12 May 2019




STEVE GEORGANAS, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR ADELAIDE: Thanks for coming out and happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mums who do so much for us.

Can I just say how excited I am to be here to hear Labor’s announcements today underpinning South Australia’s arts industry. It’s great to be here with my fellow Parliamentary colleagues Senator Penny Wong, Senator Don Farrell, Mark Butler and Labor’s candidate for Boothby Nadia Clancy, and also to be joined by Felix from The Cat Empire and Ian Scobie from WOMAD.

Today’s announcement will be a choice between Labor’s support for the arts industry, for local music and entertainment compared to Scott Morrison’s top end of town $77 billion tax cuts.

SENATOR PENNY WONG, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE: Thank you very much. Can I also add my Mother’s Day greeting to all the mums around Australia. I got pancakes this morning so I hope you got a good breakfast too. It’s a wonderful day to be standing up with all my Parliamentary colleagues and Felix and Ian as well for this announcement.

South Australians understand the importance of the arts and Labor understands the importance of the arts. The arts matter. We are the Festival State. We are the state that Don Dunstan set out as a creative state, a state that spoke to Australia about the Australian story and the South Australian story. And the arts matter because they talk to us about who we are. They also ask us the questions we should think about. A creative Australia is an Australia that is more vibrant, more diverse and that looks to the future. Labor understands that and we saw my colleague Tony Burke just recently announcing Labor’s Arts Policy and today we want to add a particular South Australian element to it. So I’m very happy to announce two investments in the arts in South Australia that, if Bill Shorten is elected, Labor will deliver.

The first goes towards that great project behind us, Her Majesty’s. Most of us have been there for various concerts or plays over the years and there is a big redevelopment going on. Labor will contribute an additional $3 million to that development in order to make sure this is one of the best theatres around and that can continue to contribute to the thriving arts industry here in South Australia.

The second announcement has a very special place in my heart and that’s an announcement for WOMADelaide or WOMAD. I’ve been going to WOMAD for years. In fact we’ve taken our children every single year of their lives. The first WOMAD that we attended with Alexandra was as a little baby, carrying her around. And that is one of the wonderful things about that festival, it is absolutely a family festival and the kids have grown up with that, roaming around, and enjoying the music as well.

One of the special things about WOMAD is that it not only provides a wonderful experience for Australians, but it brings the world to us and also takes Australia to the world. It gives opportunity for Australians to showcase their creative capacity on the world stage.

So we are investing $6 million into WOMADelaide. There are a number of components about that but the one I want to talk about is the WOMAD Academy which is focusing on bringing local Australian artists through into WOMADelaide performances, enabling them to get a foot on the world stage and showcase themselves to the world.

IAN SCOBIE AM, DIRECTOR, ARTS PROJECTS AUSTRALIA: The WOMAD academy is a project we have had great ambition for, for some time. The idea is to have musicians drawn from across Australia from a range of diverse backgrounds mentored by professional musicians such as Felix Riebl from The Cat Empire. Felix has had an amazing experience himself with The Cat Empire’s growth over a long period of time through WOMAD and their career, and using that as a real training and development program for young musicians to be able to, as Penny says, first experience what is required to perform in front of a major festival audience, but then using the WOMAD international network we will be giving those bands opportunities for touring overseas at other festivals internationally. It is a really exciting initiative.

In addition we are also working on developing aspects of our sustainability program for the festival to really prove them so they can be rolled out across the events industry. Often what happens is with festivals is that things like sustainability are just in the too hard basket. We are confident that, for example, we can move our generators to using biofuels and once that is proved it will become an industry standard. So we are excited to have this support. We will roll that over the next four years and it’s a really exciting way to underpin the further growth of the festival.

FELIX RIEBL, THE CAT EMPIRE: I just want to throw my support behind Ian‘s project for the academy at WOMAD. I have been a live musician in a band that has been able to perform in Australia and around the world and I think the opportunity for young Australian talented musicians from all over the country to be on that stage and to be allowed that opportunity is a fantastic initiative and one that I’m very excited to be part of.

JOURNALIST: What do you think it will mean for local musos?

RIEBL: I think what it means is that they have an opportunity to create a career based on performing live. We forget how important festivals are, and how important that exchange is, between an audience and a person on stage and what it can say for our community and our culture here.

We’ve been fortunate as a band in The Cat Empire to have an 18 year career so far performing live around the world. That’s always been our first go to, and I would like to help young people see that as a trajectory and for us to celebrate that.

