Australian Prime Minister Recalls Saving Dolly Parton Tour

23 January 2024 | 1:04 pm | Mary Varvaris

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese recounted how Dolly Parton's luxurious tour buses almost got her barred from touring across the country, and how he ensured the tour would go ahead.

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton (Credit: Vijat Mohindra/Courtesy of Butterfly Records)

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Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has detailed in a new interview how he saved Dolly Parton’s 2011 tour down under.

Speaking to ABC Radio last Friday – on Parton’s 78th birthday, no less – Albanese recounted how the Jolene singer’s luxurious tour buses almost got her barred from touring across the country. As the then-transport minister, he intervened and got Dolly on the road.

“Dolly Parton doesn’t like flying around,” Albanese shared in the ABC Radio interview.

Discussing the customs and road authorities’ issues with her tour buses, Albanese added, “So, she has a bus that is larger than the regulations, and the bureaucrats say is not allowed on New South Wales roads and on roads in Australia, so I intervened and said ‘for goodness sake, surely going from A to B with Dolly Parton’s bus [should be allowed]’.”

At the time, cited customs calling the buses too large, and road authorities mentioned doors opening onto traffic (vehicles built in and for the US) as an issue.

Albanese continued, “I got to have a look inside, it's a bit more than a bus, she lives in there basically. It's quite luxurious, but it's longer and wider than a normal bus here, and so I intervened as the federal transport minister and her tour went ahead.”

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Albanese then met Parton and attended her show in Homebush, New South Wales, which he called “fantastic”. “She is a great entertainer and, so happy birthday, Dolly.”

Parton thanked Albanese at the time for ensuring she could tour with her buses. In a video you can watch below, she said, “He was so good to make sure we got my buses here ... Now, I don’t know if he’s here today, but if he is, you can come up here, and I’ll smear, lip gloss all over you!”

In other Dolly Parton news, the 9 To 5 hitmaker celebrated her 78th birthday by releasing a deluxe edition of her latest album, Rockstar.

The additional tracks include a Billy Joel cover (The Entertainer), Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)Pat Benatar’s Hit Me With Your Best ShotSimon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water and Eddie Money’s Two Tickets To Paradise.

As well as the additional covers, Parton shared new versions of four original tracks: a live performance of Rockin’ It, the Sylvester Stallone-starring Stay Out Of My Bedroom, Mama Never Said, and a rendition of Jolene starring special guests, Italian rockers Måneskin.

The deluxe version of Rockstar is available to listen to wherever you stream your music.