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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 1393 ..


Debate resumed.

MR HARGREAVES (5.00): Back in the early 1960s we saw the creation of the School of Music. I refer to the School of Music particularly because I know a lot more about it than I know about the School of Arts. I think their problems are common ones. The School of Music was founded by a shared vision between the Rt Hon. Doug Anthony, MP and Ernest Llewellyn, CBE, the founding director. Ernest Llewellyn's vision for the School of Music in the ACT was that it would be a centre of excellence centred on performance and centred on Canberra. He saw a natural progression of the community participating in musical activities, ultimately ending up in a performance excellence which would be an attraction to people overseas to reverse the brain drain out of this country in the field of music. At that time the school awarded a diploma in music, but all of its other activities were designed around the ACT, or the Canberra area as it was then, to foster musical development as part of the Canberra community, the municipal part of the Canberra community. He fostered the support that the school gave to the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, the development of the Youth Orchestra, the Canberra City Band, single studies through scholarships and the schools program. He saw that as an integral part of the way we had developed as a community and how he saw it going.

His biggest fear, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, was that ultimately the accent at the School of Music would shift from the community and its music to being a tertiary qualification and nothing more; that it would shift from the practice and performance of music into ethnomusicology and the more structured study of it. I had many conversations with him before he passed away about what would happen. He saw the School of Music's contribution to music in this town dying off if we allowed that to happen and, sure enough, that is what appears to be happening. This is the big tragedy.

Much has been said of the community's role. The Chief Minister is quite right in saying that she is having difficulty quantifying the extent of benefit. It is not the first time the Chief Minister has had trouble working out the public benefit. I do not think she really knows what a public benefit test is. The extent of the musical services provided to us by that institution flow from the association that performers of excellence have with people who have less than that excellence. There is an osmotic development. It is part of their employment conditions for these excellent performers to be part of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. It is part of their conditions of employment. We have a regional responsibility and they go as far afield, I believe, as Wagga and other places of that distance.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, we have to understand the responsibility that we have as a community to foster the passage of students from the time they are tiny kids through to the time when they become tertiary qualified and are performers of excellence on the world stage. I do not argue now, as I did argue once, that there is not a role to be played by the ANU. Certainly there is, provided that the ANU recognises that the tertiary qualification music is only part of it. The performance part is superimportant.

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