Which would you rather: more art or more war?

Posted on 18 May 2018

The 2018-2019 Australian Federal budget does not include any new cuts to the arts council funding, though that damage was done in 2015 when A$105 million dollars was removed from the already small arts granting budget and the remaining budget was earmarked primarily for artistic institutions like the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Now on a “tight” budget the government magically has: A$13 million to spend on preservation of documents at the Australian War Memorial and is considering a A$500 million redevelopment plan for that memorial.

Australia’s defense spending is expected to increase by over 80 percent—from A$32.4 billion in fiscal year 2016-17 to A$58.7 billion in 2025-26—over the next decade. Australia will spend approximately A$200 billion over the next ten years under the Integrated Investment Program on new military hardware.

In 2015 Australian historian Dr Val Noone gave a speech during the ANZAC Centenary commemorations about how the documents at the Australian War Memorial were being sanitised. Historians were to digitise some documents, but those documents that didn’t paint a pretty picture of war, those that showed soliders who came back from war with parts of their face missing or described their struggles with emotional damage and more, were to be destroyed. Think about that. Think about what anyone in the future will ever be able to understand about WW1 when the documents have been carefully curated to paint only a heroic picture.

“Lest we forget” indeed.

Please think hard about how we are being led to accept a new war.

In peace,

Katherine


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