However, he glosses over the point that there is another sponsor that is up to its neck in the treatment of detainees: the Australian government via the Australian Council for the Arts. This is not lost on George Brandis, and the subtext in his recent comments seems to be that if artists don’t want federal government funding because of the wider government agenda, he, as the responsible minister, would be happy to oblige. Followed to its natural conclusion this would be a major blow for arts in Sydney.
In other news, I am waiting for someone in the Perth environmental community to realise that the Woodside Petroleum that was the major sponsor of the Perth Fringe Festival. Is the same Woodside Petroleum that is behind the James Price Point development. Would you like some sour grapes with your chardonnay?
Gin Grahame writes: Bernard Keane is correct that Transfield is being boycotted by the arts community as a protest against government policy. I think it’s intelligent to cause pain and trouble to a large corporation not just to embarrass them into more empathetic business models, but in the hope that that corporation might be influenced to have a quiet chat with their friends in power. After all, this federal government has made it clear that Industry matters, and ordinary people matter not at all.
Peter Matters writes: Consumer boycott has become an effective means to keep big business on the straight and narrow. It is a fact beyond dispute that Woolworths are the biggest owners of pokie machines. If you rightly disapprove of this activity of the company, you can take your purchases elsewhere, as we do and you can also certainly say so. However, if you are not sure about the exact situation you disapprove of and still persist with your boycott, your action becomes counter productive – you actually end up harming your cause.
Queensland health disgrace
Beryce Nelson writes: Re. “Qld doctors revolt over cuts” (yesterday). What makes that story about the one doctor left to care for over 700 HIV patients even more horrific is that the centre was previously the major resource in Queensland for the confidential diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. The staff were sacked and the service completely shut down, leaving thousands of patients to present at hospital emergency centres or to “see their GP” — of course most did not have a GP. The centre was also the starting point for drug and alcohol rehabilitation and the ongoing testing site for clients undertaking recovery programs. Apart from those clients the service was regularly used by soldiers, professionals, housewives, tourists, refugees and many others all of whom depended for their lives or livelihoods on the confidentiality the service offered to them. It was an absolutely disgraceful decision to close it down and one that will come back to haunt the Queensland Health Department when rates skyrocket due to the lack of proper diagnosis and treatment of STDs in Queensland.