Senate Inquiry Into New Coalition Arts Slush Fund

Labor will move to establish a Senate inquiry into the Coalition’s new arts slush fund.

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

Senate inquiry into new Coalition arts slush fund

 

Labor will move to establish a Senate inquiry into the Coalition’s new arts slush fund.

 

The inquiry is needed to investigate why it is necessary to create a new arts bureaucracy under the control of Senator Brandis.

 

It will look at how Australian artists will be affected by this politically-motivated decision to strip $105 million from the independent Australia Council.

 

Last week, Arts Minister George Brandis revealed at Senate Estimates that he had not consulted the arts community before announcing plans to establish his new National Program for Excellence in the Arts.

 

Further, there are still no guidelines for the new ministerial fund and there has been no decision whether grant applications will be peer reviewed. 

 

 “This new ministerial fund is policy on the run,” said Shadow Arts Minister Mark Dreyfus QC

 

“We will force Senator Brandis to have the public consultation he has avoided so far.”

 

An arm’s length, peer reviewed funding model is important to retain freedom of expression and to ensure that independent artists,  the small to medium arts sectors as well as the major companies are given a fair go.

 

“Brandis went into the last election without an arts policy and what we are now seeing are the actions of a chaotic and arrogant Government.” 

 

Labor developed a comprehensive national cultural policy after extensive consultation with the arts sector. 

 

Brandis’ decision to strip money from the Australia Council to create his own fund without any consultation or criteria shows contempt towards the arts community.

 

“Labor will not stand for this and we will ensure Brandis is held accountable.”

 

TUESDAY, 2 JUNE 2015