The release of the Australian Federal Budget saw a range of funding cuts right across the board. The government claims that these measures are necessary to save the nation from a looming fiscal crisis. Screen Australia and the Australia Council are among those directly affected by the latest budget.
These two important organisations help to foster the creative media industries of film, theatre, music and television. Now, under the Coalition Government, their ability to produce and promote up-and-coming Australian talent has taken a significant hit.
Notable actor, Cate Blanchett, is leading the chorus of media professionals who are condemning the governments axing of funding to these organisations, calling the measures “short-sighted.” Blanchett’s career was catapulted in part because of her success at the Sydney Theatre Company, which receives federal funding via the Australia Council.
Other opponents of the cuts include prominent Australian hip hop artist, Shannon Kennedy, also known as Ozi Batla. Kennedy attacked the Australian Government following the release of the budget, calling the conservative Liberal Government “ideological bullies” on the micro blogging platform Twitter.
Kennedy is one of eight members of the Australian hip hop group, The Herd, who have been critical of conservative governments in the past. Their popular track, The King is Dead, bids farewell to John Howard after his government lost the 2007 federal election.
The cutting of arts funding has also drawn criticism from Fairfax journalist Steve Dow, who proclaimed on Twitter that the cuts are designed to “discourage creative thought.”
So will the federal governments cuts to the arts stifle the music industry, in particular the hip hop culture? I doubt it. In fact, as in the past, the generally left-leaning industry will likely thrive in opposition to the conservative governments policies and ideological trajectory.
Australia’s conservative politicians have long been a target of the Australian hip hop community. They have also provided inspiration for some clever lyrics, taking aim at Australia’s involvement in the Iraq war and our governments indifference towards indigenous people.
What do you make of the 2014 Australian Federal Budget? Will the Australian hip hop scene be adversely affected, or will it thrive? Share your thoughts in the comments below.