IPA Today

Not Art For The Masses

Written by
27 April 2022
Originally appeared in The Daily Telegraph

Australia Council for the Arts seems to be wasting taxpayers’ money on obscure fringe artists

The Morrison government’s announcement that it has appointed five new Board members to the Australia Council for the Arts will do nothing to fix the Council’s cultural problem which is so deep rooted that the only solution is to abolish it altogether.

Since 2016, the government has spent $360m of taxpayers’ funding on a range of arts projects which are offensive, divisive and have absolutely no appeal to mainstream Australians forced to pay for them.

Over the years, we have been compelled to subsidise a Melbourne-based artist to knit for 28 days using yarn placed in, and drawn daily from, her vagina.

We have paid for a grants recipient to be surgically cut in front of an audience 147 times and we have paid for a Tasmanian artist to send messages to outer space.

We have even funded a cabaret performer to take off her underpants, draw a face of Prime Minister Scott Morrison on her bottom and turn it into a ‘bum puppet’.

While Australians are paying $2 a litre for petrol and rising inflation, our hard-earned taxes have paid for a poet to write about bodily functions on toilet paper; an individual who has a penchant for ‘popping nangs’, getting naked and stuffing things up her bottom; a video artist who makes gay pornography; and another who uses our money to talk about “fascist -behaviours of sectors of Australian community”.

It is not the taxpayers’ job to subsidise fringe artists who make no genuine attempt to find an audience.

They are free to make all the political statements they wish, in whatever way they choose, but they should be doing it at their own expense.

Remarkably, in the face of all this, the Council refuses to acknowledge that there is anything untoward happening with our money.

Australia Council CEO Adrian Collette even told Limelight magazine that “the Council takes their responsibilities seriously”.

If these responsibilities include continuously taking taxpayers for a ride, sewing discord in society and politicising absolutely everything, then it is true, the Council is taking them very seriously indeed.

Collette tells us, with a straight face, that: “the grants in question were competitively assessed through our well-established peer assessment process. Peers are appointed on the basis of their artistic and creative expertise and experience.

“Applications are considered on their artistic and creative merits in line with the criteria for the funding programs.”

If these grants were the result of rigorous assessment, then imagine what they would be like if they had not been rigorously assessed. The mind boggles.

There is much in this country which is of immense creative and artistic value but which never sees the light of day because it does not conform to the fringe, extreme political agenda the Council.

It’s much harder to become a virtuoso violinist than it is to put something up your posterior. It’s much more difficult to write a classic novel than it is to write bad poetry about farting and constipation.

It’s much easier to parrot a few political tropes about racism and climate change coupled with something to do with body parts, and then get paid for it by the government.

Last year, Circus OZ was informed by the bureaucrats that it needed to “diversify” in order keep getting funded.

Circus OZ stood its ground and refused, in doing so was shut down after 44 years of entertaining Australians from all walks of life.

It seems if you appeal to a mainstream audience, then the Australia Council doesn’t want to know you.

It also doesn’t want to know you if you inhabit the world of classical music.

In 2021, Opera Australia was so close to folding that it had to sell its 1.27ha industrial space, along with its costumes and props, to save the organisation.

Opera Australia received minimal government assistance and not one cent of federal Covid recovery funds.

The Council did not come to its rescue because it despises opera.

Opera is deeply and unashamedly the music of Western Civilisation, with Christian roots and a profound attachment to tradition.

It represents everything the Australia Council rallies against and wants destroyed.

In 2015, Tony Abbott cut funding and diverted over $100 million to a new fund which saw the grants being awarded by the federal Minister for the Arts, with all the scrutiny that comes with it.

This was reversed by the Turnbull government, which just gave all the money back to the extremists again.

The problem here, of course, is that the federal government continues to fund this rubbish like Turnbull did, yet neither Scott Morrison, nor his Minister for the Arts Paul Fletcher, seem to care nor understand.

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar has said publicly he could not justify the wasteful spending of the Australia Council for the Arts.

Why should Australian taxpayers continue to foot this bill?

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Bella d'Abrera

Dr Bella d'Abrera is the Director, Foundations of Western Civilisation Program at the Institute of Public Affairs

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