The report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee Silences on Communications and the Arts, entitle Sculpting A National Cultural Plan, has publish 14 months after its announcement. It focuses on Australia’s creative and cultural industries and institutions.

In 2013, Labor’s six-year tenure in government was complete with the launch Creative Australia, Australia’s last national cultural policy. With the end of an eight-year stretch, the Coalition calls for people to consider developing one. A plan for a program is better than none at all.

Six sections broken down from the 205-page document. These sections cover the structure of the cultural sector and approaches to evaluating them, the impact on artists and organisations of COVID-19 (spoiler alert: it’s not good), and the problem with arts education in schools (and, glancingly at a higher level, at tertiary).

The report spends a lot of space describing the sector and sharing the views of the people who work there, as is typical for an investigative inquiry. It includes quotations from 352 submissions and responses to a related study.

It is a good idea to read the Appendix F. Labor Member Additional Comments first. It addresses issues that the rest of the report ignores, especially those relating to two institutions which are crucial for any national cultural plan: the Australia Council for the Arts (ABC) and the Australia Council for the Arts (ACN).

Calls For Action Are Encourage Silences

Five terms of reference are include. Some are more detailed than others. The two most important are culture’s economic and indirect benefits and employment opportunities and its noneconomic benefits that improve community, social wellbeing and Australia‚Äôs national identity.

These terms set by the Minister of Communications. The committee is not authorize to challenge them. However, their order and language are restrictive. It is difficult to apply policy that cuts culture into non-economic and economic benefits. The primary lens is the most important, and it has a negative effect on any discussion that follows.

Concerning the three key terms in Australian cultural policy they seem to be in perpetual rotation there’s a return of attention for access (74 mentioned), while innovation (46 mentions), a preoccupation of Turnbull government, slips to a supporting position (46 mentions) and excellence (4 mentions), which was dominant during the years George Brandis managed the portfolio.

Submissions Showcase Silences

The submissions showcase a wide range of individuals, organizations and art forms. A New Approach (ANA), the most popular think tank (50+ mentions), is often. Its comments often get headline status.

The 22 recommendations in the report can broken down into three groups: restorations, bespoke ideas, and calls to further action. While the first two are welcome, we need to remember who took them.

Even though they are not immediately obvious (an app to find out about arts events), or even if their implementation dispute (20% of local revenue to support local streaming services).

Even by the standards of a wide-ranging report, the calls for action seem light-hearted. For example, there is very little discussion of Australian culture’s national identity. The report is therefore at disadvantage when it comes to the non-economic benefits that the arts offer which most people consider synonymous with them.

Aside from the awkwardness of discussing culture in this dislocated way (does one refer to the noneconomic benefits of the health system? It makes the report seem partisan and short-sighted.


Culture’s contribution to mental health is discussed, but not for our political silence health. It also contributes to social cohesion and not to social change. The arts are perceived as being soft-edged and catering to emotions like confidence and hope rather than intellectual needs such as insight and truth.

There are many figures on the economic side. However, it can be difficult to understand them. They come from different sources and are added to different production contexts (literary publishing, performing arts, digital games). The report alternates between the terms culture, creative industries, and cultural and creativity industries all otherwise known as the arts.

The risk of measure more heat-related deaths is one of the most serious consequences of climate change. Heat stress can worsen existing conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, and heart disease. Senior citizens are especially vulnerable.

You may surprise to hear that recent research suggests climate change could reduce the number of deaths relate to temperature in Australia. A related study in The Lancet also found that the cold kills more people than heat in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.

My research, however, publish in Climatic change. I used a similar method to the one used in The Lancet’s study and found that heat is responsible for the majority of Australian deaths due to temperature.

Temperature-related deaths are one measure we use to evaluate the impact of climate change. It is important that we measure them consistently and accurately.

How Can Researchers Measure The Death Rate From Temperature-Related Causes?

It is important to estimate the deaths due to cold and hot weather. This done by using a baseline temperature. The reference temperature should the day when people feel comfortable in their region and their health is not affect by heat or cold. Deaths due to temperature-related causes below this temperature will be classified as cold-related. Deaths above it will consider heat-relate.

To distinguish between deaths caused by temperature and deaths that are not, we use statistical techniques. To account for seasonal factors such as flu seasons, estimates must adjust. Although flu and pneumonia deaths increase in winter, they are not directly related to the cold.

The assumptions and modelling techniques used to calculate temperature-related deaths can affect the estimates. However, the use of different reference temperatures is a major issue that can cause discrepancies in results. This affects the percentage of deaths that are attribute to heat and cold.

