Wednesday, October 10, 2007

2007 Federal Election

When this entry was created, the the 2007 Federal election was yet to be called.

On 8 October, the Government announced it had committed to funding for Educational lending Right (ELR) past 2008, although there was no mention of the level of funding or whether the ELR pool would be indexed.

This may have resulted from the fact that, in August, the ASA put three key positions to all parties standing for the Federal election. The first related to a recommendation to fund class sets of Australian literature (where in line with curricular practice) for the teaching of Australian literature in secondary schools. The second called for a tax-free awards and grants (including those from the Australia Council) to authors. The third related to continued and increased funding for Lending Rights. To date we have received the following replies:

The Greens
Class Sets
The Australian Greens support a very significant increase in funding to public schools to enable improved resourcing of all areas of the curriculum including English.

The Greens believe curricula decisions are best made by experts including teachers and not politicians. The provision of class sets of Australian literature in schools would receive in principle support from The Australian Greens if such a decision was made in the context of an overall resource funding increase, and that relevant curricula decisions made by boards of education or a national curricula body, if one comes into existence, informed such a decision.

Tax liability of prizes
Removal of tax liability for literary prizes is one way of improving the level of financial support to Australian writers. The Greens support the principle although the scope and extent of such an exemption would need to be examined. Grants from the Australia Council would obviously be prime candidates for such an exemption.

Educational Lending Right
The Greens believe the existing public lending right and the new Educational Lending Right scheme is crucial to maintaining a viable Australian literary industry. We support additional funds directed towards the schemes and the placing of ELR on a permanent footing with guaranteed increases to funding in line with CPI.

The Australian Democrats have responded to the ASA and their position is available here.

ALP’s arts policy released
The ALP’s Shadow Minister for the Arts, Peter Garrett, released the party’s policy paper on the arts in September. While the document is short on detail, it does commit the party to retaining Educational lending Right (ELR), though there is no indication of increased funding or indexation.

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