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7.30 Report -

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Welcome to the program. On the first day of the new Parliament, government. And Coalition leader
Tony Abbott left no room for doubt that he is there to to provide robust opposition. There was
toing and froing about whether about whether the Prime Minister could count on being granted leave
to travel during Parliament without leaving the Government with a slender majority.

Brave new world

Brave new world

Broadcast: 28/09/2010

Reporter: Heather Ewart

The 43rd parliament opened in Canberra today and Tony Abbott has warned Julia Gillard she needs to
honour all election promises despite her fragile hold on a minority government. The Government has
successfully used its numbers to nominate Liberal Peter Slipper as Deputy Speaker, upsetting Tony
Abbott's choice.


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: Welcome to the program, on the first day of the new Parliament, and a new
minority government.

And Coalition Leader Tony Abbott left no room for doubt that he's there to provide robust

There was toing and froing about whether even the Prime Minister could count on being granted leave
from the Parliament to travel without jeopardising Labor's slender majority with the help of one
Greens MP and three Independents.

Mr Abbott warned Julia Gillard her fragile hold on government did not mean she was relieved of her
obligation to honour all her election promises.

The first skirmish related to the position of deputy speaker, where the government used its numbers
and some Independnets to upset Mr Abbott's choice by nominating another of his own MPs.

Political Editor, Heather Ewart.

(Didgeridoo plays, Aboriginal elder chants)

(Aboriginal dancers assemble)

ABORIGINAL ELDER: With this welcome, I express the hope of a united reconciled nation...

HEATHER EWART, POLITICAL EDITOR: A new Parliament the likes of which have never seen before, and a
new formality to mark its opening.

The Welcome to Country ceremony on the forecourt of Parliament House is set to become a tradition.

Inside the House of Representatives there was another first, the swearing in of the first
indigenous member, West Australian Liberal Ken Wyatt, one of 150 election winners.

The first day of a new Parliament is always one of tradition and ceremony, including the formal
nomination of the speaker, in this case Labor's Harry Evans who'd had some nervous moments in the
past few weeks wondering if he was going to keep his job.

STEVE GEOGIANIS, LABOR BACKBENCHER: There is no one in this Parliament who is more qualified or
deserving of the speakership role than Harry or who will bring to the House the experience and the
stability that this so-called new paradigm will demand - not to mention that if there's another
Grand Final draw on Saturday Harry might be asked to decide that one as well.

HEATHER EWART: Let's hope the new paradigm and new parliamentary rules don't quite stretch to that.

True to a long standing ritual taken directly from Westminster, the Speaker was then dragged
reluctantly to the chair.

He played the part with a bit of encouragement from Independent Tony Windsor, before
congratulations that reflected what everyone present knew full well: The Parliament was entering a
new era and even deciding the speakership had not been a smooth ride.

JULIA GILLARD, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Mr Speaker, on behalf of the Government I offer my
sincere congratulations on your election as Speaker of the House. It seems to have been a long time

TONY ABBOTT, OPPOSITION LEADER: I have to say, Mr Speaker, that I never wavered in my faith that
you were the best person for the job that you hold.

There were weeks when others doubted. There were weeks when you must have doubted yourself, what
was going to emerge from this Parliament, but I was with you every step of the way, Mr Speaker.

LIBERALS: Hear, hear!

TONY ABBOTT: I was there. I was your true friend and I was the true friend of a genuinely
independent speakership in this Parliament.


JULIA GILLARD: Not since the election of your predecessor, Walter Maxwell Nairn, in the hung
parliament of 1940 has your office played such a key role in our democracy.

Three generations later we have a remarkable opportunity to rebuild the standing of this Parliament
in the eyes of the Australian people.

ROB OAKESHOTT, INDEPENDENT MP: You have our full support. I hope the sunshine is coming in and I
hope we all can all make hay while the sun shines under your rule.

HEATHER EWART: There didn't seem to be quite the same sense of optimism pervading the chamber today
and certainly not on the Opposition benches as Tony Abbott reminded the Speaker that under the new
rules negotiated by the Independents, he was no longer a creature of his party.

TONY ABBOTT: You are now free to be in this Parliament everything that a Westminster-style Speaker
should be. This is your time, Mr Speaker and I know you will use it to the best interests of this
Parliament and this nation.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE, OPPOSITION MANAGER OF BUSINESS: Mr Speaker, I think it's fair to say and it's
honest to say that you and I have had something of a love hate relationship over the last few years
as manager of opposition business.

