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Nick Cave Calls On PM To Remove George Brandis As Arts Minister

18 September 2015 | 1:31 pm | Staff Writer

Iconic muso joins writers in bid to save the arts.

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Iconic Australian musician Nick Cave has joined over 200 writers and artists to write an open letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull calling for the sacking of Arts Minister George Brandis.

In the lengthy statement to the new Australian Prime Minister, the artists protest the leadership of the Book Council Of Australia announced by former PM Tony Abbott in December, while also pleading for more independent funding. 

Among the extensive list of signatures added to the letter, which total 263 altogether, include international bestsellers, Christos Tsiolkas and Hannah Kent, as well as Stella prize winner Emily Bitto.

"Firstly, we call on you, Prime Minister, to take the opportunity of this weekend’s cabinet reshuffle to undo some of the damage caused by the Senator’s George Brandis’ non-evidence based changes to arts funding and to find a suitable candidate within your party," the letter reads.

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"As currently demonstrated in the ongoing Arts Inquiry hearings around the country, he has alienated the vast majority of constituents within the arts landscape through reforms that are not tangibly grounded in any concrete evidence about which funding models work, how arts funding is linked to future outcomes for practitioners, or how audiences for the arts in Australia are formed."

"We will not stand by as the Minister for the Arts continues to wreck a fragile yet essential part of the Australian people and sense of nationhood."

The letter referred to a recent study conducted by the Australia Council, which found that 87% of the country had read some form of literature, equating to over 20 million people. 

"We will no longer stand, under any government, further cuts being made to what is already the smallest amount of funding, when we are delivering quality work to the largest audience in the nation."

In regards to the Book Council Of Australia, the letter claims that the "lack on consultation with the wider industry" has hurt the confidence of writers and artists. 

"This has undermined the position of the Book Council of Australia with writers and readers alike – the creators (writers) and consumers (readers) of the products (books) it purports to be the strategic voice for."

"We wish to express that we do not want to see the Book Council of Australia abolished. Instead, we recommend you and the chosen Minister for the Arts move the Book Council of Australia back to the Australia Council for the Arts, where it can be more effectively managed through the Australia Council’s peer assessment practices and accountable governance."

Read the open letter in full here.

Meanwhile, it has just been reported via Daily Review that artists and art groups are set to protest Brandis' funding cuts in Sydney today. 

The rally is to take place at Turnbull's electorate office today at 2pm in Edgecliff.