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Hello, I'm Michael Veitch. House to a politician in-house. Today on Sunday Arts, from Parliament most important buildings, Coming up - he designed one of our any bells with you? but does the name Aldo Giurgola ring he's also a thorough gentleman. Besides being a great architect, with Aldo Giurgola. So we got on famously

who's not afraid to speak his mind. We meet an artist on the side of the road The dead goanna sticking out of its head with a syringe culture out of Indigenous Australia. is representative of sucking the Federal Arts Minister George Brandis. Virginia Trioli chats with arts are always a means to an end. The politicians on the left of the instrumentalist approach They have a utilitarian, to the arts.

mind of Tim Minchin. And I explore the remarkable comic (Sings) # Take off out of space # Take off out of space the spatula supermarket. # # Take out of the theatre But first, even devotees with that awful sinking feeling will not be unfamiliar watching a production you don't like, of being trapped in your seat and where minutes drag like hours. of audiences Satisfying the fickle tastes for theatre everywhere. has been a perennial problem And as Fenella Kernebone reports, of entertainment on offer, with so many other forms television, cinema, the internet, theatre companies must find new ways for the seats. to keep providing the bums And the sloped sun, his upward beam, shoots against the dusky pole, of his chamber in the east. pacing towards the other goal

Meanwhile, welcome, joy and feast... that you were going to be stimulated I think you would go if you knew

and moved, that you would remember. and it was going to be something I really think that theatre Personally, I mean,

needs a big kick up the arse. reasons why you might want to avoid FENELLA KERNEBONE: There's numerous

a night out at the theatre. It could be a bad experience. and saw a Shakespearean adaptation I went last year of the story of Charles IV, Shakespeareanly, and everything was done

so it was like... (Howls) It was bad, so bad. Yeah, it was good.

the time. Or perhaps you just can't spare to come to a three-hour performance It's a big ask to ask an audience what they're getting into. if they don't know exactly

in bite-sized entertainment, It's not that we're only interested the fact is there's more on offer, we're over-committed, or busy. we're stressed, So when you got to the theatre that it's going to be a knockout. you want to be absolutely sure its way out, I don't think that the play is on we are in a position but I think that more rarefied choices of making possibly about the plays that we do put on. Michael Kantor took over the reins Since Stephen Armstrong and in 2004, of Melbourne's Malthouse Theatre they've made some radical changes and boosted audience figures. that have both broadened appeal in physical theatre, dance theatre We were just as interested and visual image theatre, and music theatre cabaret, burlesque, puppetry theatre, because all of that is theatre. No, no. By myself. Let me do it on my own.

really well-crafted plays We wanted to put and creatively daring productions, alongside really imaginatively 'Exit The King', so that the Ionesco play, which we are presenting right now, to be a success it's only possible for this work did a new adaptation. because Geoffrey and Neil

is on its last legs. So it's not that the play pulled in about one million people. In fact, last year's Sydney Festival But not every week is a festival, to come up with some new ideas. so theatre companies are having of theatre makers, The younger generation by so many other sorts of media, because they've been informed the idea of a scripted play existing play and an adaptation of an already may not be so interesting.

generation of theatre makers And I think that the younger are finding ways to subvert that. or programming work, There is danger in creating new work an audience might want to see. having second-guessed what you think called Blood Policy at the moment. We're working with a company multimedia, live sound mixing, They are working with puppetry, important but difficult story, and using that form to tell a really immigrant, or an asylum seeker, which is about the arrival of a new into Australia. I puppeteer these very small puppets can watch this live, and the audience on my head but I also wear a very small camera the work so that all the way throughout

the audience can see it live.

from their perspective So they can see it that's in the space or they can choose to watch a screen and see it from my perspective. What are yous girls doing? the conventions of performance Another act that challenges comedy and theatre, through the use of hip-hop, is the duo... BOTH: Sister She. your old subscribers I think if you want to keep doing Chekhov, fine, that only want to see white people go ahead and continue to do that. But what's interesting about our act into the theatre. is we get people who love music come and see us And so we will have the same person that would see us in a pub, and it's all the sliding scale. in the pub on a chair going, Because my mum will be sitting In the theatre I'm comfortable." "Oh, this a bit uncomfortable. the front dancing, Whereas somebody that's usually out "I wish there was a dance floor." will sit in a chair going, I just can't do it. I can't walk out of live theatre. I'm out of there. Whereas if a bad movie, # Idea (Raps) # A whata? do you have the time? # # A whata, whata, building over the last five years There's been an incredible momentum in Melbourne, in particular. in the independent theatre scene have cottoned on to the fact A number of large institutions their resources that they need to use to support independent artists. of just realising There's been a real groundswell are not outside the mainstream, that independent artists that they are actually the future of what will become the mainstream, or what is the art that we'll be watching over the next couple of decades. Live performance is so incredibly special and the opportunities that exist for people to aggregate as strangers in the intimacy of an auditorium, to breath the same air and experience exactly the same thing but from their own perspective, our job is to keep providing as much as we can, as diverse as possible, so that people can actually become addicted to their own form of it. It can all be worked out. Everything can be fixed as good as new. You'll soon see what I can do. APPLAUSE Now, staying with the topic here on Sunday Arts, we'd like to hear from you. Are you a theatre-goer? Tell us about your best or worst experience at the theatre. It's easy. Just go to our website and follow the links to the message board. Now, art and politics, particularly Indigenous politics, have often been inextricably linked in this country, and certainly fuels the work of Sydney artist Adam Hill. He's a poet and painter and his work has been described as Aboriginal hip-hop.

