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'I Don't Believe He Reads Widely': Tim Minchin Blasts ScoMo's Plan To Scrap Federal Arts Ministry

The outspoken virtuoso said the Morrison Government's decision to roll Australia's federal arts department into a newly created super portfolio was "really scary".

Minchin told The Sunday Project hosts he had 'no doubt' Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his government were 'philistines', a term for people hostile towards the arts.

"They [don't] have any understanding of the financial, cultural, and trickle-down value of arts in this country," Minchin said.

"It's very hard to measure the impact of a well-funded arts culture. And when it's not easy to measure, people like this government just are not interested."

[L-R] Tim Minchin, Tommy Little, Hamish Macdonald. Image: The Project

Minchin referenced Morrison's close friendship with Hillsong Church founder and pastor Brian Houston.

"ScoMo spends a lot of time with Brian Houston, and not enough time at the theatre," Minchin said.

"I just don't believe he reads widely and expands his mind in the way that I wish our prime minister would."

Four new super departments will be created as the PM attempts to cut red tape, as reported on Thursday.

"Having fewer departments will allow us to bust bureaucratic congestion, improve decision-making and ultimately deliver better services for the Australian people," Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

National

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"The success of policy is recognised in its delivery and implementation. It's the execution of the strategy that matters, not just having one."

The current Department of Communications and the Arts is being rolled into a new portfolio called the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.

There has been no official communication to how the arts will be prioritised in this new department and how funding and resources might be affected.

Minchin was asked if he might petition the government to have his 2009 festive ode "Drinking White Wine In The Sun" be considered a homegrown Christmas carol.

"I don't know if ScoMo has much of a sense of humour about my utter contempt for the idea that Jesus was magic. And I mean that with respect," Minchin said.

Contact the author: samelia@networkten.com.au