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The Forum > Article Comments > Books the star at 2010 prime ministerís literary awards > Comments

Books the star at 2010 prime ministerís literary awards : Comments

By Julia Gillard, published 19/11/2010

Contrary to the claims of some literature is an important part of arts policy.

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Many of Australia's publishers now belong to a parent multinational company based in the US that is slowly reducing the number of Australian authors on its payroll.

Our education systems are slowly moving towards having imported books, with universities now using almost all imported books, and high schools progressing down this path. About 100% of software in the education system is also imported, with much of it coming from a US company that also has the world's record for monopoly business practices.

The future for Australian authors, either fiction or non-fiction is grim, and much of our other media such as film and music is also being slowly eradicated.
Posted by vanna, Friday, 19 November 2010 12:50:55 PM
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Lovely to see an article by the PM.

The Arts are important, particularly in respect to access, however there is room for a discussion about how much governments should be involved. There is much room for art and culture from individuals and communities as in a recent article on OLO. Access to art including literature, can be facilitated by governments ensuring art curriculums are rich across all education sectors.

Much of the literary, art and cultural awards are facilitiated by private business and foundations, some of whom receive no government assistance.

As an aside, Dymocks is thinking about moving their online bookshop offshore because they are struggling to compete with overseas book sellers like Amazon due to GST obligations by Australian businesess.

This will also reduce the number of jobs in Australia within this industry (albeit not authors per se).
Posted by pelican, Friday, 19 November 2010 4:03:30 PM
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PM:
<I believe that the arts profoundly define the sense of who we are, how we see the world and how the world sees us in turn>
<It is the Governmentís profound belief that the arts belong to every Australian and every opportunity must be taken to ensure the arts are open and accessible to all.>

Dear Julia,
there is nothing "profound" about yours or your government's patronage of the arts. The arts used to be an honourable institution that reflected the "artist's" profound reflections on life, the universe and everything. Later, art reflected what was "wrong" about culture. Under government patronage and populism, art is reduced to commodity, or what you euphemistically call a "more pragmatic definition".
Instead of celebrating decadent/depressive Australian culture, as you pay it to do, so you can waffle on about the "Australian way" and all that nauseating crap, the arts should be exposing the degradation and exploitation of the artist, or else the emptiness and meanness of Australian "bought" culture (and sporting success).
I wish the government would halt all funding to the arts (and sport!) so that Australians could perceive the poverty of their lives and their culture and the artist would be inspired anew. The true artist is a bipolar, tortured soul; rebelling against the evils of the times and fascinated simultaneously, not some paid entertainer turning out cheap tricks for board!
As for your percentile celebration of reading; it's a shame so few know how to read critically, or author's to write critically. No, it's all just one big celebration of how "great" we are, isn't it?
I'm a Labor voter and I despise this flagrant, disingenuous, toadying and support for a system of patronage you ought to despise.
Please don't think we're all as shallow as the centre you pander to.
Posted by Squeers, Friday, 19 November 2010 6:00:39 PM
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Julia ,I think that your Govt is the worst in living memory.You said before the elections we would not have a carbon tax.Within weeks it was back on the agenda.We have a litany of Govt waste,lies, imcompetence and you try to charm us with a feel good article on the arts.

The Labor Party lost its way a long time ago and I see it decaying even further.When will you govern for the people?
Posted by Arjay, Saturday, 20 November 2010 9:49:05 AM
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In the regional town where I live we have been recently flooded with money for sporting clubs of all shapes an sizes,donated by the state labor government, but nothing for the arts. I am pleased to see that someone is at least talking about this imbalance Where is our Poet Laureate? Where is our Literary Hero?
Posted by Raise the Dust, Sunday, 21 November 2010 8:12:54 AM
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The same discussion should be had for both Art and Sport, particularly the money handed out to assist 'big' sport of which the sole purpose is profit and while the taxpayer forks out, these clubs continue to pay out large sums of money in executive salaries and to players. Why is the taxpayer funding grants and upgrades under these conditions
Posted by pelican, Sunday, 21 November 2010 4:12:28 PM
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