The Fine Arts Party

A Fine Arts Party (Pieter de Hooch)

It being Friday 13th, The Varnished Culture will break from its traditional disdain of party-politics and weigh-in to the current imbroglio.  There’s a federal election in Australia set for 2 July 2016, when we will have to watch the skies (it being World UFO Day as well).

Recently, P suggested, innocently, that only a terrorist could enthusiastically, seriously, cast a vote for the Greens.  Whereupon my two very reasonable and intelligent interlocutors informed me that they would be likely to vote for the Greens.  (I am certain they are not terrorists).  So ended my brief role as a pundit.

Be that as it may, I have been casting around for a space in which to park my vote.  The Arts Party naturally engaged my attention.  You can find them at:   The Arts Party thesis, paraphrased here, is that it doesn’t matter whether Liberal or Labor win; both need to be shirt-fronted for a better slice of the common wealth in the service of the Arts.

Laudable as organising to fight for arts funding may be, the Arts Party’s general policy platform shows a definite pinkish-green tinge.  Fair enough, but surely an arts party needs to be single-minded and not divided and distracted by a strategy of attacking from the left?  What about tax-payers and corporations who stump up for the arts?  Are they to be bled white, in the service of marxist graffiti, smut and (gasp) installations?  No, there must be A Better Way.

So, appointing myself as Willingdon Beauty, I propose the Fine Arts Party™ an autonomous collective controlled by and solely answerable to me.  Our platform  would retain the Australia Council (slightly reduced in staff numbers, perhaps) but I would assert full veto over their (augmented) funding decisions, which I could exercise in my complete, unfettered, non-judicial, discretion.  A little like George Brandis’ idea, but with more taste.

FULLY FUNDED – And the augmentation?  Well, I’m pretty sure I could guarantee the flow of substantial funds to the fine arts by cutting a few programmes being offered by my morally and intellectually bankrupt opponents, and mining the funds otherwise wasted by them.  For instance:

MINING THE COALITION – Has committed $89 billion over 20 years to its ‘Future Frigates’ policy.  So we’re committing more money than God to rust-buckets likely to be obsolete before commissioning.  I’d scrap 80% and out-source the defence of the north-eastern coasts to the U.S.; India can look after the west and the Chinese can guard their beef investments from the south.  The remaining 20%  would be used to maintain our necessary defence against attack from our traditional enemy, New Zealand.

NUCLEAR-MINING LABOR – Has proposed $37.3 billion over 10 years to pour into schools.  The Fine Arts Party would apply that money to its arts funding model and reintroduce a rigorous regime of corporal punishment, which should see an immediate and budget-neutral improvement in test scores by the kids.

EATING MINE GREENS – We would appoint all Greens party members to positions of Compassion Officers.  They would be stationed in places with a recognized compassion deficit (i.e. Manus Island, Aleppo, Homs, Kabul, Trump Tower, Norfolk Island.)  Their absence would obviate the need to stymie Green policies and we could all use a break from their presence.  (They will not accept the idea of winners and losers being inevitable, and since we can’t all win, it is more equitable that we all lose).

Can someone please start crowd-funding for us?

Let us Fight for your Fine Arts! (photo by Narve Skarpmoen)

Let us Fight for your Fine Arts! (photo by Narve Skarpmoen)


  1. Reply


    May 13, 2016

    The start of your article makes me think of a quote attributed (apparently in error) to Winston Churchill. When asked to cut arts funding in favour of the war effort, he replied: “Then what are we fighting for?"

  2. Reply

    Smug of Glebe

    May 17, 2016

    Where do I sign? And can you appoint all the folks who pledged dollars to Duncan Storrar Compassion Officers too?

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