Media Releases

Media releases from the Office of Susan Templeman MP.

Enquiries from the media should be directed to the Media Adviser via the Electorate Office on (02) 4573 8222 or via email to [email protected]


August 04, 2022




NIC HEALEY, PRESENTER: Now, the Federal Government are looking to implement a brand new cultural policy and they are asking for input from those in the sector. It's all happening via a series of town hall meetings right around the area. Now, Susan Templeman is Special Envoy for the Arts, she's going to be at the town hall meeting in Dubbo tomorrow, and a good morning to you.


HEALEY: I thought the best place to start here was taking a step back and saying what is the Natural [sic] Cultural Policy?

TEMPLEMAN: So there actually has been a bit of a vacuum around national cultural policy since Labor was lost in government. If you think about it, every Labor Government has had a focus on arts and culture - go back to Paul Keating, and then again the Gillard government, the Rudd and Gillard government brought one in - but governments have tended to reinvent cultural policy towards the end of their terms. And what we've said is we don't want to wait several years, the art sector cannot wait. And so one of the very first things we're doing is seeking input from people to build on the existing creative policy that we had in our last term of government. Rather than reinventing the wheel, we're saying, look, we had this policy, Simon Crean wrote it, the current minister, Tony Burke had six months to implement it before we lost government. So we're just picking it up off the shelf, dusting it off, and saying to people, there's some things that need to change in it a decade later, but let's use it as the basis so we can really quickly by the end of this year, have a cultural policy that isn't just about the arts, but goes through every part of government, education, trade, foreign affairs, so that we're thinking culture every time we think policy.

HEALEY: So, not reinventing the wheel on this, but taking something that you're confident at least had a great background to it, and taking a very holistic look about what the arts means, right across Australia, both culturally, and I guess, economically as well.

TEMPLEMAN: Absolutely. You know, one in three Australians live in a regional or remote part of the country. So we're very keen to make sure that this isn't a Sydney or Melbourne-centric policy. You know, I live in the Blue Mountains, just outside Sydney. I don't think of myself as a Sydney person and I certainly want to see the Blue Mountains cultural stuff reflected. But that's why I'm heading further west tomorrow, to Bathurst and Dubbo, to be able to give people hopefully the inspiration to put in their submission, which might only be a few sentences about what they think we need to have in our arts and cultural policy.

HEALEY: As you said, you don't want this to just be a capital city developed policy. Do you think that's been a failing in the past of how we look at arts?

TEMPLEMAN: You know, I think for the last nearly decade, the failing hasn't been that it's been capital city-centric, the artists and arts have really just not been considered, as you said. During the pandemic, they were totally ignored and in fact, it felt, deliberately overlooked. I'm the mother of two adult children, one's a musician, one's an actor, so I lived this and saw this with with my kids. And, and we want, one of the key things that's different in this policy to what we talked about more than a decade ago, is the the artist not just as a creative, but clearly their role as a creative is vital, but also their role as the worker. Because we shouldn't have to stand up in Parliament and argue that artists are working. You know, everyone knows it's a different kind of work, but it's work and really hard slog when you're a creative to produce the things that you do. So thinking about the artist and their rights as a worker, making sure they have safe places to work, and the environment and the culture around it is safe, and also looking at their career as an artist; when they emerge, how we support them when they're established, how we support them, and how we help them sustain a career over a lifetime. That's all the sort of thing we'd love to hear people's ideas about.

HEALEY: My guest is special envoy for the art Susan Templeman. You mentioned career path, and I think that has been something many artists point to, and say that it's almost difficult for it to be acknowledged as a career and not say, a hobby that happened to go well.

TEMPLEMAN: Oh, my goodness, the number of times my children in their early years were asked, oh what's your real job? You know, and that is the classic line from, you know, friends and family that doesn't help artists, because it doesn't allow them to recognise that what they're doing has value. Now we want every policy we do across Indigenous art and culture across and think, sort of, think laterally across our health policy. For instance, how do we ensure that the role that art and culture plays is recognised and acknowledged in those sorts of things, you know, we want to be able to make sure that there are five pillars that we're looking at, and people might have ideas on different ones of them. But First Nations first is the number one pillar. We recognise the crucial role that Indigenous stories have at the centre of our arts and culture. We then want to think about the diversity that we have, whether it's ethnicity, whether it's gender, whether it's disability, and making sure there's a place for every one of those stories. We want to look at strong institutions that support them, and how we then reach every audience, as well as having the artist at the centre of it all. So this is the time for people to go, you know what, I've got this great idea that would help our creative lives. And it might be everything from video gaming, through to opera, you know, take the whole gamut. We'd love to hear people's views.

HEALEY: How do people get involved in that case?

TEMPLEMAN: Well, there's a couple of ways. If anyone is free in Dubbo. Tomorrow, I'm going to be at the Milestone Hotel from 10.30 to 11.30, to set the scene and paint a picture of what we're looking for. But there's an online submission form. And I don't want people to be thrown by the word submission, it can literally be a few sentences. In fact, sometimes they're the ones that are gold. And if people just, I found the easiest way to get to it is just to hit, type in "Creative Australia", or "national cultural policy", and the submission form pops up. And really, were trying to make it as simple as possible and people have until the 22nd of August to share their thoughts with us.

HEALEY: And what happens after the 22nd of August. What is I guess the next step for the government to get this policy together?

TEMPLEMAN: Well, that's actually a really exciting bit. Just this week, we announced the Minister Tony Burke announced five different panels, so one for each of those pillars, of absolute experts who will then work through all the submissions. So there are 15 writers, musicians, painters, producers, directors, industry professionals, who are each going to focus, they'll pick three of them on each of the, two or three of them, on each of the panels. So for instance, Wesley Enoch who's a  Quandamooka man and the chair of Creative Industries at Queensland University, acclaimed playwright and director, so he will be on the First Nations panel. There's Matthew Chesher, who's a member of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance executive, he will be looking at the centrality of artists, looking at, his expertise will be around some of those workers rights issues. And Emile Sherman, who's a television and film producer, people would know him from Lion and The King's Speech. So he will sit on the "reaching the audience" panel, and they're going to do a lot of the hard yards after the submissions have been sorted. And that will then come to the Minister, we will take a look at that, and hopefully by the end of the year, say, here's the document that shapes how the Albanese Government imbues culture into every part of our policy development across all other areas.

HEALEY: Susan Templeman, unfortunately, we're gonna have to leave it there but enjoy your travels and we look forward to seeing how this policy shapes up. Thank you for your time this morning.

 TEMPLEMAN: Thanks very much, Nic.