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Platform Paper No. 45
In the week this paper went to press Malcolm Turnbull challenged and overturned the incumbent Prime Minister Tony Abbott in a late-night ballot and announced the appointment of Senator Mitch Fifield as Minister for Communication and the Arts. Now Australia waits to see if this new leadership will overturn the hasty decision by former Minister George Brandis to seize more than $120 million from the Australian Council arts budget and place it under his own control. This paper shows this ill-conceived action has exposed the fragility of our national arts funding, and the urgent need for change. Cathy Hunt responds to this challenge by arguing that only changes at a system level to the task of building sector resilience will enable the excellence called for to be achieved. This must include introducing a new funding framework with government and the philanthropic sector working together, new business models and new forms of financing to get there. Her findings are surprising.
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I will propose some of the changes we really need; why now more than at any other time in the history of arts and cultural development in Australia; and how we ensure once and for all, that whoever pays the piper in the future, it is the piper who calls the tune.