LABOR leader Kevin Rudd has presented a united front with Prime Minister John Howard, condemning the organisers of the Big Day Out music festival for asking people not to bring the Australian flag to the Sydney concert.
As concert organisers yesterday backed away from reports they planned to ban the flag at the Sydney event, Mr Rudd used the issue to adopt Mr Howard's line that Australia is not a racist country.
Big Day Out event producer Ken West was quoted on Monday as saying "the Australian flag was being used as gang colours. It was racism disguised as patriotism and I'm not going to tolerate it."
But yesterday, in a statement posted on the Big Day Out website, organisers denied they had intended to "disrespect the symbolism of the Australian flag".
But Mr Howard said yesterday the flag did not cause violence and accused the Big Day Out organisers of "running their own political agenda".
He also put the heat on NSW Premier Morris Iemma. Because the NSW Government owned the property on which the concert would take place, the Premier should make sure the "stupid ban does not in any way get implemented", he said.
Quite a debate going on about this. Howard's comments are also quite interesting. Thoughts?