Saturday 20th of April 2024

the sorcerer's apprentice was worshipped in the dark dungeons of theatrical workshops...

sorcerer's apprentice

arts and her self appointed new pimp... the arts' minister...


What is art? Prostitution...

                         Charles Baudelaire

art is R for revolution...


Why would I object to Senator Brandis' apparent self -indulgent creation of yet another art body designed for ministerial "excellence" in the arts?... Old Gus sees a highjack of intellectual vigour to tame creativity into very well-crafted mediocre rubbish. I could be wrong and could have misunderstood the intent or the shift.
But ART — especially since it freed itself from the clutches of Kings and Church — has become a conduit for revolutionary fireworks, stupid ideas and challenging visionary interpretations of life. There is no "excellence" in revolution. Excellence does not belong in new art.
Raw artistic emotions and critical reactions are part of throwing punches into the establishment. There is no "excellence" in throwing punches. It's a gut thing. It's visceral. There is no "excellence" in a gut feeling unlike the glitter of a polished gold ring.
I could not agree more than a lot of so-called modern art is poor on this subject and short of intellectual stimulation as it wades, like the rest of present society, into the self-absorbed narcissism and forgo of its social catharsis necessary role.
But this is art in search of new purposes like pharmaceutical labs are testing many possibilities in search of a cure. Thousands products are tried and most fail. And the Council for the Arts may get it wrong or not, from time to time. This is not the point. Old Gus never got a cent from the Council for the Arts nonetheless, and this does not mean he thinks he is above the fray as per the old dictum:

The pride and self-respect which are the natural comcomitants of genius will be more likely to keep a man out of the Academy than bring him into it...
The Times, 1830

Gus like most artists lives below the plimsol line... Clever enough but not enough to qualify as genius —which unlike scientific geniuses, rely on specific subjectivity manipulated by salesmanship into recognition by latte-drinking critics and unread rich business men...
But here Gus thinks the Minister is a bald pimp, when appropriating the arts as his his own to decide. Whether he succeeds in achieving something good or not is not the question. It is not for him to decide what lives or not in the difficult world of the arts. Let the professional revolutionaries and educated evaluators, even if they are asleep at the wheel, do it. 


the mmmiiin-nniisssterrr for the arts...

One has to object loudly. One has to demonise this shit: For whatever reasons now, instead of the Council for the Arts advertising its sponsorships, it's our badly balding bean counter — who thinks of himself as an Attorney General in a fascist dictatorship and an art luvver, like an afficionado of Mexican red bean lover pizzas — who tells that HE announces this or that cash barrow...

art luvver...


Further more should you be the recipient of a letter from the Ministry for the Arts, for whatever reasons, including the cancellation of your yearly grant, the letter is adorned with the ugliest MINISTRY FOR THE ARTS logo ever managed in the art world and image creation. The SS division of Hitler's Ministry of Propaganda would have been proud to give this logo as first prize in Teutonic Architecture, 1936.

But I suppose all the recipients of funds from this fascist ministry will grovel, in fear of loosing that little they have left, of room to move. Complaining would of course place you on the black list of lacking excellence and the necessary genuflecting kowtow... You'll never work again.


Gus never got a cent from any public entities, especially one which now seems to be the Minister little fiefdom.


Come on... Where is the MMMM (the mediocre mass media de mierda), the citizen media and the new revolutionary media on this issue? Or even the fair minded media of The Guardian et al? May be Gus is deluded... But he thinks not... Please give him a hint... a whiff...

I see. Thank you:


A group of arts organisations is calling on parliament to examine the $105m budget cut to the Australia Council that will be funnelled into a ministerial excellence program.

The group includes Arts Access Australia, the Australian Society of Authors, the Australian Directors Guild, National Writers’ Centre Network members and PEN Sydney.

The new national program for excellence in the arts will be run from the arts ministry within the attorney general’s department, with ultimate oversight falling to minister George Brandis, in a move the sector fears will damage the Australia Council’s brand.

“Senator Brandis has failed to provide anything other than anecdotal evidence to justify his actions,” the arts groups said.

Critics of Brandis’ budget decision fear that the move away from the principle of arms-length funding will lead to money being awarded through ministerial discretion rather than by a politically independent body such as the Australia Council.

read more:


A bit prostatically pissweak, but that will do for starters...


poetry in the footprints of foreign affairs...


Faced with boredom after a tedious day in Senate estimates, the self-described "Minister for Books" delved into a volume of Australian bush poetry during a Wednesday evening hearing of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, according to footage viewed by Fairfax Media.

