25 January, 2006

eureka spirit

"We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties"

I was in Glenrowan the other day visiting Ned Kelly's last stand, and they were selling copies of the Eureka flag. It occurred to me that the Eureka Flag would be a good rallying point for artists wishing to protest the anti-sedition legislation.

"The potential impact of the proposed new Anti-Terrorism legislation on artists' freedom of expression is extremely worrying, especially Schedule 7 dealing with 'sedition'", says Tamara Winikoff, Executive Director of the National Association for Visual Artists. NAVA, along with creative and visual arts organisations, have been active in a call for action seeking the removal of the Sedition Clause from the Bill. A Senate Inquiry into the Anti-Terrorism (Nom 2) Bill 2005 is underway. NAVA's submission to the Inquiry follows.
For more info see Craft Australia

The paragraph "self censorship" in NAVA's submission reads

"With the risk of this kind of treatment and the seriousness of the potential consequences, self-censorship is the likely course of action for many artists, galleries and other art organisations. For fear of possible misinterpretation of their work or abuse of power by government or police, artists and galleries will be under pressure. The result could be the stifling of free inquiry and expression with a consequent quelling of expression of opinion, censorship of any perceived form of dissent and the resulting blandness of contemporary cultural production."

About Eureka
About Ned

On the other hand, there are always those amongst us who are willing to use legitimate causes for self agrandisement.

One artist has recently received media attention for a work which challenges the anti-sedition laws by use of the Australian flag. see

"A statement released today by Trocadero Art Space indicates the work was removed by Footscray Police on Friday 20th January following "numerous complaints from the community."

This is not the first controversial work by this artist whose agenda appears to be more about gaining attention by offence, than the politics he purports to have.

Unfortunately there will be many who support this case without first taking the time to research the artist concerned.

On this Australia Day let us reflect.

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