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Friday, 10 May 1985
Page: 1761

Senator CROWLEY —Has the Minister representing the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment seen an item in today's Age referring to the Ballarat Council's decision to reject its bust of the former Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser? Is she aware of Mrs Fraser senior's comments that her son 'had too much on his mind' and that 'some people are difficult to paint'? Given that public figures do have their portraits painted at public cost, does the Minister suggest that public figures who are difficult to paint ought to be excluded from high office, or should they, in the interests of both the arts and the environment in this country, be less concerned at their oily images, which could never accurately reflect them?

Senator RYAN —I am not entirely sure that public money, via the portfolio of my colleague Mr Cohen, has been used for these purposes. Certainly with regard to the rejected bust for the Ballarat Council, I do not know who paid for that, but I do not think it was paid for out of Commonwealth public money. I suppose its fate, while of general interest to politicians, is not of particular interest to me in my representational capacity. I think another portrait of Mr Fraser, which was similarly found to be unacceptable, may have involved Commonwealth funds. I am not quite sure. My colleague Senator Walsh is always much more able to regale the Senate with details of expenditures in these matters. I have only a hazy recollection that a publicly commissioned portrait of Mr Fraser was regarded as being unacceptable. I think the real difficulties for Mr Fraser were not that his portraits were unacceptable but that his policies were.