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Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs
06/03/2018
Growing presence of inauthentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 'style' art and craft products and merchandise for sale across Australia

COLAHAN, Ms Brenda, Treasurer and Executive Member, Aboriginal Art Association of Australia

KNIGHT, Mr Adam, President, Aboriginal Art Association of Australia

TSATSARONIS, Ms Sylvie, Director, Aboriginal Art Association of Australia

[09:36]

CHAIR: Welcome. As these proceedings are public, they are being broadcast and recorded by Hansard. If you wish to have evidence heard in private please let the committee know and we'll consider your request. Although the committee does not require you to give evidence under oath, I wish to advise you that this hearing is a formal proceeding of the parliament. Giving false or misleading evidence is a serious matter and may be regarded as contempt of parliament. If you object to answering a question please state the reason for your objection and the committee will consider the matter. I now invite you to make an opening statement.

Mr Knight : We too would like to pay our respects to the traditional owners of the land on which we stand, and also pay our respects to elders past, present and future. We thank the Senate committee for the opportunity to speak and the opportunity to send in our submission, which we felt was quite important, and we put quite an amount of work into it to ensure that we covered the views of our association. The Aboriginal Art Association of Australia is 20 years old this year. It was established in 1998 and we have over 200 members nationally and internationally.

Personally, as the president, I have also been in the Indigenous industry for 25 years, since I left school. I actually started in the souvenir trade, let's call it, or the small crafts sector, and have evolved over a period of time to work in what I would consider the fine art market. It's an interesting journey and quite representative of what's being discussed here today.

One of the things that we'd like to illuminate from the start is the clarification of the fine-arts market as opposed to the craft-arts market. One of the things that's been occurring in this particular debate, or the fake-art campaign, is that we're finding that the fine-art market is being bundled in with that particular issue. We acknowledge that there is a significant issue with cultural items being produced and manufactured and painted and so forth overseas, a lot of misappropriation and all sorts of things like that, but we don't agree that there's a significant issue in the fine-arts market. The Indigenous Australian fine-arts market is flourishing and, I would have to say, is probably the most successful self-determined industry of Indigenous Australia. We would like to make that differentiation quite clear, because it's fundamental to the way we think about what we're going to say moving forward.

The goals of the association are, essentially, to be completely non-paternalistic. What we have done, in order to do that, is set up an Indigenous Aboriginal cultural council with all-Aboriginal members. The idea is that when issues—like the issues that you guys are being asked to deal with in this inquiry—come to the association, they are then handed to the cultural council for investigation and for them to give us findings, which become binding on the rest of our board.

The thing that has been identified by many of the issues raised through the submissions—not just our submission, but most of the submissions that were sent through—is the actual labelling. There are significant laws in Australia that do cater for lots of the issues that are occurring in the Indigenous arts sector, but labelling is the main one where they are essentially non-existent. An example would be where an Indigenous artist licences somebody in Indonesia to paint their design, and that item then comes to Australia and is marketed as handpainted Aboriginal art, which is true. But it's not painted by an Aboriginal person; it's handpainted by somebody in Indonesia. It is crazy that that is allowed to occur. I find labelling to be the most important thing. We fundamentally believe that it needs to be an exact identification of what that item is and where that item came from—the source of it, the cultural knowledge and the hand that created it, painted it, or whatever it might be. That would solve a hell of a lot of the problems that have been raised through this process.

Then, obviously, it comes down to enforcement. At the moment, there is a completely under-resourced organisation, whether it be the Indigenous Art Code or even ourselves as the Aboriginal Art Association of Australia. There's the funding available and the number of resources. Gabrielle is celebrated as being on her own. But I think that she shouldn't be on her own, because the government set that up post the 2007 Senate inquiry. You set up a governing body with one person to try and maintain all the findings of that particular inquiry—I find it quite astounding that that's where it's at, at the moment.

The enforcement is not there. If I went to the Victorian market today and started selling fake Nike shoes, I would have a police raid within 10 minutes. But I can go there and sell a heap of Indigenous art that's completely fake, and no-one will do anything about it. That's a very simple understanding of how current laws could actually work in some cases, but they just don't. There's not enough enforcement to do it. I do think there's an avenue, through a cultural council-type concept, where Indigenous people are empowered to potentially make rulings on whether things are suitable, and on what sort of labelling they may get if that was to be enforced.

