Music Council of Australia (MCA), September 1, 2005 – 2005/09/01
In a letter addressed to the competent federal ministers and their opposition counterparts, the Music Council of Australia (MCA), which brings together a number of professional cultural organizations, asks the Australian government to vote for the adoption of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions by the 33rd session of the UNESCO General Conference, which will take place from October 3 to 21 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, and early ratification by the Australian government. The MCA notably maintains that there are abundant reasons for Australia to support the Convention and no apparent substantive reasons for its opposition.
Referring to the threats posed to Australian cultural goods and services (new media) by free trade agreements, notably with the U.S., and WTO’s objective of eliminating all forms of funding in the field, MCA emphasized that if realized, this would be a disastrous blow to Australian culture. It thereby maintains that an Australian government truly committed to the protection and development of Australian culture will support the proposed UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. According to the MCA, the Convention presents a normative instrument that will give some shelter to governments that seek to retain the right to support their own cultures even while giving energetic support to the liberalization of trade in other sectors. The obligations imposed by the Convention are not onerous. For the most part, it reserves the right for governments to act, or encourages various types of action, in support of cultural diversity. The entire document seems to sit comfortably with current practices in the cultural realm by the Australian government. [05-26]