Page 3290 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 19 October 2022

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MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (11.31): I just want to say a few words about the Cultural Facilities Corporation. I will not comment on appointments; I will leave that to others. That is being well aired elsewhere. The Cultural Facilities Corporation is such an interesting part of our arts scene. It pulls together the visual arts and performing arts. It pulls together our history and our culture. It is a really dynamic environment that is looking after such a range of facilities—CMAG, the theatre and historic Lanyon and Mugga-Mugga. It is such a fascinating way for us to celebrate our culture and celebrate our artists.

The corporation has had an amazing ride over the past few years, as has every single facility in the arts and tourism over the past few years. I know they have been through a lot of stages, and they have done really well. They have adapted so well. They went through this amazing period where they had to work out what to do with their pictures when Canberra was blanketed in smoke. They had to work out what to do with Lanyon Homestead and their remote tourism facilities when we had fires threatening. They had to work out how to stage their shows and how to deal with their programs when COVID keeps disrupting everything. The staff have done an amazing job. I also really appreciate the fact that this is a facility that is making a lot of work for artists.

Next time you are at the theatre when you are getting a drink at the bar, it will be odds-on that the person you see is an artist who is working the bar in order to supplement their income—because that is what we have to do. So I want to pause and be grateful for the CFC. It does a great job. I am glad that we are funding and supporting it. I am glad we are investing in our arts, culture, and history—that is really important—and I am glad we are investing in people and programs, as well as the buildings. That is good to see, and I just want to say: well done to the CFC!

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra—Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Business and Better Regulation, Minister for Human Rights and Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (11.33): I will briefly reflect on a few of the comments delivered by the opposition. Notwithstanding that Mr Cocks has just delivered a speech clearly drafted for, or by, Ms Lee, and given that he claims to be—in his words–“a staunch believer in the public service”, you would expect that Mr Cocks would school himself and respect the public service appointment process of Mr Ramsay. It was nationally advertised, with an esteemed panel led by the Head of Service, and merit based.

As a staunch believer in the public service, Mr Cocks might like to reflect on the broad aspersions that he has cast. I would ask Ms Lawder to reflect on that as well. Mr Cocks’s use of words like “allegedly” and “apparently”, particularly in describing Mr Ramsay’s previous career and experience, might be what we have come to expect of Ms Lee, but, regardless, under parliamentary privilege it was offensive and repugnant, and absolutely beneath what you would expect of members in this place.

As I said earlier in the budget debate, we have an ambition for Canberra to be recognised as Australia’s arts capital. Setting this ambition has borne the updated policy and detailed actions, together with significant investment in both the immediate and the long term for artists and creatives and for the infrastructure that supports them in their craft, culture and performance. The Cultural Facilities Corporation is

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