But despite the gravity of the underlying message, Hill retains a sense of humour and blends his work with great wit and considerable charm.

SONG: # You, you # Ah, huh, uh-huh

# Have got to understand # Understand # You # Yeah, you, mate, uh-huh. # The reference to my work as Aboriginal hip-hop

is quite an interesting one. And it's something that I'm very proud to take onboard.

The boldness and the graphic style of my work make a comment on modern day Indigenous society. The title of the work here is 'Wallaby Ted's Cousin'. So, this is Wallaby Ted's cousin, Roo Ted. And it's just a look at the Americas Cup victory where the boxing kangaroo flag was designed and this is what black fellas think of that flag,

given that that flag gets more recognition, as opposed to the Aboriginal flag. The kind of message that I'm trying to push to mainstream society, through the artworks that I produce, can be very off-putting and the imagery can be very confrontational. Sedition laws and the re-introduction of the Sedition Act is an exciting opportunity to push the boundary. And satire and humour often features, despite the harsh message I'm trying to push home. I now have my studio right on Redfern Street, so it's right in the heart of urban Indigenous community in Sydney, and it's a community that I really like to live close to

because of the politics and the racial divide in this community is far more heated than other communities I've lived in. And it's obviously fuel for the kind of works that I produce. 'Monitoring Invasive Forces' is once again a play on words. And the inspiration behind this painting came from when the organisers of the Big Day Out concert in Sydney requested that people didn't adorn themselves in any particular flag. Yet, the bogans still continued to adorn themselves in the flag

and put the Australian tattoo on their arm and so forth. And I had to paint about the way I see is a slap in the face to Indigenous culture,

so in this instance the dead goanna on the side of the road, with the syringe sticking out of its head, is representative of sucking the culture out of Indigenous Australia. In the meantime just stepping over that and walking on in your own drunken debaucherous state.

Which is typical of bogan Australia. What I've attempted to do in my artworks is create a modern stereotype, and stereotype can be an ugly word. However, we've lived with the stereotype of what an Aboriginal painting is

and I'm sick to death of hearing people say, "Do I paint dots?" or "Do I crosshatch dolphins? And produce X-ray art?"

So I've tried tried to create a modern stereotype through my works and so often there'll be a template for what is a typical image that I paint. And that's the big vast open arid landscape. And a perspective roadway, the vanishing point in the road, which symbolises an uncertain future or an uncertain past for Indigenous people. The horizon line often featuring a mountain range.

Within the skies you have the lines, the linear patterns in the line, which is song lines. The flat-bottomed clouds in my artworks symbolise a false ceiling in the sky, and the false ceiling has become a metaphor for government, in that the government is white, constantly looming overhead, casting an ominous shadow. And you can't penetrate it unless you're white. It's a joy to see people walk in to the show and relate directly and empathise with it. It's a beautiful indication that there are other people out there that want to make the change, and to aid in the advancement of Indigenous plight. You can see Adam Hill's latest show 'Not For The Faint Hearted' at Arc One Gallery in Melbourne until May 5. Well, staying on a political theme now. You would expect the designer of one of Australia's most important buildings to be a household name. But mention architect Aldo Giurgola and you're likely to draw a blank. Yet, it's Italian-born Giurgola's vision that was chosen for Australia's New Parliament House in Canberra. Perhaps it's his generosity towards other artists that have contributed to his relative anonymity. Many artists and craftspeople can trace the start of their careers back to their commissions for Parliament House. One of those, sculptor Robin Blau, who created the coat of arms, has more recently been working with Giurgola on the award-winning St Patrick's Cathedral in Parramatta. This is the project that brought Aldo Giurgola to Australia. As design architect, bringing Parliament House into being took almost a decade of his life. Now, at the age of 86, Aldo hasn't exactly retired, but finally he's had time to build a small house for himself and his daughter in the Lake Bathurst district near Canberra.