The Importance If The Temperature Reference

As a curve, the risk of death due to high/low temperatures can shown in relation to the reference. The figure below shows how the estimate curves, call temperature-mortality curves, can differ when the reference temperature is changed. It compares temperature-mortality curves from my latest study (the bottom row), to those from the study published in The Lancet (the top row).

The parts of the curve that are define as heat or cold are shown in red and blue shading. Arrows indicate the reference temperature that was use to calculate the curves.

Numerous studies, including that of Lancet, have calculated the death toll from heat and cold by using what is call the minimum mortality temperature (MMT), as the reference temperature.

The MMT is the lowest point of a temperature-mortality curve and is often interpret as the daily average temperature at which there’s the lowest risk of death.

Based on Australia’s findings, I am concerned that the MMT (reference temperature) used in The Lancet study is too high. A reference temperature of 22.4degC, shown in the figure above, meant that almost 90% of Melbourne’s historic daily average temperatures were consider cold. This could translate to a day with an average temperature of 31.4degC, and a night with a minimum temperature of 13.4degC.

In my most recent study, I used a different temperature as the reference temperature. As the reference temperature, I used the median of historical daily temperatures. In my study, cold days in Melbourne were those below 14.7 degrees Celsius. Any daily average temperature above 14.7degC is consider hot.

The median temperature is use as the reference temperature. This creates a 50/50 split of what is consider hot and cold.

Compare The Measure Results

To estimate the temperature-related deaths in six climate zones, I also used a different temperature reference. These range from areas experiencing a hot, humid summer in the north to areas experiencing mild/warm summers and cold seasons in Tasmania, the ACT, parts of NSW, and Victoria.

Other studies that I have mentioned included data from many cities around the globe. But only the three largest Australian capitals (Sydney and Melbourne) were use.

You may not grant the job, scholarship, or finance you apply for due to a bad reference. However, the Australian defamation laws are very broad and you only have limited recourse if your reference is a negative one.

All forms of communication are subject to defamation laws, regardless of how wide or narrowly distributed. Publications, no matter how small or large, can have serious reputational consequences. Some types of publications are design to have reputational implications.

This is evident when you give an employment reference. It will often be positive. However, in many cases, negative information about the subject will be include in a reference. Referees should provide a complete and honest assessment.

Defense Of Qualified Privilege Reference

In defamation law, a reference can be given by qualify privilege, which is common law. Qualified privilege refers to situations when an individual’s right of reputation protection must be subordinate or affected by a higher interest. These are the occasions that the law considers necessary for the common convenience and welfare of society.

It has been well established that a reference is an occasion of privilege since the 19th century. Judges regard it as an example of a privileged event

This is not surprising given the position English defamation law adopted at that time. In the middle of the 19th century, as the common law defense of qualified privilege was maturing, there were a number of English cases where servants sued their masters for unflattering references.

The courts favored the masters’ ability to assess former servants in a fair and honest manner over the rights of the servants to preserve their reputations and secure employment.

It was important for prospective masters to understand what they were doing than it was for servants to be able successfully sue for defamation. Although it is difficult to find good help nowadays, it has always been so.

The common law defense of qualified privilege is still in force today. It gives the reference with broad protection. It does not offer absolute protection. Offers only a limited protection, as the name implies.

What Are The Exceptions To This Rule?

Two ways can a defense of qualify privilege be lost, and the referee could subject to liability for defamation. If the occasion is exceptional, then the first.

A narrow defense is common law qualified privilege. It protects against defamation liability when communication made between persons who share a common interest or where the person sending the communication has a legal social or moral obligation to do so. The person receiving the communication also has a mutual interest.

The common law defense of qualified privilege requires that there be complete reciprocity between duty and interest. This call the community of interest. Publication to people not related to the referee, who have no mutual interest in receiving it will result in the destruction of the priviledge occasion and expose the referee for liability for defamation.

This means that if you send a reference to someone, it should sent only to the person who ask it or to the person making the decision on the subject.

Referees can also lose qualified privilege if they misuse the occasion. A referee who abuses a privilege occasion is usually referred to as malice.

Malice can be best describe as an improper motive. A referee who is motivate by an inappropriate motive may not allowed to use a common law defense of qualified privilege if they write a reference.

A referee can show an improper motive by showing spitefulness or ill-will. It often shown by referees who aren’t honest with the truth of the reference.

It is not easy to prove malice. Most cases, unless the referee acts carelessly or is foolish, will not yield any evidence of malice. On the balance of probabilities, it will be possible to infer that the referee had an improper motive from the things or statements he made.