Reading up on the New South Wales election recently, I saw a reference to a very new microparty that rather caught my eye.  It calls itself the Arts Party, and exists to promote the cause of art and creativity at a political level.

This is a movement I have some sympathy with, since it seems of a piece with my general guiding principle of mens sana in corpore sano. But I did ask myself:  Is such a party reinforcing some inherent problems as well?

What crosses my mind is this: some members of what one might call the creative classes regard the suburbs (or outer suburbs) of our major cities with condescension. Another views them with contempt bordering on genuine hatred. Beyond the suburbs, a third seems to view rural areas as almost another country.

In addition, perhaps the most recognisable focus of rural cultural output is the ABC’s radio program Australia All Over, which is (not unfairly) derided as hopelessly folksy and unchallenging.

In the circumstances, then, must the program of an Arts Party necessarily involve a one-way conversation from the metropolis to the rest of the country, where one side has everything to say about culture and the other little or nothing to teach? And if so, is this desirable?

4 thoughts on “An “Arts Party” for Australia?

  1. Hello there, I’d like to chime in on this post if I may, speaking as the leader of the Arts Party! We’ve got 1500 members across all states and territories of Australia and only registered in August 2014. Our first policy document will be out soon and was the result of grassroots meetings, discussion and inputs that occurred again in every state and territory – I was personally at most of those meetings!

    We absolutely focus on the need and right of EVERY Australian to have a more creative and cultural life (to be a creator and a consumer). It’s clear that those of us living in the cities are the relatively lucky ones, when it comes to access to output and facilities (if we can afford them that is). However regional and rural communities are often virtually starved of quality artistic and cultural content and performances, something that needs addressing first.

    Artistic and creative experiences should not require driving 2 hours to the Opera House, or a 2 hour flight, they should be happening in suburbs and local streets, communities and towns across the city, the state, the country. It’s good for the economy, health, tolerance, and “us” in so many ways…


    1. Thank you very much for your comment, PJ. I think it sets out well what your Party is all about and will give it its own post. Certainly it confirms my feeling that what’s becoming REALLY interesting in politics is what the smaller parties are saying and discussing, compared with the soundbites and set-piece battles of the major parties.

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