Campbell Newman picks Big Brother over the Arts in Queensland

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In Campbell Newman’s Queensland, the Government slashes funding for literature and the arts, but throws money at the producers of Big Brother. Kelly Butterworth reports.

(Image courtesy chadstjames.com)

THE CAMPBELL NEWMAN Queensland Government cut funding for the Premier’s Literary Awards earlier this year.

Then, later in the year, they gave $200,000 to assist in the production of the reality television show Big Brother.

No, this isn’t a joke; this actually happened.

The Literary Awards were cut to save $244,000, just $44,000 more than was given to the producers of Big Brother.  The Government’s defence for the Big Brother cash splash was about the jobs that it would create for Queensland. Except, they weren’t Queensland jobs ― they were Gold Coast jobs. Next defence was about it being a tourism boost ― again, for the Gold Coast.

We can’t put all of the blame on the Newman Government though. The Big Brother payout was actually granted by the Bligh Government ― although no contracts were signed until the Newman Government took over.

Now that Big Brother has officially ended for 2012, it’s safe to make judgement on what riches the show has brought to our society; surely Big Brother strived to provide us with an educational show to prove that the Government was investing wisely, right?

Well, anyone who watched Big Brother this year would have learnt a few things, that’s certainly true. For instance, they would have learnt that talking fish named‘Surly’ can bribe people to do undesirable acts, like throwing a friend’s shoes over a fence. People also would have learnt that it is apparently perfectly acceptable for a man they’ve never met to watch their every move and tell them what they can and cannot do.

Okay, so maybe the housemates’ actions weren’t that educational, but what about their words? Well, in one episode, a housemate stated he believed that TIME’s “Man of the Year” in 1958 was Adolf Hitler. That’s right, the same Fascist dictator who died in a Berlin bunker in 1945. Need I say more?

Frankly, it’s safe to say that the show had no educational value.

At all.

So, was it really worth the Government cutting the funding for a highly respected academic accolade, to instead spend money on a reality TV show with almost absolutely no moral or educational worth? Big Brother lasted just over three months and contributed very little to society — except perhaps from a few laughs at an (undeniably funny) talking fish.

Not worth it at all, when the money could have saved an award for quality literature. Around the same time, Queensland also lost funding for Fanfare and MOST ― two programs which supported and gave amazing opportunities to school-aged musicians all over Queensland. With so much being lost, how can the Government possibly stand and say the money given the producers of Big Brother money was a wise allocation of funds?

Big Brother may have pulled in tourism for the Gold Coast and created a few jobs, but it took money away from academic and cultural pursuits which benefitted the whole of Queensland, not just one small area. How can Queensland voters possibly be okay with their Government funding reality TV instead of supporting genuine cultural pursuits?

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License
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