NSW premier Baz O’Farrell doesn’t like education or differing opinions, judging from the latest cuts to TAFE and the EDO (Environmental Defenders Office).
Both were given a king hit last week; TAFE fees will rise nearly ten per cent with fewer teachers while art courses will no longer exist. And the essential legal service the EDO provides to the community regarding CSG, planning and environmental advice will end next year.
While it’s easy to blame the previous NSW Labor government’s incompetence and the current federal government on lost GST revenue, it’s worth pausing to reflect on how reducing access to education and information benefits a society.
It doesn’t. No matter what rhetoric our two local National Party MPs spin, eliminating creative expression, critical thought and differing opinions through austerity cuts reflects poorly on a wealthy nation such as ours. Didn’t John Lennon go to art school?
It’s mean-spirited and limits the social spectrum. And actions such as these lead to a homogeneous dull grey tasteless soup where the measure of worth is based only on economic factors.
Totalitarian governments have always been suspicious of art and dissenting views. Take the Degenerate Art Exhibition, held in Berlin in 1939. Works that were clearly of exceptional quality were ridiculed in an effort to persuade the public it wasn’t ‘good’ art. Comedian Lenny Bruce once said, ‘Take away the right to say fuck and you take away the right to say “fuck the government.”
Lenny was referring to censorship of course, but the latest austerity measures of cutting funding to education and legal advice amount to just that.