Australia’s hopes of hosting the Eurovision Song Contest have ended with the government-funded organising body being abolished in the Federal Budget.
The Australian Eurovision Board – or AEB – was set up by the previous Labor government with the goal of bringing the world’s biggest song contest to Australia.
The AEB had successfully completed phase one of the Australian Eurovision bid, with Jessica Mauboy performing in an unofficial capacity during this year’s second semi-final in Copenhagen.
Phase two of the Australian Eurovision bid was also well under way.
It was expected that the Eurovision organising committee would extend its definition of Europe – which already covers non-European countries such as Israel, Azerbaijan and Morocco – to include Australia. Former Powderfinger singer Bernard Fanning was already on standby to sing Australia’s 2015 Eurovision entry.
Had Australia taken part in next year’s ESC, its chances of winning – and hosting the 2016 contest – were high. Through diligent behind-the-scenes work, AEB officials had already organised the necessary bribes and reciprocal voting arrangements needed for Eurovision victory.
However, the abolition of the AEB by the Abbott government has brought Australia’s Eurovision dream to an abrupt end.
“This is a sad day for Australia and a sad day for world music,” tweeted former prime minister Julia Gillard, a self-confessed Eurovision freak.
But Treasurer Joe Hockey was unrepentant.
“The $200 million a year spent on winning a popularity contest is an irresponsible use of public funds.”
The government has instead directed the money towards tax cuts for companies and the mining sector.
For more on the Eurovision Song Contest, click HERE.
For more on the Federal Budget, click HERE.
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