On arts funding

Jock Webb writes: Re. “Big companies tour more, do they? George bungles the arts again” (yesterday).John Bell has retired from his Bell Shakespeare company. On Tuesday night I saw their region touring “Hamlet” in Dubbo. It was awesome, some different interpretations and a Polonius who was completely at home as a modern day spy chief and spin doctor. They were performing for high school kids next day.  Shame the nitwit Brandis doesn’t know his arse from his elbow.

Professor Deborah Rose writes: Great article on touring and funding! Let’s not forget individuals, either. The cost of sending one Australian poet to an international poetry festival is negligible (around $2000-3000). Most poetry festivals cannot pay for international airfares, but do issue invitations and cover costs locally. The person who attends will be heard by hundreds, in some cases thousands, of people from a great many countries (depending on where the festival is held). Australia maintains its profile as a country with a lively arts culture in part through the work of individuals who go out to meet the world, operating within a tight budget and honoured to be part of an international community of committed and creative people, including audiences.

On the China FTA

Vivienne Skinner writes: Re. “Govt embraces Chinese workers, not investment” (yesterday). In fact, Bernard understates the problem. The way the various parts of the ChAFTA come together, some/many of the Chinese workers will be imported under a clause where they are beholden to their employer for their work permits here. Difficult to imagine that they will complain to the employer who is underpaying them if the result is deportation.

Mayne for Medibank

Jonathan Plummer writes: Re. “Mayne: how Abbott kept me off the board of Medibank Private” (yesterday). If a shareholders signature is required, let me know where to send mine.

Peter Fray

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