It’s been a few months since we’ve heard words of Michael Napthali, the former arts adviser to George Brandis and the key architect of the cuts to the Australia Council championed by the former arts minister. Napthali then became an adviser to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, but he was moved from the PM’s office to that of Arthur Sinodinos after the controversy over the “Tom Roberts coin”, an artefact that was lost after it had been given to Malcolm Turnbull by the acclaimed Australian artist’s descendant last year. Napthali resigned from that position due to family reasons not long after the ABC reported on the loss of the coin.
A tipster tells us that Napthali is reappearing in the Sydney arts scene:
“Effectively put into witness protection having overseen the most destructive arts cuts in Australian history, Napthali is leaning on his Sydney eastern suburbs private donor connections to help find him some work in the arts sector. He appeared at an Australian World Orchestra fundraising event at Carla Zampatti’s house a few weeks ago, the organisation he was once on the board of, and in a major controversy, managed to receive $1 million in outside funding from Brandis while scores of small to medium companies around the country faced the chop.”