As the investigation into the NPEA draws to a close, has it been more about political theatre than protecting the arts?

The combination of politics and art can produce powerful and galvanising works that shine a fascinating light on the complexities of society past and present. However the combination of politicians and artists has proven to be a far less fruitful pairing during the Senate Arts Inquiry into the National Programme for Excellence in the Arts, which reached the final stop of its national roadshow today. Concluding in Sydney’s CBD, it has travelled the length and breadth of the country, visiting Melbourne, Perth, Hobart, Brisbane, Darwin and Cairns, collecting evidence from the disenfranchised arts sector. A report of the inquiry’s findings is due to be tabled in the Senate on November 26.

The Senate mandated investigation into the effects of the NPEA on Australian arts was ordered in June. It was the result of lobbying by a bipartisan collective of Labor, Green and Independent MPs, led by Shadow Minster for the Arts Mark Dreyfus. These advocates provided a welcome political conduit for the overwhelming national outcry from the arts community to be heard. Its establishment was a major win...

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