No, kids. This is the future

Disclaimer: The Dionysian Artist, Δ, is apolitical unless the arts are under attack.

thefuture

[Keating joking about establishing a museum of Australian culture under Liberal leadership] “We thought we could basically make the changes and put some of the cultural icons of the 1950s down there. […] The Morphy Richards toaster, the Qualcast mower, a pair of heavily protected slippers, the Astor TV, the AWA radiogram. And, of course, the honourable member for Wentworth and the honourable member for Bennelong could go there as well. When the kids come and look at them they will say, ‘Gee, mum, is that what it was like then?’. And the two Johns can say, ‘No, kids. This is the future’. Back down the time tunnel to the future—there they are.”
Prime Minister Paul Keating, famous ‘Cultural Cringe’ speech , 1992.

The Australian political right has had a long history of attacking the arts. They are known to openly assault funding to museums, galleries, artists and art work purchases, art censorship and classification, film and theatre, music, dance… the entire spectrum of art. No amount of protest by the public and experts in the Arts and also economists has hindered their vile and unmerited fund cutting. This behaviour is referred to as The Cultural Cringe.

This was exemplified last year with a proposal to dismantle the Australian Arts Council, an independent organisation that administers government grants to artists in all fields. The Liberal’s suggestion was to consolidate a new arts organisation run directly by the government, in effect creating an Orwellian Ministry of Truth. Since the previous government was removed by itself this never came to complete fruition. However full funds have not been returned to the Australian Arts Council.

Instead was an announcement last week of fund cutting to the Tertiary education loan repayment system known as VET. Adding insult to injury saying that the government only supports “Legitimate education pursuits.” Labelling arts a “lifestyle choice”. Almost 60 arts related courses are to have VET eligibility suspended and a total of 478 courses.

When one looks at the list (below) it is apparent that this is targeting the film and performance industry the most. The biggest arts industries and in fact one of the biggest money making industries the world over, grossing higher revenue than the mining sector and agriculture.

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s Australia was next to New Zealand in producing large scale Hollywood movies, for example: the Star Wars prequels and The Matrix films, Moulin Rouge!. This prompted investments into new movie studios in Sydney and Melbourne. Of which are now rarely used. The movie industry in Australia has completely died because lack of support from the government and the GFC. (Not to mention that John Howard, another Liberal, literally sold our culture to the US.)

However when one looks east to our cousins in New Zealand their film industry is thriving, with its citizens considered experts of modern movie production, they are often subcontracted for US Hollywood movies like Avatar. How do they do this? The New Zealand government invested in arts and as a result it has become one of the country’s major exports, this also influences other sectors like tourism and hospitality.

Let’s look at some of the other courses being cut, they include Jewellery design, Floristry, Journalism and Professional Writing.  All of which are valid careers paths. Of note: I did Dip. of Professional Writing in 2008, at the time it was FREE! This blog would not be what it is without the course. So since 2008 the government has made these courses paid, via student loans, to denying the loans altogether.

In regards to writing courses it’s interesting to note that Australia is a reading culture, reputed to be one of the biggest consumers of books in the world. Ever wondered how a media tyrant Rupert Murdoch rose from a hick nation of Australia? Because we read a lot, we are world’s largest newspaper readers. Obviously writing, journalism is a locally supported arts industry.

Perhaps the most disturbing and racist is the cancelling of VET for the Diploma of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Visual Arts Industry Work. Aboriginal people are seriously underclass in Australia. When compared by ratio of Aboriginal deaths in police custody to the deaths of blacks in US it is frightening and disturbing that there is no mainstream, international, Black Lives Matter movement for Aboriginals.  So we have one of the most vulnerable, discriminated and poor groups being denied financial support for education. What’s more, arts is very important to Aboriginal communities, with Indigenous art being one of the main commodities that supports their culture and peoples, international sales of Indigenous art is a major Australian arts export.

In short I can go through each of these courses and demonstrate how these are not “hobby courses” but a legit vocational training. This is speaking from experience. I can not afford university and instead opted for TAFE (Technical college) Diploma of Visual Arts and partial Diploma of Professional Writing. These two courses helped me become who I am today, without them I would not be here. If I was born a generation later it would be impossible for me to get this necessary training to pursue a career in the arts to the capacity I have today.

I’ve been warning folk about this nihilism in Australian politics for a long time, I’ve been pointing out the constant erosion of Australian culture by the Neo-conservative right-wing government. Yet the public keep voting for these degenerates. It looks like Keating’s vicious rhetoric has failed and instead he has become a prophet: ‘No, kids. This is the future’.

The list of Courses being affected by the cuts: (Source)

Diploma of Dance (Elite Performance)
Diploma of Musical Theatre
Diploma of Live Production Design
Diploma of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Visual Arts Industry Work
Diploma of Ceramics
Advanced Diploma of Dance (Elite Performance)
Diploma of Floristry Design
Diploma of Jewellery and Object Design
Advanced Diploma of Jewellery and Object Design
Diploma of Broadcast Technology
Advanced Diploma of Performance
Graduate Diploma of Classical Ballet
Diploma of Performing Arts
Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts
Diploma of Fashion Styling
Diploma of Screen Acting
Diploma of Screen Performance
Advanced Diploma of Acting
Diploma of Circus Arts
Diploma of Social Media Marketing
Advanced Diploma of Acting for Contemporary Screen Media
Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts
Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship for Creatives
Diploma of  Stage and Screen Performance
Diploma of Arts (Acting)
Advanced Diploma of Arts (Acting)
Advanced Diploma of Professional Screenwriting
Graduate Diploma of Elite Dance Instruction
Advanced Diploma of Stage and Screen Acting
Diploma of Visual Communication (Design Communication / Photo Communication)
Advanced Diploma of Visual Communication (Design Communication / Photo Communication)
Advanced Diploma of Music Theatre
Diploma of Cinemagraphic Makeup
Diploma of Styling (Fashion, Image and Media)
Advanced Diploma of Commercial Song and Dance Performance
Diploma of Journalism
Advanced Diploma of Art (Musical Theatre and Commercial Dance)
Advanced Diploma of Film, Television and Theatre Acting
Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts (Acting)
Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing
Advanced Diploma of Photography
Diploma of Theatre Arts
Diploma of Product Design
Advanced Diploma of Screen and Stage Acting
Diploma of Creative Arts in Christian Ministry
Advanced Diploma of Creative Arts in Christian Ministry
Advanced Diploma of Arts (Professional Writing)
Diploma of Arts (Professional Writing)
Diploma of Mass Communication
Advanced Diploma of Photography
Diploma of Performing Arts
Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts
Graduate Diploma of Photography
Diploma of Fashion Products and Markets
Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts (Musical Theatre) (Commercial Dance)
Advanced Diploma of Animation

 

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