I get into a lot of conversations, both online and in person, about the issue of being a "Single Issue" party.
I also get asked, quite a lot, about the Arts Policies of other major parties.
I'd like to address both of these issues here - and put some misconceptions to bed in the process.
The Single Issue
First of all, let me say - we are not a "Single Issue" Party.
I like to explain it this way: we, in The Arts Party, use the lens of "The Arts" - its open, inclusive and innovative culture - to form policy in all areas, social and economic. Just as the Greens use the lens of "Environmentalism" to focus their policy development on areas that aren't specifically environmental; just as Labor use "Working Families" to focus their policy development and the Liberals use "Liberalism" and "Neo-Conservatism" to focus their policy development.
The Hidden Issue
The Greens and Labor both have "Arts policies". They trot them out when it's convenient to the conversation and then put them in a drawer until someone mentions "the arts" again.
The Arts Party is here to make sure that something is actually done regarding these policies - and not ignored between elections.
As a political party we are also a force for advocation. Put another way, we will fight to make sure that the good ideas contained in other parties' Arts policies are actually implemented. The truth of the matter is that the major parties, when forced, pay lip service to supporting The Arts - and nothing more.
The Liberals recent moves towards supporting Innovation go some way towards recognising the importance of becoming the Clever Nation we need to become; something towards recognising the importance of Life-Long Learning.
The Brandis Issue
Let me say, though, at this point that we understand how much work goes into developing policy, and we applaud the work done by the major parties in developing some of the ideas that have been put forward.
But - many people ask me about the work that went into combating and reversing the decisions of Senator Brandis during his short stay as Arts Minister for the Liberals.
I think it's fair to say that The Arts Party were here before the Brandis debacle began and we will be here for a long time to come.
If the most that can be said about an Arts Policy is "it's not as bad a Brandis wanted to make it" then the point is still being missed.
The Big Issue
We, The Arts Party, are here to make sure that these central issues are THE focus of the government. In order to continue to grow our economy we will need to make sure that we are teaching our children to be creative. We will need to support innovation in business. We will need to support our people's ability to retrain themselves and re-skill themselves throughout their life and career.
Our policies differ in many ways from the majors. When I am asked a question such as "how do your policies differ from X Arts Policy?" it only highlights the erroneous idea that a superficial support for The Arts in general is all that is required in order to support Creativity and Culture. It needs so much more than that - and we are here to support the ideas that can do that.
The breadth of issues covered in a major party's "Arts Policy" - as an adjunct, almost afterthought, to the rest of their policy platform - is far narrower than the breadth of topics The Arts Party are discussing.
The Arts isn't just an adjunct to a policy platform. The Arts, Creativity, Investing in Knowledge and Building Community are the principles that will support our economy and improve the living standards of all Australians now and far into the future.
The Arts Party is here to be a party of government - and we will develop policy, with The Arts (it's open, generous, equalising and creative culture) as the beacon that guides us, in any and all areas of social and economic policy.
The Arts, Creativity, The Knowledge Nation and Supporting Community aren't just issues that deserve to be an adjunct to a policy platform that forces out discussions about the Arts, whenever the heat is on. These are the issues that will grow our economy, improve our living standards and create greater equity. These are issues that need their own focus; and we are here to bring that focus to them in a way that the major parties either can't or simply don't.
That's not having a go at anyone - it's just democracy and differentiation in action.
Having said that - we will talk to all other parties about some joint initiatives and combined action for The Arts, Audiences and the Cultural Life of all Australians. We aren't interested in simply running for election (although we feel this is the best chance we can give ourselves of implementing the change we want to see). We are interested in bringing about positive change for the Australian people... any way we can - and that includes advocating for the important issues we think are being ignored, in practice, within Australian politics right now.