The industry is so significantly large now that the AA Association would like to see as much of the money, or the profits, from those items being returned to Aboriginal people rather than poor participants or overseas people who are creating them without the appropriate licences and permissions, and so forth. There was the ABC report into this where they made the statement that 80 per cent of Aboriginal art is not Aboriginal art. As a fine art dealer, I did a show in New York in June last year—and I'm about to do another show in New York in May this year—and I had people come up to me and say, 'Isn't this a major issue; isn't 80 per cent of the art fake?' It's not, and it's quite sad. But I can understand that 80 per cent of the artefacts and the things sold around here, in Sydney and Melbourne, are definitely—it is significantly problematic. I really need to make that differentiation: the fine art market is not in the same situation and has flourished because of the way it's operated without some of these legal or binding control mechanisms. That's why it's so dynamic. But it's a completely different story with the smaller level of the arts and crafts sector, I agree.

That's essentially our opening statement. It gives you a summary of our submission. We are open to questions, unless Sylvie or Brenda want to add anything.

Ms Colahan : If I can jump in: there has been an attempt at labelling in the past, which didn't work because it wasn't properly policed. What we're trying to say here is that there's no point trying to open every cargo shipment that arrives from Indonesia full of souvenir end product. What we're trying to do is educate the retailers and the buying public so that the consumer would have the empowerment to make an informed choice about what is put before them. I don't think we can completely obliterate the souvenir and mementos market in Australia. I think there will always be cheap end product that imitates or appropriates, if you like, Indigenous design. You look to markets overseas where this is the case. In Europe cheap souvenirs will always be available.

What we're trying to do is differentiate what is authentic product by correct labelling. I think there's the case that we should look to our immediate neighbours in the South Pacific, the Polynesian countries and the Maori culture who have done this very successfully. We really are behind with what we are doing in Australia with our Indigenous product. There have been successes—for example, the Maori tiki carvings have successfully eliminated a lot of that cheap, plastic reproduced product even though it's available. By correctly labelling the more authentic product in New Zealand the consumer has the information before them to decide, 'Yes, I will spend $300 on something that's an authentic indigenous carving as opposed to a plastic reproduction.' They are still there, but what they've seen in studies since they've introduced labelling is an increase in awareness. The consumer makes the choice and therefore more is spent on authentic product. It has rolled into the fine art market as well. So if we look at what New Zealand's done, it is a good case study for how we should approach labelling here. It has had a knock-on effect of increasing spending in fine art as well. That is available and it's in the submission that we've already presented for consideration. It's the same in the Polynesian countries—they've done this successfully.

I think what we're not saying is, 'Let's just put a ban on product,' because if there's correct licensing it can be a source of income to Indigenous peoples. We're saying that if it's correctly presented that's where we should be going. And the impact on the fine art market, as Adam said, is correct. A blanket statement like, '80 per cent of art is fake,' has a very detrimental effect on the fine art market. So we really have to be very clear on what we're talking about here and we have to make those appropriate moves to take some of the semantics and wording out so there's not a detrimental knock-on effect to the market at large. That has happened with other things as well—we haven't meant to harm, but it has harmed in the long term. So we need to consider how we're going to advertise this campaign.

Ms Tsatsaronis : Following what Brenda has just said, by implementing a fairly robust correct marking that identifies where the product is sourced, the attribution to the artist and its intellectual property, the consumer is in a position to make a judgement whether to buy an authentic product sourced from Australia or one from Indonesia. They are making an educated buying decision. It's hard to control the knock-offs, so what we should do is focus on the authentic products and establish a trust mark very much like the Australian Made logo. When you see the logo you see right away that it's made in Australia. The Australian Made Campaign has a very, very strict guideline on how to use is and it is not flexible. The same policies should apply to a trust mark for an authentic Aboriginal product that is licensed. It has to be transparent.

