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Labor’s 2022 Arts Policy Is A Plan To Develop An Arts Policy. Is That Enough?

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The Labor Party Arts Policy 2022 is a blueprint for developing an arts policy.  Is it sufficient?

The Labor Party Arts Policy 2022 is a blueprint for developing an arts policy. Is it sufficient ?

On the face of it, Labor’s pre-election arts policy is that it plans to have a policy. Ideally at the end of 12 months.

The announcement came from shadow arts minister Tony Burke in the Gershwin Room at the Melbourne lodge and venue The Espy on Monday night. According to a copy of his speech, distributed prematurely, he was “not going to focus on bulletins to get me through the week”, but instead “bring construction and politics back to center stage” once in energy.

Shadow arts minister Tony Burke.

Shadow arts minister Tony Burke.Credit score:Alex Ellinghausen

Famously, when lyricist Ira Gershwin was asked “which comes first, the phrases or the music?” he replied: “The contract”. And it looks like Labor also wants to get the election deal done before hitting all the notes.

Funding selections were something to “adapt later,” Burke said, once the policy was in place. This policy, which will be developed after extensive consultation, will use as its foundation the Artistic Australia policy which was launched in 2013 and shortly thereafter abandoned when the Labor Party lost steam.

In other words: no jam yet. Or a relatively meager deployment that has already been announced: $80 million for the Nationwide Aboriginal Artwork Gallery that the Northern Territory authorities are building in Alice Springs (mainly, money for the development sector, not for the arts sector), a few more pieces for a few other arts centers across the country, and another $84 million for the ABC (presumably a cultural policy, certainly not an arts policy).

Distinguishing this with Labor’s contribution in 2019: $320 million, including $39 million for the music industry, $60 million for developing new ABC and SBS dramas, an additional $37 million for the Australia Council, the federal government’s main arts funding body, $8 million for a new National Indigenous Theater and a $25 million fund to develop interactive video games. The policy was launched by then-Opposition Leader Invoice Shorten, who advised that the gang arts policy was “not an add-on…an afterthought or footnote “.

“The arts deserve to have a government at least as brave and at least as artistic as our own Australian artists,” said Shorten.

However, fortune did not favor the brave. And that will clarify the consult-now-pay-later method of 2022 Labour.

They could “study” the possibility of a national insurance scheme for live events, which the sector has been calling for – rhetorically backed by Labor – since 2020. The pandemic has made audiences and producers more hesitant and averse at risk. Revelations big and small across the country are still being shut down by COVID every week, and the pandemic so far steadfastly refuses to stop infecting performers and bringing audiences down.

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