To be fair, at the time Senator Brandis picked up the book, Labor senator Alex Gallacher was questioning Department of Foreign Affairs secretary Peter Varghese about Australia's diplomatic footprint abroad with a liveliness rivalled only by Nationals leader Warren Truss.

With Mr Varghese fielding the questions, the Attorney-General, clearly in camera shot, channelled his inner Bob Carr, reached for a copy of Our Country, reclined in his seat and proceeded to read for the next 30 minutes.




The world has held great Heroes,
As history-books have showed;
But never a name to go down to fame
Compared with that of Toad

The clever men at Oxford
Know all that there is to be knowed.
But they none of them knew one half as much
As intelligent Mr Toad!

George shuffed with delight...



the bigot of political snafus...

When George Brandis thumbed through an anthology of Australian verse during a Senate estimates committee hearing last week, it wasn't his laconic presentation nor his literary taste that struck his colleagues. It was his political judgment.

This was rhyme without reason. Here was an Attorney General who, despite his onerous responsibilities at the fulcrum of the war on terrorism, wanted it known he did not have a worry in the world. Certainly there was no sense of him being vexed by his own department's bungled  handling of correspondence with the Martin Place siege gunman, Man Haron Monis. Nor,  as would be revealed the next day, that  parliament had been misled over it,  necessitating an embarrassing correction of the record.

The incident fits into a pattern of political snafus and has fuelled speculation that the nation's first law officer could become the most senior political casualty of a mooted pre-election reshuffle towards the end of this year.  Although, he might be pipped in that dubious distinction by the increasingly plausible demise of an even bigger scalp, that of Treasurer Joe Hockey.


"George is a recidivist," joked one government MP drily, acknowledging what he described as a "litany" of ministerial missteps.

Brandis' poetry gesture might have been designed to give the impression of being carefree as non-government senators probed foreign affairs officials, but it communicated something else: a minister with an uncanny gift of drawing the spotlight.

The Queens Counsel, who rose to that exalted rank long after becoming an LNP senator rather than during his time as a full-time practising barrister, has been Attorney General since September 2013. But his tenure in what is traditionally viewed as the least partisan of cabinet posts, has been punctuated by controversies ranging from bombastic statements, to difficult policy arguments, and departmental lapses in administration.

Among these were his famous "everyone has a right to be bigot" statement in defence of changes to section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act (now abandoned), and the unwanted scrutiny of his use of parliamentary travel entitlements to attend a private social function. There was also heavy criticism of lavish spending on office bookshelves.

read more:


a waste of art space...


a waste of space...

George Brandis in art – in pictures

Australian artists, unable to schedule a meeting with George Brandis to discuss his changes to arts funding, have framed the arts minister in some of the world’s most famous artworks instead. The George Brandis Live Art Experience has grown from a self-styled ‘guerilla protest’ to a social media campaign with more than 100 contributors. As a public exhibition opens in Melbourne – with shows in Sydney and Canberra to follow – we pick the best of the Brandis bunch.

The George Brandis Live Art Experience opens at Ruffian Gallery, Footscray on 19 June, then LOSTSpace Gallery, Darlinghurst from 2-18 July
I personally thinks this is a waste of artistic talent and time. George will feel too flattered by the attention... He should get a kick in the arts (or arse), instead... Doing a few rough cartoons in a "bog" (see the top) is okay as a protest, but trying to immortalise the annoying dude in famous art poses?... Sure, who does not like the Duchamp "Urinoir" as a Brandis impersonator, here called a "fountain"? Hey, a urinoir is a urinal for pissssss sake!... The artist should apologise to urinals for being compared to George Brandis. I had to modify some more Botticelli's Birth Of Venus, here used too cleverly with restraint by the artist... It had to be an old fatso, not the idealised virgin... Who's calling George an old fatso, when Old Gus is quite older than him and more of a silly kook?
Anyway go and have a look... 

 and see also: 

god help the minister who meddles with art...

the brandis one-man-show ballet cash circus...


The Australian arts sector held a crisis meeting in Sydney on Thursday night. More than 120 arts leaders from around the country attended to discuss what to do about one of the gravest threats to Australian culture in decades. Meanwhile, I received an email from a commissioning producer at a Melbourne performing arts centre. “Dark days,” he wrote. Several of his friends in small performing arts organisations are being laid off.

George Brandis will have final say on arts funding, draft guidelines suggest

I spoke to one of them on Friday morning, who did not wish to be named. The chaos in the industry after the massive cuts to the Australia Council funding announced by arts minister George Brandis in May’s federal budget was directly responsible.

“There’s really no clear pathway towards multi-year funding, or even project funding for organisations where you need a small subsidy to underwrite management,” she told me. The uncertainty created by the 28% cut to the Australia Council is flowing through to job losses across the sector.

