Saturday, September 7, 2013

Family First discusses arts in Denison

Trevlyn McCallum, the candidate in Denison for Family First is a reader. You can listen to the full interview with him here.

Family First have developed 15 core policy areas but they have no specific policy about arts and culture. They do have, however a high regards for arts, literature and culture.
Literature and art comes out of a healthy culture and that society drives that.
They are there to give families and small businesses the opportunity to express themselves in a way that is wholesome and good for our culture and our society. “One of the key driving factors behind our cultural expressions in art and literature primarily sits elsewhere,
"Having the ability and resources to do poetry and to write literature, we need those resources,
"One of the first things Family First would be looking at would be tax complexity and tax rates across the Australia. We are looking at reducing tax making it easier to do business, be it a NFP art studio or any other small business across Australia we are looking to reduce the tax rate to 20% which will increase the resources to put into arts and culture and literature endeavurs.
"I think a healthy community will produce good wholesome, healthy art and the other way around too, good wholesome art and cul;ture and literature helps a society to grow and be more mature as a culture, as a civilisation.
"Family First is a family values driven party and the primary driver for policies is what is in the best interests of ‘the family’ and children in our society. 
"We certainly don’t want to have art that’s out in the public eye that is not for their (children's) eyes, so good wholesome art needs to consider the audience and who it is being presented to.
"We can get into it; what ‘good and wholesome’ is, I think there is objectivity to art and objectivity to culture and to literature as well and it gets down to the debate about what is good and what is not good.
As a Family First candidate, personally, I am a Christian I can take an objective stand and say something is right or wrong based on my world view and assumptions."
Trevlyn loves to read, though his time is squished, but he is ‘audio reading’ in the car on the way to work. His family is a one of readers and they encourage their children to read a lot of books across a lot of genres. His son read over 250 books last year!
He enjoys historical fiction and can’t go past  PG Wodehouse.
Again, the full interview here.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Debra Thurley for Palmer United discusses arts in Denison

Debra Thurley thinks the area encompassing arts and culture area is one where "Tasmania can really shine from a tourism perspective and that the value and arts and culture in a community can sometimes be understated. Listen to the full interview with her here.
   At the time this interview was conducted, Debra Thurley, the candidate for the House of Reps in Denison for the newly formed Palmer Untied Party hadn't had a chance to discuss arts and culture but they were heading into a discussion that weekend where it was hoped it would be put on the table. 
  Debra feels that art and culture is “vital” and it one of those glue factors that unite a community, "Denison is so exciting with such a tremendous mix of people. We are destined for being the place to be. "The times ahead are extremely exciting because I am sure this election, no matter who wins will bring about some positive change.
"We are very fortunate here in Denison to have the Mona effect.
"I would absolutely like to see more support for the arts. As I said before, I am a sports fan but I think the two absolutely run parallel with keeping people involved.
"It does stimulate the mood of a community so it is really really vital.
Debra would, if elected, seek to remedy the loss of funding for the Tasmanian Theatre Company. (who have finally been recognised again by the State government, with some funds for 2014).
  Debra agrees that the connection with art and health is vital. "Art is such a wonderful way of expressing what can be an internal emotion so there can be a massive connection between that area as we focus on health and preventative measures and proactive measures."
When it comes to reading at the pointy end of a campaing, "I don’t have any time to read I am also a student through Griffith University studying workplace relations so I do have a  very busy schedule."
She does really like Irish female writers and always tries to have some fiction on the go "but the trouble is by the time I get to bed I am asleep but I just adore reading.
"Of course I read newspapers front to back including some of the papers from the mainland and of course I am supportive of some Tasmanian literature as well. I have always been on the verge of enrolling myself in one of the writing clubs.
"If someone asked me what would be the ideal thing I would do in the years ahead I would like to go back to uni and do English lit. I am not writing anything at the moment but I do have this aim, they do say there’s a book in all of us and I go to start it and I realise it takes a lot of time and you do need to be free of all distractions. That, to me is one of my goals in later life."
She doesn’t have a favourite Tasmanian writer, but Rachael Treasure was a guest at one of their business meetings. “I bought three of her books and I must admit they are still sitting on the shelf as I haven’t got to read them yet. It was amazing to think she could incorporate her unique lifestyle into her books. I enjoyed her because she is an effervescent girl and she was a very interesting person and I enjoyed meeting her."
The full interview can be heard here.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Denison and Arts #4. Andrew Wilkie, independent.

