Amid all the gnashing of teeth about the defunding of many of the country’s arts institutions has been a particular gripe about how the Australian Council grants have overlooked titles devoted to nurturing young writers, like Meanjin and Express Media, which publishes Voiceworks.

But another title also didn’t get funding, to relatively less notice. The right-wing Quadrant did not get a one-year $60,000 grant, the first time in its 60-year-history the magazine has been “completely denied” federal funding.

Editor-in-chief Keith Windschuttle says the decision comes as several other literary magazines (Overland, The Australian Book Review, Griffith Review) received funding increases, thus demonstrating that “the Left remains in control of the arts“.

“[S]ince its founding in 1956, Quadrant has consistently defended high culture, freedom of speech, liberal democracy and the Western Judeo-Christian tradition. Apart from the grant we have now lost, we have no other public subsidies or major patrons. We survive entirely through the honest market revenues of subscriptions, newsagent sales, and donations from subscribers.

“The Australia Council’s decision to end our funding is plainly an act of revenge by its bureaucrats and advisers. It is designed to punish us for being on the same side of the political fence as the Abbott government’s Minister for the Arts, George Brandis.”

So the Australia Council, which funds hundreds of small arts organisations such as literary magazines, has less funding, because Brandis took millions away from it to pour into what became the Catalyst fund. OzCo has responded by not allocating Quadrant a portion of its vastly smaller funding pot out of a sense of revenge. At least, according to Windschuttle.

The piece includes a write-up of why Quadrant is much more deserving than any of the others who received funding (its focus on poetry headed by Les Murray; it has more subscribers), and more deserving than some of those who lost out. A slap at Meanjin (“teetering on its last legs anyway”) was called “ungracious” by Meanjin’s editor Jonathan Green. As Crikey told you on Friday, 62 organisations have been cut from the Australia Council’s four-year funding program.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey