There Aint No Party Like An Arts Party Party

Dear Arts Interested Friends (which is probably pretty much all of you), 

Opening gambit: The Arts Party is fundraising to stand senate candidates in every state, and fight a few important house races. We need help. Please help! 

Link here: http://www.pozible.com/project/204920

If that sent you straight off to click donate, wonderful. If it sent you screaming in the other direction that’s ok too I guess. If you are ambivalent, the following exists to explain: 

As many of you know I’ve been somewhat involved in The Arts Party for some time now. I know there are pro’s and con’s to the micro-party idea, and I know the arts are not the only issue that any of us go to the polls on, but I also believe that a society which provides strong support for the arts and creative industries is a society which is growing, discovering itself and becoming better. I believe artists, arts educators and audiences deserve support snd recognition, and I know for a fact that the arts and creative industries are one of the biggest contributors to economic prosperity in this country and all countries. I think you probably do to. 

Every Australian engages with the arts and creative industries every day. Most do so both economically and socially. That’s not hyperbole, it’s true. Everything from Neighbours to Opera Australia, to community theatre, and theatre in education, to the NGA, art-therapy and Triple J and your local book shop is ’the arts’. And they are all part of the interconnected ecology of that industry & community. Some areas need more support from government that others, but those less commercially-viable sectors create and influence the artists with huge commercial pull. So even if you hate experimental performance art, de-funding those activities affects the number artists able to work in the fields you do engage with, and their exposure to other art forms which influence their work in turn. 

And the arts party has great policies about this stuff. You can find them here http://www.artsparty.org/policy. A few that are particularly important to me include proposals to extend various tax incentive programmes, support for the national broadcasters, the policy on arts in education, a proposal to create australia’s only program for medium to long-term, full-time employment for theatre actors, and a financially minuscule but so-very-meaningful proposal to include legitimate artistic activity such as CPD and Co-Op work as a 'recognised participation activity' for artists on benefits. 

With no other federal party presenting loud, strong arts advocacy (really, not even the Greens at federal level, although I do have to make a massive shout out to many State and Local greens, some of whom are among you reading this) I believe this party is important. We may not get someone to Canberra this election, but fighting these races will raise awareness of arts as a policy issue both among other candidates and among the general community. 

The house races are carefully selected to be in seats which are artistic hubs where the sitting member should have a meaningful stance on the arts. We don’t hope to take the seats, but we can try to force those candidates to speak to arts as an issue. 

The senate races provide an opportunity for every Australian to indicate that the arts are of some importance to them, and could make the arts into a substantial discussion during the campaigns - as the micro parties advocating shooters and fishers, motor enthusiasts and god knows what else proved last election.

Even if we send no one to Canberra, this campaign is meaningful. At the North Sydney by-election we took 2% of the primary vote. If that happens federally the arts industry at large would be able to turn to the government and say “Hey look guys, four-hundred and sixty thousand Australian’s indicated that the arts was the most important thing to them at the last election, don’t you think you should pay some attention to arts issues now”. 

At this stage I’m not even asking you to vote for the arts party. We can talk about that down the track, and if another issue or suite of issues is more important to you, fine, and the number 2 or 3 or 6 that you write on your senate ticket might be the place for your support of the arts, and that will be fine with me. What I am asking you is that you help to offer the people of Australia the chance to tell the government unequivocally that the arts matter. 

I know many of you are artists yourselves living under the pretty shitty conditions arts workers currently face in this country, so I do understand if you can’t afford to donate, but please feel free to share this message with anyone in your networks who might be interested, and please donate if you can. 

Thank you for reading. That link again: http://www.pozible.com/project/204920

xxx Charlie