We always loved this country in precisely the ways you see now, because when you are in this open landscape you have this sense of time of every day coming through. I've never been a farmer but I always felt how wonderful it must have been for these people to go through the cycle of time. I mean, you live in a big city, being busy every time. The only thing to give you the time is the watch. But here is the very presence of the natural element. You never look at the watch. You look at the colour of those hills, these tree, you know, they are my friend, I know them every time I come here I know, "Oh, this guy doesn't feel very well today." I mean, you know, it's amazing. So, we found the place really the most congenial in that sense. This love of landscape together with a questioning of the harsh austerity of modernism caused Aldo to seek out alternative visions. As a student in wartime Italy, he was intrigued by the Griffins' plans for Canberra as Australia's new national capital. It was in the class, in the studio,

there was hanging this plan of Canberra. It was a print of the original plan that Burley Griffin did. Was a fascinating thing for us because we were in the beginning of a certain reaction to modernism. And so everything that was sort of, beside that very rigid kind of attitude, that theoretical attitude to architecture, was welcome somehow. And Griffin was very welcome in term of this generosity of dealing with form, and space and so on and remained impressed on my mind

and I could never forget that. Walter Burley Griffin's influence can be felt in Aldo's first major commission - a visitor's centre in North Carolina celebrating the Wright brothers' first flight. That was a good metaphor.

In other words, we took off on the air from that project. I always thought that that was a great help.

But the building had a success of the critic and so we started with that building and then from there on, gradually we got involved more and more in institutional building, either for university or government. Together with partner Ehrman B. Mitchell, Aldo established a flourishing architecture practice based in Philadelphia and then also New York. Rather than focus on office towers, Aldo saw the richer possibilities of low-rise buildings. I'd been working for a while to the idea of that a horizontal office building of few floor is a better building for having a life there, for working life, than a tower. So, when Mitchell, Giurgola & Thorp won the design competition for a new Australian Parliament House, Aldo was determined to take advantage of the brief for a low-rise building. One of the thing that fascinated me in the brief was the requirement that the building should be low and no more than 3-4 storeys. In fact, the experience that I have recently, is that people enjoy the building very much precisely because they can move around, they have window for every office, they can look into the trees, they can look into the grass, the sky, and they can meet other people and in comparison to the miserable life of an office building,

the standard office building, is a paradise. What we wanted is the building express the notion of democracy in term of its availability to everyone. There are no step, there are ramp to go on top of the building because the view there is superb and vast, and we thought that it had to be available to everyone. This sense of openness was also present in the way artworks were commissioned, with Aldo's team deliberately seeking out emerging artists.

Robin Blau had just completed his jewellery degree when he won the commission for the coat of arms on the front facade. I didn't know what happened really when you, you know,

welded a piece of stainless steel like this, instead of staying like this, it goes like that, and all those complications came into it. And I made a few blues, I have to say, I had lots of offcuts left over.

But I never felt as though it was beyond me although there were times when you'd have some all-nighters trying to work out the problems. ALDO: Well, I was searching for having this coat of arm with transparenting, visible from both side rather than having against something applied on the wall it's for.

One of the hard parts was, it had to be seen from both the front and the back

with equal intensity. Using the Aboriginal x-ray idea, where it became a silhouette, you got that intensity from both sides because from the front, the animals are looking at you, from the back, the animals are looking at you.

With Parliament House completed, Aldo decided to settle and work in Australia. But the next opportunity wasn't another major government project.

It was a small parish church in a new Canberra suburb. Was a challenge that the priest posed to us because he came in the office and said, "Mr Architect, you spent one billion for the Parliament, "I want to see what you can do for $500,000." I was a little bit afraid of employing him as an architect, because, as I said to him,

"You've just built a billion dollar house over there on the hill," and I said, "Aldo, you deal in mega-bucks "and I deal in mini-bucks." And I said, "Can you make the transition "down to a little, tiny church compared with the Parliament House?" I want to try and build an Australian church. Scattered around the countryside, because they were predominantly Irish priests, in the early days, you found Irish churches. Dark and against the wind, and the frost of Ireland. And so, there must be light in the church. And I think he succeeded magnificently. Besides being a great architect, he's also a thorough gentleman. So, we got on famously with Aldo Giurgola. He became not the architect so much but he became a friend. You cannot do a building for a friend. It's very difficult. I mean, if one become a friend in the process of making a building, that is a good thing. Fire has virtually destroyed a major piece of Sydney's religious heritage. St Patrick's Cathedral at Parramatta was gutted by flames this afternoon.

