WRITERS Joanna Murray-Smith and Ben Eltham have a Rodney Dangerfield-themed complaint today in the Sydney Morning Herald on how little Australian leaders – with the exception of Paul Keating – value the arts. As the entirely privately funded Dangerfield might have said, they get no respect – no respect at all! Far be it from me to question the duo’s authorial expertise but a 19-par column is not meant to be a mystery.
Those of us whose creative life takes us offshore are inundated with admiration for Australian artists – whether they be Patricia Piccinini’s sculptures, Essie Davis on the National Theatre stage, Barry Humphries and Meow Meow singing Weimar songs, Brook Andrew’s in the visual arts, Andrew Bovell’s hit plays, director Jess Hobbs’ Emmy winning screen direction or our acclaimed dancers lighting up stages across the world.
We’re all very proud. But what is it you want, Jo and Ben? In paragraph 16, we find out:
The campaign “Fund the Arts” calls for a major cultural investment of $2.5 billion, fuelling artists, cultural organisations, the ABC and providing much-needed infrastructure, particularly digital infrastructure that we need to compete with overseas technology giants.
The campaign is championing a 25 per cent Australian content quota for all streaming services. Our stories. From within our midst. Netflix has just 2 per cent Australian content available to watch. Investment in Australian children’s television has halved.
After years of near contempt for the arts, it’s time to show our politicians that the nation is not as unimaginative as they are. We all need and want the arts. It’s time to tell that story.
Fuelling artists? For $2.5 billion? A cup of coffee and a bread roll were enough to fuel van Gogh. I wonder how much of the money would be left after “cultural organisations” and the ABC took their cut. But even worse than the ridiculously obvious panhandling for left-wing culture warriors is the hypocritical proposal to block foreign content. If that was policy overseas, Meow Meow would be singing Vera Lynn classics at the Rooty Hill RSL.