the late Prime Minister's enthusiasm for songs lambasting ideas he endorsed in office. I've just turned 17.
But the crowd of coal miners and local folk music enthusiasts are delighted.
Ten years later, I saw Hawkey booed by a crowd at Woodford Folk Festival for suggesting Australia should invest in nuclear energy. It became the talk of the festival with performers expressing their displeasure on and off the stage.
It was far from the only moment that festival musicians used amplified a political message. I heard everything from "Free West Papua" to "Reconciliation now".
Nobody was upset about their favourite musicians getting political. To those I spoke to, the chance to join a thousands strong rallying cry was one of the reasons they'd come in the first place.
But in the middle of a political campaign, things change. Musicians like John Farnham, Jimmy Barnes and Paul Kelly have been slammed on social media for adding their weight to the Yes23 campaign.
Abuse on a John Farnham fan page on Facebook has become so intense, the moderators were forced to shut down comments.
Barnes and Kelly copping similar abuse, with "betrayed" fans evidently ignorant of their rich history of political activism.
The refrain of 'stick to your lane' hangs heavy in the air.
In his later years he may have lost his legendary ability to read the room but Hawke never lost touch with the fact music is ground zero for politics.
The connection is older than Australian democracy.
In the West African Griot Tradition, travelling musicians were seen as a powerful political force.
In Western Classical music, Beethoven's Eroica symphony was dedicated to "the memory of a great man". The man in question was the still living Napoleon who Beethoven thought had betrayed his republican ideals.
In Australia, broadside ballads played a central role in Australian public life from the day the first groups of convicts were dumped on the shores of Botany Bay.
The double meaning of broadside - to fire on a ship with all guns on one side and a large sheet of paper - are nods to the unrestrained political attacks that were their purpose and the newspapers they would eventually become.
While not all of these were explicitly political, they played an important part in the development of early white Australian culture; a shared sense of displacement, and working class strife in transportation ballads like Botany Bay. A foreshadowing of the White Australia Policy in Sam Griffith.
As Australia crept closer to federation, broadsides about transportation and convict life became the songs about poor, itinerant workers and criminals trying to create a life on the frontier.
The most famous of these, a rousing song about a sheep-thieving swagman who commits suicide to avoid the police, has been described as Australia's unofficial national anthem.
Until the 1990's politics and music were inseparable, when a stronger sense of individualism began to erode the tradition of the solidarity singalong, and technology drove folk music to the fringes of Australian cultural consciousness.
Political Philosopher famously called this period following the fall of the Berlin Wall "The end of history" - the eternal triumph of capitalism, individualism and democracy over communism.
Music followed suit. Songs about personal wealth and sexual prowess replaced political music as the anthems of a new generation.
But beneath this, the radical politics of Marcus Garvey and W. E. B. Du Bois survived in the urban broadsides of American hip-hop acts like Public Enemy and Rage Against the Machine.
Our voice supporting musicians who are aware of this tradition.
Paul Kelly's performance of anti-conscription Irish ballads like Arthur McBride shows awareness and appreciation of this history.
The music of Jimmy Barnes and Cold Chisel are endowed with the same working class ethos as Australia's 19th century balladeers.
The use of John Farnham's You're the Voice in the official Yes23 campaign ad has become the focal point of people telling musicians to stay out of politics. The "famously apolitical" singer has been blasted for politicising one of Australia's favourite pub anthems.
These criticism miss the fact this song is, and always was political.
The song's composers - Chris Thompson, Andy Qunta and Maggie Ryder - are clear about this.
They say it was inspired by a protest for nuclear disarmament. A call for personal responsibility and advocacy in the face of impossible institutional power.
Viewed in this way, it is a near perfect choice for the Yes23 campaign. The song's meaning has not changed. It remains a call to arms for disengaged citizens, now in the context of structural disadvantage rather than existential risk.
Like many Australians, my interest in politics spurred by political music that seemed to describe the plight of the working class town I grew up in.
A memorable melody, and a call to arms were far more compelling to me than the dry oratory of John Howard or Kim Beazley.
Musicians' involvement in the Yes23 campaign is an extension of what they've done since before federation - unite the poor and disadvantaged, and draw attention to political issues.
To suggest otherwise is ahistoric, and elitist.
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