Flames engulfed the historic cathedral within minutes of the blaze breaking out just after 4 o'clock. Fuelled by an ornate wooden ceiling, the fire razed through the sandstone structure in just 15 minutes. This disaster in 1996 proved to be the starting point for Aldo Giurgola's last major project in Australia. We will rebuild. Yes. From the ashes there will come a new cathedral. But there could be no quick, easy path for designing a new cathedral. As Aldo began searching for a form for the new building, one of his first major concerns was the quality of the light. So, the light penetrated from the top. of this continuity of light There is no interruption in the length of the building. the presence of the daylight That is an essential element, in a building of this sort. should be like that, In every building but in particular in a church significant value where the time has a such in the life of people

that give a sense of time and the only element really during the day. is the variation of light investigating the many ways At the same time, Aldo was also

within the space. that people would move the things start to get formed So, you see, the participation of the people from the notion of to the celebration, to the ritual, toward the altar, the sense of community the form of the slope, the form of the ceiling. the penetration of this light, all of the presence of this issues. The form comes gradually together by where you have to follow an action It's not like a theatre has to be focussed there. and everybody It's a place where a ritual take place them in a fashion for the people to be around very close to this place. that feel themselves CHOIR SINGS Another major question was to the original church. how to relate a new building After considering many alternatives, from the old to the new. Aldo found a way to create a journey You arrive into a forecourt

with the sky and the light. where you are in connection into the old chapel, Then you penetrate into the entry, mostly vertical space. in this you have you enter into the cathedral, From there, a very horizontal space and you have in effect, it's considerable here. because here the span is very... into the open space. And then you can come out again an experience of character of space, There is this sequence of the elements of architecture. that is, I think, one of

way of connecting these two buildings Aldo understood that another powerful would come from the artwork. is capable to conduct you, The language of art lead you in a certain continuity, so that you, "Oh, we are in the same place." I thought of Robin doing a gate in the entry you know, the gate, the entry door, his language throughout and then repeat from the chapel to the cathedral kind of element. as a sort of conductive about the fact that, I felt as...quite excited where you could enter, here was a place an Australian environment, having come from and you're walking through an Australian culture, into this place of worship, that Australian culture and I wanted to drag into that part of it. of Christ walking through So, I took the idea the Australian grasses, the Australian bush, our Garden of Eden, if you want," and the eucalypts and said, "Here is and as that grew up to the heaven, the top of the eucalypts the break point across in abstraction. were then becoming the cloud forms for the kids to enjoy. I put some little animals in there In this workshop here,

the march flies descend like clouds

and I was doing them during March and I was being bitten to hell. So, I killed one and remade it in stainless and stuck it in the doors. is really important to me This lock form of how the seed pod formed. and this was an early sketch

and my feeling was that I was going to take its shape a form of growth and development. spirituality is a form of, or can be for me was a seed pod And the symbol for that,

the growth to happen. splitting open to allow

then you approach the tabernacle As you walk past the screens, in this really beautiful, I think, and again, this form is female pregnant pod form. pregnant pod - Again, this one splits into two. left with half the seed pod, As the two doors open, you are

the two doors on either side and there's the shell and which becomes the trinity. Robin's next work for the cathedral more ambitious brief. involved an even A large room could be a void. that interrupt that sense of void. So, what you need is something top of the altar, this element, And so, we create in the

that in this sketches, we didn't know what it was going to be. This was a subject of course, for an artist to do. He had the elevation of the altar and he had the little wiggly lines just above it. away and started thinking about So, after talking to Aldo, I went and finally it sort of came back what on earth this could be

getting through the front entry door to some of the feelings I was with the rod and wire forms where it became sort of, and develop this feeling abstracted helixes, if you like, that wove in and on themselves.

suspended in the cathedral, With the completed oriel his next major challenge. Robin moved on to I think, to do, for me, That was the hardest one of all, the cross and corpus. wanted an alive Christ, The client had said that they not a dead one or not a dying one. The body of Christ was, for me, culture that we, or I grew up in, needed to relate again, back to the was one of the joys of a kid where surfing on the beach, and the beautiful bodies

Christ should be a man of beauty, and felt as though that in a way, a man of strength. a man of power and POIGNANT CLASSICAL MUSIC to the chest to the whole body Right from, you know, fingers, is made up of tiny little plates. formed, just in air, if you like, It had all been cut... and then welded together. those cuts through, And then I've welded left the honesty of it, haven't polished them back, called the technique happen, so that it's scarred, if you like, of the manufacturer. with the technique POIGNANT CLASSICAL MUSIC CONTINUES

