Paul Bishop

Paul Bishop plays the mayor at QPAC and is a Redcliffe councillor by day

The Queensland Performing Arts Centre board has demanded in writing that a jokey reference to Campbell Newman was excised from the play, Australia Day, between the premiere and opening night.

Writing in Art Hub today, Ben Eltham details the sequence of events that led to the censorship of the light hearted joke. The section that was cut ends with the line “Two words: Campbell Newman.”

It appears the two words weighed heavily on the board’s mind.

Regular readers of Westender’s news feed will remember that we broke the story of the cuts to a dozen institutions last October. Since then, the Arts community has been understandably sensitive about what may or may not affect its funding.

As we put it at the time:

“Having heard Newman wax lyrical about the government’s support for the classical artforms, especially when they uphold politically “incorrect” attitudes to power, sex and politics, it is clear that the arts sector is in a very difficult position.

“If they call out the philistines in George Street then they are relegated to the outer circle with womens reproductive rights, environmentalists, paedophiles, judges and bikies. If they do not, they are complicit in assisting the government in manufacturing a make believe fairyland that masks the chamber of horrors under the pink, glittery frosting.

“You can rely on Westender to keep peeling back the marzipan to reveal the maggots that have inhabited the meal.”

Former Powerhouse director Andrew Ross is quoted in the Arts Hub article pointing out that self censorship through fear is more effective and cheaper to implement than actual directives from the government.

While Newman is busy kicking the stuffing out of any creative endeavours, Lord Mayor Quirk is busy selling Brisbane as a cultural hub and a new World-City.