This would also put pressure on throughout the supply chain. By educating the retailers to stock their shelves with proper, licensed products, they are actually, in a way, disabling the distributors and manufacturers of the knock-offs. So, by default, we might have a bit of a shift here. The manufacturers will start looking into best practice and retailers will be looking into best practice, and the same with the distributors.

So, we need to educate every segment of this supply chain but put a lot of that focus on the intermediaries—your manufacturers, your distributors and most of all your retailers. You walk into a gallery or a gift store, and if the knock-off isn't on the shelf then you don't have an issue; you've got no choice, and you buy an authentic product. And how do we implement such a thing? We need to build on a working model with a body that's all inclusive, that covers every sector of the industry—the galleries, the retailers, the manufacturers, the distributors and the artists. We need to have a body that is part of that implementation to police it.

Ms Colahan : And that could be in the form of extending the Indigenous Art Code to be more inclusive of other bodies.

Mr Knight : One of the issues that you have with this situation—obviously having been in the Indigenous arts industry for 25 years—is that you have different areas of Australia and different Indigenous people in different areas who have completely different views about certain things. You'll have some Indigenous people who don't believe that a woman can paint a didgeridoo. You have some Indigenous people in Victoria who say that a woman can paint a didgeridoo. It becomes essentially a bit of a minefield. You can even have a family of Indigenous people in a certain community where the elder might say to a younger person that he's not allowed to use that design—they might have had a falling out with that particular family member. Things like that become quite problematic. For it to work, you'd need a very broad-based Aboriginal cultural council, essentially, that would be able to deal with those matters and take those sorts of personal judgements out of it but have a rational and ethical way of dealing with such an issue—a licensing issue. It could work quite well if it was done in that way.

CHAIR: I'm going to throw it open to my colleagues, and then I'll come back with my own questions.

Ms CLAYDON: Thank you, Chair, and thank you all for your evidence this morning. I really want to try to get you to talk a little bit more about the proper labelling that you refer to. I think in your submission there is proper labelling, proper licensing, proper education, consumers, wholesalers, producers and retailers, and you said that this was your preferred mode of trying to enhance authentic First Nations art being available. You've made a lot of effort to distinguish the fine art market from the tourist industry, but I want you to talk a little bit more about this proper labelling. And I will pick you up, Ms Colahan, around your reference to the New Zealand labelling. You're not the first to refer to it, but it is my understanding that that trademark was introduced back in 2002 by the then Creative Arts of New Zealand. The government stopped funding that body, because there was no increase in sales of Maori art by licensed artists and retailers, so there was no evidence to support the argument around the value of having proper labelling.

So, the funding was pulled in 2009, and the supporters of that trademark are now forced into a charitable trust fund arrangement. That's been in existence since 2013. We're five years down the track. I'm not entirely sure, to be honest, how they're surviving in the charitable trust fund world. But that is now the body that administers that trademark and attempts to maintain the register of artists and supports Maori art. Given you have already flagged your concerns around the lack of adequately resourced peak bodies doing the kinds of advocacy and administrative work that would be necessary, I am wondering how you think the proper labelling that you are pitching today would be somehow different and not end up in that same pathway that New Zealand has found itself in.

Mr Knight : As the example before, where an Indigenous artist can licence a design to somebody that gets painted in Indonesia, comes back and can currently say on the shelves 'hand painted Aboriginal artwork'. Yes, it is hand painted and yes it is an Aboriginal artwork under licence but it is hand painted by an Indonesian person and it is completely misrepresented to the consumer what the consumer is getting. We are not saying that that is everything; we are saying that to get the labelling right is the best first move. And then there are normal laws with the ACCC and all sorts of things that can be used if somebody happens to mislabel things like that inappropriately, it is not illegal. We have actually researched that particular case. It is happening in Sydney. That company's lawyers have said that what they are doing is not illegal. We have had it checked and have been told that it is not illegal for him to do what he is doing but we can't do anything about it. It's unethical but we can't do anything about it.

Ms CLAYDON: That is the problem with the existing copyright and consumer law.

Mr Knight : Yes. It is a good start.

