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December 20th 2008 print

Michael Connor

Peter Garrett – the soft warrior

Titanic Inc Arts Minister Peter Garrett: I have no hesitation in standing here, as a former practicing artist, and say the arts are inherently valuable; they are a public good. WARNING: This is not a satire.

Extracts from “The Politics of Art” – keynote address by Titanic Inc. Arts Minister Peter Garrett at the inaugural Song Summit Sydney (April, 2008).

WARNING:  This is not a satire.

The argument in favour of the arts is evolving, as it must. No longer can we, or should we, merely argue arts for arts’ sake. I have no hesitation in standing here, as a former practicing artist, and say the arts are inherently valuable; they are a public good.

Parents are becoming aware of the clear benefits arts education can bring to a child’s development. The growing evidence which shows a clear link between arts education and increased numeracy and literacy levels means parents are seeking schools which offer a comprehensive arts curriculum including the provision of music education.

At the last election we took a detailed set of arts policies to the people underpinned by the principles of access, equity, education, excellence and innovation.

In the long term we define our national progress by how we treat the less welloff and disadvantaged, and by the advances we have made as a society, in meeting standards such as equality before the law, freedom of expression, and fairness in the work place. None of these markers of a fair and democratic society have been reached without political action and poetical actions too. Songs, and those who write and sing them, have always been a part of that journey – long may it continue.

Translation: Blather, blather.

Translator’s note: A typical example of the hollow style of public rhetoric adopted by Titanic Inc. ministers.

Garrett is a soft warrior – vehemently affirming, with clichés and platitudes, the attitudes and political biases of his audience but doing so as if he is expounding ideas that are both new and contested. It is more pose than reality.

The vocabulary of blather is used by the politician to reveal that he shares and promotes the moral virtues of his audience.

After doing this the Left politician then generally does what he has already been instructed to do and was going to do all the time. For some reason the Left like to feel morally superior before they are ripped off by their politicians.

Don’t ask, it’s a Left thing.