To help you to consider your vote on 21 May, we asked the major parties about their arts policies.
We sent the following questions to Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, Tony Burke MP, ALP Shadow Minister for the Arts and Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Australian Greens Spokesperson on the Arts:
- Does your party have a policy on the arts? If so, what is it and where can it be found?
- In the next term of government will you advocate to boost funding support for the arts? If not, why not and if so, how?
- If elected, will you reinstate, or advocate to reinstate, the arts to a portfolio position with a named Department. If not, why not?
- What contribution do you think the visual arts, craft and design sector makes to Australia?
- What would you personally like to change in the next term of government to benefit the arts sector?
Australian Greens Response
The Australian Greens responded to our request:
"Art and creative industries are a core part of our national identity in Australia, reflecting the talent and diversity of our communities while also being critical for our economy. Unfortunately, artists were some of the hardest hit by the pandemic, and still have not been provided adequate support from the Government. The Greens have consistently called for the Government to provide increased funding and stability for the arts sector, and will continue to do so in the next term of government. We have a plan not only to help these industries back on their feet, but to support their growth into the future. The Greens will:
- Provide additional Covid recovery funding through the RISE fund
- Double funding to the Australia Council to support small and medium arts organisations
- Put an artist in residence in every school and library
- Establish a multi-disciplinary Creativity Commission to provide advocacy and structural support to the creative sector
- Invest in arts education with the establishment of a new arts school in South Australia
These initiatives make up our broader Creative Australia policy plan, which can be read in full here."
Australian Labor Party Response
Here is the response from Tony Burke MP, Shadow Minister for The Arts:
- Does the ALP have a policy on the arts? If so, what is it and where can it be found?
We have not yet released our policy.
2. In the next term of government will you advocate to boost funding support for the arts? If not, why not and if so, how?
Throughout this entire term of government, and particularly through the pandemic, Labor has advocated relentlessly for more support for the arts and entertainment industry.
For more than three months after the pandemic began the Government stubbornly insisted there was no problem and that a sector completely shut down by restrictions was somehow doing okay. Only after more than 100 days of Labor lobbying for industry support did the Morrison Government finally relent and announce a support package on June 25.
The industry is still in a state of flux and there will be a need to review the kind of support required to get the industry back on its feet.
Labor has a proud history of support for the arts. In government, Labor established two landmark cultural policies – Creative Nation under Paul Keating, and Creative Australia under Simon Crean.
This is a legacy Labor intends to honour in government.
3. If elected to government will you reinstate, or advocate to reinstate, the arts to a portfolio position with a named Department. If not, why not?
It was a sad day for the arts in Australia, when on 31 January 2020 the department responsible for arts policy and funding was officially abolished by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Arts Minister Paul Fletcher. Not content with their constant cuts to the arts sector, the Morrison Government deleted any reference to the arts in the name of the department.
I will have more to say when our policy is announced.
4. What contribution do you think the visual arts, craft and design sector makes to Australia?
I simply refer to my remarks at the NAVA’s Arts Day on the Hill launch and inauguration of the Parliamentary friendship Group for Contemporary Arts and Culture in August 2019 where I said “We don’t just respect and appreciate what you do, we need what you do… As artists, you can change how people see their home, their world, their surroundings, themselves and if the world ever needed that it’s now”.
5. What would you personally like to change in the next term of government to benefit the arts sector?
I would firstly like to see an Australian government that genuinely cared about the arts and its artists and truly valued their contribution to defining who we are as a nation in every sense. We found out through the pandemic just how little artist were valued by the Morrison government who, when they established JobKeeper, did it in such a way to exclude as many artists as possible, because they didn’t actually think of artists as workers.
One of Labor’s guiding principles in arts policy is Australian stories first.
The current government has not just neglected Australian stories – it has actively undermined them.
There is a lot of work to do in this space to rebuild the damage done by nearly a decade of Liberal government. An Albanese government will honour the legacy Labor holds in government when it comes to the arts, and most importantly, ensuring Australian stories first, and I want to be the Minister for the Arts that makes that happen.
To date we have not received a response from the LNP . We will add to this news story if we receive any more responses.
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Photo: Courtesy Australian Electoral Commission/Wikimedia Commons