Brandis a disastrous Attorney-General and Arts Minister

Tomorrow marks the two year anniversary of the Abbott Government’s election.

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS
MEMBER FOR ISAACS

BRANDIS A DISASTROUS ATTORNEY-GENERAL AND ARTS MINISTER

 

Tomorrow marks the two year anniversary of the Abbott Government’s election.

 

Immediately after the election Tony Abbott promised a calm, purposeful and methodical government.

 

“I’m confident that we will return to strong and stable government that calmly, purposefully, methodically sets about implementing its commitments; that responds intelligently to the events of the day and week and month and year.”

TONY ABBOTT – TODAY SHOW – 10 SEPTEMBER 2013

 

Far from “calm, purposeful and methodical”, Senator George Brandis’s two years as Attorney-General and as Arts Minister has been absolutely shambolic.

 

Senator Brandis came into Government promising to repeal s 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, proudly declaring in the Senate that “people have a right to be a bigot” before being rolled by the Australian community and forced, along with Tony Abbott, in a spectacular backflip, to abandon his divisive proposal altogether.

 

Senator Brandis mouthed platitudes about the importance of legal assistance services in Opposition but once in power took a scythe to those vital services which look after some of the most vulnerable in our community.

 

In March this year he was eventually forced to walk away from some of those cuts, but he has still ripped more than $20 million from Community Legal Centres, Legal Aid, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and Family Violence Prevention Legal Centres.

 

What’s more, the 2015 Budget papers show that Senator Brandis plans to reinstate his savage cuts to community legal services from 2017-18 – just after the next election. In the meantime, he has thrown the legal assistance sector into chaos: staff have been cut, programs abandoned, and offices closed.

 

Senator Brandis once boasted that he was “the minister who had been most generous to the arts”, but his time as Tony Abbott’s Arts Minister has proved a complete disaster. In the 2014 Budget Senator Brandis slashed more $100 million from the arts. But this year he has outdone himself, ripping $105 million from the independent Australia Council to create an arts slush fund under his own control.

 

This unprecedented attack on the Australia Council has sown chaos across the arts sector and threatened the very future of small to medium and regional arts organisations.

 

The Liberal Party may have promised that this would be a calm, purposeful and methodical Government, but in both of his portfolios Senator Brandis has distinguished himself by frenzied incompetence. 

 

SUNDAY, 6 SEPTEMBER 2015