I need you to love me as the manager of opposition business - but I haven't always felt that love,
Mr Speaker.

(General guffaws)

HARRY JENKINS: At some stage perhaps the story- the true story of the last few weeks will be aired
but I am happy that I have the support of family and true friends over the last few weeks. It's
given me the strength and desire to take this position.

HEATHER EWART: He's going to need every bit of that strength in the days ahead, because the
Opposition has given every indication it intends to play it tough on the floor of the house.

The signs were all there when Tony Abbott last week reneged on a deal to pair the speaker, thus
reducing Labor's already slim majority.

TONY ABBOTT: So, Mr Speaker, this is an Opposition which will hold this Government to account. This
is an Opposition which will expect of this Government that it honours its commitments.

And what this means- what this means, Mr Speaker, is that it will be a Parliament of robust debate.
That is what the people expect. They do not expect a false consensus. They do not expect the
pretence of agreement when there is none.

HEATHER EWART: Maybe so but there's fine line between robust debate and trying to bring down a
minority government to force another election.

Some of the Independents reckon Tony Abbott has already gone too far with his rhetoric and the
Prime Minister remains furious that the Opposition pulled out of a key part of the deal for
parliamentary reform.

JULIA GILLARD: That some of the reforms outlined in the agreement have not been adhered to is a
cause for regret.

As I say to my colleagues opposite, do not squander this moment - whatever the temptation.



JULIA GILLARD: As we have seen in other political cultures, short term tactical victories lead only
to longer term strategic defeat as our system declines in public esteem.

(Man knocks on Parliament doors with the end of a cane)

HEATHER EWART: With that, another time honoured ritual was set in motion as MPs took a long stroll
from the House of Reps chamber to the Senate to the Governor General outline the Government's
legislative program - including a mining tax -before making this declaration:

QUENTIN BRYCE, AUSTRALIAN GOVERNOR GENERAL: I take pride in opening the 43rd Parliament of the
Commonwealth of Australia.

HEATHER EWART: And it was an opening that soon produced its first surprise, with the Government
outmanoeuvring the Opposition over the deputy speaker's position in the House of Representatives.

The Opposition's preferred candidate was national MP Bruce Scott, and early this afternoon the
Independents agreed they would support him.

But tonight Labor nominated Liberal MP Peter Slipper and he won the post in a secret ballot.

The move appeared to catch Tony Abbott and his team off guard, despite speculation yesterday that
Labor was trying to woo Peter Slipper.

PETER SLIPPER, DEPUTY SPEAKER: Following some misleading reports I drafted a media release
yesterday- in fact I had the leader of the Opposition at the other end of the phone taking down my

But I did in my media release say I would be happy to serve the Parliament as deputy leader but
certainly not on the basis of pairing my vote or guaranteeing confidence and supply to the

TONY ABBOTT: Congratulations to the nominator and the seconder of the Member for Fisher for
nominating him for this high office on that basis - on the basis that he is voting as a normal
member of this Parliament in the normal proceedings of this Parliament.

HEATHER EWART: It was as a good as a warning to Peter Slipper to remember what side he's on.

And while insisting he hasn't done a deal, Labor would not have nominated him unless they thought
there was something in it for them.

After today's pomp and ceremony, tomorrow the Parliament gets down to business and that should give
a clearer indication of whether the unexpected is likely to become the norm in both houses.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Political editor Heather Ewart.

Tony Windsor joins the program

Tony Windsor joins the program

Broadcast: 28/09/2010

Reporter: Kerry O'Brien

Independent MP Tony Windsor speaks with Kerry O'Brien.


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: The Opposition Leader Tony Abbott declined another of our invitations for
an interview tonight, but key Independent Tony Windsor said yes, and he joins me now from
Parliament House.

Tony Windsor, as man who wants stable Government for the next three years and a more cooperative
less belligerent Parliament, how do you reflect on the first day today?

TONY WINDSOR, INDEPENDENT MP: Well, I it was think it was quite a good day. People were very
friendly. There was little bit of the argy bargy in terms of the Speakership and the deputy
Speakership but within the sort of broad church of those on the floor, I think people are happy to
see each other. The new people were greeted well.

But I think you've right. I think we're in for a fairly interesting time. I think the lines are
drawn and the Opposition has an agenda.