Ms CLAYDON: I am interested in what you think would be the ingredients of a successful labelling given that there is some experience that troubles me in that maybe it was or wasn't properly supported. Maybe it was that there wasn't a good education campaign around that. But I am interested to hear what you think are the non-refundable, non-negotiable ingredients in a campaign around proper labelling.

Mr Knight : With food, for example, if there is the remotest chance there could be some peanuts in a production line, they have to put on that ingredients list that there may be contents of peanuts and so forth. But with Indigenous products, you can do like the example I just gave. We would say that the actual label needs to represent exactly—not potentially, exactly—the process of that particular item: this a handcrafted boomerang made in Australia hand painted by an Aboriginal person. Or it could be screen printed as long as it says exactly what it is. At the moment, everything is all grey.

Ms Colahan : There is no information that you can find on products to differentiate an absolute out-and-out fake product from an authentic product.

Mr Knight : It is not that you are trying to stop the cheap stuff; the issue is you are trying to make it so that the Indigenous person is making the money out of the cheap stuff. If the thing is labelled correctly, then the consumer can see that there is Aboriginal involvement in that particular product. It doesn't matter that it was made in China. I don't want to stop an Indigenous person signing a deal with a Chinese manufacturer to make t-shirts like Andy Warhol does or like Damian Hirst does. I don't want that to happen. I want that to flourish in the future. It's not about the deal; it's about making sure that the details of the deal are in front of everybody when they make that choice.

Ms Tsatsaronis : Current labelling laws are open to interpretation and you can be as creative as you like with them. You could get a boomerang painted in Australia but the boomerang came from Indonesia. How would you rebrand that? How would you label that? You would say: painted in Australia by an Aboriginal artist—their name—from imported materials. At least the buyer would know that it is painted by an Indigenous person but the boomerang, the actual timber, came from Indonesia. That is just one example. You need to identify the source. You need to identify: where they sourced the material from; who painted it; how it was painted; and the person who owns the intellectual property.

The way it currently stands is that there is a plethora of product on the market that's sourced from overseas. Where there is no real Indigenous content, no-one's getting any royalties. It's misleading the consumer to have 'Australia' written on it or 'handpainted' written on it. The consumer is misled into thinking they've just bought something that's handpainted in Australia. I've spoken to a number of companies that are responsible for this product, and the one thing they've all said to me is, 'Sylvie, that's easy. We're quite happy to change our commerce marking when our competitor changes theirs.' What they're saying is: while the law is the way it is today, they will continue presenting their product with misleading commerce markings for their own commercial interests. Once there is a shift in the law that is implemented, and they have to be transparent, they will follow suit.

Ms CLAYDON: We have a few people presenting today and so we can try to tease out what those changes in law might look like. Who do you envisage administering the enforcement? If all retail outlets were signed up members of the Indigenous art code, would that be adequate?

Mr Knight : It's a good resource..

Ms CLAYDON: Clearly a one-woman show, even if she is a superwoman, would be pretty damn hard. It is a body like that—

Mr Knight : That's what we say in our submission; that's what we believe.

Ms Tsatsaronis : It would have to be a body that covers every sector of the Indigenous arts industry. It has to include your retailers, your gallerists, your artists. It's not just arts centres and certain artists. It has to be an all-inclusive body that covers everyone and represents every sector of the industry. It's a huge industry. The tourism industry is massive. Every one of us who has travelled has come home with souvenirs. We are all price sensitive, and so it's always the cheaper stuff that's going to sell. We've all done it. You do need a body that's strong, that's well funded and that actually understands every sector of the supply chain. Get the labelling right and you will change consumer behaviour.

Mr Knight : The other thing to state on a positive note is that it's a wonderful thing that this is happening now because this industry is about to go ballistic in my opinion with the popularity of Indigenous culture. The celebration of Indigenous culture is growing astronomically at the moment. The number of requests I get from people all over the world for the licensing of even for high-end things—'Can we do it on bed linen?' 'Can we make curtains?' 'Can we make carpets?' I can see that it's going to explode, and so the sooner you guys can come up with some solutions with the help of the industry, the better, because I can only see it getting a hell of a lot worse if we don't do anything.

