This just in – Election Special

News Aug 17, 2010 3 Comments

“The Australian Greens have launched the second part of their arts policy, while last week’s plea by leading industry organisations for the major parties to increase arts spending and announce their policies has so far been ignored. The Greens yesterday announced grants programs for innovation and for touring both domestically and overseas. The party’s plan already announced for visual artists to be assisted by Centrelink will also be extended to performing artists. Deputy leader Senator Christine Milne says the policy is aimed at encouraging innovation and ensuring as many Australians as possible get to share artistic experiences. The policy will:

* Establish a $5-million-a-year arts research and development fund to support new Australian work, risk-taking work and innovative social artistic ventures.

* Increase the Playing Australia fund for touring Australia and establish a new $10 million overseas touring fund.

* Include artistic engagement with recognised arts organisations for the purpose of meeting social security requirements.

* Initiate discussions to reform the copyright regime.

Read More: Greens pledge to back innovation in the arts

“At the Liberal campaign launch last Sunday you’d have been hard pressed to find mention of the arts, let alone a liberal arts policy. Yet, with the polls see-sawing in perhaps the strangest federal election campaign of recent memory ArtsHub looks for the Coalition’s vision for arts in Australia. Casting an eye over the Liberal Party website there are a lot of ‘strong plans’ for the economy, strong plans for small business, national security, strong plans for community, seniors, health, education, even the environment and ‘regional’. These are undoubted significant concerns in this election campaign and to a large portion of the electorate. But where are the ‘arts’? Try under Community issues, then scroll to Sport and Recreation and yep, there are the very few press releases (not policies) that pertain to the arts. The arts are, it seems, recreational…”

Read More: And the Liberal Arts Policy is…?

“The Gillard Labor Government will provide $10 million for the Australia Council to invest in up to 150 new artistic works, presentations and fellowships. This new funding will ensure the Australia Council can focus on priority areas including: support for young and emerging artists, the creation of new Australian work (across all art forms) and assist artists in building more sustainable careers. A Gillard Labor Government will also transfer a number of programs from the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts to the Australia Council, to utilise the resources and expertise of the Australia Council to promote better outcomes for arts funding. These programs include Playing Australia, Visions of Australia, Festivals Australia, the Contemporary Music Touring program, the Regional Arts Fund and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy.

Read More: Gillard announces Arts Policy

“Cate Blanchett and Russell Crowe, two superstars of the arts world, are among a stellar few who command wages beyond the orbit of a company chief executive or a prime minister. For the rest of the arts community, particularly writers and dancers, paltry incomes have to be supplemented by work beyond the stage, the studio or the writers’ garret. It has been eight years since a Macquarie University economist, David Throsby, last reported on the financial status of artists for the Australia Council and found a third of them living below the poverty line. Throsby’s latest report (the fifth in a series) on the topic, Do You Really Expect to Get Paid? , co-authored by Anita Zednik, concludes that the income gap between artists and the general workforce has widened. More than half the country’s artists are earning less than $10,000 a year from their art, with writers, painters and dancers doing it toughest. About two-thirds of professional writers earned less than $4000 in 2007-08 directly from their writings and remain the least financially rewarded of all artistic occupations. ”As a whole, practising professional artists have not shared in the real earnings growth that most occupations have enjoyed during the past several years,” Throsby says.”

Read More: Why you’ll never make a living as an artist

Andrew Frost


  1. Lorraine McNeair

    I am afraid that I cannot see the Greens having any influence on anything which happens in our community – be it the arts or just living – because they do not have the numbers. The only way this could happen is if there is a hung parliament and the Greens do a deal with Labor. Please do not think I am against the Greens – just the opposite.

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  3. Leonard Brezhnev

    If the Greens get the balance of power in the Senate, which seems likely, they won’t be able to enact policies of their own but they’ll have a huge influence on legislation no matter who wins Govt.

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