How do the major political parties understand Australia’s culture and what vision do they offer for our future?
We’ve got Labor who’ve launched a comprehensive policy after extensive consultation; the Greens, who’ve released a considered policy without a launch nor consultation; and then the Liberals, no policy, no consultation.
Of course, just because a policy’s not in writing, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. While the Liberal Party have not made any specific announcements and have no policy on their website, commitments in the Budget include $498 million to redevelop the Australian War Memorial, $50 million towards a Captain Cook statue on the site of First Nations peoples’ first encounter, and also some tourism measures outside of the arts portfolio.
These commitments celebrate the culture of colonial and military Australia, creating enduring symbols that foster pride in conflict and conquest as definitive of the Australian identity. Added to the culture wars, the race-baiting and the more recent outing of News Corp’s blatant bias, it’s little wonder that several of the party’s candidates are styling themselves ‘Modern Liberals’ – and little wonder that their backbenchers are leaking their own arts and cultural values and priorities to industry colleagues…
IMAGE: Work in progress by architects Kayt Brumder and Jorge Pereira. Photograph by Esther Anatolitis.