Mr SNOWDON: I have a question about attribution. In your submission you say:

Attribution is not cut and dried, demonstrated by the fact that experts in the field have developed and use a 'sliding scale of attribution' to manage this cultural and evolutionary complexity.

Can you explain what that means? What does that sliding scale look like?

Ms Colahan : We came up with the sliding scale as valuers. I am also a fine art valuer and I value extensively for the Cultural Gifts Program. Some of our colleagues who were members of the association and also valuer members came up with an attribution to describe fine art material as being 'wholly or in part the work' of a particular artist. If you took Clifford Possum as the exemplar, you could look at the work of Clifford Possum and in your good opinion, based on provenance, catalogue codes and where the work has come from, you could say that work is the work of Clifford Possum. If it was assisted by family members, which is still culturally appropriate, in our sliding scale we came up with as the next step down of 'an assisted work by family members' and so on down to 'bears the signature of but may not necessarily be the work of'.

The sliding scale was based on the way international auctioneers catalogue works. For example, Sotheby's and Christie's, if you have seen their catalogues, might describe a work by a well-known European studio as 'of the studio of' a particular artist, meaning that it's an artwork that has an association with a famous artist, but it may not necessarily be wholly the work of that artist. It still has a market; it still is collectible. Its value would be significantly reduced when compared to a work in whole by a particular artist.

We did this so that we could not just say, 'That's not the work of Clifford Possum but this is,' and be black or white about it because then you get into the realm of fake or real. In Indigenous culture, particularly where it is permissible to have assisted works—where an artist may do the main design of a painting and then family members might do the in-fill or the decorative design—it is absolutely okay in their culture for this to happen as a community artwork. One would need to describe that fully in appropriately valuing the work and therefore it would get a different kind of market value. So we came up with this sliding scale. I thought that, if we could apply the same model we have as valuers as some sort of description on fine art and product, we'd be getting close to how it might work. We are not saying that everything that is not wholly by an artist is a fake. We need to be very careful because, otherwise, we'd exclude a great bulk of the market. We are changing people's lives and their livelihood. That's what we are particularly to get out there—a sliding scale of attribution.

Mr Knight : Clifford Possum is a perfect example. I looked after Clifford Possum as his agent for 15 years, and we had exactly that situation where there were works done 100 per cent by him and works that were done by—

Mr SNOWDON: Do you know the Potato Dreaming painting?

Mr Knight : Yes.

Mr SNOWDON: That was knocked off out of my office.

Mr Knight : I remember something about that.

Mr SNOWDON: Didn't know what it was worth.

Mr Knight : You were talking to Esther before, and Clifford's another example. There are Clifford Possum ties on eBay right now, which Clifford had no idea about—no licence; they're just on eBay and you can buy them. The Public Trustee has access to his copyright but, again, no-one does anything about it. There are notebooks on there which are not licensed—I mean, it's just crazy.

Mr SNOWDON: In terms of authenticity, how do you guarantee the provenance of a piece of art?

Mr Knight : With difficulty.

Ms Colahan : Yes, and with experience and by research, but then there is always a margin of error if you get it wrong. You need to investigate the source of the painting and you need to look at where it's come from, where it's been handled, correct cataloguing numbers. You also need to look at the dealer or the community that has produced it. Then you trust that artist produced that work. You also have to use subjective approach. I look at thousands of paintings a year. Through experience I do get a sense of what looks to me to be fully the work of a particular artist or in part assisted. There are various visual cues that you would use alongside cataloguing and where it's come from.

Mr Knight : In Indigenous art you have to be very careful. For example, a lot of Indigenous art dealers will take heaps of photographs of the artist painting a work and sell the painting with all these photographs. Some of the worst participants in our industry take the photographs and so the problematic artwork has photographs. As president, I've been encouraging our members to stop using photographs as a sales mechanism to justify authenticity. It's disgraceful. You don't go and buy a Brett Whiteley and say, 'I want a photograph of Brett Whiteley holding the work.' Or John Olsen and say, 'I want a photograph of John Olsen holding the painting to prove it's yours.' If you don't have the ethics or the integrity in this industry for the painting to be correctly authored, then you shouldn't be in the industry. What's actually happening is that people are going around with photographs to justify the authenticity, but some of them are the worst people in the industry, and they are fake paintings. It's very frustrating.

