Sunday, August 21, 2022

Another bite of the cherry - revisiting a national cultural policy

When the last national cultural policy was being finalised in 2012, more than 43% of the Australian population or at least one of their parents were born overseas. Now, as its successor is being developed after a cultural policy vacuum of more than nine years, that figure has been superseded, with over half the population or at least one of their parents born overseas. This makes a strong focus on the dynamic promise of our cultural diversity essential for any successful policy. Unfortunately, the main shortcoming of the previous policy was that it didn’t make this focus as strong as it needed to be, which was unfortunate because the policy was otherwise very good and comprehensive.

Recently I opened the Sydney Morning Herald Good Weekend magazine to discover that Australia is now ‘the first English-speaking, migrant-majority nation, the only one on the planet, with 29.2 per cent of our population born overseas and 21.6 per cent born here with at least one migrant parent’. This is based on data from the 2021 census, so it may already have been overtaken. When the last National Cultural Policy, ‘Creative Australia’ was being developed, the available data indicated that more than 43% of the Australian population were either born overseas or had a parent who was. Given the lag in collecting and analysing data, those figures were almost certainly out of date at the time. 

The Aboriginal Memorial at the National Gallery of Australia - one of the great cultural treasures of Australia, now relocated to the heart of the Gallery.

Our cultural diversity, from the many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations, cultures and languages which underpin Australian culture, bolstered by waves of migration, is an important national asset. The previous Labor attempt at a national arts policy, ‘Creative Australia’, the short-lived National Cultural Policy, finally completed under the Gillard Government with Arts Minister Simon Crean at the helm was very good. It was developed after broad consultation – and that showed.

The new Albanese Government, and its Arts Minister Tony Burke, have been calling for submissions to help update the National Cultural Policy announced way back in 2013. Many organisations and individuals have been preparing submissions, reflecting the importance with which they view this process. The deadline is tomorrow and I've just added my own comments, informed by many decades of involvement across the breadth of the creative and cultural sector around Australia. They are also shaped by my previous role as Director of the National Cultural Policy Task Force which co-ordinated the development of 'Creative Australia', particularly the broad-ranging public and industry consultation. You can read my comments below.


SUBMISSION TO NATIONAL CULTURAL POLICY CONSULTATION
Stephen Cassidy, cultural researcher, writer and commentator

I am making a submission about the National Cultural Policy because for the last eight years I have been a cultural commentator and researcher, with links to the creative sector through my role with DESIGN Canberra and on the Board of Craft ACT and the education sector through my role as an Adjunct with the University of Canberra.

My direct involvement with the previous National Cultural Policy was as Director of the Task Force within the Australia Government which co-ordinated the development of the ‘Creative Australia’ Policy, and particularly the broad-based consultation process which produced it.

When I heard that the Albanese Government, with Tony Burke as Arts Minister, would be basing its updated National Cultural Policy on the ‘Creative Australia’ policy launched in 2013, I was pleased because in many respects that was a very good and comprehensive policy. It was developed after broad consultation with all the resources of a Government in office. This went well beyond the arts sector, with important bodies like the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council amongst many others beyond the creative sector commenting – and that showed.

Cultural diversity
However, the one feature that wasn’t as strong as it could have been was its recognition of the importance of cultural diversity. The National Cultural Policy acknowledged cultural diversity but in my view it didn’t recognise sufficiently how critical and central it was. As a result it didn’t practically reflect its importance in the package of measures ‘Creative Australia’ introduced to implement its vision. Yet the strongest message of all from the broad public consultation which helped produce the National Cultural Policy at the time was that it had to reflect Australia’s diversity.

'When I heard that the Albanese Government, with Tony Burke as Arts Minister, would be basing its updated National Cultural Policy on the ‘Creative Australia’ policy launched in 2013, I was pleased because in many respects that was a very good and comprehensive policy.' 

When the last national cultural policy was being finalised in 2012, more than 43% of the Australian population or at least one of their parents were born overseas. Now, as its successor is being developed after a cultural policy vacuum of more than nine years, that figure has been superseded, with over half the population or at least one of their parents born overseas. This makes a strong focus on the dynamic promise of our cultural diversity essential for any successful policy. Unfortunately, the main shortcoming of the previous policy was that it didn’t make this focus as strong as it needed to be, which was unfortunate because the policy was otherwise very good and comprehensive.

