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Letter in the Australian

Yesterday, I sent letters to The Australian, the West Australian and the Age, and I know that it got published in The Australian (I don’t receive the West or The Age at home – if anyone can fill me in on whether it got published or not, I would be most appreciative.

Here’s the letter that I sent in:

Who can remember who held the world record for the 100m before Usain Bolt? What was their time?
Who was the guy that took 7 gold medals in the Olympics? Does it matter any more now that Phelps has 8?
Sports records tumble all the time, and we only remember who has the fastest time, the most medals. We don’t remember who came second. We don’t care. Yet despite the temporary nature of sporting success, Australia is willing to pour $168 million dollars into the AIS, where as the longer term investments in our nations culture, that of music, is cut from a paltry $2.5 million to 0.
Music and the Arts is what makes up Australia’s culture. Even in sports! Imagine if there was no music. We wouldn’t be able to proudly sing “Girt by sea” – even if we could remember the rest of the words. We wouldn’t be proudly singing our footy team’s club song. We wouldn’t have Kylie, or Barnsey. Without music, I’m sure Peter Garrett wouldn’t have had an opportunity to get into Parliament. Peter, please reconsider your decision, and prove to us that you don’t hate the Arts.

And the Aus’ edited version:

Who can remember who held the world record for the 100m before Usain Bold? What was his time?
Who was the guy that took seven gold medals in the Olympics? Does it matter any more now that Michael Phelps has eight?
Despite the temporary nature of sporting success, Australia is willing to pour $168 million into the Australian Institute of Sport, where as the longer term investement in our nation’s culture, through funding for music education is cut from $2.6 million to zero.
Music and the arts is what makes up Australia’s culture, even in sports.
Imagine if there was no music. We wouldn’t be able to proudly sing “Girt by sea” – even if we could remember the rest of the words.
Without music, I’m sure Peter Garrett wouldn’t have had an opportunity to get into parliament.
Peter please reconsider your decision, and prove to us that you don’t hate the arts.

I Also got a cartoon, with an athlete holding his olympic gold medal, and an orchestral violinist holding a symphony orchestra cd, the violinist saying “Mine’s bigger than yours.” Did very well to pick up that I’m a violinist. Perhaps he googled me and found my website?

Remember to sign the petition, and write to Peter Garrett, and keep the letters coming into the Aus, and other newspapers. We need this to not disappear from the public eye. Let’s make Peter Garrett come out and say something, as opposed to hiding in his office.

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On This Day… Save ANAM

I’m taking a slightly different tack for this post. I’m calling everyone to help spread the word. The “Honorable” Peter Garrett, AM, MP, former lead singer of Midnight Oil and now Federal Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, as announced that the Federal Government will cut all funding to the Australian National Academy of Music. ANAM is Australia’s Premiere training institution for classical musicians. It is to classical musicians what the Australian Institute of Sport (which has produced many of Australia’s greatest athletes) is to sport. After being established in 1994 under Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating, over the years the federal government has given unchanged financial support to the effect of $2.5 million over a number of years. For the year ending 31 December, 2005, ANAM received a total income of $2.9 million. For the financial year 2005-2006, the Australian Institute of Sport received $168.6 million from the Federal Government alone, with a total operating income of $190.5 million.

It makes me sick. The AIS operating income for 2005-2006 could run ANAM for 65 years, on its 2005 income. From just 1 year!

ANAM feeds its musicians into Australia’s orchestras. Of the 7 major Symphony orchestras in Australia, ANAM Woodwind players hold 7 principal positions. Without this training institution, Australia’s musicians will look elsewhere for their training, elsewhere being overseas, where they are more likely to remain. If there is no training institutions in Australia, the quality of Australian orchestral playing will also drop.

What can we do?

We need to let Peter Garrett know that this decision is a disasterous one, and is not a decision the Australian people will stand for. I have already written to Peter Garrett, voicing my opposition and asking him to reconsider, and I encourage you to do so as well at his Parliament House page. You can also E-mail the Shadow Minister for the Arts, Steven Ciobo. You can also sign the online petition started by ANAM. If you Have Facebook, you can join the groups “I Support the Australian National Academy of Music” or “Save ANAM” Getting the word out there is also important. I encourage anyone who has a blog to write about this. If you’ve got Twitter, or facebook, write about it. Link back here – I will add a link to the post below. Get as many people as we can knowledgeable about this.

For the next week, the first paragraph of every “On This Day…” post will be linking back to this one, encouraging everyone to read about this issue, and to take action.

For a couple of videos, we have a documentary about ANAM, so you can understand a bit more about this fantastic institution, and also a video blog about this topic by Perth Musician Alex Millier.

Links

Alex Millier has written two posts about this issue, and I’m sure will write more. He’s also the one that created the video above.