Viewers watching the ABC’s live New Year’s Eve coverage were stunned to see a performer give the middle finger and shout “This one’s for the Prime Minister.”
The shocking moment unfolded around 10pm, about 90 minutes into the ABC’s coverage, when musician Tex Perkins took to the stage.
As the camera panned across Sydney Harbour and then onto the live concert, Perkins could be seen sticking his middle finger up in the direction of Kirribilli House, the secondary residence of the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.
“This one’s for the Prime Minister,” Perkins said, holding his middle finger up for a few seconds before launching into a rendition of “The Honeymoon Is Over”, a perhaps aptly chosen song he released as a member of the band The Cruel Sea.
The singer-songwriter didn’t appear to face any consequences over the stunt, as he returned to the ABC stage about an hour later to perform Skyhooks hit “Living in the ‘70s.”
Viewers were divided over the crude gesture, with some saying it was disrespectful, and that it was unnecessary to make the night political.
Others said it adequately expressed the frustration many feel with Australia’s leadership as the Sydney fireworks celebration went on while parts of the country were ravaged by bushfire.
Scott Morrison and local leaders including Sydney Mayor Clover Moore have been heavily criticised for going ahead with the annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display as parts of the country have been decimated by unprecedented bushfires that have killed three people in the last 24 hours.