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Transcript of remarks at the Australian Ballet's China tour announcement, Parliament House

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26 May 2015

Remarks at The Australian Ballet’s China tour announcement, Parliament House, Canberra

ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Thank you very much indeed Libby, and can I also acknowledge my friend and colleague, Julie Bishop, Julie quite often accompanies me to these Arts launches and I think that is a very visible demonstration of her personal, and this Government’s, commitment to the cultural sector, and David McAllister, the Artistic Director and the members of the Company who will travelling to China.

As Libby Christie has said, this is the eighth occasion on which the Australian Ballet will have travelled to China and that tells you something about both the commitment of this great Australian arts company to building Australia’s artistic reputation in China but it also says something about Australian cultural diplomacy and Julie will say something about that in a moment. The Australian Government is an ardent and committed supporter of the Australian Ballet, as we are an ardent and committed supporter of all of our great arts companies. The Australian Government is contributing $150,000 in addition to the regular funding of the Australian Ballet to support this tour.

As Arts Minister it is one of my jobs to remind Australians, because we sometimes neglect this, just how strong the reputations of our best arts companies are on the international stage. The Australian Ballet, as aficionados of the ballet know, is regarded as one of the great ballet companies of the world. Now in its sixth decade it has won an enviable reputation in Europe, in North America and in Asia. And the tour that the ballet will undertake in October of this year, to Shanghai and Beijing as Libby told you, to perform some of their great repertoire works including Swan Lake, including a mixed programme of Australian works as well is illustrative of the quality of their artistry and the quality of the artists that they have attracted to the company - an elite corps of great Australian arts practitioners, in this case, dancers.

The Australian Government will continue to be a great supporter of the arts. We will be a great supporter of the best in the arts - the best of our performing arts companies. Companies that have given endless hours of joy and pleasure to hundreds and hundreds of thousands, indeed millions, of Australians over the years, and continue to make Australia’s reputation abroad as a culturally sophisticated and accomplished nation.