Cathedral opened in 2003, Although the new Parramatta Robin has continued to work for the Cathedral. on smaller commissions on these processional candles But now, his work five-year collaboration. will complete his and Aldo's who loves to collaborate, Aldo is one of these people and who gives you free rein who loves to listen, constraints of his architecture. with, you know... within the for the processional candles, In this case, um... for the design that this bowl's shape was too fat. something shallower. He would rather like "Well, I can see your point, And I came back and said, I think it needs this guts... but, you know, for this work, ..this plinth, if you like, to sit on." So, he said, "OK." And off we went to the next, uh... vigorous discussion. (Laughs) of the cathedral, Now, with the completion this one last project - Aldo has been able to realise and the view. a simple space open to the light This house, really, was an idea I have always in mind, but never been able to implement, because too much work, and many things, and finally, I retired. I have a great faith in architecture... an architecture, really, that is designed with the concern of mankind - I mean, the concern for life.

I mean, the outside is... we're inside. I mean, a natural life as well as human life, and it's beautiful in architecture, because... precisely because it has this involvement with life of people. Architecture... you live into it, no? And look... look, for instance now,

look at the beauty of this changing colour, huh, of the landscape. DRAMATIC CLASSICAL MUSIC Still to come on Sunday Arts - he's taking the UK by storm. I meet comic Tim Minchin. (Sings) # We don't eat pigs # You don't eat pigs # It seems it's been that way forever

# So if you don't eat pigs # And we don't eat pigs # Why not, not eat pigs together? # And the haunting imagery of photographer Craigie Horsfield. Well, a couple of weeks back on Sunday Arts, Virginia Trioli put on her other hat, and locked horns with a politician - Shadow Arts Minister Peter Garrett. Now, it's his opposite number's turn, Federal Arts Minister George Brandis. As we head towards the next federal election, there are two new political advocates for the arts on the block. We've already heard, on this program, from the Shadow Arts Minister Peter Garrett, so this week, it's the government's turn. The Minister for Arts and Sports Senator George Brandis has only been in the job for five months, but he's already facing his first budget,

and overseeing what is widely tipped to be some big changes in a couple of key areas. But just who is George Brandis?

And what sort of relationship would he like to build between the federal government and the arts community? Senator George Brandis, welcome to Sunday Arts. Pleasure to be here, Virginia. You started your working life as a lawyer, and relatively recently, you've been made, uh... ..Minister for Arts and Sports. Yeah. Which is the more natural fit for you - arts or sports? I enjoy them both. I think it's probably fair to say that as a patron, in my adult life, I've probably been more of an arts patron than a sporting patron, but they're both very enjoyable, and of course, very challenging roles. You're, um... opposite number sat in this chair, recently, Peter Garret. Yes. And... he was defending a comment that he made publicly where he described the government as being Philistines,

when it came to supporting the arts.

How would you respond to that? Well, I read that the speech that you were asking Mr Garrett about... I must say, I thought it was very disappointing speech. I thought it was condescending, and cliche-ridden, and frankly, quite an ignorant speech. Um, in the entire course of the speech, there was no reference to the strong review of some of the orchestras, there was no reference to the Nugent Review,

Crafts. Review of the Visual Arts and there was no reference to the Myer

a broader point I think it illustrated who try to, you know, about politicians from the left, as being concerned about the arts, profile themselves left always have this 'clunkiness' but, you know, politicians on the in their advocacy of the arts, an instrumentalist approach to it. because they have that for politicians on the left, By that, I mean a means to an end. the arts are always instrumentalist approach They have a utilitarian, rather than an approach that says, to the arts, for their own sake, "Well, we ought to value the arts and merit." for their instrinsic worth engineering approach to the arts. You mean, a kind of social get that kind of social outcome. If we put this kind of arts, we'll Yeah. that's a generalisation, of course. That is what I mean, and I...

