Bob Hawke Sings ‘Waltzing Matilda’, Spruiks Nuclear Power At Woodford Folk Festival

Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke has used his latest visit to Woodford Folk Festival north of Brisbane to unite the crowd in a rendition of ‘Waltzing Matilda’, before dividing them by suggesting that Australia use more nuclear power.

Mr Hawke led a five-minute singalong of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ at Woodford’s opening night on Tuesday, which earned him a standing ovation. If you dare, you can watch footage of the entire five minutes, below.

While Mr Hawke’s vocal skills went over pretty smoothly, it was his call for Australia to take the world’s nuclear waste that had the crowd divided.

As the ABC reports, Mr Hawke addressed the crowd under the festival big top yesterday, saying, “The time has come when we’ve got to think big if we’re going to face the big issues of our time. We’re going to have to be prepared to think about changes that are quite radical.

“Nuclear power would be a win for the environment and an essential part of the attacking that must be made on this grievous and dangerous global warming. It would be a win for the global environment and a win for Australia.”

Mr Hawke said that Australia appears to be the safest place to store the world’s nuclear waste, saying, “I have no doubt that countries who are producing nuclear energy would pay well for the storage of their nuclear waste,” before adding that profits could go towards ending Indigenous poverty.

“I do appreciate the very strong feelings held by people in this issue. The simple fact is (compared) to fossil fuel power stations nuclear power is clean. They are necessary to reduce the impact of fossil fuel,” Mr Hawke added, according to News Corp Australia.

“What is worse for our kids and their kids? Some nuclear accidents in their time or the destruction of the planet (through climate change)?”

Mr Hawke’s comments reportedly prompted several calls of “no thanks” from the Woodford crowd, and also led some to voice their concerns on Twitter:

This year’s Woodford Folk Festival lineup features the likes of Adalita, Methyl Ethel, Tash Sultana and Urthboy, and wraps up on Sunday, 1st January. You can catch the full lineup alongside Bob Hawke’s latest rendition of ‘Waltzing Matilda’, below.

Watch: Bob Hawke Sings ‘Waltzing Matilda’ At Woodford Folk Festival 2016

Woodford Folk Festival 2016/17 Lineup


Methyl Ethel


Ainslie Willis

The Little Stevies

Silver Sircus

Half Moon Run

Tash Sultana

Oh Pep


Little May


Gold Member

Jimmy Davis

Gang Of Youths


Jackie Marshall

Thelma Plum

The Fergies


Amanda Palmer

Brendan Maclean

Ben Walsh: Remix Experiment

Wallis Bird

Steve Politz

Mark Moroney

Stu Larsen


Linsey Pollak & Lizzie O’Keefe

Desert Child

Hot Potato Band

Essie Thomas Ensemble

Woodford Folk Festival 2016/17

Tuesday, 27th December – Sunday, 1st January 2017

Woodfordia, Sunshine Coast Hinterland

Tickets: Woodford Folk Festival

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