Our cultural diversity, from the many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations, cultures and languages which underpin Australian culture, bolstered by waves of migration, is potentially our most important national asset.

Arts policy or cultural policy?
Focusing only on the themes of the current consultation risks producing an arts policy, rather than a cultural policy, something more suited to a body like the Australia Council, rather then the Australian Government as a whole. The objectives seem reasonable enough but what is missing is any reference to the creative economy and creative industries and a dynamic analysis of cultural diversity as the interaction of different cultures – and the link to innovation that arises from this diversity. Cultural diversity fosters innovation because innovation occurs where cultures intersect and differing world-views come into contact and fixed ideas and old ways of doing things are challenged and assessed.

'Focusing only on the themes of the current consultation risks producing an arts policy, rather than a cultural policy, something more suited to a body like the Australia Council, rather then the Australian Government as a whole.' 

In comparison the objectives of ‘Creative Australia’ were strongly focused on the broader role of creativity and culture. Two of the major goals in ‘Creative Australia’ seem to be missing entirely from this latest consultation document:

Goal 4: Strengthen the capacity of the cultural sector to contribute to national life, community wellbeing and the economy.

Goal 5: Ensure Australian creativity thrives in the digitally enabled 21st century, by supporting innovation, the development of new creative content, knowledge and creative industries.

This seems to be at cross purposes with Minister Burke’s earlier comments that with the previous National Cultural Policies developed by Labor Governments, ‘in each case it was a whole of government exercise. Because anyone who understands the sector knows arts isn’t simply about entertainment, leisure and hobbies. At its best it affects our education policy, our health policy, our trade, our relations around the world, our industrial relations approach and is a driver of economic growth.’ Minister Burke quite correctly has pointed out that the Arts are important in their own right and do not need to be justified in economic or social terms. Yet it is equally important to recognise that the Arts, creativity and culture do have an important economic and social role that has to be taken account of.

Broader impacts of creativity and culture
Both economic relevance and a sense of being embedded with community are complementary aspects of contemporary creativity and culture that make it so strong a force. It connects both the economic role of culture and creativity and their community role of building resilience, well-being, social inclusion and liveable cities. What they have in common is that both spring from the reality that culture and creativity are integral to everyday life and the essential activities that make it up.

As a result of its broad approach there were important elements in ‘Creative Australia’ that relate directly to the emphasis on First Nations communities, such as the inclusion of support for Traditional Cultural Expressions, amongst which the ongoing Government support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages is crucial. While there was no funding for this element in the Policy, it was important and ground-breaking in laying out protocols and strategies for this important area.

'Both economic relevance and a sense of being embedded with community are complementary aspects of contemporary creativity and culture that make it so strong a force. It connects both the economic role of culture and creativity and their community role of building resilience, well-being, social inclusion and liveable cities. What they have in common is that both spring from the reality that culture and creativity are integral to everyday life and the essential activities that make it up.'

This raises the question of what is the status of the National Indigenous Languages Policy announced by the Labor Government in 2009, elements of which were picked up by ‘Creative Australia’? While that policy was mixed in quality, it was an important one – ­ Australia’s first ever national Indigenous languages policy. How will the priorities in that policy – the result of many decades of work at community level by First Nations language workers – be incorporated in the new National Cultural Policy?

UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention
Australia is signatory to an important set of international conventions that help protect both First Nations culture and Australian culture generally. The Rudd Labor Government ratified the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in 2009 and undertook to consider ratification of the complementary UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Prominent cultural economist Professor David Throsby has previously called for ratification of this important convention, as it completes a set of conventions that work in tandem, including the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

'There was no compelling objection to ratifying it and much to be gained from the positive and productive engagement internationally on this issue that would be much enhanced by ratification.'

The process of consideration occurred but ratification never eventuated. There was no compelling objection to ratifying it and much to be gained from the positive and productive engagement internationally on this issue that would be much enhanced by ratification. This would reinforce and support the existing work in this area by Australian cultural institutions and Non-Government Organisations.

Cross-referencing other Government policies
One of the most positive features of ‘Creative Australia’ was the way it enabled much greater whole-of-Government liaison and co-operation to occur, something many of the submissions to the community consultation called for. This included such parallel initiatives as the Convergence Review of the Department of Communications into the future of media and communications and the Book Industry Strategy Group in association with the Department of Industry and Innovation. It is crucial that the new National Cultural Policy cross-references other Government policies, such as Indigenous policy, industry policy and so on.