Conversely, the argument It's not universally so. is that the conservative side that's put from the left traditionally, of politics in Australia can, as being exclusively of the left, often view artistic production or with a musical, and if comes out with a play, to conservative politics, with an idea in it that's offensive some mouthpiece of the left, then therefore, it's just seen as... which can be equally auspicious, no? that there is that view Well, I... I don't think among conservative politicians.

am not a conservative politician. I, by the way, so I'm a liberal. I sit in the Liberal Party, And, uh... (Laughs)

on distinctions, then. We won't lose ourselves it is important that, um... No, but I think, you know, intellectual and cultural freedom, that the arts operate in an area of that is done most to champion and the political philosophy historically, has been liberalism. intellectual and cultural freedom, of your philosophy, as a politician, Well, that's a very big part is about freedom of speech, and your role in public life and freedom of expression. in your role now as Arts Minister? How do you see that working if they are to appreciate the arts, I think arts ministers - to accept that the arts operate, and to encourage the arts - need

in an environment of cultural need to operate, and intellectual freedom, and protect that. The arts shouldn't be used by government, and by cultural commissars as vehicles to force down the throats of either the artists themselves, or of audiences, any particular agenda, whether it be an agenda of the left, or an agenda of the right. So then, that brings us back, then - I should imagine - to the bedrock of what a government is there to do in relation to the arts, particularly in this country. And that's money - that's financial support. Yes. And if now, we're heading into the budget, so surely, there's anything you can... You know, this... the budget will be brought down on the 8th of May, and, um... for obvious reasons, I'm constrained in what I can say, but I think the arts community will have reason to be very well pleased

at some of the measures in the budget. We were looking, of course, in the community, over the last - oh, goodness - more than a year about the situation of film finance in this country, and there's been much discussion about the amalgamation of certain film boards. Is that still uppermost in your mind? Well, it's certainly one of the issues that's on the table. This is the amalgamation, potentially, of the AFC, and the FFC. Yes. That's quite possible, then? Well, I mean... I'm sorry to be unhelpful.

No, no, I know. But we'll have to wait and see, but that's certainly on the table. Well, we'll try to stay off the nitty-gritty, then, of what's gonna come out in the budget... I'd love to be able to go further, Virginia, but I just can't. 'Cause you can't share anything. I understand, Senator Brandis, but you said in a newspaper article recently, that "the test for an arts minister is, in part, the extent to which he contributes to encouraging and securing government support for excellence in the arts." Yes. "It is not measured against any particular benchmark."

Yes. So, then, if you can't, as minister, secure a great whack of financial support for the arts, that's the measure by which you are...'re deciding whether you're a success or not as a minister. Well, I think you need to contextualise those remarks.

The remarks were made in response to a question in which I was invited to nominate a dollar figure as the test of success or failure... Yes. And I declined, as I always would decline,

to suggest that these things can be benchmarked, by reference to, um... quantifiable amounts. But of course, arts ministers

- among their various responsibilities - do need to be advocates for the arts. for the arts in the community.

They need to be advocates for the arts in government, and among political colleagues, and that's what I've endeavoured to do. But of course, Virginia, the best advocates for the arts are the artists themselves - the creative people themselves, who are wonderful advocates for their own cause, simply because of the excellence of what they do. The trouble, of course, over the years in Australia, has been that the larger high-profile companies are terribly good at being advocates, in that respect, and they turn up to everything, and they have direct access to the ministers, and that often leads the smaller companies... ..that leaves them right out of the limelight. Where do you stand, in terms of fostering your support

in those smaller and emerging companies? What role do you see they have? I think they have a very important role. And the small to medium-size arts companies, of course, are very often the feeders for the larger companies. And more broadly than that, they are the community-based organisations which are more accessible, often. Especially - though, not only - in regional Australia than the major performing arts companies.

So I value their role very highly. There's been much discussion about what might need to change

at the Australia Council. Do you have a view about whether... Some pundits have said it's perhaps too top heavy in administration and executives, needs to be pared back a bit and connected more with the grassroots arts community. I think that the criticism that the Australia Council has become too process-driven is perhaps a bit overdone,

a bit overstated. The Australia Council... is responsible for - over this training - 480 million dollars of Commonwealth money. So, and it has... Naturally, it has to make decisions about the allocation of scarce resources amongst a greater number of bidders than the resources can be distributed to.

So I think, of course, all the stakeholders are entitled to expect

that the Australia Council will make those judgments on a proper professional and artistic basis, rather than in a whimsical basis or by playing favourites. And...that will perhaps invite the criticism, "Well, you're too process-focused." But we don't want to go back to the days of the Labor Party where... ..where there were grants given willy-nilly,

apparently, on the basis in some cases of personal favouritism. But we have this serendipitous conjunction of events that you have a new...CEO, in Kathy Keele, a new Chair in James Strong, and a new Arts Minister in me, all coming onboard within a few months of each other. So, of course there will be fresh approaches and, if you like, a new broom. With any possible changes to the Australia Council that might be considered, is there a sense that you want to build better links, stronger links between the business sector and the arts, the cultural community? Does there need to be greater synergies there? Well, I think the more synergies there are the better. And, of course, we have ABaF, Australian Business Arts Foundation, from which James and Kathy came. So I think the direct translation of the people who had been running ABaF and the Australia Council

