Australian Taxpayers Should Not Pay For The Delicate – Or Deadly – Principles Of The Arts Community

Posted on Thu 03/13/2014 by


Bolt New 01By Andrew Bolt ~

Every second year, Sydney holds The Biennale, an International festival of Contemporary Art. Originally beginning in 1973, it is one of the World’s longest running arts festivals of this nature. The original family who started up this festival is the Belgiorno Nettis family, who also founded the Transfield Company. Both the family members, and the Company have supported this Biennale since its inception, with generous philanthropic funding, and also having the senior family member in the position of Patron of the Biennale. Some of the contributing artists this year are protesting that the family’s Transfield Company also has the contract to operate Australia’s Asylum Seeker Centres. Those dissenting artists have asked that the Biennale no longer associate itself with the Transfield Company. That being the case, the Patron has resigned, withdrawing the family’s funding, and also the funding from the Transfield Company. This seems to be a case of biting the hand which feeds you…..TonyfromOz


Australian Attorney General and Minister For The Arts Senator George Brandis

This is an elegant and principled move by the Australian Attorney General and also the Minister For The Arts, Senator George Brandis to educate artists on the important link between well-meaning actions and their consequences – you know, like “compassion” and a 1000 dead boat people:

Federal Arts Minister George Brandis has signalled a significant shake-up of arts funding to avoid political “blackballing”, in the wake of what he describes as the “shameful” decision by the Biennale of Sydney to reject private sponsorship from Transfield…

The minister has sent a strongly worded letter to Australia Council chairman Rupert Myer, demanding a new policy to deal with any applicant that “refuses funding offered by corporate sponsors, or terminates a current funding agreement”.

The letter – obtained by The Australian – stresses that when government funding for the arts is under budgetary pressure, it is “difficult to justify” funding an arts festival that has rejected the financial support of its principal private partner.

“You will readily understand,” writes the minister, “that taxpayers will say to themselves: ‘If the Sydney Biennale doesn’t need Transfield’s money, why should they be asking for ours?’ “

The Sydney Biennale last week rejected its “founding partner” sponsorship from Transfield Holdings (believed to be worth $600,000 annually) after nine artists boycotted the event on the grounds that the company has a minority shareholding in Transfield Services, which has contracts to operate the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres.

Paul Sheehan:

… the Biennale board delivered an almighty, ungracious, short-sighted and ultimately gutless humiliation and rejection of the Belgiorno-Nettis family, which has nurtured the Biennale from its inception 41 years ago and sustained it with millions of dollars worth of sponsorship grants…

Because of the Belgiorno-Nettis family, Transfield Holdings has also been a long-term sponsor of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Walsh Bay Sculpture Walk and Sculpture by the Sea and has supported the Art Gallery of NSW.

And remember the suffering the artists never protested against – and the solution to which they now oppose:

More than a thousand men, women and children died as a result of Labor, the Greens and open-border activists letting the chaos begin, then refusing to accept the consequences of their actions.

Well, let them at least face the consequence of their boycott.

Andrew Bolt is a journalist and columnist writing for The Herald Sun in Melbourne Victoria Australia.

Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book  Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.

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