Bad news is starting to filter in. “I have also heard from lots of other people about how their funding is simply running out and they don’t know what is going to happen next year and if they will have jobs,” the producer said. “I think any organisation that went for the Australia Council’s six-year organisational funding round that was cancelled is now looking at laying off staff or folding.”

What was the six-year funding round? Only the Australia Council’s most important funding program for the so-called small-to-medium sector of small, innovative cultural organisations. After more than 400 organisations spent months developing their applications, the entire round was cancelled after Brandis ripped $104.7m from the Australia Council’s funding in the May budget, in order to create his new national program for excellence in the arts.

For those not intimately acquainted with the arts in Australia, it can be hard to get your head around a complex and multilayered industry. The cultural industries employed 311,000 workers at the 2011 census, and account for around 7% of Australia’s economy.

Australia culture: arts funding crisis special episode - podcast

At the core of this vast enterprise, relatively small amounts of federal funding catalyse huge amounts of cultural activity. The Australia Council plays a crucial role, supporting a large and highly innovative cluster of small companies, galleries, publishers, collectives and individual artists.

Small investments in talent at an early stage can pay big dividends. To take just one example, Aussie songstress Courtney Barnett was the recipient of an innovative Australia Council-PPCA recording grant to record her first full-length album. You might have heard it’s done quite well.

The Australia Council currently funds 145 “key organisations” with ongoing operational funding. The list includes some of the nation’s best-known cultural exports: Back to Back theatre in Geelong; Circa from Brisbane; Lucy Guerin dance from Melbourne. It includes every funded literature organisation, scores of galleries, the entire federally-funded community arts sector, and most small Indigenous performing arts companies.

Now all bets are off. The key organisations funding runs out at the end of 2016, and no one has any clue about what will happen – least of all the Australia Council. This crisis has been caused by one man: George Brandis.

A quick list of some of Brandis’s actions makes for sobering reading. As opposition arts spokesperson in 2013, he tried to amend the Australia Council Act to include more ministerial discretion over funding. Since taking office in September 2013, the Abbott government has slashed Commonwealth funding for the arts: the 2014 federal budget saw $87m slashed from the federal arts portfolio and there were further efficiencies in the 2015 budget.

After the budget: shh! Australia's era of artistic silencing begins

Despite reductions overall, the arts minister has been active in individual funding allocations. One of his first moves was to give $1m to the Australian Ballet School, an organisation with the wife of a former Howard government cabinet minister on its board. “‘I have taken a close interest in the Australian Ballet School and visited their facility on 6 February,” Brandis told journalists at the time.

The minister then gave Melbourne classical music record label Melba Recordings a $275,000 grant. It was not part of any official funding round and the grant was not peer-assessed, but Melba did lobby the minister about funding. The funding was decided in April 2014, but the Melba grant was not publicly announced in any media release or listed in the May 2014 budget papers. The first official acknowledgment was in an obscure attorney general’s department spreadsheet. Melba’s patrons and supporters include a cavalcade of highly-connected individuals, including a former Howard government cabinet minister.

Brandis has also given $1.15m in non peer-reviewed funding to the Australian World Orchestra, a company closely associated with his policy advisor Michael Napthali. Napthali was a director of the orchestra immediately before taking up his role in Brandis’s office, although the ministry insists he was not involved in any Australian World Orchestra funding decisions.

read more:


art is the eye of the minister...


The arts community has applauded the dumping of George Brandis from the Arts Ministry and called on his replacement to "undo the damage" inflicted on the industry.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull appointed Senator Mitch Fifield as Minister for Communications and Minister for Arts on Sunday.

It ends the controversial reign of Senator Brandis, who oversaw huge cuts to the Australia Council in favour of his own funding body.

Read more:
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Let's hope that Mitch Fifield understand the arts community better than Brandis... See toon at top...


favours and spoofs...

Not even an entire day after Australian musical icon Nick Cave wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull asking him to sack Senator George Brandis as Minister for the Arts, and restore independent funding and oversight to the literary sector, The Betoota Advocate has been informed that our humble online newspaper is next on the chopping block.

As of two and half hours ago, The Betoota Advocate received communication via the email from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, that our historical newspaper’s small yet consistent stream of funding would be cease.

The email, which appears to have gone through several hands, including, but not limited to, Nick Cave himself, has revealed a conspiracy against the Betoota Advocate by an alliance of vulnerable politicians and jaded creatives.

It would seem the “letter” that Nick Cave wrote to Malcolm Turnbull has not been on behalf of everyone. The following transcripts reveals that the elderly hipster is guilty of promoting the well-known lament of Australian musicians and writers alike, that being: “All artists are equal, but some are more equal than others”.

