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Monday, 10 November 2008
Page: 40

Senator MILNE (4:37 PM) —The incorporated speech read as follows—

Minister for the Arts, the Hon. Peter Garrett’s proposals for a resale royalty right for Australian visual artists is yet another example of this Government’s favoured approach—take a good idea and do as little as you possibly can so you can pretend to be doing something about it while safe in the knowledge that nothing will actually happen.

Resale Royalties are an important way for visual artists to be recognised for their work which, not uncommonly, increases dramatically in value over time. This is obviously particularly the case for indigenous artists. It is an approach which the Australian Greens support.

What Minister Garrett has proposed, however, is a scheme which will provide little or no benefit for many years. This is mostly because of the decision to apply the royalty only to second and subsequent sales after the legislation comes into effect. This will inevitably delay any royalty receipts for decades and deprive some artists of significant benefits on first sales. This is a breach of what the community thought the Rudd Government was promising during the 2007 election campaign and members of the artistic community are extremely disappointed.

It is also problematic that the scheme will be different from other schemes around the world, jeopardising hopes that we could negotiate reciprocal rights that would allow Australian artists to benefit from resale of their work in the European and US markets, for instance.

Why is Minister Garrett so determined to do so little when he could so easily do so much?