KERRY O'BRIEN: So what was your take on why Labor nominated one Coalition MP against the
Coalition's own nominee and is it true that Independents had agreed to support the Coalition's
nominee, Bruce Scott? Were you one of those? And the vote actually suggests that if that is the
case then you changed your mind.

TONY WINDSOR: Well, that's the first time I've heard that there was some sort of an agreement to
support Bruce Scott. I can't speak for anybody else. I can only speak for myself.

It was a secret ballot too so we really don't know...

KERRY O'BRIEN: But there isn't a rule that says you can't say how you voted.

TONY WINDSOR: (Laughs) No, but I respect the secret ballot.

But in terms of your question in relation to Peter Slipper, I think the Labor Party were trying to
score a point back on Tony Abbott for ripping up the agreement to pair the Speaker and the deputy

So there's little bit of- You know, that saga of the Speaker is now over and we will move on to the
more formal and more important business

KERRY O'BRIEN: There's been a certain amount of angst from Independents about Mr Abbott's decision
to back away from one of the 22 points of parliamentary reform that he had earlier agreed to.
Twenty one out of 22's not bad, is it?

TONY WINDSOR: Well, 22 out of 22 is better. And I think it reflects not well on Tony Abbott.

I think he's made a tactical error here and the fact that- though I won't declare how I voted today
but it looks as though all six of the crossbenchers - even those that were supportive of Tony
Abbott in terms of formation of the Government - voted as one today in relation to the deputy

And I think that might be partly due to people saying they weren't comfortable with an agreement
being struck and then being torn up and then - you know, don't expect people just to return to the
fold if you keep going down that track.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Tony Abbott is showing no signs of taking a backward step in the new Parliament and
if he was here now he would no doubt say why shouldn't he? He is after all the Opposition Leader.
He is there to keep the Government honest.

TONY WINDSOR: Oh, yes. I don't have a problem with him going down that track at all. All I'm
suggesting - and I think others are reflecting on - is that he came to an agreement with the Labor
Party and the crossbenchers over certain procedural rules and he's... varied that agreement, to be
kind to him.

And he is quite at liberty to do that. These bits of paper are essentially worth nothing.

But I don't think he can expect people to rush back to the fold and say 'We're right with you,
Tony, because we trust you in the future and whatever you say in the future will be something that
we'll trust'.

He's quite at liberty to be that. He can be the Opposition and he can oppose. I think in a hung
Parliament, he's missing an opportunity to be constructive. But that is my personal view.

I've always tried on the constructive irrespective of which Parliament I'm in and- But he's made a
decision I think that the quickest way to get out of this bind is to go straight through the door
and not open it.

KERRY O'BRIEN: You're on the Government's new committee - parliamentary committee - to come up with
a new framework to establish a price on carbon.

Now, you say you're approaching that exercise with an open mind. But Julia Gillard has said she
only wants people on that committee who support the view that it will be desirable to establish a
price on carbon as an important part of the response to the threat of climate change.

Do you believe unequivocally that there should be a price on carbon?

TONY WINDSOR: I think there will be globally at some time in the future and I think-

The way I'm addressing this - and Julia Gillard is quite entitled to address it the way that she
would like to - but I think there's a bit of a mistake there to actually come up with a predestined
decision and then have a procedure over twelve months to come to that decision.

I am quite happy- and in fact the letter to Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard was in relation to
climate change to step back from the last twelve months. Let's have a look at all these mechanisms
- the direct action mechanism, some of the pricing mechanisms, some of incentive mechanisms.

I think when people say price they think of emissions trading or they think carbon tax. That
doesn't necessarily have to hold.

But I think the committee will be a very worthwhile committee and I think we've got to approach it
with an open book and actually take the information on board and then look at ways and means of
addressing the issue.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Well that does seem to put you- I am not looking to split hairs but that does seem
to put you at odds with Julia Gillard's own expressed view of the people who should make up this

In her media statement yesterday, she said that parliamentary members of the committee will be
drawn from "those who..." And I'm taking a bit out here, but the essential essence of what she says
is " drawn from those who acknowledge that effectively reducing carbon pollution by 2020 will
require a carbon price".

Now are you as un- It doesn't sound to me as if you are as unequivocal as that statement demands.

TONY WINDSOR: Well I think it goes without saying that the most efficient way to deliver the
outcome is through some sort of pricing mechanism.

I think Malcolm Turnbull and others in the Opposition would agree with that. I think most
economists would agree to it.

