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Creative Partnership Awards

E & OE

FIFIELD:

Thank you so much James Valentine. I can't tell you what a thrill it is to be up here with James, who is a bona fide Australian cultural icon. James, I know you've had a fabulous multi-media career but when I look at you, I can't help but see the sax player from The Models. We might even get a little bit of "out of mind, out of sight, I keep my body tight". Here's hoping.

James is right, it's been an interesting morning. Wearing my other hat as Manager of Government Business in the Senate, can I say thank you so much to all of you for giving me a reason to be somewhere other than the Australian Senate. I wasn't sure last week if I was ever ever ever going to leave. But you can't have too much of a good thing, which is why we are bringing the Senate back.

Can I acknowledge Carol Schwartz, the Chair of Creative Partnerships Australia. Carol, we all know the leadership that you provide at Creative Partnerships. We all know your incredible contribution to the arts. But you contribute to our community in so many other ways, in so many different fields. Thank you so much for all that you do.

Rupert Myer, Chair of the Australia Council is on his way here. He's had some flight issues. He has made it – Rupert, great to see you. Rupert, you are a tower of strength and wisdom in the leadership of Australia's artistic community. Thank you for all that you do as well.

And the Chief Executive of Creative Partnerships Australia, Fiona Menzies. Or as I have always referred to her as, plain old, Menzies. Thank you for your commitment, your knowledge and the counsel that you so freely give to so many of us in the room here tonight.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are here tonight because this is an important occasion in the life of the nation. It's appropriate that this awards ceremony follows so closely those that were held at Carriageworks a week or two back – the Australia Council Awards. And at those awards, what we did was acknowledge Australian artists who remind us of feelings we've forgotten. Who help us see things afresh. Who help us hear things for the first time. And who most importantly of all, and it's such an important role for an artist, is to help us reconnect with our souls. That's what we did the other week.

But tonight we are doing something that is equally important. And that is, honouring a group of Australians who are no less compelled in what they do. Who are equally passionate. And whose focus, I think, is very other. Tonight we are acknowledging those people who seek to minimise self and maximise others. They seek to maximise artists. They seek to maximise the opportunity for Australians to experience the great art that is produced here. They are people that give their time and their passion and their resources to create an environment that is conducive for the arts.

They are people who do the hard work of seeking to knit together the contributions from philanthropy, from government, from corporates and from individuals. That's no mean feat. It's a huge challenge to make sure those various elements are in the correct balance and that the contribution from one doesn't seek to supplant the contribution from the other. But rather that it compliments. So tonight is a very important night.

We should also pause and recognise that those who have made a contribution, that we are acknowledging tonight, have themselves been effected by the arts and, in turn, seek to provide more opportunity for others to be similarly affected.

Friends, I think something that is common amongst those we are honouring tonight, is that they all share something I made reference of in relation to Carol. And that is, they don't just contribute in terms of the arts, they just don't put their time, their love, their passion, their resources into creating an environment that is conducive for the arts. They do that in so many other sectors throughout our community. To all, congratulations and thank you for what you do.

It is my great pleasure now to present the Philanthropy Leadership Award. And can I say, Carol and Fiona, you have the funkiest looking awards of any awards ceremony in Australia. They are sensational.

The Philanthropy Leadership Award goes to someone who we all know. Goes to someone who we all love. Someone who has established an incredible foundation. And who has a tremendous commitment to architecture and design. Has a great commitment to public works of art. You know to whom and of whom I am speaking. Ladies and gentleman, Naomi Milgrom.

Media contact: Justine Sywak | 0448 448 487 | Justine.sywak [at] communications.gov.au