Senate Report Condemns Turnbull Government's Slush Fund For The Arts

Getting rid of Senator Brandis as the Minister for the Arts was a good start, but the report today from the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee makes clear that the Prime Minister must now act to get rid of Senator Brandis’s policies too.

THE HON. MARK DREYFUS QC, MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

SENATE REPORT CONDEMNS TURNBULL GOVERNMENT’S SLUSH FUND FOR THE ARTS

 

Getting rid of Senator Brandis as the Minister for the Arts was a good start, but the report today from the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee makes clear that the Prime Minister must now act to get rid of Senator Brandis’s policies too.

The Senate inquiry into the impact of the 2014 and 2015 Commonwealth Budget decisions on the Arts received more than 2600 submissions, and heard from hundreds of witnesses in public hearings throughout Australia.

Today’s report makes it absolutely clear that the creation of Senator Brandis’s ministerial slush fund, paid for with money ripped out of the independent Australia Council for the Arts, was disastrous policy.

And today’s report also makes clear that giving this slush fund a new name and a marketing reboot has not changed the basic problem: the fund remains under the personal control of the Minister for the Arts.

 

This trashes the long-established principle in Australian arts policy that funding decisions should be peer-reviewed and made independently of the Government of the day.

 

The stripping of Australia Council by this Government has trashed years of reform, and created massive disruption in the arts sector.

 

The Senate Committee’s Report draws attention to the fact that this Government has no coherent Arts policy.

 

As I have for many months, I call on the Government to reverse their ill-considered Arts policies and to restore funding to the Australia Council.

 

 

WEDNESDAY 2 DECEMBER 2015