Mr SNOWDON: When you or your members go to purchase art, do you purchase it from art centres acting as agents for artists or do you go directly to artists? How do you purchase art?

Mr Knight : Sixty per cent of my work would come from Australian arts centres such as Papunya Tula, Tjala Arts and Tjungu Palya—those sorts of arts centres. Then the rest would be private individual independent artists like Gabriella Possum Nungurrayi and Josie Petrick Kemarre, whom I've had the relationship with for 15 to 20 years.

Mr SNOWDON: This is not a question of you, but how can we guarantee that the relationship between you and those artists is ethical?

Mr Knight : It's an awesome question. You've got to do that through a relationship. Would you go and buy a diamond for your wife from some bloke who's selling them out of the back of a car, for example? I've been dealing with those artists for that many years, and there is the relationship. When I purchase a painting that's not from an arts centre, I will only purchase a painting from another dealer when I have observed and am aware of a mutually beneficial long-term relationship with that particular artist. That is a very simple thing to apply. There are art dealers out there who will just jump from one artist to another because this one won an award and then that one won an award. But, if you want to deal with one of those blokes, there's no relationship there. It's a financial mechanism only. So I have my own rules, which work very well.

Mr SNOWDON: You were here for the previous witnesses, and you understand the nature of the relationships you're dealing with. How do you look at the ethics from the artist's point of view and make sure that the way in which they're being treated is actually ethical? How do you avoid the manipulation of an artist and potentially purchasing their copyright without their knowledge?

Mr Knight : Artists themselves are human, for a start. Some Indigenous artists actually can be quite difficult people to deal with as well. Sometimes the Indigenous artists are at fault as well with the way the relationship can transpire. The reality is that, as you said before, the artist may have an alcohol dependency problem or something like that. It may not even be that; it may just be because they have a financial dependency problem because they have five kids and 16 grandkids. So it is very difficult. I don't know how you document that, except that an ethical person will treat an artist the right way. The relationship will continue forever if you look after your artists. If you go to Alice Springs and see these old Aboriginal artists, they will tell you who's doing the wrong thing. But will they still keep dealing with them? Yes, they will, because at 10 o'clock at night, when they have to feed four people and there's no food in the house, they'll still sell a painting to somebody who they've just told you is the worst bloke in Australia. So it's sad, but it's part of the mechanism of the way Aboriginal culture, in certain remote areas, is actually working. I'm not sure I can fix that problem.

Ms Colahan : It comes down to self-determination. They have the right to paint for whomever they like, and if they want to do 10 awful paintings that's up to them.

Mr Knight : I'm continuously fighting that copyright thing as well, though. Gabriella Possum comes to me and said, 'There's a guy making my jumpers.' I say, 'Righto, can I see the agreement.' I get the agreement. The agreement is a page, handwritten, 10 lines, and he's virtually got the approval forever. I just say to him, 'Mate, go on; otherwise, we'll take it legal,' and it usually isn't a problem. Probably every two or three months I get into one of those situations. This is obviously not the association; this is just me as Adam Knight the art dealer, with my relationships. I'm trying to do it all the time, but that's not ideal either, really.

CHAIR: Thank you. Following on from that, just go back a step for me. You mentioned the Indigenous Art Council, and then you mentioned that there are disparities in cultural perceptions of what is an authentic art item.

Mr Knight : Yes.

CHAIR: I'm talking about the items, not the fine art.

Mr Knight : Yes.

CHAIR: There are the musical instruments and the other things.

Mr Knight : Rainsticks, for example.

CHAIR: They are separate. How do you resolve that, and how broad is the consultation with the current structure of the Indigenous Cultural Council?

