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Crikey says: fear’s a stage in Queensland

Who propped up the political parties last year? The annual donations dump is out. The Australia Network: diplomatic tool or AFL for expats? On the streets as Thailand tries to vote. The double standards on mental health in detention. Wage cuts and the Coalition campaign. Margaret Simons on the future of philanthropic journalism. And Margot Saville reports from BuzzFeed’s Aussie launch.

Why don’t you just merge the [conservative] parties like they did in Queensland?”

I can tell you in two words: Campbell Newman.”

Brisbane theatre-goers won’t hear that innocuous line in Jonathan Biggins’ (fairly pedestrian) play Australia Day. The Queensland Theatre Company show has been amended over, we can only assume, concerns about what Newman and state government backers might think.

This isn’t state censorship; the government had nothing to do with it. “I have a thick skin and a well-developed sense of humour,” the Premier told The Courier-Mail.

It’s not even self-censorship on behalf of the company; it seems while the QTC board heard complaints there was no direction from the board to change it.

What’s at play is something more insidious: a fear and loathing in Queensland that has artists fearing reprisal from a government that has shown little appreciation for artistic pursuit. Savage budget cuts have slashed programs, and artists still worry where the axe might fall next.

Art is the antidote to oppression. What a worry these theatremakers didn’t think they could speak freely.

5
  • 1
    zut alors
    Posted Monday, 3 February 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    They should use Biggins’ lines, the cuts will occur regardless.

  • 2
    klewso
    Posted Monday, 3 February 2014 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Manuel left out the rest? “Thick skin, long memory, the resourcefulness, cunning and patience of an out-house rat”?

  • 3
    CML
    Posted Monday, 3 February 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Back to the future - Joh BP’s ghost stalks the corridors of the Qld parliament. Be afraid, be very afraid!

  • 4
    AR
    Posted Monday, 3 February 2014 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    The self censor is the often the first impost of authoritarianism, corporate & state.
    Craven as it is, the pre-emptive buckle is a tactic of hoary antiquity, and none the less efficacious for it.
    However, to be other than capitulation it needs part B - the flanking response.
    Currently the only flanking I see, politically or artistically, has a whiff of Canis about it.
    Wet and/or shaggy? Not so much.

  • 5
    Samantha moray
    Posted Tuesday, 4 February 2014 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    It’s odd that Wesley Enoch, who has had so much to say about so many things lately, is saying nothing about this issue, which strikes at the heart of QTC’s integrity.” So said someone commenting on today’s article in the Brisbane Times, which placed the responsibility for this debacle squarely at his feet. “QTC artistic director Wesley Enoch is not speaking publicly about the line change”, we are told. I think that’s appalling. It’s becoming increasingly clear that it was his decision to censor the line, and his refusal to talk about it now simply underlines his feet of clay. I’ve always been suspicious of his narcisstic rhetoric, and this confirms my doubts about his inability to lead with the full range of qualities we expect in a leader of a major state institution.

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