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Albanese and Biden to get together at Love Shack dinner

US President Joe Biden is hosting Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Washington DC.

US President Joe Biden is hosting Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Washington DC. Photo: AAP

The White House has rejected suggestions of being tone deaf by hosting a star-studded state dinner with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese while fighting rages in the Middle East.

US President Joe Biden plans to indulge Albanese’s love of 1980s music with a special performance by The B-52s at the lavish event on Wednesday (local time).

The pop band famous for the retro hit Love Shack will be the star act and will put on a show on the White House’s South Lawn, while Biden and wife Jill host Albanese and his partner Jodie Haydon.

Albanese is in the US for four days of high-level meetings.

Speculation has been rife about the guest list for the special event, with some suggestions that Hollywood actresses Nicole Kidman or Margot Robbie may be among the invited Aussie expats.

The White House has not confirmed who received invitations to what is usually a star-studded affair.

Nine newspapers reports that Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys has flown to the US to attend as a guest of Albanese.

Members of The B-52s are known for their progressive politics, having performed at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in the US.

Kate Pierson, Fred Schneider and Cindy Wilson of The B-52in 2022. Photo: Getty

Biden is hosting Albanese at a time when the escalating conflict in the Middle East has required his attention.

When asked if it was “tone deaf” to hold a special gala event amid the war between Israel and Hamas, a White House spokesperson said the dinner would go ahead.

“We believe that there is no more important time than now to have this state visit with the Australians, and to demonstrate, of course, our strength and partnership and alliances,” she said.

The last state dinner for an Australian leader was in 2020 when then-president Donald Trump and wife Melania hosted then PM Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny.

The dinner was designed by Melania and included 175 high-profile attendees such as golfing royalty Greg Norman, media chief Lachlan Murdoch and businessman Anthony Pratt.

Morrison controversially tried to invite Hillsong preacher Brian Houston but it was vetoed by the White House.

On Monday night (AEDT), Albanese took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery.

Albanese laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which acknowledges the sacrifice US citizens have made for their country, at the cemetery in the US state of Virginia.

“The friendship between Australia and the United States runs deep,” Mr Albanese said on social media platform X after his visit to the final resting place of more than 400,000 US service members and their families as well as foreign citizens.

“Generations of our service men and women have fought together for peace,” he said.

“Together, we honour those brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.”

Albanese also paid his respects to two Australians at the cemetery.

They are RAAF officer Francis D. Milne, who died on an air mission while serving with a US aircrew in Papua New Guinea on November 26, 1942, and Yvonne Kennedy, who died on September 11, 2001, when American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon.

Albanese landed in Maryland on Monday afternoon and was greeted on the tarmac by Australia’s ambassador to the US Kevin Rudd, his wife Therese Rein and the US ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy.

Speaking after his arrival in Washington DC, Albanese said he would meet with US legislators to discuss laws allowing the submarine technology transfer under the AUKUS agreement.

“Making sure that the AUKUS arrangements are put in place, and talking with Congress and Senate about the legislation that’s required to turn this vision into a practical reality,” he said.

Working together in the Indo-Pacific, the clean energy transition, and critical minerals were also on the agenda.

“The United States relationship with Australia is our most important,” Mr Albanese said.

The four-day state visit to the US capital will be the ninth meeting with Biden since Albanese’s election victory in 2022.

– with AAP

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