Arts Victoria funding announcement is scheduled to be released this Friday. Several arts organisations that do really good work, highly respected, genuinely tick all the boxes for Australian content, developing young artists, building partnerships, have got the knife. This follows on from some severe bloodletting in the Australia Council funding announcements earlier this year. Some organisations that are rumoured to be defunded this year include Chambermade Opera, Astra, Ballet Lab, Elision (not able to be verified till after Arts Vic announcement).

Lots of disquiet and anger amongst the arts community which is waiting for the government injunction on Friday to lift following the announcement so that they start raising hell. Regarding the Australia Council, a strange Sydney focus and a big conservative lean. In Arts Vic, a sudden-death change in tune to organisations who were given assurances six months ago that all was well and now have had the plug pulled with no wind-down plan or valid explanation of why evaluations have changed. Several orgs are likely to fold, and others have dramatic staff, admin and programming cuts to face up to. A real kick in the guts to Australian culture and a worryingly cavalier attitude to sustainable art-making from the arts bodies.

This morning’s Australian ran an article in their continuing campaign against recycled water in Queensland. The piece ended by saying “It was unclear last night how the change in policy would impact on the Rudd Government’s target of 30 per cent use of recycled water by 2015, but in a veiled Opinion criticism of the decision, National Water Commission chairman Ken Matthews has used the opinion pages of The Australian to urge the states to use recycled water to rebuild “urban water security”. — Page 12 But guess what? There’s no opinion piece by Ken Matthews on page 12. Looks like eleventh hour editorial intervention saw this piece pulled.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth announced 50 redundancies across Australia yesterday. 20 of them are from Melbourne. It’s left the lawyers and other workers there even more scared for their jobs.

Kristie Marshall, the Victorian state member for Forest Hill was overheard in a Richmond cafe recently telling a friend she is getting so sick of bad publicity and criticism, she is contemplating quitting.

Crikey/Media Monitors radio rumour watch reports:

  • Presenter Ross Stevenson claims Shane Warne flew first class on Singapore Airlines to Singapore last night and his meal order was baked beans, spaghetti, party pies, fish fingers and a hot dog. Singapore Airlines were unable to provide a hot dog so they pre-purchased one from 7Eleven. — 7.09am 3AW (Melbourne)
  • Caller Pru says Shane Warne ordered spaghetti at a Japanese restaurant, before ordering a take away pizza to be delivered to the restaurant. — 7.14am 3AW (Melbourne)
  • Caller “Mental Arithmetic” understands that the Education Revolution computer roll-out money has been given to the SA Government for distribution to schools but it is holding onto 20% and putting it into ‘unknown coffers’, minimising the number of computers supplied to schools. — 8.13am Triple M (Adelaide)
  • Presenter Tim Cox claims former Tasmanian Minister for Economic Development Paula Wriedt will soon retire from politics, predicting an announcement will be made on 18th December. — 8.59am ABC 936 (Hobart)
  • Several callers claim “fallen Eagle” Ben Cousins will be drafted by the Sydney Swans/Carlton/Port Adelaide/North Melbourne/Collingwood/Fremantle/Western Bulldogs/West Coast/Hawthorn/Geelong/Adelaide Crows/Richmond/Essendon/Melbourne Demons/Brisbane Lions/St Kilda. A mate down the pub who knows someone who knows someone who knows “a credible source” confirmed it. It’s true. — Various

Meanwhile — in Gotham City — the plot thickens:

  • There are rumours the boy wonder Robin crosses over to the dark side and kills Batman in the latest issue of the comic published in the US today. — 8.03am NOVA 96.9 (Sydney)

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey