At the ARIAs, Australia’s answer to the Grammys, musicians spoke out in favour of marriage equality, nightlife and puppies. And the crowd absolutely loved it.
Kicking off the evening’s exceptional acceptance speakers was activist Angie Greene, who accepted the award for Best Female Artist on behalf of the enigmatic talent powerhouse Sia.
Australia is the last remaining developed, English-speaking country in the world that has not made same-sex marriage legal, and Greene’s impassioned words had the crowd applauding and cheering more rapturously than any of the music acts that graced the same stage.
“This award is for every single non-hetero and gender diverse person who currently cannot marry the person they love in this country … Bottom line Australia, is that no ones’ lives, and the people they love, should be up for debate. You have the opportunity now not to just do a great thing but to do the right thing.”
Greene wrapped up the speech with her own small note of gratitude to “absolute boss” Sia for using the ARIAs platform to send such a “powerful and important message.”
Youtube success story Troye Sivan took the award for Apple’s Song of the Year for “Youth.”
On trend with the messages of acceptance, Sivan spoke of his love for his home country and his sadness that marriage equality was a still a divisive issue.
“Australia is such a progressive, open, inclusive, safe country and I’m so glad to be from here… It just sucks that same-sex marriage isn’t represented politically,” he said.
The heart-throb also used his stage time to encourage the next generation of artists, saying “every gay Australian kid who wants to go make music, every LGBTQ kid, you can totally do it and win an ARIA too.”
Queen of pop Kylie Minogue also made a surprise appearance to champion the marriage equality movement, taking to the stage with her fianc Joshua Sasse.
The pair, donning “Say I Do Down Under” T-shirts, made an appeal to the viewing public to put Australia “on the right side of history,” adding “this is more than just a movement, this is people’s lives.”
The acceptance speeches stayed political when producer and master-of-dance-tracks-that-make-you-wet-your-pants-with-glee Flume took to the stage.
Flume used his acceptance speech for Best Dance Release as an appeal to state politicians to consider the impact the controversial Sydney late-night lockouts on pubs and clubs has had on a once thriving local music scene.
“I want to give a big thank you to the venues, especially the small venues … because that’s what’s getting shut down. To our policy makers and politicians, please keep Sydney open,” Flume called over the cheers of support from the crowd.
Indie pop singer Montaigne used her acceptance speech for Breakthrough Artist to quote her French philosopher namesake, but was so overwhelmed by her win that she sort of, well, stuffed it up, albeit quite adorably.
The ARIA winner followed up with a series of red-faced and pretty cute tweets trying to explain the fumble.
It was actually a VERY CLEVER speech but now look what happened
Montaigne (@actualmontaigne) November 23, 2016
Necklaces being clearly last season, Montaigne’s dcolletage was adorned with the words “People Over Profit,” commenting on the restrictive nature of the lockout laws suffocating the arts industry.
“If you’re going to prioritise the casinos and residential development and all that bullshit, over the art scene that we have surely at least you can strike a balance,” Montaigne said.
We are contractually obliged to mention that Troye Sivan was also in attendance, absolutely obliterating hearts by being more adorable than a golden retriever puppy at Christmas
U.K. king of the pop comeback, Robbie Williams, was in attendance, looking like that guy who took you to your prom but turned up late and hooked up with your best friend.
And Aussie band Peking Duk proved Australians truly do red carpets better than anywhere in the world, bringing puppies as their “dates”.