Election guide 2019

With the current election campaigns in full swing, its time to find out where the candidates stand on the arts. In stark contrast to the last Federal election, arts policy statements are thin on the ground  is not as prominent in public debate. (Both Labor and Liberals have announced some interesting funding packages for live music but not much else). Labor and the Greens have now both released policies but the Liberal’s go the election without an arts policy, but programs and project already announced in the budget. There seems to be no murmurs of a debate on the arts, which did happen in 2016.


Labor’s Live Music Announcement
Labor’s arts & cultural policy
The Greens creativity policy 
Coalition’s Building Stronger Regional Communities 2019-2020 statement (arts and communication)
Coalition’s Budget media release on arts and communications

NAVA election report card
Live Performance Australia report card

Arts Policy goes missing in 2019 election campaign (artshub)

Regional Arts Australia Campaign
NAVA’s policy priorities
NAVA’s Advocacy Toolkit


We sent a brief questionnaire to candidates  standing in the Riverina and Eden-Monaro that asked:

1. What was the most recent local, cultural activity you participated in or attended?
2. What are the top two Arts & Cultural priorities in the Riverina electorate from your perspective?
3. Why do you feel it is important for Federal Government to invest in arts and culture in Regional Australia
4. If elected, how will you and/or your party work to ensure the ongoing sustainability of arts and cultural practice in the electorate.
5. Where can we find more information on you Party’s policy on arts and culture and/or any significant project announcements

We have published the responses below in the order that we received them. It is interesting to browse through the varying perspectives on arts funding and policies from across the political spectrum. We encourage you to keep this information in mind as you head to the polls in the coming days. Also keep reading to some links on discussion around the arts.


Michael Bayles (Greens)
IMichael Bayles

1. The Museum of the Riverina Shipping Container Exhibition

2. Provision of multi-art making space/workshops placed equitably throughout the electorate to ensure arts making facilities are available to all. All arts providers (theatre, galleries, museums etc) need sufficient funding to enable them to provide arts and cultural events that are affordable for all citizens to attend.

3. The arts are an essential component of any well functioning  society as they provide for social cohesion and harmony.All too often the arts and cultural activities are seen as the preserve of an elite in the capital/major cities when in fact they are equally important in regional areas. Often the ‘tyranny of distance’ can mean that regional residents do not get their fair share of arts activities and cultural events. Well resourced arts activities and cultural events are essential to the sustainability of any harmonious society.

4. By providing more than adequate funding. Given the problems associated with the ‘tyranny of distance’ this must be proportionally greater than the per-capita funding provided to residents of capital/major cities.

5. https://greens.org.au/platform/jobs#creative


Richard Foley (UAP)



1. I attended a recent Kong Fuzi gig and also attended the recent I Love You Mum I Promise You I won’t Die theatre event about suicide at the Playhouse,

2. In my I what I would like to see is a major new arts precinct building built next to the Playhouse which could be multi level and elevated off the ground to ensure the car parking was available but views over the river were ensured. this building would be a central point for the arts and cultural activities as well as the archives. In 2016 when I ran for council I proposed this concept as platform. If I am elected my first priority is to get a major federal funding allowance similar to what Andrew Wilkie achieved in Tasmania when a balance of power evolved. I believe that again we will see a very tight election this time and every lower house seat that falls away from the majors will see those seats empowered. this means all persons are on a win – win instead of party factions and vested interests ruling the roost.

3. Because we are human beings and not meant to be solely drone wage slaves. Human beings need to be entertained and to be stimulated by visual arts and cinema to unwind and relax. I would personally like to see more performance art events like we had in Wagga Wagga back in the early 1990’s where anybody could roll up and do a performance some of them were hilarious others completely absurd.

4.  My intention is to hold regular meetings with the various community groups to keep tabs on what are their concerns and what are their goals and proposals. This is not only for arts but all stakeholders in our community.

5. Straight honest answer is that I have not seen one nor am I aware of one suffice to say that I would certainly be interested in evolving one as I have a background in the Visual Arts aside from being a construction worker. My training was in lithography and etching. I also worked for some years as a studio assistant for Arthur Wicks in the early 90’s at the time the Armoured Car performances were being rolled out. I saw during that time how funding grants operated at federal level.


Michael McCormack MP (Nationals)

Michael McCormack

1. The opening of the Tim Fischer Gallery in Lockhart’s Green Gunyah Museum on May 2.

2. My top two priorities are inclusiveness and recognition of the many cultures which enrich our region. That is why I advocated for Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) support of the Fusion multicultural festival in Wagga Wagga ($18,400) and $588,280 to Eastern Riverina Arts for PLATFORM under the National Disability Insurance Agency’s Information, Linkages and Capacity Building Program.

3. As the Member for Riverina, I have extensive first-hand experience of the vital contribution that local arts communities make to the quality of life of people living in and visiting regional
Australia. With one in six professional Australian artists living in regional cities and towns, and one in three Indigenous Australians in remote areas participating creatively in arts and cultural activities, the Federal Government has a significant role to play in supporting these communities through the investments it makes in the arts and culture sector.

4: The Liberal and Nationals’ Government recognises the importance of a culturally rich Australia and commits to achieving this through its active support for arts and cultural activities in regional and remote Australia. This support is delivered through a range of initiatives that foster artistic and cultural expression, and Australians’ participation and access to cultural experiences. Detailed information about these initiatives is included in the attached document.

5. The Liberal and Nationals’ Government’s priorities and initiatives for Communications and the Arts in regional Australia can be found in the our Building Stronger Regional Communities 2019-2020 statement and in the 2019 Budget media release by Senator Mitch Fifield, Minister for Communications and the Arts, on 2 April 2019. The Nationals’ policies for the 2019 Election can be found at the following link: http://nationals.org.au/policies/2019-election-policies/



Mark Jeffreson (Country Labor)

We had not received Mark’s reply at time of publication but will publish it here when we receive it.



David Sheldon (Independent)

david2 - Copy

1. Photographing sculptures throughout the electorate, reading the heroes in Queanbeyan on the footpath 1 week

2. Sculptures representing regional NSW, We have 4 on the property.

3. Not to lose sight of the significance of regional Australia’s influence throughout society

4. By listening to the electorate I am there to represent to wider community.

5. As an Independent I do not have policies per say

Fiona Kotvjos (Liberals)


1.  An art exhibition in the Regional Art Gallery in Bega.

2.  Support for young artists to undertake professional development/exhibitions and event/exhibitions/performances aimed at young people to create an interest arts and culture.

3. Arts and cultural experience expand our minds and horizons so is important for all people to experience. Government funding is needed so that all have the opportunity to experience this. This is particularly the case in Regional Australia where costs are greater and income generally less.

4. Personally: meet and listen to the needs of arts and cultural groups. Prioritise support. Work to gain additional public and private funding. Demonstrate my own support by attendance and comment

Responses were not received from candidates from the following parties running in Eden Monaro:

Christian Democrats
The Nationals
Country Labor
The Greens