Introducing :: The Australian Arts Party
December 2nd 2013
A funny thing happened on the way to the Senate following the recent Australian election…
It’s a classic tale, resplendent with incumbents, single interest parties, even a case of mistaken identity. Of course that’s if you believe the talk that voters couldn’t distinguish between the Liberal National Party (you call them the government) and the Liberal Democratic Party (they like guns).
Tensions are running high in all the senate seats. Tough competition in WA between the Greens and the Palmer United Party is still unresolved. Vote counting irregularities in Western Australia, including 1370 senate votes going missing, is threatening to draw out the process for some time – perhaps even resulting in a new ballot.
Emerging from the fallout we can see what looks like a new relish amongst the Australian voting public for novelty.
Is this cynicism directed at the major parties? Perhaps a need to converge on issues that resonate with personal experience?
Come June next year a collection of Senators made up of Independents, Motoring Enthusiasts, Miners and Clive Palmer will control the balance of power in the Senate. Propelled into the national spotlight, these groups have a broad forum for the issues they’ve campaigned on, but will they have the power enact change?
As this new senate continues to take shape, a new party has emerged seeking to capitalise on the public’s relish for novelty and give voice to the arts and creative industries that shape so much of Australia’s cultural life.
Please welcome to the stage… The Australian Arts Party.
The Australian Arts Party seek to represent the interests of both creative types and consumers of the arts. Arts Party founder PJ Collins describes broad goals for increasing arts as a priority for all Australians,
“… we want to basically fund more creativity and more art and more performance and we want it to be more available to more people, and that’s rurally and in urban areas, it’s across the board.”
Consider how often you read, watch films, go to galleries or if you’re a FBi lover (and you wouldn’t be here if you aren’t) listen to Australian music. These are the stories and tunes that inspire us with the ideas that we take out to the world. Collins believes an emphasis on fostering Australia’s creative and artistic potential can lead to economic dividends. A ‘creative economy’ benefits all Australian’s as it contributes to more than just our GDP.
“There’s huge areas of the arts that actually make money, there are so many examples of that across our films and our art and TV work and all sorts of bits and pieces that are sold on and make a lot of money.”
But art, of course, is about more than just profit…
“Art is supposed to be basically widening our view of our world and ourselves. Now when that’s translated into whatever form that it does that and people connect to that and it can sold on and people want to go and see that film or want to go and look up that artists work or read that book, well that’s a win.”
These creative endeavours emerge through the efforts of everyday people. They work, often under-acknowledged and under-paid, relying on grants, scholarships and the possibility of that ‘big break’ to fund their work, our artists and their work hold their own internationally but as yet have no national political voice.
The Arts Party aims to provide that voice. They’ve seen how how single issue parties have risen to positions of influence and believe they must take the initiative to ensure the arts remain a priority in Australian life.
“There’s a sex party, drug party, hunters and fishers, mining, bullet trains whatever else. There’s loads of these parties and what is has shown is that once you are on that platform, on that federal, national conversation platform your voice can actually be far louder than your size … If you’re in the right place at the right time in the current system you can have a completely disproportionate effect on how this country is run and how it’s future’s going to be decided.”
The party’s short-term goals are simple. To register federally as a party and contest the next federal election, they are seeking to enlist 500 members and raise $10, 000. They’re also seeking state registration to contest the 2015 NSW election, and there’s a December deadline!
Beyond registration the party plan to communicate and collaborate with the major parties and foster a positive dialogue that supports an arts agenda in Australia. They want a politics of positivity that fosters creativity and innovation…
“We’ve got no agenda to have a go at any of the other major parties, we want to work with people to get a better result for everybody. That’s basically our approach, it’s a very positive approach to basically fixing things.”
The Arts Party are currently undertaking a member drive to register the party federally. Taking advantage of social media and crowdsourcing, the group have met their financial target but are still working towards the goal of 500 founding members. So if you’re an artist, creative type or just love to read, watch or listen to tunes this might be the party to represent your interests.