That doesn't necessarily mean that this committee will come up with a recommendation that a firm
price be put on carbon. That is where I'm coming from.

I think it's very important- and I've been a great advocate for renewable energy and the
opportunities that regional Australia could have in terms of some of the more renewable energies
and an improved environmental policy in relation to renewable energy. But the way I'm looking at it
is that we assess the information, we take on board all the expert information globally and
domestically and then work through a process. I don't want to start with an answer before we ask
the question...

KERRY O'BRIEN: Well, but the whole purpose of this committee, as Julia Gillard has explained it, is
to come up with options as to the best way to put a price on carbon. Now you still seem to be
equivocating from that goal.

TONY WINDSOR: Well we haven't had the 12 months of the committee yet and it would be a waste of
time me going on to the committee if the decision has already been made.

I haven't made a decision. I have real concerns about agriculture and land use shifts in terms of a
carbon economy. Those sort of things can be addressed and I am quite happy to be part of that
committee that addresses them. I am not in a position where I have a fixed view before I start and
I don't think Julia Gillard is, really.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Oh, I see. Well that doesn't at appear to be what she said.

You're well aware of Julia Gillard's promise just before Election Day that she would not have a
carbon tax. Since you're about integrity in Government, are you uncomfortable that you've supported
into minority Government a Prime Minister now declares herself open to the possibility of embracing
a carbon tax having ruled one out?

TONY WINDSOR: Kerry, it's a hung Parliament, as I think you're aware of, so the executive

KERRY O'BRIEN: I think we're all very well aware of that.

TONY WINDSOR: (laughs) And one of the things, as I said earlier, that I did write to Julia Gillard
- and to Tony Abbott - was in relation to climate change, that we...

And in fact I think the words were 'Let's step back from this issue, let's see what's happening
globally in terms of this issue in terms of market mechanisms, direct action as Tony Abbott was
talking about, a whole range of options out there. Let's re assess'. So in light of that - and I
think the Greens have done a similar thing - in light of that and given that the Labor Party don't
have a majority on the floor, they have to work within the parameters that they've been given.

Like it or not, those parameters have come with some certain demands. Some of those demands are
about looking at the climate issue. My direction is more about the opportunities for regional
Australia, rather than fear of it in relation to the country people in particular.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Tony Windsor, thanks very much for talking with us.

TONY WINDSOR: Thanks, Kerry.

Nation's food bowl

Nation's food bowl

Broadcast: 28/09/2010

Reporter: Martin Cuddihy

Experts are gathering tonight for a three day forum contemplating Australia's food security with
the growing global population. Steps are already being made to turn Tasmania into the nation's food


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: Experts are gathering in Brisbane tonight to contemplate the nation's
food security.

The three day forum hopes to pinpoint Australia's role in feeding a rapidly rising global

With the Murray Darling Basin scaling back production, and some experts predicting food prices will
rise by as much as 50 per cent in the next decade the question is, who will make up the shortfall?

With one tenth of Australia's rainfall and only one per cent of its landmass, Tasmania is being
offered up as part of the solution and already steps are being made to turn the Apple Isle into an
important new food bowl.

Martin Cuddihy reports.

MARTIN CUDDIHY, REPORTER: The Murray Darling System has been the country's traditional food bowl
for decades.

It produces everything from red meat to fruit, rice and wool.

This regional heartland is home to three quarters of Australia's irrigated land and provides 40 per
cent of our rural income.

JONATHAN WEST, INNOVATION RESEARCH CENTRE: If you take out five billion dollars worth of production
from the Murray Darling Basin, we will become a net importer of food. That will shock many

MARTIN CUDDIHY: But over development coupled with years of drought is choking the country's biggest
river system.

And what could shock even more is the suggestion that the Murray Darling's days as the food bowl
are numbered.

JONATHAN WEST: We need to increase production of food if we're going to be self sufficient or an
exporter of food.

The only two places you can do that are Tasmania - which has a surplus of water - or the northwest
of Western Australia which also has a surplus of water.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: The founding director of the Australian Innovation Research Centre believes the
focus needs to move away from the Murray Darling system.

Professsor Jonathan West is an expert in agribusiness and has worked for Governments in France, New
Zealand and Japan.

Now he's turned his attention to the island state.

JONATHAN WEST: Tasmania can take up the slack and can fill the hole that's been created in our food
system from the Murray Darling Basin.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: The plan is for a 400 million-dollar network of irrigation projects to turn
Tasmania into the food bowl of the nation.

