David Latham

Quo vadis, Australia?

by Joy Damousi et al.
July 2022, no. 444

Following the recent federal election, we invited several senior contributors and commentators to nominate one key policy, direction, or reform they hope the Albanese government will pursue.

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When the Morrison government decided in December 2019 to axe the federal arts department and to fold it into the department of infrastructure, transport, regional development, and communications, it was a strong signal – if another was needed – of the low esteem and influence the arts wields in Canberra. But it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. The decision was made just months after the 2019 election campaign, when the Liberal Party offered no arts policy, and Labor only a nominal one. The depressing news came on the back of a decade of crisis and neglect for the sector, well before the spectre of Covid wreaked havoc for many artists and performers.

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The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.’ L.P. Hartley’s now proverbial observation at the start of The Go-Between (1953) functions as a statement of fact and a warning. The writer who wishes to traverse the terrain between a nation’s present and its past must navigate a minefield – linguistic, cultural, and historical. Therefore, when you attempt to navigate not only across time but across nations ...

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Jeff Buckley is a man frozen in time, not just by virtue of being elevated into the pantheon of ‘died-too-early-rock-gods’. Before his untimely drowning in 1997, Buckley appeared to exist in a sort of musical and emotional stasis: a young fogey caught among the cultural ruins and vestiges of his estranged father, who died aged twenty-eight from a heroin overdose ...