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Salute not so friendly

Australian singer-songwriter Pete Murray.
Australian singer-songwriter Pete Murray. Contributed

WELCOME to Bundaberg - where the only thing extended to you is the middle finger.

This less-than-friendly salute is what Australian singer-songwriter Pete Murray and his crew received as they drove through the city before his performance at the Sugarland Tavern on Wednesday night.

Murray told the crowd he and his band were driving near Bundaberg Hospital on their way to the venue when they noticed two women, believed to be a mother and daughter, out walking their dog.

The band, which had become a little lost with directions, performed a quick turn into a side street near them, before waving to them as they passed, only to receive the derogatory gesture by the younger of the two.

Later on in the concert, Murray asked the crowd to give him the same one-finger welcome while he filmed it, before dedicating his song, Always a Winner, to the rude girl in question.

Bundaberg Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch said this sort of welcome to the region's visitors was "disappointing".

"Regardless of who it was, a celebrity or not, there is no necessity for people to be rude," she said.

Cr Pyefinch said everyone had the responsibility to make visitors feel welcome.

"It has a knock-on effect for jobs and tourism, and also our image to the world," she said.

Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism general manager James Corvan said the Pete Murray incident was unfortunate.

"We can do nothing about it now, but it's just a call to everyone to be friendly," he said.

"You're going to get that everywhere.

"Whether it was someone doing it as a matter of course - sometimes those five minutes of fame is something they want.

"It gets publicised when it happens to someone of note, or a celebrity."

The tourism advocate said he had run several campaigns in the past aimed at boosting friendliness in tourist destinations.

"Perhaps we can have a campaign where people smile and say g'day regardless," he said.

Topics:  finger, greeting, pete murray, salute


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