Mr Knight : That's the point. We don't want to be the ones that dictate that. I completely remove myself from any judgement on that level. I have my personal views, potentially, but I would never have any outcomes generated by that. The reason we set up the cultural council is that they are Indigenous people who go and investigate whatever that situation is—a rainstick or something like that. Then they come back to us and make a recommendation to the board of the Aboriginal Art Association which is actually binding. An example is rainsticks. You can go and buy Aboriginal rainsticks all over Australia, including in Queensland—Cairns and all that sort of stuff. Our cultural council has identified that rainsticks are not Australian and have never been Australian. This is not Adam Knight, Brenda or Sylvie saying it; this is our cultural council saying they should not be marketed as an Aboriginal product, because they never were. That is an example.

CHAIR: How many members are there currently?

Mr Knight : Currently, there are five.

CHAIR: Five

Mr Knight : And we're—

CHAIR: Are they representative of different areas of Australia?

Mr Knight : Yes.

CHAIR: Bringing that back to the labelling concept, it appears to me that there actually needs to be three levels of certification, almost. One is for your own level, which is your ethics and morality in the way you deal with Indigenous artists. There needs to be an accepted code of conduct—

Mr Knight : Yes.

CHAIR: which all the Indigenous art centres—

Mr Knight : Yes.

CHAIR: and Indigenous artists are aware of. That needs to be one of the establishment ones. I would welcome your comments and, possibly, what your recommendations are and how that should be structured.

Another one is that in order for the fine arts to be separated from the plethora of Indigenous items, the sliding scale of authenticity needs to come back to us as a recommendation for fine arts. That is in order to push these two apart. And the last one relates to the actual labelling. With the Australian Made logo, it took three years, I think, from the first committee meeting I went to to establish the percentage of Australian-ness of a product which became universally accepted—

Mr Knight : I can imagine!

CHAIR: And there was another characteristic that had to be changed, and it might be something worthwhile for you to discuss with the council: the font size. Where the country of origin used to be in eight point font it is now mandatory that it has to be in 12 point so that a person can easily read the country of origin. That might answer some of the problems that creates. Your suggestions as to how that would work would be most welcome.

Another is that it took many years for the Australian Made logo to become market acceptable and market preference. Then, all of a sudden, there was enough consumer identification with that product. Admittedly, I think there must have been some government push simultaneously—that would be worth investigating—to make the consumer aware of the legitimacy of that logo. That might be something that you could come back to our committee about, in relation to the New Zealand one. There has to be a certain degree of push from (A) the retailer and (B) the actual producer to say, 'This is a good mechanism for all of us.' It has to be an opt-in situation, because if you have individual artists having to pay a massive fee that needs to be looked at. I would really welcome any way that you could suggest for that to come through from the individual artist to the art centre, to differentiate that marketplace.

It seems to me that there are actually three levels here that we need to examine. I would very much welcome your suggestions along those lines.

Mr Knight : Essentially, we think that strengthening the IAC so that the logo became something where people said, 'I've got to buy from that gallery because it's an IAC member,' is something that would answer much of what you just raised. I can see what you mean in the sense of it being a massive effort to get to that point of strength—where that logo has the strength to justify that commitment by a consumer.

CHAIR: And that isn't going to come from government, I might say.

Mr Knight : It's hard—

CHAIR: It needs to come from organisations such as yours, saying, 'These are our recommendations in order for this to become a reality for our industry.' I do believe that there is some need for urgency, because you're not the first person to have said to us that Indigenous art and culture are having a massive blossoming in desirability and cultural understanding. I think there is also a developing appetite for understanding the story behind the artwork.

Mr Knight : For sure—yes.

CHAIR: That's becoming a very important part of it. So I would very much welcome your suggestions coming back on those three different levels of differentiation.

Mr Knight : Fantastic.

CHAIR: Are there any further questions? No? So, apart from thanking all three of you sincerely for all of your energy and passion in this matter, I'd just like to thank you for your attendance at today's hearing. If you've been asked to provide any additional information or if there is anything else you'd like to provide—assuming those three things—please forward these to the secretariat by 20 March. You'll be sent a copy of the transcript of your evidence to which you may suggest any corrections.

Mr Knight : Fantastic. Thanks so much, Chair.

Ms Colahan : Thank you.

Ms Tsatsaronis : Thank you.