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Arts in Australia, a snapshot:

MP PETER Garrett  [shadow parliamentary secretary for the arts and former rock star, as the Age dubs him]  has blasted federal politicians for constantly embracing sporting success while neglecting involvement with the arts and he lamented that there is no "theatre tragic" to match the Prime Minister as a "cricket tragic".

The arts have been caught in the culture wars crossfire and notions that they are elitist, Mr Garrett said yesterday in a speech. "One consequence of the attacks on 'cultural elites' from the right is that it has aroused latent hostility towards those who practise and enjoy the arts," he said.

He said today's "political philistines" were not necessarily implacable opponents of liberal arts — a coterie of right-wing commentators fulfilled that role. Rather they were indifferent, and refused to be arts advocates.


Mr Garrett speaking at Monash University, said there was a lurking suspicion in the minds of politicians that Paul Keating's demise "came about, in part, due to his role as the last national leader willing to champion the arts".

Federal funding for the arts "remains on a relatively static track" and many artists lived hand to mouth and were still seen in some quarters as lacking credibility because, it was asserted, "they don't have a 'real' job". Mr Garrett said that despite the problems the arts faced, Australia was on the cusp of a creative renaissance.

At which point, the article ends.

I hope he got to explain that Creative Renaissance, at least, to the room full of people listening to him.


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Oct. 1st, 2006 07:52 am (UTC)
I was just discussing the Death By Assimilation of Garrett, with a friend the other day. How odd he's resurrected himself just now!
Oct. 1st, 2006 10:16 am (UTC)
i don't know if resurrected is the word i'd use ;)
Oct. 1st, 2006 01:12 pm (UTC)
I think Australians are generally philistines. Your average bloke or sheila couldn't give two shits about the arts. They do give a shit about cricket and other sports though. This government, as well as past and probably future ones, is big on pandering to the "average" Australian. So, it must therefore follow that the government wouldn't give two shits either, as it wouldn't serve their political needs. Sad, but true.
Oct. 1st, 2006 11:10 pm (UTC)
i don't think it's true that most couldn't care. rather, i think it has more to do with the climate, and the way things are presented to people. it has been a long time since the arts, in general, has been presented as a fun, entertaining way to spend the day--sadly, which sport is often portrayed. likewise,t he arts doesn't get the media coverage, or interest. what most people remember of the arts is what they got in highschool, which is hardly fascinating...
Oct. 1st, 2006 02:25 pm (UTC)
Well if JK Rowling couldn't qualify for an "Emerging Writer" grant in Australia after her first three books... (4 or 5 children's books is the qualification)... perhaps it IS elitist!
Oct. 1st, 2006 11:12 pm (UTC)
four or five books? that seems a touch over the emerging writer status to me...
Oct. 2nd, 2006 03:16 am (UTC)
Yes, I think they realised. It used to be four/five works of junior fiction but recently they amended it to four works of junior fiction under 30k or one work over 30k (prof publisher, nat distrib). But a few years ago when JK just had the three novels that wasn't the case.
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