Ahead of the upcoming federal election, Anthony Albanese – leader for the Australian Labor Party (ALP) – has vowed to increase his support for a potential expansion of Double J.
The ALP previously backed efforts to expand Double J’s reach an FM radio station, following a petition launched by several female Australian musicians – Missy Higgins, Kasey Chambers, Kate Miller-Heidke, Sarah Blasko, Deborah Conway and Vikki Thorn – which called on the Federal Labor and Liberal parties to commit “modest extra funding” to the ABC (Double J’s broadcaster and parent company).
At the petition’s first emergence, Labor members Michelle Rowland (Shadow Minister for Communications) and Tony Burke (Shadow Minister for the Arts and Industrial Relations) expressed their support for the push, saying it would be “a huge positive step for Australian music”.
In a press release issued today (April 18), the party said they want to “take the first steps” to make the expansion of Double J a reality, and in doing so, would “support Australian music and promote Australian artists”. The statement also highlighted the importance of Australian women in music, whom Double J aims to provide an elevated platform.
First established in 1975 with the support of a Labor government, Double J has evolved to become available in regional Australia through digital radio and television stations, as well as the ABC website or listening app. They’re unable to access the station on an FM frequency, though, given that most regional and rural towns don’t have access to DAB radio.
The ALP intends to expand the reach of Double J to these areas, stating they will commission the ABC to “undertake a feasibility study into the expansion of Double J on radio as the next logical next step in helping great Aussie artists reach more ears”.
Leader for the ALP, Anthony Albanese, said: “It’s no secret I’ve always been a huge music fan. I want more people in regional Australia to experience the joy I have of listening to Double J, singing along to songs they love or maybe discovering something new.”
Burke echoed these sentiments, adding: “Australian musicians were left behind by the Morrison Government during the pandemic. Having them heard by more Australians in more towns is only going to be a good thing for artists and a good thing for listeners.”
Rowland concluded the statement: “Regional music fans don’t have the same access to radio services as those in big cities, and mobile blackspots mean access to radio apps can be patchy. Labor will ask the ABC to look at ways to get Double J into more areas on radio and blasted out of more speakers across regional Australia.”
Though Albanse’s presence was initially met with a mix of cheers and boos, the opposition leader boldly stated: “Australians have been magnificent [over] the last couple of years, and what we want is a government that backs the arts sector.”
The forthcoming federal election is currently slated for Saturday May 21. Albanese’s primary opponent, Liberal Party leader and current PM Scott Morrison, has been widely derided by Australia’s arts and entertainment industries, thanks in no short part to his documented lack of support for the sectors. Amyl And The Sniffers frontwoman Amy Taylor, for example, has slammed Morrison as an “absolute tosser”.