Role of Government
‘Creative Australia’ clearly focused on outlining the specific role that Government could play in supporting creativity and culture. In the current process this also raises the question of how any national cultural policy announced by the Australian Government is related to the substantial and strategic role of States and Territories, and particularly Local Government, in supporting creativity and culture.

Minister Burke has commented that Labor wants to restore co-operation and dialogue between the Federal Minister and State Ministers, and include Local Government. Coming on the back of the massive, largely successful, role played by the States and Territories of whatever political brand during the pandemic – at least until recently – coupled with their role in starting to address climate change, this could be an approach which delivers a great deal.

Far beyond funding
The sticky issue in these pandemic-ravaged times will be funding for this blueprint in a time of massive deficits due to the response to the pandemic. However, funding is a secondary matter – most important is a strong understanding of the importance of creativity and culture and a commitment to support it across all areas of Government.

It is also important to recognise the central and distinct role that Government can play. When the Arts sector thinks about the role of government in supporting Australian arts and culture, it often focuses on funding. Yet government support for arts and culture extends far more broadly than funding – and in fact much of this support is far more important than funding.

'The sticky issue in these pandemic-ravaged times will be funding for this blueprint in a time of massive deficits due to the response to the pandemic. However, funding is a secondary matter – most important is a strong understanding of the importance of creativity and culture and a commitment to support it across all areas of Government.'

Government involvement includes a direct role in the arts and culture sector through its own agencies, such as the national and state cultural institutions, its place in education and training subsidies and through its own arts training bodies, accreditation frameworks and curriculum, through tax incentives or deductions, schemes like the lending right programs that compensate authors for the use of their publications in public libraries, frameworks for Intellectual Property rights and payments, local content regulations, and the setting of standards and protocols that govern such things as Internet content. This doesn’t even include the myriad of other ways in which Government agencies which are not mainly concerned with arts and culture, intersect with the arts and culture sphere.

Often overlooked but critical is the role of regulation, legislative frameworks (including Intellectual Property), the establishing of standards and support for international conventions. Some of the most important ways the Government supports arts and culture is through its role in education and training.

The Intellectual Property framework
Arts, culture and creative industries show promise in helping address central social challenges Australia faces. In attempting to address the major issue of Indigenous disadvantage, to take just one example, it is critical to recognise that one of the most important economic resources possessed by Indigenous communities is their culture. Creative firms are already developing which draw on that cultural content.

'Through the intellectual property that translates it into a form that can generate income in a contemporary economy, that culture is pivotal to jobs and to income. It may not be mining but it mines a far richer seam – authentic and rich content that has already been recognised internationally for its high value, just like our iron and coal.'

Through the intellectual property that translates it into a form that can generate income in a contemporary economy, that culture is pivotal to jobs and to income. It may not be mining but it mines a far richer seam – authentic and rich content that has already been recognised internationally for its high value, just like our iron and coal. Maintaining and developing the Intellectual Property framework is one of the most important roles national Government has.

Growth in population and economy
Obviously funding is a critical part of this broader mix. Cuts in real terms to national arts and cultural funding, while relatively small each year, have a cumulative effect far greater than at first appears and, in the long run, will undermine the effectiveness of national arts and culture support. Where the real disastrous impact of these cuts will hit home is when we also factor in the impact of population growth. The cuts – both recent and older – are based on a static view of the economy and population. But Australia’s economy and population are both growing and support by Government for creativity and culture has to factor this in.

See also

An everyday life worth living – indefinite articles for a clean, clever and creative future 
‘My blog “indefinite article” is irreverent writing about contemporary Australian society, popular culture, the creative economy and the digital and online world – life in the trenches and on the beaches of the information age. Over the last ten years I have published 166 articles about creativity and culture on the blog. This is a list of all the articles I have published there, broken down into categories, with a brief summary of each article. They range from the national cultural landscape to popular culture, from artists and arts organisations to cultural institutions, cultural policy and arts funding, the cultural economy and creative industries, First Nations culture, cultural diversity, cities and regions, Australia society, government, Canberra and international issues – the whole range of contemporary Australian creativity and culture’, An everyday life worth living – indefinite articles for a clean, clever and creative future.
 
