Tips and rumours

Mar 11, 2014

Tips and rumours

Who's next in artists' Transfield boycott? ... Clive Palmer's planely wrong ... Chris Kenny 'not after money' v ABC? ...

From the 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 ... Palmer's plane. 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).

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9 thoughts on “Tips and rumours

  1. klewso

    Kenny wants to claim the high moral ground?
    Like Abbott rabbiting on in cant re “the ABC defending the indefensible” and “wasting government funding” – after he led the rest of the mob to that “Ditch the Bitch” lawn party to have their photos taken in solidarity, and his claims for out-of-pocket expenses to take part in the highly visible PR coup that’s “poli-pedal” and the cost of his book promo?

  2. Isabel Storey

    Clive could have been standing next to a plane other than the one he traveled in. Test of assumptions? Had the photo shown him walking out of that plane or down the steps that would have been more credible. I think the man is beginning to display a sense of humour.

  3. JamesH

    Crikey’s criticism of the artist’s boycott is starting to approach The Australian’s level of unpleasant obsessiveness. Do you really think “Artists boycott Great Southern Rail trains” would be an effective political act? People act where they can have the most effect and where it is most relevant to them – you don’t have to go on hunger strike on every single issue in the world to be sincere about your issue of choice.

    Is this grudge-bearing because Crikey got some stick from the arts community for not paying arts writers for the Daily Review, perchance?

  4. JohnB

    Transfield Services Ltd: Public company. Emloyer of 23,000 world-wide in many services and maintenance roles. No Belgiorno-Nettis family member is a Director or executive of this company.

    Transfield Holdings Pty Ltd: Private company, headed by members of the Belgiorno-Nettis family. Minor shareholder in Transfield Services Ltd.

    The two are clearly independent of each other.

    The community of artists, by boycotting the organisation that sustains their favourite festival and chasing away its Chair, has scored an own goal. Luca’s departure is the end of a 40-year collaboration which has been very beneficial to artists and Australia’s art communities and has enhanced Australia’s reputation as other than an outpost of bogans.

    Well done, boys and girls. Stuffed up again.

  5. frey

    No wonder the Biennale boycott issue is complicated, especially when you start bringing in irrelevancies.

    Just when did the Perth Hospital begin to be an art gallery, or Southern Rail an artists residency?

    The artists in question were directly invovled in an event, and exercised their rights to not be a part of it and gave reasons for doing so.

    It is a shame that rather than celebrate their willingness to take a stand, which was at risk of their own personal interests, they get villified for expressing their ‘freedom’ of speech.

    I may well be wrong, but I have not heard from those great defenders of freedom (IPA, Tim Wilson, News Ltd, L/NP etc etc etc) defending these rights – or maybe it was the ‘rights’ of Transfield they were more worried about…

  6. David Hand

    “Transfield, under fire for managing overseas detention centres, pulled out ….”

    Wrong of course. The Transfield that was hounded out of Bienniale does not manage overseas detention centres.

    Artists have never been the strongest group to understand facts but Crikey should do better. The difference between Transfield Holdings and Transfield Services has been widely publicised in the story.

  7. Jackson Harding

    The aircraft is not one of the 34 Sqn (RAAF VIP Sqn). They have a grey belly, white on top with a blue stripe in the middle separating them.

    And it is an offence to use the coat of arms without approval.

  8. Jackson Harding

    Also being the plane spotter I am it looks like Bombardier Global Express, Clive has Global and it also has a blue stripe at the top. A slightly earlier picture from the other side is here

    A better question for Clive is “Mate, why is your plane registered in the Isle of Mann?”

  9. AR

    FDotM – please bear in mind the fate of Iain M Banks, the greatest skiffy writer ever. He did a similar tour of Scotland’s distilleries with a couple of mates in 2004 and no he is no more.
    You are a national Treasure – you have no right to risk your cannisy self when you are so vital to the nation’s mental well being.

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