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Thursday, 28 March 1985
Page: 976


Senator COONEY(3.34) —I move:

That the Senate take note of the paper.

I wish to make a few remarks about the Australian National Gallery. It is a pity that we do not have bells and red and green lights in that Gallery so that we could make more use of it-but perhaps the Gallery is a bit far removed. My experience this morning showed that it is difficult at times to get from one's room into the chamber in time to continue a debate. Be that as it may, I suggest that the National Gallery is a most significant building, as are all galleries in the various States in this country. Art-paintings in particular-is a proper means by which the ethos of the people, their history and all that they aspire to are summed up. I have had the opportunity of visiting the National Gallery. I paid particular regard to paintings by Sidney Nolan, the Ned Kelly series, and to the paintings by--


Senator Chaney —Very appropriate.


Senator COONEY —I am not able to answer the honourable senator's interjection. I promise him that I will contemplate his remark. There was great controversy in the mid-1970s over the acquisition of the painting Blue Poles by Jackson Pollock. That painting stands now as one of the Gallery's great acquisitions. In looking at it one can see why. It is an inspired piece of art. The way in which it was treated at the time of its purchase is much to be regretted; it was a tragedy.


Senator Missen —It is one of the best financial assets that we have. It has increased in value.


Senator COONEY —That is right. It has become a great asset. Not only does art show the aspirations and the ethos of a country as a whole but also it shows the differing attitudes that people have from State to State. The Heidelberg school is much more popular in Victoria than it is in New South Wales. The Galleries of New South Wales go in for Tom Roberts and what have you and, recently, the more contemporary art.

Question resolved in the affirmative.