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Peter Propaganda Garrett

When Peter Garrett was still Shadow Minister for the Arts I wrote about his arts policy – Burning the Midnight Oil.  I did not hold out much hope for his arts policy at the time. On that occasion Garrett calls his political opponents “philistines” but in the Bill Henson controversy one of these alleged philistines, Malcolm Turnbull has defended the Henson against philistine attacks by the ALP. Garrett also said that he and his party would talk more about the arts but on the first major arts issue Garrett has remained silent.

I emailed Peter Garrett to find out what the Minister for the Arts was doing to reduce the chill effect from the recent censorship or if he wanted to reduce the arts to a mouth piece for government propaganda. I have heard nothing, not even an acknowledgement of my enquiry and I am not alone. In the open letter leading writers, dramatists, filmmakers, musicians and artists called on the Minister for Arts Peter Garrett to “stand up for artists” against the “encroaching censorship, which has resulted in the closure of this and other exhibitions”. Garrett ignored their letter too.

Garrett like other Christian socialists wants the arts to be a well-crafted propaganda suitable for the masses, without subtly or any genuine insight. This sums up his entire artistic career as front man for Midnight Oil.

If Garrett now wants to do something for the arts he should resign as Minister for the Arts. He has failed according to his own standards. He has lost the confidence of the arts community. He does not even have the courage even reply to the concerns of the Australian arts community.

Unlike Garrett, the ABC is doing its job and educating the public about the arts with multiple repeat broadcasts of a documentary on Bill Henson, as well as another story about Henson on Sunday Arts. And unlike Garrett, the ABC is unconcerned about prejudicing an ongoing and going nowhere police investigation. 

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About Mark Holsworth

Writer, independent researcher and artist, Mark Holsworth is the author of the book Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

3 responses to “Peter Propaganda Garrett

  • Jade

    Worth a thousand words…

    Link to interesting video about Bill Henson’s photographic work:

  • mtk

    I had planned to write a review of the Legacy “deluxe” edition of Midnight Oil’s “Diesel And Dust.” I have no reason to even give it the time of day now. What a hypocrite. I’m beyond disappointed with Peter Garrett for not standing up for the arts in this case. A dismal failure.

  • alexmillier

    Interesting to read this in the context of Garrett’s axing of ANAM recently.

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