Andrew Wilkie is the member for Denison in the House of Representatives. At this stage it looks like he will still be there after this election this Saturday, September 7th. You can listen to this interview on arts and culture in Denison in its entirety here.

“At this time of an election campaign you will find every candidate talking up up the wonderful arts and culture scene we have in Tasmania but it is at risk of sounding like a whole collection of clich├ęs. “Of course we have a rich scene and of course we are all in support of it but you have to contrast what people say about it with what people do with it.

“Regrettably, the arts and culture scene has, for many years been neglected.  I don’t know whether David Walsh is proud or sad of the fact that he has had no public assistance and in any case there is too much attention on Mona when there is a whole lot more going on out there which seems to be swamped by the Mona phenomenon.

“As a member of parliament my involvement inevitably is to do with money and I was proud to secure $4 million to build a new Moonah Arts Centre and very proud to get $1.65 million to save the old South Hobart primary school and turn that into a community and cultural hub but it is a fraction of what needs to be done.

“The state and federal governments need to look for clever ways to invest in arts and culture nationally including in Tasmania to genuinely promote it.

“I am attracted to the idea the Greens have to pay a living wage to artists. It seems to be a sensible way to go if you really want to encourage art at the grass roots level and that is the sort of innovative approach we need to see.
“I can see a real arts trail, it might start in Salamanca, and ideally on a light rail. You could get off at Moonah and wander to the new arts centre, get off at GASP when it is completed, back on the light rail, up to Mona.
“It could become one of the nation’s premier destinations for art and culture tourism, we’re on the cusp of cracking it.”

“Regrettably too many politicians and too many governments just think of art as just a painting or an installation.  I don’t know that any government in this country; certainly not in Tasmania, there doesn’t seem to be any understanding of the importance of art and culture in the community and the way it enriches and makes for a healthier community.

Andrew's favourite book is A Fortunate Life by AB Facey, but when it comes to Tasmanian books
“I like to read Tasmanian history and James Boyce is a towering  figure in that space. His acclaimed book Van Diemen’s Land brings history to life. Another local author I like reading is Richard Flanagan. He is another author that can bring history to life and in a book like Gould’s Book of Fish it becomes  a weird mishmash of fact and fiction; you don’t know where one ends and another starts and I find that quite fun.

When asked what he will do if reelected, he is clear:
“Two things: I will continue my efforts to secure investment in art in Tasmania and I think I have a good track record in that regard but I will also work harder to promote the arts as something that genuinely does enrich  the community and make it happier and healthier and look for ways to find money for that.”
Listen to the full interview here.


Denison and arts #4 Graeme Devlin from Rise Up Australia

 Graeme Devlin from Rise Up Australia Party has six daughters and has always had ballet, drama and music in the household. He sees art and culture as "lubrication for our society" and while Rise Up Australia support freedom of speech, he believes a line needs to be drawn somewhere and "art is art and smut is smut".
Listen to the full interview here.
Graeme notes that ‘arts and culture’ is a very wide spectrum that can even involve agriculture but  he presumes that it means the ways of living transmitted from generation to generation.
"The Australian culture is one we want to preserve. I like it and most of us live it happily. Over the years of course our culture has been modified a lot, some of our ethnic editions with people who have joined us. I see this as a lubrication of our society, it gives colour. Without it, it would be pretty black and white.
"The word comes to me; 'jackboots' but we don’t really want that. I personally don’t find it as a major item because we know that employment and things must come first, it gives us colour in our lives and makes us interesting people."
At the time of the interview, Rise Up Australia had not had any round table discussions regarding arts policy.