Nick Cave to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Oi Mal, It's Cave. Can you sack Brandis? I mean give us a bloody break... Oi if he has to stay can you at least tell him to go easy on us writers... Except for the Betoota Advocate. Fuck those ****'s! They are doing to journalism what I did to Kylie Minogue... It's confusing AF!

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to Nick Cave

RE: Nick, I've forwarded on your msg to Brando. We'll see how it goes.. Just remember mate I can't do this all the time. I've got hundreds of blokes just like you hitting me up for favours since I got the job. Cheers

Senator Brandis To Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

RE: Mal, tell Nick Cave I can't make any promises... Other than the fact that those Betoota lads are going to be eating cornflakes for dinner this Christmas. HAHAHa.. Did you even know we were funding that shit? They have been smashing us for months. Peace bro.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to Nick Cave

FW: Happy?

Nick Cave to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

RE: Yeah all good. Cheers bra

Senator Brandis to Errol Parker, Betoota Advocates’ Editor:

You are being slashed mate. Suck a dick.

The Betoota Advocate has for many years been the recipient of Government funding to help us provide opportunities for aspiring regional writers and Indigenous cattlemen.

For several decades, our newspaper’s lifeblood appears to have gone unnoticed by the last five extravagant governments, that is, until now.

As The Betoota Advocate now scrambles to make ends meet, our editors have resorted to approaching local businesses for advertisement opportunities.

This week’s weekly wireless news-wrap is brought to you by E.H Pearson Cattle Company, Betoota and Rodney Glen’s Taxidermy

see more funny crap:



Great business model for a little website like ours (YD): we embalm politicians...

"unhappiness" is an understatement...


A controversial program which would have given the arts minister control of millions of dollars in funding looks set to be changed after a backlash from the sector.

New Arts Minister Mitch Fifield acknowledged that the measure, introduced in this year's budget under the watch of his predecessor George Brandis, had caused some "unhappiness" among arts organisations.

Senator Brandis cut $105 million over four years from the Australia Council to bankroll a so-called National Program for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA).

The NPEA would sit within the Arts Ministry, giving the minister discretion over funding decisions.

Senator Fifield said modifications would be announced after he finished talks with the sector.

"I don't deny for a second that there's not some unhappiness about it," Senator Fifield said.

"There's unhappiness and a desire for me to take a look to see if we can make some adjustments to what's proposed.

read more:


Brandis should have been sacked ages ago, even when in opposition, as Shadow Attorney General, for showing massive bias that indicated he did not know the laws of this country. It is my view he is unfit to be AG. 


See toon at top


brandis should be sacked for philistinery...

Australia's peak arts body was blindsided when the Federal Government ripped $105 million from its budget, new documents reveal.

Key points:
  • Australia Council executive emailed Attorney-General's Department demanding answers day after budget
  • Labor says emails show was policy on-the-run and a "ministerial slush fund"
  • New Minister Mitch Fifield says there has since been a "rebalancing" of funding


Former arts minister, Attorney-General George Brandis, used last year's budget to slash the Australia Council's funding over four years.

Senator Brandis diverted most of the cash to a new, so-called National Program for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA) — a fund the Minister could directly control.

Documents obtained by ABC News under Freedom of Information laws show the Australia Council — an independent government body — was not consulted about the size of the cut or told what programs it would affect.

A day after the May 12 budget, an Australia Council executive emailed the Attorney-General's Department demanding answers.

"How was the funding reduction of $27.7M in 2015-16 (and the similar amounts for the forward estimates) arrived at?" it read.

"What will be the main activities of the National Program for Excellence in the Arts?

"To enable us to plan for what the Australia Council will look like as an organisation going forward and what activities it will remain responsible for, we would be grateful for some further information on the budget measure re: National Program for Excellence in the Arts."

read more:$105m-budget-cut-caught-australia-council-by-surprise:-emails/7185900

brandis —a great artist of legalo-deceit...

Maybe Gleeson is suggesting that he is surprised by these material differences, to the Guidance Note, despite the prior consultations. 

While the documents seen under FOI variously refer to discussions about the note there was no prior documented consultations about changes to the Legal Services Directions. 

The difference is that the Legal Services Directions have legislative force and they seek to cut off an important “loophole” – the solicitor general’s independent function in providing advice in respect of litigation involving the commonwealth and its agencies. 

In his reasons relating to the release of the documents under FOI, Gleeson points out that the briefing direction issued by Brandis, “is the first time the process for briefing the solicitor general has been placed on a legislative basis”.

read more: