Will the arts be covered up or down in the budget?
Tomorrow night is Federal budget evening – which means that right now journalists across Australia are rehearsing their views and preparing their views on Australian government plans and projections.
So what artistic and cultural announcements will make the headlines – and what artistic and cultural angles will we see in other budget measures?
Thanks to the unprecedented advocacy collaborations of the past year, the Prime Minister and Treasurer were asked about the artistic impacts of COVID-19 on all major political and current affairs programs, on television for the little one – lunch and talkback radio, and even at press conferences and doorstops that have nothing. to do with the arts.
It has been difficult for any sector to achieve a reduction during the pandemic, but this heavy media focus has had an impact. After a considerable delay, we have seen some valuable policy and funding changes, with announcements of individual RISE grants scattered around. State-by-state to maximize their political impact. We have seen that these announcements matter as much to the communities that benefit from them as to the local politicians.
Talk about the arts, talk about the arts down
And yet, every time we have seen a politician announce a much needed investment in arts and culture, we have also seen something curious.
We saw them talk about arts and culture – then we saw them talk about arts and culture.
When Scott Morrison first announced the $ 250 million support package that would become the RISE fund six months later, he spoke up.support tradies‘rather than artists, during a media event that sparked a wave of criticism Guy Sebastien, one of the many artists who took the time to meet with the Prime Minister and explain the valuable role government could play.
“ This Christmas I’m going to ask for a helmet and high visibility, ” wrote Wesley Enoch in response. “It’s not that I need it for the work I do… it’s more that this appearance may be the only way for artists to be recognized in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the Business Council of Australia’s annual dinner held in an elegant Sydney venue, Scott Morrison also attacked the ‘dinners and wine bars in our city centers“Like places that do not understand innovation or everyday cultural life.
So why do politicians denigrate arts and culture?
Last year, as part of the NAVA defense program, Liberal Party strategists Crosby Textor branded textor told us not only that their poll shows that mentioning the arts tends to lose votes, but also that they have actively campaigned against artistic issues in the past.
Despite academic research showing that arts and culture are everyday experiences of 98% of Australians, policy research targeting the twenty-five key “emotional factors” that Textor identifies – “self-esteem, a sense of national pride… a sense of excitement, a sense of self-fulfillment” – tend not to reinforce this value.
A new approach, by comparison, conducted a smaller survey of perceptions of arts and culture and identified a strong passion, finding that ‘average Australians’ ‘hate losing the opportunities that arts and culture create for themselves, for their families and for society in general’.
“ We are more mass psychologists than number counters ” explains Textor. “We are very specific. I think in the last election our numbers were plus or minus 0.1 or something, and usually not very far. We tend to use much more advanced techniques than what polls you see in the public.
Buzzwords vs values
So with those buzzwords at work ‘winning the war for traditional voting‘for the prime minister (was “closed off“one of them ?!), let’s take a closer look at Minister Fletcher’s speech at the Sydney Institute.
The same speech that has been criticized as “clubbish” was actually a welcome glimpse into the urban, suburban and regional disparities in our access to artistic and cultural experiences and careers.
Minister Fletcher detailed his values and those of his party in terms of supporting the arts and culture. He spoke of “the inherent value of creative and cultural effort” and denounced the “elite group of people in black ties going to opening parties in our big cities”. He spoke of the “ comfortable club of arts ventures which receive funding effectively guaranteed every year through the Australian Council ” and spoke of the “ determined work the Australian Council itself has done to make the club a bit less comfortable ” after the completion of the Performing Arts Major.
And although he also denounced “advocating for the interests of workers in the arts and entertainment industry,” these performing arts groups continue to work hard to build their advocacy capacity with expert advice. At the same time, LPA and APRA AMCOS worked together to help get additional funding for the sector, and IGEA achieved a valuable Australian first refundable tax compensation for video game development. Advocates of all art forms have made the case clear and strong, and journalists are increasingly better equipped to ask the tough questions.
Faced with incessant criticism of the unnecessary renovation of half a billion dollars of the war memorialOn Saturday, Minister Fletcher announced that a total of $ 79.9 million in all national fundraising institutions would be committed in Tuesday’s budget.
“But I think we can do more” Fletcher said towards the end of the speech. “There are powerful artistic, cultural and economic reasons for further developing the Aboriginal art market. Of course, this must include a strong focus on artists receiving a fair return for their work.
Beyond words, what can we expect to see in tomorrow’s federal budget and what action can we expect on a national policy, strategy or plan?
No reporting date has yet been published for the Parliamentary Inquiry into Australia’s Creative and Cultural Industries and Institutions, whose last hearings were on February 19. There is still no timeline to respond to valuable submissions from artists and industry leaders.
the Meeting of Ministers of Culture – the successor of the Council of Ministers of Culture which brought together all the ministers of the states and territories with the federal minister twice a year since 1984 – was dissolved at the end of last year. There is currently no national forum for cooperation on arts and culture at ministerial level.
Lily: Parliamentary Inquiry into the Arts, What’s Next?
In the absence of a national cultural policy or arts and culture plan, there is now almost as much money in the RISE fund as the Australian Council has in its entire annual grant budget. The pandemic relief funds that were urgently needed in 2020 are still being provided in 2021, without the benefit of a strategic approach to the sustainable and long-term development of artists, industry and the public.
And yet, all Australians rely on artists and arts organizations to create our future.
Will the federal budget present these long-term perspectives? Will the Australian government talk about the arts on the rise or the fall?
Let it be the prime minister Deliberately mispronounced “bar”, put on high visibility, or decry the elites to the elites, in Tuesday’s budget and media response, let’s look for the shot – and the hunter.