Beyond a joke – surviving troubled times 
‘We live in troubled times – but then can anyone ever say that they lived in times that weren’t troubled? For most of my life Australia has suffered mediocre politicians and politics – with the odd brief exceptions – and it seems our current times are no different. Australia has never really managed to realise its potential. As a nation it seems to be two different countries going in opposite directions – one into the future and the other into the past. It looks as though we’ll be mired in this latest stretch of mediocrity for some time and the only consolation will be creativity, gardening and humour’, Beyond a joke – surviving troubled times.  

‘indefinite article’ on Facebook – short arts updates and commentary
‘Short arts updates and irreverent cultural commentary about contemporary Australian society, popular culture, the creative economy and the digital and online world – life in the trenches and on the beaches of the information age’, 'indefinite article' on Facebook.

National Cultural Policy rises from dead to boost Australian arts, culture and creativity
‘A change in national Government means that much of the daily work of Government in keeping the country running continues as before, eased along by the continuity provided by the public service. However, there can also be drastic changes of direction and fresh starts and old and tested ideas reinvigorated. One area where this will certainly be the case is with Government support for Australian arts, culture and creativity, with consultation to update the policies in Creative Australia, the previous National Cultural Policy, getting underway without delay’, National Cultural Policy rises from the dead to boost Australian arts, culture and creativity.

Labor election victory means renewed approach for Australian arts and culture support 
‘Almost a decade of Coalition Government has ended, with a complex and ground-breaking result. During that long period the substantial and detailed work to develop a national cultural policy under the Rudd and then Gillard Labor Governments was sidelined. A strategic, comprehensive, long-term approach to support by national Government for Australian culture and creativity in its broadest sense was largely absent. Now we are likely to see a return – finally – to some of the central principles that underpinned ‘Creative Australia’, the blueprint that represented the Labor Government response to Australia’s creative sector’, Labor election victory means renewed approach for Australian arts and culture support.

Why Australia still needs a cultural policy – third time lucky?
‘It’s no longer the pre-election campaign we had to have. It’s become the election campaign we can’t avoid. We are spiralling inexorably towards election day and Ministers and members have been plummeting from the heights of the Coalition Government like crew abandoning a burning Zeppelin. We may wake on 19 May to find we have a national Labor Government. With Labor pledging to implement an updated version of the short-lived ‘Creative Australia’, its national cultural policy, first promised by the Rudd Government, it’s a good time to reconsider its importance’, Why Australia still needs a cultural policy – third time lucky?

Why cultural diversity is central to Australia’s future promise – a refocused Labor arts policy?
‘Can Australia successfully navigate the treacherous and confusing times in which we live? Understanding the crucial importance of our cultural diversity to our cultural, social and economic future will be essential. Applying that in the policies and practices that shape our future at all levels across Australia can ensure we have a bright, productive and interesting 21st Century. An important part of this are the political parties, major and minor, that are increasingly negotiating the compromises that shape our world. The recent launch by the Labor Party of a new group, Labor for the Arts, could be an important development. Combining as it does a focus from an earlier time on both arts and multiculturalism, it could potentially open the way for some innovative and forward-thinking policy’, Understanding why cultural diversity is central to Australia’s future promise – a refocused Labor arts policy?

Changing the landscape of the future – a new focus on cultural rights
‘The arts and culture sector has spent far too many years pressing the case for why Australian culture is crucial to Australia’s future, without seeming to shift the public policy landscape to any great degree. Perhaps a proposed fresh approach focusing on cultural rights may offer some hope of a breakthrough. What makes this approach so important and so potentially productive is that it starts with broad principles, linked to fundamental issues, such as human rights, which makes it a perfect foundation for the development of sound and well-thought out policies – something that currently we sadly lack’, Changing the landscape of the future – a new focus on cultural rights.

What is art good for? Understanding the value of our arts and culture
‘With arts and cultural support increasingly under pressure, arts and cultural organisations and artists are trying to find ways in their own localities to respond and to help build a popular understanding of the broader social and economic benefits of arts and culture. Much work has been done in Australia and internationally to understand, assess and communicate the broad value of arts and culture. The challenge is to share and to apply what already exists – and to take it further’, What is art good for? Understanding the value of our arts and culture.

Putting culture on the main agenda – the power of policy
‘With the ongoing malaise due to the absence of national arts and cultural policy in Australia, it's worth reminding ourselves what beneficial impact good policy can have. To understand the power of policy to make an impact in the world, it’s worthwhile contrasting two recent major Australian Government cultural policies – the National Cultural Policy and the National Indigenous Languages Policy. This helps illuminate how cultural policy can promote the long view, innovation, breadth and leadership. Both policies showed that more important than funding or specific initiatives was the overall strategic vision and the way in which it attempted to place culture not just on the main agenda, but somewhere near the centre of the main agenda’, Putting culture on the main agenda – the power of policy.

