Sensitivity Warning

First Peoples

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this resource may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.


Labor does not simply adopt an “arts policy”. Both Paul Keating’s Creative Nation and Julia Gillard’s Creative Australia were described as cultural policies. This is because of Labor’s deep conviction that the arts represents so much more than entertainment.

The arts drive how we find our place here, how we learn about each other and how the world understands us. A cultural policy allows the power of the arts to reach well beyond official arts bodies to the lives and experiences of every Australian.

'We seek to preserve our culture because it is fundamental to our understanding of who we are. It is the name we go by, the house in which we live. Culture is that which gives us a sense of ourselves.' Creative Nation, 1994

The arts are not only relevant to education, health, or to our understanding of First Nations and appreciation of modern multicultural Australia. The arts also challenge and inspire us.

Our artists affect how we feel. Our literature, theatre and films can take us through a rollercoaster of emotion. Music can shift our emotions by the second bar. Visual art can capture us at the first glance.

That’s why Gough Whitlam described this area of policy as not being a means to an end but an end in itself. That’s why the most important part of this document is a commitment to again have a national cultural policy. Labor won’t start from scratch. Labor will renew Creative Australia with a government wide approach to the sector. Our new cultural policy will be based on the same five themes as Creative Australia:

  • First Nations.
  • Our diversity.
  • Our artists.
  • Our institutions.
  • Communication to each other and the world.

Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, Kevin Rudd, and Julia Gillard all pursued an ambitious and independent approach to the cultural institutions of our nation. They oversaw periods where creativity was championed rather than attacked.

A Shorten Labor Government will value our artists, support our creativity, and cherish our stories.

"Culture is not created by government, but enabled by it. Culture is created by community."

Creative Australia, 2013

Publication Details
Access Rights Type: