Below is the astonishing response (emphasis added):
Dear Joe Dolce
Thank you for your email.
The Australia Council supports 19 Australian literary magazines to publish new writing by Australian writers, including Quadrant and Overland.
Both magazines are established, professional literary magazines with a long history of publishing Australian writing. Quadrant and Overland have received regular funding from the Australia Council to publish and support Australian writers to deliver high quality literary content in their publications.
The Australia Council does not interfere with the creative or administrative decisions of the organisations it supports. With regard to Australian literary magazines, editorial philosophy and decisions about who to publish rest with the individual organisations.
Australia Council for the Arts
Just so everyone is clear on this: The Australia Council’s goal is to “support Australian writers” delivering “high quality literary content” via subsidised journals. But if a magazine chooses not to publish a writer and does so purely because the would-be contributor has the wrong friends, that’s just fine too.
If Senator George Brandis, who oversees the arts, needed further proof that funding needs to be reviewed, reformed and revamped, this letter is it.
Roger Franklin is the editor of Quadrant Online