By Delphene Fraser – A fortnight ago, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced there is to be a restructure of government departments and consolidation of portfolios to operate under a minimum government. The announcement should not have been a surprise, as it was an election promise of the Morrison government to reduce public service numbers.

Personally, I found myself waiting with anticipation. This should have been time to compile and supercharge portfolios connected to the disaster Australia is currently crippled by. There are government Ministers allocated to the environment, climate change and drought, however not one solution has been provided. I thought with this announcement there might be some clarity for climate change, who they can call? Who they can contact? For example, when government announced they are no longer providing the Farm Household Allowance and farmers will need to apply for a loan, the Minister for Agriculture The Hon. Bridget McKenzie made this announcement. So, when interviewee asked The Hon. McKenzie how do farmers apply? She dutifully replied to The Hon. David Littleproud. The interviewee looked puzzled; farmers were in dire situation waiting for this announcement they wanted a solution, not to be referred to someone else for an answer.

Just to highlight the numbers there are 6 Ministers, 2 Assistant Ministers and 1 Special envoy Minister attached to environment, climate change and drought (see list following article). So when Prime Minister Morrison announced he was scrapping Arts from a Ministerial portfolio, many Australians were horrified.

Australia has a rich history in the arts from fine arts, dramatic arts and performing arts, visual and sound. Australia is known worldwide through their art both traditional and culture to modern and creative. So, thoughts of what will happen to National institutions that house and present Australia’s showcase of Art? Affected will be –

  • Australia Business Arts Foundation (Creative Partnerships Australia)
  • Australia Council
  • Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
  • Australian Communications and Media Authority
  • Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS)
  • Australian National Maritime Museum
  • National Film and Sound Archive of Australia
  • National Gallery of Australia (NGA)
  • National Library of Australia (NLA)
  • National Museum of Australia (NMA)
  • National Portrait Gallery of Australia (NPGA)
  • Screen Australia
  • Special Broadcasting Service Corporation (SBS)

Art and culture are necessary for any civilization they are reflective of the morals, values, standards, and ideals of civilizations. They are essential ingredients empowering the people, creating emotion and shaping ideals, but most importantly, for generations that follow. Art is vital to society as an essential ingredient empowering the people’s hearts and informing minds. When artists are showing images of children suffering from poverty or oppression, it pulls at the heartstrings of society’s elite and powerful to make changes. Art throughout the centuries is priceless (think Van Gough, Da Vinci, Pablo, Kahlo and Andy Warhol). Maybe the reason was simple. We are missing the obvious. Perhaps the political art, with messages portraying the poverty and oppression which force the social elite and powerful to see and push to make changes, is purposely being silenced.