Following the extraordinary attacks on the Australia Council and the concept of ‘arms length’ funding in the 2015 Budget I was wondering what the Opposition’s response to it might be. While the Shadow Minister for the Arts, Mark Dreyfus, has already come out in opposition to the cuts saying “What we can see here is a grab here for the Australia Council budget to be administered on a personal whim, without any explanation, or any peer review”, I was disappointed not to find a reference to the budgetary attack on the Arts when searching through reports of Opposition Bill Shorten’s Budget reply speech. There also appeared to be a concentration on support for science students and graduates with new scholarships and proposals to write off debts while no mention was made of the ongoing debts being built up by creative arts students.
As a response Rochford Street Review has sent the following open letter to Mark Dreyfus, the Shadow Federal Minister for the Arts. We will also be sending an open letter to George Brandis in his capacity as Federal Minister for the Arts and to Christine Milne in her role as Federal Greens Arts Spokesperson. We will post each of these letters and any responses we receive.
The Hon Mark Dreyfus
Shadow Minister for the Arts
Parliament House Canberra
As the editor of Rochford Street Review (https://rochfordstreetreview.com/) I am very concerned with the attack on the Australia Council announced in the 2015 Budget and will be following closely the various responses from arts organisations and different political parties to these attacks.
I was concerned, however, that this attack on creative Australia wasn’t picked up in the Opposition Leader’s Budget Reply speech and would therefore ask to you to provide a response to Rochford Street Review on where the ALP stands on the future of the Australia Council and the concept of ‘arms length’ funding.
Another area which I am concerned with, and which will be raised in the journal, is the apparent concentration on science and technology students and graduates in the Opposition Leader’s Reply speech. While Rochford Street Review completely supports the cancelling of HECS debts and loans to science and technology students and graduates, we do question why students who are studying creative arts are not included in this proposal? Are writers, artists, filmmakers and performers not seen as adding value to Australian society? Or has this proposal been determined purely on economic grounds.
Rochford Street Review looks forward to you response on these questions.
Rochford Street Review