Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 02:44 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 02:44 | SYDNEY

A reader defends cultural exports


Sam Roggeveen


16 January 2008 15:20

In response to my post on the DFAT budget cuts, a reader writes:

I fail to see how you equate a cut in cultural exports funding as 'great news' and an 'improvement (sic) to our image'. We all know the power of lasting film images and the investment needed to project a more sophisticated and considered environment. Furthermore, we don't have the resources of a British Council or Alliance Francais. I would have thought that such a program was an essential tool to improving cultural understanding, intra-community links and project a positive image beyond the hard power preferred by unilateralists.

The reason I said the cut to cultural exports funding would 'improve our overseas image' is that as a rule, government-funded art is awful. What's more, the arts world is dominated by those who are politically hostile to the idea of projecting a 'positive image' of Australia. Take our film industry (please!), which routinely turns out films casting Australian life in the bleakest light.

I'm all for cultural understanding and projecting a positive image of Australia abroad, which is precisely why government should not be in charge of it.