Flight of the wild geese – Australia’s place in the world of global talent
‘As the global pandemic has unfolded, I have been struck by how out of touch a large number of Australians are with Australia’s place in the world. Before the pandemic many Australians had become used to travelling overseas regularly – and spending large amounts of money while there – but we seem to think that our interaction with the global world is all about discretionary leisure travel. In contrast, increasingly many Australians were travelling – and living – overseas because their jobs required it. Whether working for multinational companies that have branches in Australia or Australian companies trying to break into global markets, Australian talent often needs to be somewhere else than here to make the most of opportunities for Australia. Not only technology, but even more importantly, talent, will be crucial to the economy of the future’, Flight of the wild geese – Australia’s place in the world of global talent
 
Cut to the bone – the accelerating decline of our major cultural institutions and its impact on Australia’s national heritage and economy
‘I always thought that long after all else has gone, after government has pruned and prioritised and slashed and bashed arts and cultural support, the national cultural institutions would still remain. They are one of the largest single items of Australian Government cultural funding and one of the longest supported and they would be likely to be the last to go, even with the most miserly and mean-spirited and short sighted of governments. However, in a finale to a series of cumulative cuts over recent years, they have seen their capabilities to carry out their essential core roles eroded beyond repair. The long term impact of these cumulative changes will be major and unexpected, magnifying over time as each small change reinforces the others. The likelihood is that this will lead to irreversible damage to the contemporary culture and cultural heritage of the nation at a crucial crossroads in its history’, Cut to the bone – the accelerating decline of our major cultural institutions and its impact on Australia’s national heritage and economy.
 
Crossing boundaries – the unlimited landscape of creativity
‘When I was visiting Paris last year, there was one thing I wanted to do before I returned home – visit the renowned French bakery that had trained a Melbourne woman who had abandoned the high stakes of Formula One racing to become a top croissant maker. She had decided that being an engineer in the world of elite car racing was not for her, but rather that her future lay in the malleable universe of pastry. Crossing boundaries of many kinds and traversing the borders of differing countries and cultures, she built a radically different future to the one she first envisaged’, Crossing boundaries – the unlimited landscape of creativity.

Contemporary Indigenous fashion – where community culture and economics meet
‘The recent exhibition 'Piinpi', about contemporary Indigenous fashion, has a significance for Australian culture that is yet to be fully revealed. The themes covered by the exhibition are important because they demonstrate the intersection of the culture of First Nations communities with creative industries and the cultural economy. In attempting to address the major issue of Indigenous disadvantage, for example, it is critical to recognise that one of the most important economic resources possessed by First Nations communities is their culture. Through the intellectual property that translates it into a form that can generate income in a contemporary economy, that culture is pivotal to jobs and to income. It may not be mining but it mines a far richer seam – authentic and rich content that has already been recognised internationally for its high value, just like our iron and coal. At a time when First Nations communities are talking increasingly about gaining greater control over their economic life, this is highly relevant’, Contemporary Indigenous fashion – where community culture and economics meet

Understanding the economy of the future - innovation and its place in the knowledge economy, creative economy, creative industries and cultural economy 
‘When we start to think about the economy of the future – and the clean and clever jobs that make it up – we encounter a confusing array of ideas and terms. Innovation, the knowledge economy, the creative economy, creative industries and the cultural economy are all used, often interchangeably. Over the years my own thinking about them has changed and I thought it would be useful to try to clarify how they are all related’, Understanding the economy of the future – innovation and its place in the knowledge economy, creative economy, creative industries and cultural economy.  

Broader and deeper - the creativity and culture of everyday life
‘The Impact and Enterprise post-graduate course at the University of Canberra course is unique in Australia in placing creative industries and the creative and cultural economy in the broader landscape of the wider impacts of creativity and culture - both economic and social. It starts from the premise that what the broader social and economic roles of creativity and culture have in common is that a focus on the economic role of creativity and culture is similar to the focus on its community role – both spring from recognition that creativity and culture are integral to everyday life and the essential activities that make it up. In March 2021, as the course entered its third year, I gave a talk to the students about where it came from,’ Broader and deeper - the creativity and culture of everyday life.