Here's how it's meant to work:

A series of pipelines pump abundant fresh water from the saturated western part of Tasmania down
from the Central Highlands and into drier areas. Some of the water will be stored in dams and
reservoirs and some will be pumped straight onto crops and pasture.

DAVID BARTLETT, TASMANIAN PREMIER: Twelve per cent of all of Australia's rainfall falls on one and
a half per cent of its landmass - that is, Tasmania.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: It's hoped the water will add a billion dollars each to the dairy, horticulture,
red meat, aquaculture and wine industries.

The idea's been embraced and taken to the national stage by Tasmania's Premier, David Bartlett

DAVID BARTLETT: We have good rainfall - good consistent rainfall - and we have a hundred years of
experience in managing, moving and utilising - exploiting -that water.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: One of the places earmarked for development is Tunbridge - half way between
Launceston and Hobart. This is Tasmania's dry heart.

All too often rain clings to the mountains, not falling where it's needed.

But Richard Gardener is a farmer who's one step ahead. He built a dam ten years ago.

RICHARD GARDENER, FARMER: Tasmania's agricultural production will never really flourish until we
can consistently produce produce of a good quality - but more, just being able to consistently
produce it.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: The land in central Tasmania has been worked for more than 150 years.

Now many of the region's farmers are now throwing their support behind a pipeline to supply the

RICHARD GARDENER: It's all about being able to control your production. So in a dryland system
you're reliant on rainfall from day to day.

This season, when you look at the water we've got here now, we know going into a crop of poppies
that we've got the water to grow the crop so we know that we can make an income out of it.

And that's what it's all about. It's about reliable production.

CHRIS OLDFIELD: The aim of doubling agricultural production in this state is an aim that we think
is achievalble. We think the demand for food, both locally, nationally, internationally will only

MARTIN CUDDIHY: The head of Tasmania's irrigation development board is Chris Oldfield. He's
responsible for the tens of millions of dollars that's being spent on pipelines and dams.

CHRIS OLDFIELD: Reliability of summer water has been a problem for some years in Tasmania. It's
held back our agricultural production. And by providing now sustainable water during the summer and
drier months, it gives farmers the opportunity to grow their businesses with confidence and to
enter into long term contracts with companies knowing they can supply.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: Another region that will have irrigation for the dry summer months is north west

RICHARD BOVILL: Plants require moisture, and they require constant moisture. You have to have
plenty of water. If you've got an irrigation system and plenty of water, you can grow anything.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: Farming can be a fickle business. There's droughts and flooding rains, not to
mention variable commodity prices. By adding water, this scheme aims to bring some certainty to an
uncertain pursuit, which means guaranteed financial returns.

And that has attracted interest from the big end of town.

Victoria based Frank Delahunty and Arthur Apted founded the Sustainable Agricultural Fund, a
domestic institutional investor. The duo is buying some of the best farms in the country - from New
South Wales to King Island.

ARTHUR APTED: The key thing that separates the top 25 per cent of farmers from rest is that the top
25 per cent of farmers make money.

They're very likely every year to make profit.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: Tens of millions have been invested on behalf of massive clients like Australian
Super, AMP and Auscoal Super.

And because of the foodbowl vision, they're eyeing off parts of Tasmania.

ARTHUR APTED: We think it's a good place to be in terms of its standing. Some of the threats
associated wiht Climate Change. And we also believe that there's a range of different types of
farming opportunities available to us in Tasmania which meet our investment criteria.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: The brain behind the food bowl is not surprised by the interest and and Jonathon
West is expecting institutional investors will drive the next economic boom.

The only difference, this time it will be fuelled by water.

JONATHON WEST: We've had a hard commodities boom in Australia - iron ore and coal. We're on the
edge of a soft commodities boom and the smart money is seeing that.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Martin Cuddihy reporting from Tasmania.

Indigenous art

Indigenous art

Broadcast: 28/09/2010

Reporter: Conor Duffy

A new Sydney art exhibition curated by Hetti Perkins is aiming to connect mainstream Australia with
Aboriginal cultural heritage.


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: From the inner city to the remotest part of the nation, Australia's
contemporary Aboriginal art movement is on the move.

A new exhibition in Sydney is showcasing its richness and diversity.

Curated by Hetti Perkins, the daughter of the late activist Charlie Perkins, the exhibition aims to
engage mainstream Australia with Indigenous cultural heritage.

