Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …
Artists' boycott issue.
Debate is raging around whether it was a good idea for artists to boycott the Sydney Biennale because of Transfield's sponsorship (Transfield, under fire for managing overseas detention centres, pulled out -- leaving that much less money for the Biennale). Is the issue widening? A mole told us "Transfield-sponsored Australian Chamber Orchestra getting nervous about bad publicity leaking their way".
The orchestra might be right to be nervous -- Transfield is a sponsor
of the ACO, and artists are targeting
other Transfield-sponsored arts organisations. And in the interests of consistency, have artists considering boycotting anything connected to Serco (e.g. Perth's new hospital, and Great Southern Rail
), transnational security firm G4S (which works for Ambulance Victoria, public hospitals, etc), Save the Children, the Salvation Army, Wilson Security, Decmil Australia, Red Sea Housing Services and Toll? All those companies are, or until recently were, involved in Australia's immigration detention centres. And don't forget that Transfield is working on the NBN
-- should that be boycotted? G4S, which was running the Manus Island
centre when an asylum seeker died recently (the company has lost that contract), provides security at many events, including artistic and cultural ones, all around Australia. Are artists up on that connection?
We're not saying that the Biennale boycott was wrong, we're just pointing out it's a complicated issue and there may be some inconsistency in targeting Transfield alone ...
We were intrigued to see this tweet from Clive Palmer MP today:
Now, why does Mr Palmer have an official Commonwealth crest on his plane? Has he hired one from the Commonwealth, or is it his private plane? If the latter, we're pretty sure you're not allowed to go appropriating the official national crest like this. And if this is a government-supplied plane, why is he using it to campaign for an election? You can't use taxpayer money to campaign (not until you get reimbursed for some costs, post-election).