WATCH: Katie Noonan drills a fumbling Malcolm Turnbull on arts funding

It seems arts funding has become an election issue: on last night’s Q&A, musician, composer and new artistic director of Queensland Music Festival Katie Noonan asked the Prime Minister if he would commit to funding a strong and independent Australia Council for the Arts.

The Prime Minister initially stated that there was more money available to the Australia Council now than there was under the Rudd-Gillard Labor governments (the Australia Council’s budget is actually more than $20 million smaller in this financial year than it was in the final year of Labor).

He also defended the integrity of the controversial Catalyst fund and stated that its funding had almost entirely gone to regional companies. According to the Arts Ministry website, only 37% of the funds have gone to projects in regional/remote areas, 38% to metropolitan areas and 24% to international activities. The biggest recipient is the Australian Ballet, which received $1 million to redevelop the Primrose Potter Australian Ballet Centre in central Melbourne.

28 responses to “WATCH: Katie Noonan drills a fumbling Malcolm Turnbull on arts funding

  1. Another grandstanding indignant, ungrateful artist brainwashed by her own peers… who clearly ignores access to arts funding issues.
    In all fairness Malcolm did a reasonable job of the facts and figures on what has become a minor portfolio, has many portfolios to be knowledgable about… the arts has become ‘a problem sector’ (of its own creation). A sector justly left out of STEM because of its incapacity to grow up, to evolve from little ‘a’ to big ‘A’, to engage with the markets, audiences and the broader community who provide the very taxes for arts funding, AND to be accountable to cultural rights, cultural democracy and our commitments to Universal Rights.
    Lets just remember for a moment at least and consider WHY the reallocation of funding occurred – because the arts became a ‘closed shop’.
    EXAMPLE (by personal artist experience) : the Australia Council and Arts Queensland excluded funding to an artist purposed initiative financed by a Chamber of Commerce and 500 private sector business arts investors every year for over 20 years, and thrashed the career of a regional artist in the process. By consequence elevating Australia’s elite arts regime to something akin to Castro’s Cuban persecution of gay artists in the 70’s. Pathetic stuff really – so Listen Up Arts Party, NAVA & Co et al… address ‘closed shop’ culture of your sector and gain some respect in the Parliament and the private sector and broader community as a credible sector.
    This tiresome poor poor pitiful me whine by the relatively well funded arts luvvies is getting really boring. So much so its little wonder Joe & Jolyn Public increasingly could not care a rats a** about the relevance and value of the arts because the arts sector, that is the ‘dependency model’ operating is just serving salaried elites, the comrades on a roll in a bubble and who’ve never had a real job outside of the academy and the socialist dream paddock of the government arts funding.
    Lets cut to the chase, Brandis did the courageous thing and the only avenue open to government accountability to cultural democracy and fairness – the Australia Council & Co. is a ‘closed shop’ and has failed Australians in access and private sector support of the arts. Governments can’t and should not be funding some sector that by its stitch up can be likened to a cartel unto itself, and increasingly resembles a cult group ! Fundamentalist and unaccountable, immune to question – cultish. Thank George luvvies.

    1. Yeah I didn’t get an ozco grant either, not since 2002. Yes, the peer review panel is never perfect. But to call Brandis ‘courageous’ just shows that you’re delusional. His grab of ozco money to hand exclusively to the big opera and ballet companies means much less money for many more artists. Your grievances against the ozco have clouded your ability to reason.

  2. Malcolm Turnbull is a elite installed ( not elected by election ) ex banker and prob was installed by the rothschilds . So any comment about him is pretty irrelevant – he will only do what his masters tell him too. As far as art institutions funded projects : aust art council etc etc they are as bad as the govt galleries – they are myopic and serve relativity few and shut the majority of arts practitioners out – so who cares – funding no funding real artists make art one way or another – who cares about middle class art council ” welfare payments ( funding ) they only use those who are in the ” in ” circle – only the odd random gets entry into their institutions : gallery’s / funding. You all should be more worried about that a leader can be installed for the elites purposes – and I’m a artist saying that- as you were – continue breathing in the nano aluminium in the chemtrailed air and the govt forced fluoridation water supply drinks . Lol

  3. Nice one Kattie.
    He didn’t answer the first question. His answer should have been, “Artists create the future. They are, have been and always will be more important than any politician can be.”

    1. Really? More important than, Martin Luther King, Pericles, Augustus, JFK, Obama, Whitlam, Keating, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, Nelson Mandela, the Jacobins, Lenin, LBJ, Haile Salasse, and and…..

  4. Shifting around Arts funding from an ever diminishing Arts funding figure is an exercise in political double speak. The thrust of the argument surely is the continual cutting of Arts funding; not what the government may or may not do with what is left in the pot for the arts in Australia!

  5. I’m not a Turnbull fan, but I didn’t see an unconvincing attempt to answer her queries, I certainly saw him stumbling, but only in the sense that he knew there was no way to answer Ms Noonan’s questions to her satisfaction. I’ve made a living as a graphic artist, but my brief dabbles in community arts projects often left me perplexed. The “arts” as a non-commercial entity is a strange beast; it can be neither quantified nor qualified objectively, and division is so rife among its own ranks that it will be impossible for any single arts body to meet the expectations of all arts advocates. Turnbull can’t win this argument, because no one can.

  6. Look anyone in the industry knows Australian Arts is in serious trouble. Relying only on Government funding creates Government Art run by public servants. Sure regional and elsewhere need funding and should come back but I am not convinced that certain Institutions need to actually continue. I am unconvinced that we need the big elite Operas and Ballets etc. Or do we need so many of them as without Government funds they wouldn’t exist.

    We would be very scathing of Russian or Chinese State run art BUT we have that here too. And no, its never “hands off”. I know after 30 years in it! What we get at best is Consensus art that Governments want. Real art in the Modern era has always run on Dissensus, on conflict. The public service hate conflict therefore Australia produces weak mediocre art. Think about it.

    1. Why is it every state has to have ballet, opera, theatre, orchestra companies? Why not be experimental instead of replicating what others do. Also OZCO has always been elitist its programs are hardly ever are accessed by the regions.

  7. I think you lot are up your selves, Malcolm did a splendid job in answering the questions. Kate had no patience and was unable to articulate what she was on about .

    1. I must have been watching a different Q and A… The ‘Malcolm’ I watched stumbled and obfuscated in response to Ms Noonan’s question.

    2. I am going to make a comment and then ask a question.

      “I believe what Katie Noonan believes is very important to Katie, but should not be the basis for conducting public arts funding in Australia.”

      Did anyone else find her comments self centered and poorly conceived given the record of the Australia Council funding model created elites, division and a rentier class that thinks it is entitled to indefinite and scrutinized funding from the public purse?

      1. James
        I don’t watch Q&A ( am tired of ‘punch and Judy shows’..) so can’t comment on the specifics.

        However in general terms the long term dominant groups of funded arts sector are incredibly circular , narrow : same old same old (and poorly conceived.)
        BTW the really ‘perplexing’ thing about the oft repeated claim that
        ‘the $7 billion that government(s) spends on the arts each year , generates a return of $50 billion’
        is that they seem to actually believe it.

      2. Katie Noonan is the current Director of the Queensland Music Festival, which has an extraordinary record of funding musical events all over Queensland, (well beyond Eumundi) of the very best kind. She is a composer, singer, social advocate for the disadvantaged, sponsor of composition and performance. Her street cred for music, for the move to rural and regional, for honesty and directness are simply, not to be questioned. She is a person who makes me proud to have seen her, singing in the streets, in the parks, in the concert halls, for peace, for equality, for musical and personal integrity.

        MTurnbull’s LNP Govt has cut the funding to the Qld Music Festival, and to many performers artists and composers, and as Katie wryly observes, we do not get maternity leave. Yep, she has kids too. A woman to be admired, her points not to be scorned

  8. Having had a lot to do with Arts funding for 20 years starting when it was Liberal governments like that of Dick Hamer which led the way in elevating the Arts and Environment as issues for politicians I also know very well that Arts people tend to be as narrow and ignorant of wider issues as any owner-driver of a delivery truck working 90 hour weeks. Don’t kid yourselves luvvies. Most people get on very well without you and don’t see why you shouldn’t subsist, like most American arts people on private money paid for services rendered or by private patronage. I am a patron of three major performing arts companies and GST is charged on the price of my seats (that is they are the ones without government subsidy) so I put my money where my mouth is.

  9. Typical Malcolm Turnbull: a hollow man. In fact, as Katie Noonan clearly knows, the Coalition’s arts policy is indefensible.And as far as I know, they have not announced a formal arts policy during the election campaign.

  10. Hi, the Arts community should setup a ARTS PARTY, similar to the Animal Justice Party. In Holland they having great success.

  11. He has not even thought about the arts and artists. He came across as a blithering idiot. I am an artist and I vote. Oh, boy- do I vote!

  12. the number of furphys and dodges in that “answer” are gobsmacking. Are you watching what your ministers are doing on any level, Malcolm??

  13. if only the arts meant votes in marginal seats. Then the PM would have been embarrassed for “explaining” so incorrectly.

  14. As you’ve pointed out, it’s nonsense that most of the money went to regional arts. Libs do not want to fund a community that might question the status quo, so they would love to divert the money to pretty ballet and other mainstream arts. Politicians don’t care who knows the facts as long as most of us believe the lies. So they sprout them even in forums like q&a. This is 2nd nature to Brandis, but Malclom is a good study.

  15. Rubbish! Don’t answer a question when yo clearly don’t understand the issues. Embarrassing that Malcolm, a so called educated person, could make such an inane reply!

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