JOURNALIST: Is that something established musicians will get behind as well and help out those coming through?

RIEBL: Absolutely. I think any established musician will tell you that if you can’t perform live and learn how to work that craft and actually engage with an audience then you don’t have much of a leg at all. I think you will find a lot of support from established musicians around the country.

JOURNALIST: Can you talk to us about some of the groups that you will be mentoring? I understand there will be Indigenous groups who will mentored at the academy, as well as migrant groups?

RIEBL: I can’t talk specifically yet because that is something that has still has to happen. But my experience has been with The Cat Empire and also through Spinifex Gum and Marliya, a young choir I’ve worked with, young Aboriginal and Torres Strait girls I’ve worked with for years, to work with youth, and for The Cat Empire there is a big ethnic influence as well. I’m very excited about the prospect of really different music styles and really different younger musicians in a project like this. A broad answer, but, yes, I think it is going to be great.

(Break for non-political guests to leave)

WONG: I want to make a couple of comments about the Liberal launch and I think if you ever wanted to see the contrast in this election have a look at the two different launches – Labor, a strong stable united team setting out a vision for the country and Scott Morrison? Well there’s a bunch of people who can’t even bear to be in the same room as each other. Bishop and Abbott and Turnbull, can’t bear to be in the same room as Scott Morrison.

But you know what Scott Morrison’s launch was? It was an adman giving an empty speech to a half empty room, trying to pretend that he backs women, trying to pretend that he cares about climate change, trying to pretend that he has a vision for the nation. But actually his only vision is more of the same. His only vision is to stand with Clive Palmer. In fact Clive Palmer is actually who should have been on stage with Scott Morrison.

Scott Morrison’s only promise is that he will deliver more of the same chaos, more of the same division, more inaction on climate change and, as I said, more chaos. That is his only plan. His only plan is more chaos and division.

JOURNALIST: Was it nice to see the Environment Minister pop her head up today?

WONG: My colleague Mark Butler might want to make comment on this if he wishes to, but I do find it interesting that Scott Morrison wants to tell all Australians, particularly Australian women, that he backs women. Well that isn’t what Julia Banks said. That isn’t what Kelly O’Dwyer said. In fact what did she say? That the Liberals were seen as homophobic, anti-women, climate change deniers. And most of the women, the senior women in Scott Morrison’s cabinet, have been missing in action. They’ve been in witness protection. So it was interesting to see this Minister out. We haven’t seen my counterpart, Marise Payne out before and we certainly don’t see strong women around Mr Morrison.

SHADOW MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY, MARK BUTLER: Well it is extraordinary in an election where climate change continues to come right near, or at the top, of voter concerns that we have got a Climate Change Minister in Melissa Price who, as far as we know, has not done a single media interview through this entire campaign and who has not responded to my request for a National Press Club debate, which has been the norm in this portfolio area in previous selections. We’ve seen them in Agriculture and Health and Treasury. And yet Scott Morrison has confirmed that if he is elected on May 18th this completely ineffective Minister for the Environment and Climate Change will have three more years in the same portfolio.

JOURNALIST: So why do you think she hasn’t popped her head up?

BUTLER: Because she is completely ineffective and has no vision for dealing with this issue that continues to top the list of voter concerns, taking action on climate change, a very solemn responsibility that our generation has to our children and our grandchildren and beyond. Neither Scott Morrison nor Josh Frydenberg nor the apparent future Minister for Climate Change, Melissa Price, if the Liberals win this election, have any idea about how to deal with this challenge.

WONG: The question was why hasn’t she popped her head up? Mark’s answer is right but there’s an additional answer. It’s because the Liberal Party are incapable of taking action on climate change. They won’t and they can’t ever take action on climate change.

JOURNALIST: Are they hiding her away?

WONG: Well they are certainly running away from the issue aren’t they? She obviously hasn’t been around so she’s obviously been in witness protection. But I think the bigger issue is what it says about the Coalition. They can’t and they won’t ever take action on climate change because they won’t.

I say again, Scott Morrison won’t take action on climate change. Scott Morrison won’t reverse cuts to schools and hospitals. Scott Morrison won’t do anything about childcare costs. The only promise he can deliver is more chaos.

JOURNALIST: Do you feel like today’s launch is almost a last hurrah?

WONG: It’s a pretty limp last hurrah if it was. There’s only so much that the adman can attack Labor for, instead of putting forward a plan for the next term and he doesn’t have a plan for the next term. His only plan is Clive Palmer and more of the same.

Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.