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Tuesday, 29 May 1973
Page: 2730

Mr HANSEN (WIDE BAY, QUEENSLAND) - My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Did the Australian Council for the Arts allocate a grant of $50,000 to the Aquarius Arts Festival which finished recently at Nimbin, New South Wales? If the grant did not come from the Australian Council for the Arts, where did it come from? What autonomy is exercised by the Council for the Arts or the responsible body? Is Government approval sought before such grants are made? Has the Prime- Minister seen the statement by the Queensland Stats member for the Gold Coast, Mr Bruce Small - a man who is qualified, I believe, in Sbe exploitation of sex appeal, by taking bikini clad meter maids to Melbourne in mid-winter - that suck an allocation of money was irresponsible?

Mr WHITLAM - I was not aware of the latest comments by Alderman Bruce Small, M.L.A. on cultural or moral matters. I have noticed comments on the support which the Australian Council for the Arts had made for the Aquarius Festival at Nimbin. I do not remember the details as to amount or as to purposes of the support it gave. The grants provided by the various boards of the Council are part of the Council's support for experimental youth and counter cultural activities, many of which do not fall into the normal establishment mould of conventional art forms but which come closer to sociological exercises in many instances. The young people who seek these grants prefer activities which are informal and unstructured but which for them nevertheless provide the same experience and pleasure as more traditional art forms do for many other people in their community. It is expected that the film of the activities of the Festival will have wide distribution following the Festival and that the video cable equipment provided for the closed circuit television hookup between the Festival and the township will be used by the Australian Union of Students on many subsequent occasions.

The Aboriginal visitors came to the Festival as part of a southern tour which took them to the Aboriginal art seminar in Canberra. The international visitors went on from (he Festival to a tons of the other States where they came into contact with other counter culture people who were not present at Nimbin. Aquarius is developing a university and urban circuit for unorthodox and popular performances and groups such as those invited to the Festival Four members of the staff of the Australian Council of the Arts and one consultant, together with a member of the Crafts Board, attended the Festival.

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