Anthony Albanese admonishes protesters at Woodford Folk Festival

Anthony Albanese has snapped at a group of noisy protesters as he delivered one of his final speeches for the year.

The Prime Minister took to the stage on Wednesday afternoon at the Woodford Folk Festival in Queensland, pausing to allow protesters chanting anti-oil and gas slogans.

After a few seconds, he asked the crowd: “We have given them all a fair go, does everyone agree?”

Later, while addressing the crowd on the Voice to Parliament, he told the same group to keep quiet.

“You probably won’t win support for your agenda yelling out and interrupting talk about constitutional recognition in this audience,” he said to cheers and applause.

Broadly, Mr Albanese’s speech focused on the Voice to Parliament referendum, in which he told festivalgoers “when Woodford takes place next year, the referendum on the Voice to parliament will have been held”.

“This is an opportunity for all of us to be a part of enriching our nation and being even stronger in the future,” he said.

“An even greater Australia is so tantalisingly within our reach. Together, friends, we will get it done.”

PM's upcoming speech pledges 'referendum on an Indigenous Voice' by December 2023

He said the Voice would recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia’s Constitution and give First Nations people input into the decisions which affect them.

“This will give respect to First Nations people, and it will enhance both the way Australians see ourselves, and the way we are seen by the world,” he said.

“Momentum is growing. Local government, community groups, churches, business, trade unions and sporting codes have joined every state and territory government in pledging support for a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament.”

Mr Albanese warned the world was heading into uncertain times, with democracy under threat from “insidious forces”.

“I urge anyone who thinks our democracy is unassailable to have a look around the world,” he said.

“Even some of the oldest, most stable democracies have come under attack from a whole range of corrosive, insidious forces. No one is immune.

“Our democracy is precious, something we have carefully grown and nurtured from one generation to the next. One of our core responsibilities is to make it stronger, and key to that strength is transparency and accountability.”

He told festival attendees the National Anti-Corruption Commission would be “essential” to maintaining Australia’s democratic principles.

Mr Albanese’s remarks come at the end of a tumultuous year globally, with the invasion of Ukraine, Scott Morrison’s secret ministries and China’s posturing towards Taiwan, concerning his Government.

He said that while his Government didn’t agree with China on everything, dialogue opening between the two countries was a “constructive” step.

“It doesn’t mean we don’t raise our concerns and our significant points of difference,” he said.

“We will co-operate with China where we can, disagree where we must, and engage in Australia’s national interest.”

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