Guy Sebastian has defended his decision to stand behind Prime Minister Scott Morrison as he announced the Federal Government’s $250million arts sector relief package earlier today (June 25).
Sebastian was one of two musicians – the other being Mark Vincent – included in talks with the government and other industry groups earlier this month.
Following the conference, Sebastian’s name trended on Twitter in Australia, with users criticising him for supporting a government measure that, according to the arts union and political opponents, falls short of what the sector needs to survive and recover post-pandemic.
Today was going fine, but now I have to break it to my 9 year old that Guy Sebastian is a scab, as we delete all his songs from her Apple music.
— Maxine Beneba Clarke (@slamup) June 25, 2020
Guy Sebastian is the now the Scott Cam of the music world.
— David Caldicott (@ACTINOSProject) June 25, 2020
WTF is Guy Sebastian doing, standing behind #ScottyFromMarketing , nodding his frigging head at every miserable utterance coming out of his gob?
— 💧Geoff (Arts Degree Aficionado) Mason (@navypti) June 25, 2020
I’m not surprised about Guy Sebastian supporting Scott Morrison – given he has a Hillsong past.
But he sure doesn’t represent most arts workers – his riches and mainsteam career are an anomaly.
— Carly Findlay OAM (@carlyfindlay) June 25, 2020
In a statement to NCA Newswire, Guy Sebastian defended his involvement, saying he was a “musician, not a politician”.
“My attendance today at the press conference was to provide perspective of the deep-seated economic hardship that has crippled the entertainment industry due to the COVID pandemic,” he said.
“The whole industry from tech crew to musicians and all those that consult to the entertainment community are in serious need of stimulus. The objective of my involvement today is to support my colleagues and industry at large.”
Sebastian was, however, praised by APRA AMCOS for representing musicians during the relief package’s consultation period. The organisation also commended the government’s efforts to offer tailored relief for the sector.
“We commend Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Arts Minister Paul Fletcher for listening to the concerns of the sector and acknowledging the unique and devastating impact the pandemic is having on the artists, businesses and workers in our part of the cultural economy,” chief executive Dean Ormston said in a statement today.
Thanks to @GuySebastian for talking about the artists and the thousands of music industry businesses, sole traders and individuals that have been hit so hard by the COVID-19 crisis. https://t.co/sxHL3OTGIQ
— APRA AMCOS (@APRAAMCOS) June 25, 2020