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June 17, 2006

Culture Wars Down Under

An old friend of mine, Imre Salusinszky, has been appointed to chair the Australia Council's literature board. (The Australia Council is Oz's counterpart to the US' National Endowment for the Arts.) In spite of having been chairman of the English Department at the University of Newcastle and having a doctorate in English Literature from Oxford, his appointment appears to have upset some of Australia's arts establishment:

Fresh from appointing controversial historian Keith Windschuttle to the board of the ABC, the Federal Government yesterday revealed that The Australian's Imre Salusinszky will chair the Australia Council's literature board. Sydney Institute director Joe Gersh will become the council's deputy chair.

Former Australia Council chairwoman Hilary McPhee attacked the appointments. "This Government is shameless; their ideological bent is so palpable," she said.

But critic and cultural commentator Peter Craven said Dr Salusinszky "notwithstanding his deeply lunatic politics, is a man of considerable warmth with an intense feeling for the literature he likes".

Perhaps some of them are upset because Imre quit his tenured academic position several years ago to become a journalist working for that notorious fascist Rupert Murdock.

Anyway, I think Imre will do a wonderful job doling out writing grants since he cares a lot about good literature and not a whit about multiculti political correctness. (Of course, this begs the question of whether or not the government should be in the business of deciding which artists should receive funding in the first place, but that is another story.)

June 17, 2006 at 09:48 AM | Permalink


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Posted by: Kenneth Anyahun | Jun 25, 2006 3:39:23 PM


He was never "chairman" at Newcastle Uni English department, in fact we as students were lucky if he bothered turning up for lectures (he had more important "Sydney engagements" on more than one occasion - fortunately there's no free education in Australia - I might sound like I'm whinging about how as a paying student I also paid his wages, etc). I look forward to a New Age of the Aussie Bush Ballad with a Smiddie of Dickens to drink it down with - masterfully underwritten to Nothrop Frye asethetics, of course. Expect the burning of anything that sniffs slightly of "MARXISM" - unless it's a sentimental Paul Kelly lyric. Ah, it's so exhilerating vomiting whatever you're thinking at the time - I love this freemarket age!

Posted by: Dave M | Nov 15, 2006 5:09:43 AM

Is it true I look like Imre? Apparently we have never been seen in the same room at the same time and we might be the same person, see



Also, I'd like to send Imre an email, could you either forward this link to him or drop off his address via

Posted by: meika | Dec 1, 2006 10:14:41 PM

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