Amplify your voice this federal election

This guide includes handy tips and a letter template to help you make your voice heard this federal election.

Let’s make sure that all candidates commit to investing in Australia’s creative future. The more of us there are, the stronger we can be. 

NAVA has put this guide together with talking points, handy guides and a letter template to help you make your voice heard.

What can I do right now?

  1. Enrol to vote or check enrolment
  2. Take the pledge
  3. Share our campaign with your networks and on social media
  4. Contact your MP and candidates

Contact your MP

Our Members of Parliament want to hear from us about the issues that matter most. Here’s a sample letter as a guide – but don’t feel you have to copy it verbatim! 

  1. Find your electorate and MP using the Australian Electoral Commission’s Find My Electorate.
  2. Understand their values and motivations by watching or reading their First Speeches in Parliament.
  3. See what bills they have voted for or against by searching the They Vote For You database by name or postcode.
  4. Contact one of them – or all of them! Sample letter below.
  5. Talk up your local arts scene by using Australia Council’s Electorate Profiles.

Your address
The date

For a House of Representatives Member:
The Hon FIRSTNAME SURNAME MP (if they’re a minister)
or FIRSTNAME SURNAME MP (if they’re not)
PO Box 6022

Or a Senator:
The Hon FIRSTNAME SURNAME MP (if they’re a minister)
or Senator FIRSTNAME SURNAME (if they’re not)
PO Box 6100


Dear Mr/Ms/Mx/Senator SURNAME,

One of the most important election issues for me and my community is arts policy and funding. As one of many artists LIVING/WORKING in your ELECTORATE/STATE, I’m writing to request a meeting to brief you about my practice in the context of national issues.

My practice is THIS and THAT. I work mostly from my STUDIO but I also support my practice by DOING THIS OTHER THING MAYBE. Making and showing new work is important to me BECAUSE OF THESE REASONS.  

In your First Speech to Parliament, you spoke about THIS, and that struck me FOR THESE REASONS.

Australia urgently needs bold arts policies – because without one, we risk losing culture, talent, jobs, and the local economies they power. Right now the visual arts are Australia’s most popular artform in terms of participation. While 98% of all Australians engage with the arts, 30% of all Australians enjoy or create visual art. The arts industry overall contributes $111.7 billion to the economy, or 6.4% of GDP, and employs more people than the IT, mining and energy sectors each employ. And with audiences growing, multiple billions are about to be spent on new contemporary art galleries all over Australia.

However, the numbers of visual artists and craft practitioners are declining, and so are our incomes – both our overall incomes, which are 21% below the average wage, and the incomes professional artists derive exclusively from creative work, which are below the poverty line and have dropped 19% in seven years. Too often, artists are offered “exposure” as a form of payment, and our copyright and moral rights are too regularly infringed. Despite working longer and harder than ever before, more and more artists are living precariously, it’s taking longer for artists to become established, and the gender pay gap is worse in the arts than in any other industry. We have to act now.

All Australians will benefit immensely from ambitious visual arts and culture experiences made possible through strategic policy and funding investment. Bold arts policies will boost the entire economy and quality of life for us all. This means:

  1. Put First Nations first
    Commit targeted financial support for self-determined First Nations artists. Invest in First Nations-led art centres, education and training programs, studios, and small-to-medium arts organisations and galleries. Introduce targeted programs focused on creating and retaining First Nations employment, supporting micro businesses and strengthening existing businesses, as well as funding First Nations designated roles for visual arts peak bodies and touring agencies sector-wide. Boost Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support (IVAIS) funding for Indigenous arts organisations, peak bodies and support agencies to provide appropriate support across all states and territories. Action legislative reform as recommended by the Fake Art Harms Culture campaign. Ensure public investment is tied to equity and industry standards for First Nations people. 
  2. Stimulate long-term sustainability
    Adopt in full the recommendations from Sculpting a National Cultural Plan: Igniting a post-COVID economy for the arts, the final report for the recent Parliamentary Inquiry into Australia’s Creative and Cultural Industries and Institutions. Establish a whole-of-government National Cultural Plan to effectively invest in the medium and long-term needs of the arts sector. Increase the Australia Council’s Four Year Funding for Organisations program to support at least 200 small-to-medium visual arts, craft and design organisations. Establish a National Exhibitions and Events Business Insurance fund to provide direct support in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, natural disasters and other crises to artists, sole traders, venues and small-to-medium organisations, inclusive of the visual arts sector. Develop a Crisis and Disaster Recovery Fund for direct, targeted income support, inclusive of the visual arts, craft and design sector. All support packages must be equity-tested to ensure they support the most marginalised people.
  3. Pay artists for their work
    Invest $133 million in peer-assessed arts funding for independent visual artists and craft practitioners and small-to-medium organisations through the Australia Council. Ensure public funding is contingent on the payment of visual artists at or above minimum standard rates as set out in NAVA’s Code of Practice, and that funding levels are adequate to support those payments. Introduce industrial reform including tax, superannuation and recognition of art as a profession by Centrelink.
  4. Prioritise equity, cultural safety and accessibility
    Ensure that public funding is equity-tested, tied to accessibility standards and that 30% at minimum is designated for racially marginalised groups, people with disability and d/Deaf organisations, artists and programs. Support arts organisations to meet equity and accessibility standards. Revise KPIs and funding to focus on impact instead of outputs. Invest in increasing access, participation and opportunities for visual artists, craft practitioners and arts organisations in regional Australia.
  5. Nourish arts education
    Increase funding for arts education across schools through existing Commonwealth-state schools funding agreements. Invest in university funding for creative courses, reduce tuition fees for arts subjects, and remove Ministerial discretion from approving or rejecting research grants recommended and administered by the Australian Research Council (ARC). Commit $83 million for Creative Fellowships through the Australia Council.

I’d like to invite you to my STUDIO/EXHIBITION/EVENT which is about DETAILS on DATE. I welcome you to say a few words at the OPENING where you’ll also meet ARTISTS/COMMUNITY MEMBERS/LEADERS/MEDIA from our ELECTORATE/STATE.

In the meantime, everything you need to know about artists’ expectations for arts policy is on NAVA’s website at

Your signature

PS: For links to the research that underlies my concerns, as well as NAVA’s call for bold action for a thriving visual arts sector, visit the NAVA website 

Betty Kuntiwa Pumani, Antara, 2020. Synthetic polymer paint on linen, 300 x 1000cm. Commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia for The National 2021: New Australian Art. Photo by Meg Hansen Photography. Image courtesy the artist, Mimili Maku Arts and the Copyright Agency © the artist.

Amplify your voice this federal election