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ATF 2015 ends in Abbott no confidence motion

Richard Watts

The symbolic gesture, signed by 52 delegates, is a response to more than just cuts to the arts budget.
ATF 2015 ends in Abbott no confidence motion

Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Delegates at the 2015 Australian Theatre Forum ended the four-day forum on a defiantly political note.

Following the closing keynote speech by Belgian festival-maker and curator Frie Leysen at Sydney Opera House, delegates gathered for farewell drinks at the venue’s northern foyer, overlooking the harbour. It was here that ATF curator David Williams and writer Vissolela Ndenzako jointly read aloud a Motion of No Confidence in the current Australian government.


‘As a political gesture, it’s symbolic at best. I’m not naive enough to believe that this is going to change anything. But it was difficult to get to the end of the forum after speaking so much about the political threats to our society and culture and not make any kind of gesture,’ Williams said.

The text of the motion, jointly crafted by a number of delegates, and the names of its signatories (which includes this writer) is reproduced below in full:

MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE (Australian Theatre Forum 2015)

We, the undersigned delegates of ATF2015, voice a motion of no confidence in the actions and ideology of the Federal government currently lead by Prime Minister Anthony Abbott.

This motion is voiced due to our extreme concerns regarding the widespread and devastating attacks on our social infrastructure, and the sustained cuts upon the very underpinning of Australian civil society.

In voicing this motion we, the undersigned delegates of ATF2015, are not merely motivated by the widespread cuts to national investment in the arts and culture. Rather we are compelled to respond by our urgent concerns about the ideologically-driven erosion of our collective social fabric, which, unless checked, will radically reduce our capacity to hope, dream, imagine, build and share.

The irreparable social and cultural cost to the future of this nation will be felt for generations and must be urgently resisted.

This, our motion of no confidence in the actions and ideology of the Federal Government currently led by Prime Minister Anthony Abbott, is voiced by: 

Leticia Caceres
Chris Bendall
David Williams
Vissolela Ndenzako
Justin Smith
Helen Ramoutsaki
Tim Stitz
Samara Hersch
Emma Valente
Lily Shearer
Ashton Malcolm
Emma Webb
Yasmin Gurreeboo
Sarah Austin
Alex Walker
Olivia Allen
Rosalyn Oades
Richard Watts
Fiona Hallenan-Barker
Nat Randall
Rebekah Berger
Barbara Vickery
Rose Godde
Edwin Kemp Attrill
Mina Mokhtarani
Adena Jacobs
Phyllis Jane Rose
Jo Thomas
Afeif Ismail
Racheal Missingham
Joanna Agius
Ilana Gelbart
Todd MacDonald
Fiona Blair
James Wheeler
Sally Blackwood
Mish Grigor
Richard Higgins
Luke Cowling
Petra Kalive
Julie Walker
Ellen Steele
Jennifer Greer Holmes
Carlos Gomes
Stuart Halusz
Rob Brookman
Colin Kinchela
Alice Cooper
Fiona de Garis
Dan Koop
Simon Wellington
Katherine Lyall-Watson

About the author

Richard Watts is ArtsHub's national performing arts editor and Deputy Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on community radio station Three Triple R. The founder of the Emerging Writers' Festival, Richard currently serves on the boards of La Mama Theatre and the journal Going Down Swinging; he is also a member of the Green Room Awards Independent Theatre panel, and a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival. Follow Richard on Twitter: @richardthewatts