Ben Quilty takes a bow today as an opinion writer for the Sydney Morning Herald. Proving he’s as comfortable with the word as he is with the brush, Quilty offers a cogent argument for one of his pet subjects – the inequality between tertiary fees for artists – and everyone else for that meatter – and the pampered heroes of Australian sport. Writes Quilty:
During the week following my 2011 Archibald win, one Melbourne radio announcer introduced me with the following: ”So if you can wear a horse suit and go ‘neigh’ you can call yourself an artist – on the line I have Ben Quilty”. I’d fired him up because I’d suggested in my Archibald acceptance speech that I felt it was time a Higher Education Contributions Scheme fee was implemented at the Australian Institute of Sport.
That was almost two years ago and I haven’t stopped talking about it. Neither have I found a horse suit that fits me. Everyone pays HECS: nurses, paramedics, teachers, artists; we all pay for our education. We also pay tax from prizes won: the Archibald, Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship, all literary prizes, film prizes, prizes for excellence in education and medical research. Even the Queensland Premiers’ Literary Award was taxed, until it was axed. And I didn’t whinge about being thrown into a higher tax bracket when I won the Whiteley Scholarship as a young artist until I realised that at the same time I was in Paris studying, the young emerging Olympians in Salt Lake City were there for free. In fact the prizes they would receive for winning were also tax-free, and so were their education and training.
Read the rest and get in on the more than 450 comments thus far: Free ride for sports just not equitable.