All the world's a stage as Heff takes a cultural stance, while Mal goes global
Shadow minister for communications and broadband Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Labor's much anticipated National Cultural Policy has an ''expected'' release date of ''early 2013''. The first of its kind for 20 years, the policy promises to support the arts, culture and creativity for the next decade.
While the arts world has been fretting that the policy was supposed to come out last year and still has no specific release date, at least we can console ourselves that there are some parts of the community who need no help whatsoever when it comes to creativity.
Liberal senator Bill Heffernan - perhaps best known for his remarks on deliberate barrenness - is no stranger to proffering inventive opinions.
Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan. Photo: Glen McCurtayne
On Tuesday evening, the senator voiced his thoughts in multiple Senate Estimates hearings. In the communications outing, he directed a ''full of shit'' comment towards Stephen Conroy, before declaring the NBN Co's Mike Quigley ''brain dead.''
Then, in the arts hearing, he participated in an interrogation of officials over the cultural policy. Here, the Heff was worried that it may not have enough of a dinky-di emphasis. After all, there's no telling what can happen when hippie artistic types or commie public servants get their hands on things.
''How much of the cultural planning for Australia is picking up the rural, the institution of family farming and all that sort of stuff?'' he asked. ''Part of the culture of the bush is horse riding and all sorts of things, does it pick that up? Or is it more, you know, plaiting your armpits and smoking . . .''
At that, Labor chairman Glenn Sterle intervened with an ''aye, aye, aye'', thus preventing Heffernan from finishing his sentence (smoking what? Salmon?). Heff was unfazed and went over to nick a discussion paper from a defenceless public servant. Sterle put his head in his hands.
On Wednesday, in the House, there was more a culture of dancing around the question than classic creativity (granted, this is still an art). Julia Gillard had already dosey-doed around questions on the mining tax (and government whip Joel Fitzgibbon's outre comments about it), when Malcolm Turnbull queried the slow rollout of the NBN.
Gillard responded with a wandering speech about being on the right side of history, until the member for Wentworth intervened with a point of order. ''I would ask you to interrupt the Prime Minister in her circumnavigation of the globe of irrelevance,'' he said. I think that's Turnbullian for ''full of shit''.'