Celeste’s controversial shirt at fire concert

 

Comedian Celeste Barber made a dig at Prime Minister Scott Morrison during the relief concert that raised $9.5 million for Australia's bushfire recovery.

Tens of thousands of people have poured into Sydney's ANZ stadium for a star-studded relief concert, in a massive show of support for those affected by the summer's bushfire crisis.

More than 70,000 people were expected at the Fire Fight Australia concert on Sunday, which according to organisers sold out within 24 hours of tickets going on sale.

Hosted by comedian Barber, who has raised more than $50 million for bushfire relief, all ticket profits will go to groups which are helping fire-ravaged communities get back on their feet.

Donations had topped $9.5 million on Sunday night.

Barber became emotional when she thanked the volunteer firefighters who sacrificed their time to battle devastating blazes, saying "you will never know how grateful we are".

"Our volunteers across this entire country, they are the ones who saved us," Barber told the crowd.

 

The T-shirt with a picture of the PM on holiday at Christmas. Picture: AAP Image/Joel Carrett
The T-shirt with a picture of the PM on holiday at Christmas. Picture: AAP Image/Joel Carrett

 

"They are the ones who cancel holidays to stay here and look after us, and I will speak now very confidently on behalf of a nation when I say to those volunteers: Thank you."

Barber also fired a shot at government handling of the bushfire crisis.

"As Aussies, we band together because we have to look after each other - because it turns out people at the top don't," she said to cheers from the crowd.

"God knows people in power haven't really done much…It is the people making the change and specifically it's our volunteers," she said.

"Thank you…I'm sorry you had to do it all on your own, we love you."

The entire stadium then erupted into a standing ovation and deafening cheer for many of the volunteers who were given tickets to the benefit.

Barber also wore a T-shirt late in the night with a picture of Mr Morrison in a Hawaiian shirt saying "Merry Crisis" in reference to the backlash to the PM being on holiday in Hawaii when the fires ripped through the nation.

 

Celeste Barber and singer Tina Arena. Picture: Cole Bennetts/Getty Images
Celeste Barber and singer Tina Arena. Picture: Cole Bennetts/Getty Images

 

Rock behemoths Queen + Adam Lambert reprised the band's iconic 1985 Live Aid set for the roaring crowd, with Alice Cooper, Irish favourite Ronan Keating and singer-songwriter k.d. lang also performing.

Lambert said their involvement was a "no-brainer" while Keating, whose brother- in-law is a volunteer firefighter in Queensland, flew into the country especially for the concert.

"I wanted people in Australia to know that we heard you, and that you weren't alone," Keating told the Seven Network.

 

John Farnham and Brian May of Queen.
John Farnham and Brian May of Queen.

 

Olivia Newton-John.
Olivia Newton-John.

 

"That was really important to me, that I could be here and perform or do whatever just to stand in solidarity." Andrea Gartside decided to attend the nine-hour concert with her friend Maureen Mackie to support the firefighters after the unprecedented fire season.

"We're doing our part in helping," she told AAP at ANZ stadium. "It's going to be awesome ... it's great that it's bringing everyone together for a good cause."

Queen fan Cheryl Hind was excited to see the band perform again. "It's part of why I'm here today and to thank the fireys for everything they've done," she said.

 

Celeste during the show. Picture: Cole Bennetts/Getty Images
Celeste during the show. Picture: Cole Bennetts/Getty Images

 

John Farnham performs.
John Farnham performs.

 

"It's just amazing." Lisa Yasso travelled from central Queensland to see the legendary rock band perform again.

"It's an awesome cause," she said.

Popular Australian acts spanning generations were also on the line-up, including 5 Seconds of Summer, Amy Shark, Daryl Braithwaite, Delta Goodrem, Grinspoon, John Farnham, Lee Kernaghan, Olivia Newton-John.

Fire Fight's profits will be shared between the Red Cross' disaster relief and recovery fund, rural and regional fire services and the RSPCA's bushfire appeal. Donations to the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal will also be accepted during the concert, to fund grants for community-led projects needing support in the bushfires' aftermath.

- with AAP


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