bodes very well for the synergies of which you speak. But what does ABaF achieve? What does it achieve that you're quite proud of, that you think has been useful? Well, I think... what ABaF has done is... it has continued to evangelise the arts to business. Some governments have taken a more hands-on mandated approach to that, where, for example, in Victoria, with the Docklands Authority, any new building that goes up as part of Docklands, 1% of the spend on the building project has to be spent on public art of some kind. What do you think about that approach? I don't favour... that sort of heavy-handedness. I mean, know... I...refer you back my earlier remarks about the...attitude of the political left to the arts... Yeah. But it gets something done for the arts in that respect... There are better ways of getting things done for the arts. I think there are better ways of getting things done for the arts by encouraging... by Government directly supporting the arts, as we do, and by encouraging voluntary engagement with the arts by the private sector. But if you end up with better public art around that development, rather than through your...kindly engaging with the business and hoping they might come on board. Then, in the end, we have to say maybe that one works better.

Well, I don't think we're in a position to say that. I think that the premise of your question understates the extent to which business leaders in this country have been very strong supporters of the arts. Not all, of course. And what I want...we want to do is try and change the culture of the business community so that...philanthropic and sponsorship support for the arts becomes much more widespread than it currently is. Let's look at some of the reviews that your predecessor, Rod Kemp, put in place.

And one in particular, which we haven't mentioned yet, is the Myer Report into the visual arts. And the recommendation there was 15 million dollars a year over four years. It's fallen short of that target virtually every year since it started back in 2004. Will you recommend full funding

to bring up to scratch the recommendations of the Myer Report? I think, again, wait to see what the budget has to say

about the visual arts and crafts strategy. Alright. Leaving aside the details which you can't comment on. Philosophically, do you believe that the Myer Report is one that should be acted on and should be taken seriously? Look, I agree with the Myer Report. The Senate inquiry into Indigenous arts is a very interesting one. What are the key issues there, as you see them? Among the key issues - protecting the intellectual property rights of the Indigenous artists, Government assistance for the industry, to name two. Are you interested in the idea of a resale-royalty right? Well, that's... That's a vexed one, that one. It is a vexed one. And it was disposed of last... the issue was disposed of last year and I don't want to re-agitate the issue today. It's not going away, Senator. No, it's not. Particularly, not with Indigenous artists . No, that's true.

Right across the field, of course... And I accept there are special issues with Indigenous art. But let's wait and see what Senator Eggleston's committee has to say. Senator, I asked your counterpart, Peter Garratt, on this program about how many high-profile voices there were, advocates for the arts, in cabinet on the other side of politics. Can you beat his claim of... I think he could only come up two names. How many can you come up with for me? I can come up with myself.

And I can come up with Malcolm Turnbull, for example. I can come up with Alexander Downer. And I know that the Prime Minister and the Treasurer - although, not famously seen to be arts people as such - also take a deep interest. And...when we talk about the arts, it's not just the visual arts and performing arts either. It's also writing. I mean... there are very few more well-read people in Australian politics

than the Prime Minister and the Treasurer. Good to have you on the program, Senator, and maybe some more details forthcoming after the budget, the next time you join us. Pleasure to be here, Virginia. Well, he's a hit both in Australia and in the UK where his comedy, blended with some brilliant musicianship, has won him a legion of fans But who is Tim Minchin? Stand-up comic, actor, songwriter or just a nice lad from Perth trying to find his dark side. Well, the only way to find out is to ask the man himself. Tim, thanks for joining me on Sunday Arts. Pleasure, Michael. Thank you for having me. Thank you. Well, you had show recently, 'Dark Side'. The irony kind of being, I presume, that... you don't actually have a dark side. Um... Yeah, I guess so. That was my first...sort of major...

my first foray into the Melbourne Comedy Festival a couple of years ago. And I guess... I had all these songs and bits pieces that I'd put together and I didn't really know what linked them. But in hindsight, looking at this body of work I created randomly without any intent. There was a bit of a through-line about... or...parallel through-lines. One was, yeah, that I, as a happy middle-class upbringing kind of guy from Perth, I didn't have enough angst and horrible things happen to me to justify writing serious music which is what I've always found difficult to take... to take the things I think about particularly seriously. But the other part is that I have quite a dark sense of humour and I tend to... Not obsess in my life, but in what I write I tend to keep coming back to sexual perversion

and death and...religion and all this stuff.