The artists behind the works will also feature in a new ABC documentary filmed by Samson and
Delilah director Warwick Thornton.

Conor Duffy reports.

(Didgeridoo plays)

HERRY PERKINS, CURATOR: The wonderful thing is the diversity. You know, some artists are making
very contemporary interpretations of stories that are, you know, a millenia old. You know, it's the
ancestors stories.

CONOR DUFFY, REPORTER: Deep in the New South Wales Art Gallery is one of the biggest and most
varied collection of Aboriginal works ever assembled.

Paintings and sculptures from north and south, east and west, city and country are all on show,
painstakingly put together by Curator Hetti Perkins.

HETTI PERKINS: Well, it was quite big. It was a pretty exponential learning curve for me. But it's
something that really came out of the express wishes of artists - in travelling around and having
these wonderful privileges to visit people in their communities, whether they be in a studio in
inner city Brisbane or out in a remote area outstation.

(Excerpt from documentary Art & Soul)

HETTY PERKINS: Many of our artists live lives as young men and women completely separated from the
rest of Australia...

(End of excerpt)

CONOR DUFFY: This exhibition came out of a new ABC documentary written by Hetti Perkins and filmed
by the director of the award winning movie Samson and Delilah.

WARWICK THORNTON, DIRECTOR: Hetty, you know, to give her absolute respect, has this incredible
knowledge about art and artists. And it's interesting because the nuts and bolts of film making is
taking a back seat to her knowledge.

CONOR DUFFY: Hetti Perkins is the daughter of the late indigenous activist Charlie Perkins, who was
the first aboriginal university graduate.

Charlie Perkins helped lead a famous freedom ride through regional New South Wales in 1965.

That ride saw bans lifted on Aborigines using local swimming pools and RSLs and Hetti Perkins wants
to continue her father's advocacy.

HETTI PERKINS: But I think one of the things that he- that he told me and my siblings was that if
you get a chance to speak for your people, you do it.

(Excerpt from documentary Art & Soul)

HETTY PERKINS: But it wasn't always like this. Following a time of great drought...

(End of excerpt)

CONOR DUFFY: One of the key themes in the documentary is the connection of Aboriginal people to
their home country.

In particular it explores the forced relocation of Aborigines living in the Western Desert in the
northern territory.

(Excerpt from documentary Art & Soul)

HETTY PERKINS: ..into white society. And all too quickly, they became refugees.

For many years they were in fact exiled from their home, you know, living in Pupunya, this
Government sort of assimilationist outpost. And the way that- For them art became a way of
maintaining that connection to their country hundreds of kilometres to the west.

CONOR DUFFY: City artists are also feature, including Richard Bell from Brisbane, a self proclaimed
trouble maker.

RICHARD BELL, ARTIST: Name the last art movement started by curators.

HETTY PERKINS: Well, you see you wouldn't know because we're such shy, unassuming people that,
unlike some artists, we don't put ourselves forward, Richard.

RICHARD BELL: Oh, really? Really?

HETTY PERKINS: We just stay quietly in the background.

CONOR DUFFY: Richard Bell has been painting works since a chance encounter with another artist in
the 1980s.

RICHARD BELL: I was making tourist art at the time. He said 'Why don't you get into fine art?'

I said 'What are you talking about look at these fine lines here muthaf**ker'.

(Laughs) And of course he laughed. And he said 'No I mean fine art'. And he said 'You know, like
high art'.

I said 'Well, what do you mean by that?' and he said 'Stuff in the galleries and that'.

And I said 'Oh... oh yeah. Turn it up'.

CONOR DUFFY: Despite that he's been producing feisty displays that blend the political and the
traditional ever since.

He hopes the exhibition will generate attention and interest in aboriginal art which he believes is
often neglected.

RICHARD BELL: Well, I just hope the artists and the art work don't just become relics, you know,
like of the longest surviving civilisation this planet's known. And I would've thought that that's
something really, really valuable

CONOR DUFFY: Hetti Perkins is more optimistic about the future and is impressed by the new wave of
Aboriginal artists making their name across the country.

HETTY PERKINS: It's looking pretty good for the future. You know, the children, the younger artists
that are coming through, it's all very exciting. And it's really- I feel very fortunate to have
been part of this particular era of Indigenous art. And I think it bodes really well for my
children and their children - and that this wonderful tradition will continue.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And you can see the documentary Art & Soul on ABC1 on October 7.

Conor Duffy reporting there.