House debates

Monday, 9 November 2020

Statements by Members

COVID-19: Arts and Entertainment Industry

4:03 pm

Photo of Josh BurnsJosh Burns (Macnamara, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

At the start of the pandemic, artists and those in the entertainment industry watched as the Prime Minister made announcements on the restrictions and limits on people gathering. When you take away the ability for more than 500 people to gather, that means you take away the ability for many artists and entertainers to work, and in an instant their income is taken away from them. In an instant a huge sector, of $111 billion, was shut down because of what was needed in this pandemic. But there was some hope that maybe this government would come around and support those in the arts and entertainment sector. Of course, we all remember that famous press conference where the Prime Minister stood next to his friend Guy Sebastian, in June, to announce a $250 million support package for the arts. That $250 million looks great on a media release. It looks fantastic on a media release. It's been 137 days since that media event, but how much has been spent? Not a dollar. Not a dollar for our artists and entertainers. Not a dollar for the people who have been unable to work because of the rules of the government as part of this pandemic. And Guy Sebastian, three weeks ago, said on Twitter that he has requested an update from the Prime Minister's office, because he knows that he was used as a political pawn by this government. They are all announcement and no delivery, and now Guy Sebastian has been caught up in their act.