Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and New South Wales Premier Chris Minns have avoided the media pack while attending radio personality Kyle Sandilands’ wedding, held in Sydney’s eastern suburbs on Saturday.
- The PM says he stands by his attendance at Kyle Sandilands’ wedding
- A convicted drug smuggler and a former nightclub boss were part of the bridal party
- An expert says the shock jock gives the PM access to part of the community he needs to reach
Both leaders were among the guests at the historic Swift Mansion at Darling Point, along with Sandilands’ fellow radio host Jackie O, singer Guy Sebastian, TV presenter Karl Stefanovic and former NRL player Beau Ryan.
Mr Albanese has for the past few days fended off criticism for accepting an invitation to the wedding, after it was revealed convicted drug smuggler Simon Main and notorious former Kings Cross nightclub owner John Ibrahim were among the bridal party.
Mr Albanese on Saturday doubled down on his decision to attend, saying he was looking forward to “witnessing [the couple’s] expression of love”.
“Yes, I was invited to the wedding, yes I was invited in the context of Kyle saying how happy he was with Tegan,” Mr Albanese said.
“The thing that occurs at a wedding, it’s a public expression in front of people, invited guests, of love between two people. That’s a good thing.
“I enjoy weddings and I will be going to the wedding.”
Earlier in the week, the prime minister said he wasn’t in charge of the invite list, and praised Sandilands as an “Australian success story” for lifting himself out of homelessness.
The prime minister on Saturday also made reference to Sandilands’ and Tegan Kynaston’s other show of love, their son Otto.
In vision outside the venue, the groom posed with the youngster shortly after arriving with best man Main and Mr Ibrahim.
The veiled bride, wearing a Michelle Mason floral embellished dress, arrived soon after.
A local told the ABC the prime minister and premier can choose their own friends.
“But I think he [Mr Albanese] should be careful. He is the prime minister and needs to be very careful what he does,” the local said.
“He is in the public eye, one needs to think these things out — both the premier and prime minister.”
The Sandilands wedding was trending on social media, with most people still questioning the prime minister’s decision to attend.
They also raised the shock jock’s numerous controversies, including his claim in 2019 that the mother of Jesus was a “liar who got knocked up behind a camel shed”.
In 2022 he said that monkeypox was a “big gay disease”, and a decade ago he aired an interview with a distressed child who said she had been raped at the age of 12.
One Twitter user said he wouldn’t be voting for Labor at the next election, while another accused Mr Albanese of “ricocheting between Lachlan Murdoch and Kyle Sandilands”.
Sydney journalist Stephanie Wood wrote: “Seriously Albo … Kyle Sandilands wedding? Poor advice, poor optics, poor choice.”
According to Matthew Ricketson, a professor of communication at Deakin University, the prime minister’s association with the shock jock is not surprising.
“If they’re powerful media people, politicians both want to be with them and need to be with them,” Professor Ricketson said.
“It is to do with the individual person. Someone like Kyle Sandilands is a top-rating shock jock; he reaches a part of the Australian community that the prime minister wants to reach.”
Professor Ricketson said the relationship can work both ways.
“If you’re able to invite and have accept your wedding invitation the most powerful person in the country, that’ll make your ego feel pretty good,” he said.