And so I guess it's those...

that parallel thing that I don't really have a dark side but I... almost the happiness of my life has given me enough room to get obsessed about the darker side of things, yeah. (Mouthing only) LAUGHTER

(Sings) # We don't eat pigs # You don't eat pigs # It seems it's been that way forever (Yells) Sing! # So if you don't eat pigs # And... # We don't pigs # Why not not eat pigs together, together # Why not not eat pigs together, together # Why not not eat pigs... Rock!

One of your signature and most popular songs, 'Palestine Peace Anthem' is a kind of... gentle satire of...people hoping to change the world with overly simplistic means and methods. Do you nonetheless share some of those core beliefs yourself, even though you're satirising?

Um... I wrote the 'Palestine Peace Anthem' because... as I was reading something one day...

I was often reading something that makes me want to write stuff. And I was just reading about, in this book of something or other, about the origins of... You know, it just struck me afresh that Judaism and Islam are the same religion with an edit. And the thought that they all kill each other is an extraordinary thing, given that it's just a story with a twist.

One of the really strong aspects of watching you perform

is your skills on the keyboard which are extraordinary to watch. Are you classically trained? I'm...not. Well, I did up to Grade 2. (Laughs) I quit when I was 11 or something, or 12. And... Do you sight read? No. Really? I know what the dots mean. But if someone puts music in front of me I just have a panic attack. And have to the 'Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit'. (Laughs) Doesn't everyone understand what that means? Um... So I... Anyone who's ever done basic Grade 1 piano will get what... Will get what I mean. And...but... So I did a few lessons and my parents, to their credit, let me quit when I didn't want to do it anymore, which I think's... such a huge thing. Because I think a lot of people are encouraged to do music in a really disciplined way, "No, don't give it up. Keep going, keep going." Giving it up was the best thing I ever did, 'cause then I... didn't play for a couple of years. And when I was about 13 my brother, who plays guitar, would say, "Can you work out the beginning of 'Light My Fire'? De, dede-la-de... And it was from there that... And it was really songwriting that taught me piano, as opposed to the other way around. Another of the genres you send up are the do-gooding peace-nic greenies in canvas bags, which is a wonderful...another anthemic tribute to people trying to do the right thing and you've turned it into some...

wonderful kind of joyous parody that looks like so much fun to perform. Some people interpret that song as just a really funny way of saying, "Don't take plastic bags to the supermarket," works 'cause... a million... Not a million. But a lot of people write to me and go, "I can't go the supermarket without that song in my head."

And I'm, like, that's fantastic! I'm actually... (Laughs) ..making people take bags back to the supermarket. And... Move over, Bono. Yeah, that's exactly right. Geldof and I, we're having tea. Sir Bob. (Laughs) other people go, And...then, of course, out of...environmentalists." "Oh, I love it how you take the piss the words. Sing along if you've figured out

Keep it going. Keep that energy. Keep it going. Keep it going.

(Sings) # Take your canvas bags # Take your canvas bags to the supermarket... # you've had interest from the BBC, And so to the future - in...future television projects. who like my work and I like them, I've got a lot of people in the BBC and so it's just a matter of... telly is, for me, a delicate thing. Getting what I do on stage onto

I'm very excited that people are interested in getting me in the mass media 'cause that's how you extend your career, because you're exposed to so many more people. But I don't want to just be a piano guy. I think that could... be damaging for the longevity of my career if I become known as the guy that once a week does a funny song on some late night show.

Well, Tim, I think the longevity of your career is in... pretty good shape from what you tell us. Don't lose too much of that naivety. in good stead. I'm sure it will keep you on Sunday Arts. Tim, thanks for joining us Thanks very much, Michael. Comedy Festival at the Melbourne International You can see Tim Minchin I can't actually mention here. in a show, the title of which then at the Sydney Opera House. Until April 29th, Next week on Sunday Arts... of the Royal Show circuit. Lucy Culliton discovers the joys one of the great spontaneous talents MAN: Lucy Culliton, I think is in Australian art. I love how they've been placed. I like that...

and do a drawing of that. So I'll paint them... I'll come back Yeah. That... They're beautiful. And the ribbon's sweet. And as the sometimes controversial gets underway, Australian Fashion Week editor of Vogue Australia we talk exclusively to the former Marion Hume. for a living, WOMAN: When one criticises has got to be a fair cop. to be criticised in return with some of the work We leave you now photographer, Craigie Horsfield. of internationally renowned Turner Prize Short-listed for the prestigious vision of the relationship between Horsfield's images are a complex humanity, art, and the audience. work is currently showing A major exhibition of Horsfield's

in Sydney until the 3rd of June. at the Museum of Contemporary Art for David and Margaret. Stay around now We'll see you next week. PIANO MUSIC PLAYS Closed Captions by CSI .