Music makes the world go round – the bright promise of our export future
‘After ABBA, in an unexpected break from its traditional way of building national wealth from natural resources, Sweden managed to discover a new source of income. It was not as you would expect coal or oil. Rather than oil what it had discovered was song royalties, part of a fundamental change in the nature of modern economies which transformed them from relying solely on natural resources, transport and manufacturing to make creative content a new form of resource mining. Examples like theirs point to potentially major opportunities for the Australian music industry to become a net exporter of music,’ Music makes the world go round – the bright promise of our export future.

Arts, culture and a map of the future – the limits of arts policy

‘In the arts, from a virtual policy-free zone, we’ve now got policies – not as many as we could have hoped, but enough to be going on with. Some of them might even get implemented. Importantly, the others will help to frame the debate and offer ideas for the future. Those parties that have arts policies offer good solid and productive proposals which, if implemented, would lead to definite improvement for Australia’s arts and culture. However, that’s just the starting point’, Arts, culture and a map of the future – the limits of arts policy.

Election mode for Australian arts and culture – a policy-free zone?
‘A policy and the understanding of issues that leads to its adoption, provides arts and culture with a stature that underpins funding by providing a rationale for support. Otherwise funding will always be ad  hoc and insecure, piecemeal, project-based, intermittent and at the mercy of whim and fashion. We have to get arts and culture to the stage where it is seen like public health or education and debated accordingly’, Election mode for Australian arts and culture – a policy-free zone?

Arts funding – it’s not all about the money
‘National Arts Minister, Mitch Fifield, has said that being a strong advocate for the arts doesn’t mean delivering government funding and that an arts Minister or a government shouldn’t be judged just on the  quantum of money the government puts in. This sidesteps the Government’s very real problems that it has muddied the waters of existing arts funding, cutting many worthwhile organisations loose with no reason, that rather than delivering arts funding, it has reduced it significantly, and that it has no coherent strategy or policy to guide its arts decisions or direction. The real issue is that a national framework, strategy or policy for arts and culture support underpins and provides a rationale for arts funding – and is far more important’, Arts funding – it’s not all about the money.

National arts policy – excelling in the mediocrity stakes
‘I am not too concerned who manages national arts funding. Both the Australia Council and the Ministry for the Arts have long managed numerous funding programs. I am more concerned about what is funded. The fact that the national pool of arts funding available to support the operational costs of smaller arts and cultural organisations has shrunk substantially is a deep concern. Watch as Australia’s arts and culture sector reels over the next five years from this exceptionally bad policy decision – and expect the early warning signs much sooner. Well- known and respected figures in the arts and culture sector have been expressing this concern sharply’, National arts policy – excelling in the mediocrity stakes.

Out from the shadows – the other Arts Minister
‘I ventured out through the dark wilds of the Australian National University to hear the Opposition Spokesperson on the Arts, Mark Dreyfus, share his view of what a contemporary arts and culture policy might look like. It was a timely moment, given the turmoil stirred up by recent changes to national arts funding arrangements and the #freethearts response from small arts and cultural organisations and artists. Luckily, as he himself noted, he has a very recent model to work with. The National Cultural Policy is little more than two years old,’ Out from the shadows – the other Arts Minister.

‘Arts’ policy and culture – let's not reinvent the wheel
‘Faced with the increasing prospect that it could become the next Australian Government, the Labor Party is reviewing its ‘arts’ policy. Whatever happens and whoever it happens to, considered and strategic discussion of arts and culture policy is critical to Australia's future.’ ‘Arts’ policy and culture – let's not reinvent the wheel.

‘Creative Nation’ – Keating's cultural legacy
‘Developing ‘Creative Australia’, the second Australian National Cultural Policy, required such focus that little was said about the first one, Keating’s ‘Creative Nation’. ‘Creative Nation’ acknowledged two distinct and very different strengths in Australian culture. The first was the contemporary diversity of Australia. The second was the economic significance of the arts and culture sector, including the creative industries. This reflected the reality of how Australia had changed in half a century. However it also reflects a different way of looking, beyond the narrow view of ‘the arts’ as a gently civilising influence on the surface of a frontier society’, ‘Creative Nation’ – Keating's cultural legacy.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent article Stephen! It shows your depth of knowledge in arts and culture in Australia. I do hope the people researching and writing the new policy have your understanding of the connectivity between the arts and the many rich cultures represented in Australia.

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