Graeme expounds freedom of speech. "Our leader has had ia time when he was taken before the racial vilification court in Victoria for exposing some of the words in the Koran.
We want to see truth as truth and opinion as opinion and maintaining freedom of speech."While Rise Up would like to see freedom of speech, censorship is a different matter. They would like to avoid gratuitous violence and socially degenerating themes.
Truth is truth, of course, but smut it smut.
I was young, you couldn’t imagine Spencer Tracey saying thle F word”
The Christian scriptures are the basic guideline for Rise Up Australia. "A lot of people may not like to hear that, I think our society has turned away from basic Christian principles. Henry Parkes, one of our founding fathers said that we were preeminately a Christian nation when they were founding  the nation and designing the constitution, but we have come a long way and we should start to turn back, it is time.

Graeme was not prepared for the question about community health and he finds arts and culture as a lubricant within society.
Our plan is to provide good roots for the nation and everybody gets a fair go and business wi'l just spring up naturally, we won’t have to force jobs."
While Graeme Is not familiar with Tasmanian authors, he is currently reading the constutuion to “find out what we’re on about.”
"Most of my reading is information reading, ifI have a problem I look up how to fix it. Arts in my life is not one of the prominent areas though I don’t disregard it. Being a slow reader I have to wisely choose what I read because it takes so much time, but as you can imagine I read the holy scriptures a fair bit.
The full interview can be heard here.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Denison and arts #3. Wayne Williams from the Democratic Labor Party

Wayne Williams is standing in Dension, for the Democratic Labor Party.
 Here, he discusses the DLP’s approach to arts and arts funding, his mentor the poet James McAuley and former Island editor Cassandra Pybus’ book about McAuley and where the DLP would take arts in Denison.
“I think you consider a nation great if it has achieved a high level of culture, “The artistic can be squeezed out of us through the pressures of time and work.
"If you look back through history, countries are less remembered for their military conquests than for their art. Flourishing civilisations are always those that have achieved a high level of culture.
“Art in its many forms may encourage joy, sadness, aesthetic appreciation through the beautiful and it may be through one line of verse that the soul finds consolation and courage to keep striving when perhaps faced with impossible odds.”

“The other thing is that we are handed God given talents that we should use to the best of our abilities. Our computer driven age and the pragmatic desire to consider what is useful in commercial terms often disadvantages the development of the arts.
The problem with most political parties is that they consider arts very much down the scale, especially if budgets are hard pressed. Certain sacred cows that the government are reluctant to cut; unfortunately the arts is not one of them.
The DLP proposes a tax deduction and incentives by government for the arts. They would also encourage greater regional development in the arts, promoting and encouraging art in local communities. They also oppose the selling of indigenous art overseas, “what is ours ought to not go over there, I just don’t think it should go.”
While the DLP approves of an increase in funding for the arts they are also critical of some of the spending that has been done in the arts field. Wayne feels that one of the classic mistakes made in arts funding in recent years resulted in the book The Devil and James McAuley by former Island editor, Cassandra Pybus.

“This was a book that was subsidised by $84 000 from the Australian Research Council and I do not know by how much by the Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board and by a visiting fellowship from LaTrobe University and the Australia Council also chipped in.
“What jumps immediately to the eye as you flick through is the slap dash research” Wayne goes on to elaborate on these mistakes.
It seems a strange book to generate a discussion around arts funding from, but  McAuley was a mentor to Wayne and “I am fairly criitical that a very large amount of money, nearly $100 000 was given to Cassandra to produce this work and it could have been more prudently done." James McAuley is Wayne’s favourite Tasmanian author – and he was also a good friend of his. He got him involved with the DLP by throwing him into a debate at the Hobart Town Hall when he was 21.
“I think the arts have to be very careful that they use the money wisely and in the public eye they are perceived that things are done well."

In terms of arts and health “If you look in the areas of mental health particularly, it is obviously an assistance issue but with pyschological counselling and with expressing themselves, the arts has always been a great contributor to mental health."
Wayne tends to read a lot of the political journals and tries to keep up to date with those things.  He also does a lot of spiritual reading.

Listen to the full interview here.

Paige Turner November

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