Aria awards 2015: Tame Impala take top gongs as Tina Arena calls out ageism

Perth psych-rockers win five awards, Courtney Barnett scoops three, while Hall of Fame inductee Arena says ‘ladies over 40 are still in the game’

It was Tame Impala’s night at the Arias, but the show-stopping performance came from Hall of Fame inductee Tina Arena who used her acceptance speech to slap down ageism.

Perth’s Tame Impala took out five awards on Thursday for their third album Currents.

“Really, what really? That was really looking like it was setting up for Courtney Barnett,” frontman Kevin Parker said when the band took out the best rock album award.

By the time they accepted the gong for best album they realised it was probably their night after all.

The show-stopper of the night, though, was Tina Arena who blasted on to the stage with an army of female performers including the Veronicas and Jessica Mauboy, performing her hit, Chains.

The Veronicas and Jessica Mauboy join Aria Hall of Fame inductee in performing Chains.

It was the only all-female show on a night dominated by male performances including Peking Duk, Hermitude and Jarryd James.

Arena was then inducted into the Aria Hall of Fame by pop princess Kylie Minogue and Tour de France winner Cadel Evans.

In a wide-ranging speech, the singer paid out on ageism and sexism in the industry.

“I want to still acknowledge that ladies over 40 are still in the game,” she said, name-checking Kylie, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and Annie Lennox.

“Keep doing what you’re doing, ladies, because we will decide when it’s time for us to stop.”

Here it is! @kylieminogue and @Ella_Hooper celebrate with @tinaarena #GreatAussieMusic #ARIAs

— Telstra (@Telstra) November 26, 2015

Arena also implored radio to play Australian music.

“Radio please don’t try and meet your Australian quotas because you have to, exceed them because you really want to,” she told the crowd at Sydney’s Star.

The only controversy of the night came when Channel Ten’s national TV broadcast of the Arias failed to show an acceptance speech by comedian and broadcaster Matt Okine in which he called out sexism in his industry.

Accepting the award for best comedy release – beating Bondi Hipsters, Buddy Goode, Ronny Chieng and Sammy J & Randy to the pointy statue – the Triple J presenter used his speech to highlight how there wasn’t a single woman nominated in the category.

“I didn’t feel great reading that list of people,” he said.

Some viewers tweeted their disappointment at Okine’s exclusion from the televised broadcast.

Disappointed at #ARIAs for not playing @mattokine acceptance speech. How about embracing gender equality & maybe the industry can progress?

— Silvia Pinneri (@siilvp) November 26, 2015

Despite rumours, Taylor Swift was a no-show at the Arias but Courtney Barnett finally appeared – via video – on the biggest night of the Australian music calendar.

Barnett, who had the most nominations going into the ceremony, won the best female award, along with breakthrough artist and independent release.

Wearing a T-shirt reading, “choose love”, she told viewers from London it was a real honour.

Vance Joy, who opened the awards ceremony with a performance of Fire and the Flood, won best male artist.

Courtney Barnett
Courtney Barnett appears via video link from London to accept the Aria for best female. Photograph: Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images

Guest international artist Ed Sheeran picked up the inaugural diamond award for album sales of more than half a million, while Conrad Sewell won song of the year.

Sewell closed the show with a medley of his songs Firestone and Start Again.


Tame Impala (Currents) - album of the year; best group; best rock album

Courtney Barnett (Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit) - best female; best independent release; breakthrough artist

Vance Joy (Dream your life away) - best male artist

Tina Arena - Aria Hall Of Fame

Shane Nicholson (Hell breaks loose) - best country album

Jarryd James (Do you remember) - best pop release

Conrad Sewell (Start again) - song of the year

Oh Mercy - best adult contemporary album

Matt Okine - best comedy release

Click here for the full list of 2015 Arias winners and nominees

Staff and agencies

The GuardianTramp

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