Canberra Voters Beware!

Drawn away from their core principles by the manipulative strategies of the ACT Liberals, apparently the ACT Greens have completely forgotten their commitment to Indigenous culture. With an election on the near horizon, their recent behaviour with respect to their Arts policy (as much as they have one, given the weird pronouncements of the last few days) would suggest that in their political strategies they take no notice of their published policies. Not that they have much to strategise about. Other than a “belief” that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures “make a vital and continuing contribution to arts and culture in the ACT”  their Arts Policy contains nothing of a strategic nature in relation to Indigenous matters. The final (twenty-second) point in the ACT Greens Policy on the general interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples suggests that the ACT Greens will “support” actions “promoting the understanding of, and respect for, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures through community education and information strategies.”

Let’s compare words and deeds. Given the opportunity to support a local organization (yes, I mean Megalo) that has a long and eminent national track record working with Indigenous artists, they give their support instead to an opportunistic rag-bag of community musicians and other organisations who have voiced no apparent interest in, or have no track record of support for Indigenous anything. None of the proponents supporting the Liberals and the Greens political strategy to block the occupancy by Megalo of the Fitters Workshop have shown the slightest interest in promoting Indigenous arts in their dreams of a Fitters Music Hall. By contrast, over many years Megalo has supported and conducted residencies and programs playing a vital role in supporting and producing one of the most significant aspects of the development of contemporary Indigenous (visual) arts. And so, let me ask Ms Le Couteur (who is the Green Voice of the Arts) which group should you be supporting, to be consistent with your “policies”?


#1 Crisztyna on 04.20.12 at 9:27 am

Very happy to see this post. This situation with Megalo and the Fitters Workshop is sad news for CBR town.

Not so happy with the ‘opportunistic rag-bag of community musicians’. I think this post would have had more gravitas across the board without this tag.

#2 Nigel on 04.20.12 at 9:48 am

Thanks for the comment Crisztina. If you’d witnessed the triumphalism of Mrs Dunne and then the crocodile tears of Chris Latham the other night perhaps you’d understand my choice of words…

#3 Nigel on 04.20.12 at 11:46 am

I couldn’t stay the other night to hear the Greens big idea, but as Erica Seccombe relays it, Caroline Le Couteur stood up in front of a crowd of art professionals with a complete lack of self awareness to tell us that she got community arts because ‘her girl friends had joined choral choirs’, that public art is just ‘little ornaments’ and that she has discovered the Bauhaus in Germany (has anyone else been there she asked?) and this discovery has made her realise what good design is ‘and we could have nicer designed public benches,’ (her words not mine), just goes to show she has no concept or knowledge of the history of design in Australia, at all. Would it surprise us to know that this woman who has less understanding of the visual arts and crafts in Australia than my 10 year old, has run a vendetta against a 31 year old Print ‘workshop’ (yes, just like the Bauhaus!) because her best mates have joined choral choirs?

#4 Hamish on 04.20.12 at 1:24 pm

I’m really sick of this emphasis on choral choirs. What about some recognition of the creative contribution of non-choral choirs for a change?

#5 Nigel on 04.20.12 at 4:35 pm

I blame the non-choral choristers…

#6 Bruce T on 04.20.12 at 7:39 pm

As an expat canberran looking in on this I am astounded. It is hard enough for the arts generally wihout us taking pot shots at ourselves. This is baffling, that it could get to this point, we’re playing into the hands of big ‘L’ libs. I despair.

#7 Nigel on 04.21.12 at 7:07 pm

Thank you for your comment. If you’re on Facebook, you’ll find a lot more discussion via Megalo’s site…

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