Good things come to those who wait. The Age finally ran my opinion piece on La Mama Theatre being put "on notice" by the Australia Council, almost two weeks after I sent it in, and only after Robin Usher caught up with the same story. After I submitted it, which ruffled my feathers slightly. An old journalist never loses those scoopish instincts.
A couple of things to note about the subbing: in the original, I said La Mama was picking up where the Community Cultural Development Board left off. Grammatical expediency now includes the New Media Board as well, which in the lo-tech environs of La Mama is patently absurd. And a couple of pars about the Sedition Laws were chopped, which is a pity. For the record, they ran:
Some aspects of this war on freedom of speech, such as the new editorial policies at the ABC, are much discussed. Others are more insidious, such as Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock’s refusal to amend the Sedition provisions in the new anti-Terror Laws, despite recommendations from the Australian Law Reform Commission and a Senate Committee. These laws, according to a range of legal opinion, particularly threaten artists.UPDATE: The cerebral heavyweights over at Tim Blair's blog get stuck into La Mama (and Croggon). Heady, edifying, deeply informed stuff, as you might expect.
Artistic organisations protesting the Sedition laws say they will have a “chilling” effect on artistic expression. “Freedom of expression and public debate is not only the foundation of a free and flourishing literature,” says Angela Bowne, President of Sydney PEN. “It is one of the critical underpinnings of our democracy.”