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Sydney artists form new political party

Filmmaker PJ Collins

Two Sydney artists have founded a new political party in the aftermath of the federal election to focus attention and resources on the arts in Australia.

Filmmaker PJ Collins and actor Nicholas Gledhill launched the Australian Arts Party two weeks ago and have already raised more than 45 per cent of its funding target. They currently have more than 180 members.

Mr Collins believes the party will fill a gap between both major parties because they have failed to recognise and promote arts and culture within Australia.

“The party’s primary interest is to promote arts and creativity…it’s about Australians creating great stuff for other Australians to appreciate and enjoy and learn from,” he said.

Mr Gledhill also believes the party can support a broad policy platform due to the strong sense of culture advocated by the arts.

“We stand for all artists and people who enjoy artistic output in all its forms. But we also stand for all Australians,” he said.

“The culture of arts, its inclusive and pluralistic culture can and should inform all areas of policy development, to encourage a kinder, better, more creative and inventive Australia. The Arts Party is here to make that happen in Australian politics.”

Mr Collins believes that the federal election provided a great example of how small parties could influence politics and shape the national agenda.

“A small party can have a disproportionate amount of power in the right place and at the right time, and for Australian arts and culture this is the right place and right time… and it is well overdue,” he said.

The biggest challenge now facing the Australian Arts Party is that to register for the NSW state election they need to have submitted an application by the first week of December. However, to be officially recognised, 500 members are required to be registered.

So far, there has been a groundswell of support from grassroots local community members and while they have not yet reached 500 members, the founders attribute their popularity thus far to the nature of their ideas.

“Purely on the basis of what we are standing for, people are standing up and saying they want to be a part of this,” said Mr Collins.

“12 days ago there was no Arts Party dream, and now we have a Facebook page, quite a few likes, 180 people registered, 60 per cent funded, I can only imagine what it will be like at the end of the 50-day campaign.”

Whether or not they are registered in time for the NSW state election, the party wants to use its strong voice as a lobby group, as well as field candidates in the next federal election.

“Now is a good time to start talking about refreshing the conversation, anyway,” said Mr Gledhill.

“The federal election is over, and there might just be some airspace for new and interesting ideas to get off the ground. We are here to stay.”

For further information visit www.theartsparty.org