Sydney is the commercial capital of Australia. Yes. The media capital. Yup. The
cultural capital? Maybe. The arts capital? Ah…

It doesn’t
seem to have been pointed out in any of the reporting on the retirement of Senator
Rod Kemp that the Howard Government’s arts ministers – Richard Alston, Peter
McGauran and Kemp – have all been Victorians.

Weekend
reports say that Kemp offered to resign his portfolio when he told the Prime Minister of his intention to stand down.

Back in
March, we commented on a Sunday Age report that Kemp was going to be dumped
from the ministry.
This item, rightly or wrongly, has been largely attributed to one of Kemp’s
younger Victorian Senate colleagues.

The same
yarn said Amanda Vanstone was to go. Today’s Age is saying the political heavyweight’s
cabinet career may give way beneath her
sooner rather than later.

According to political
logic, Kemp is likely to go in any reshuffle that happens between now and the
next election – so who will end up with the arts portfolio?

The
creative community in his home town of Melbourne will be watching very, very
closely. Would the PM dare give it to a Sydneysider?

Peter Fray

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