Acknowledge IFFM mistakes, start afresh

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Jude Perera MP believes the Coalition Government needs to stop defending itself over the recent film festival, or at least get their facts right before they begin making claims

Coalition Government employs a failed 2002 Liberal candidate to silence critics and mislead community.

I refer to the comments made by Mr Srinivasan of FIAV in the Indian Sun recently.

I begin by pointing out Mr Srinivasan’s lack of knowledge about the role of the members of Parliament in spite of being the unsuccessful Liberal candidate in 2002 for the marginal Liberal seat of Forest Hill, and still being a member of the Liberal Party.

I also wish to update his knowledge by saying that I am not only just member for Cranbourne but also the Parliamentary Secretary in Multicultural Affairs to the Shadow Minister who is also the Leader of the opposition Daniel Andrews himself.

Therefore, I also wish to educate Mr Srinivasan for his lack of knowledge that it is incumbent upon me to raise with the government issues Victorians has concerns in multicultural area.

Neither the Melbourne Bollywood and Indian Film Festival tender documents nor the official IFFM website have any reference to the organization FIAV regarding their involvement or community consultation. It does not make sense for somebody with sound mind to suggest that Members of Parliament should consult FIAV before they raise matters in Parliament.

These issues were raised in the Parliament around six months ago. Why did Mr Srinivasan suddenly get interested in these matters now? Has the coalition government turned to him as the last resort when everything else failed?

He goes on to defend the Government by saying that the festival supported emerging film-makers through a short film festival including those from Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. Unfortunately Mr. Sirinivasan and the Coalition Government do not get it. This is the Indian Film Festival not the South Asian Film Festival. The festival was a result of the guiding principal to develop a relationship between Australia and India, i.e. a platform for film-makers and to attract trade opportunities (Bollywood production houses and events) to Victoria. When the government is not complying with its own guidelines it is an uphill battle for somebody like Mr. Sirinivasn to defend the Government. In fact it is quite foolish to attempt that in the presence of an intelligent readership.

Mr. Srinivasan should know well that the Bollywood Dance Competition held at Federation Square is not part of the film festival. It is deliberately misleading to make statements to the contrary. If the Coalition Government made the claim that it is part of the film festival, either the Government was blatantly misleading the people or misused festival money. Mr Srinivasan should come clean and declare whether he had a hand in it.

I am not sure why after exploring all the avenues the Government put Mr Srinivasn in to it, for their defence. This was the last thing that the Coalition Government can do to protect itself from more damage. The Coalition Government doesn’t know the importance of having a community consultation and engagement process and the benefits! It is very unfortunate that the Coalition Government is trying hard to cover up the mistakes rather than acknowledging them, just to grab some Indian votes.

If the Coalition Government and its allies like Mr Srinivasan want to talk about the success of the Film Festival, they ought to inform the community about the achievements, not attack critics.

It is the duty of the government to indicate to the public the achievements (if any at all) of the targeted objectives through this Film Festival.

  • Partnerships established
  • The list of new film production / events occurred since the film festival took place
  • List the opportunities it gave to up and coming local artist/technicians to show their talent
  • The benefits (new jobs creation or new talent/capability) it brought to the local film industry
  • Amount of tax-payers money spent (by declaring the actual costings) and justification.

The sensible and clean thing for the Government to do is acknowledge the mistakes, set guidelines and initiate a new tender process for contracts beyond 2014 and start fresh rather than extending it by stealth and getting stooges like Mr. Sirinivasan to make hallow noises.

The writer is State Member for Cranbourne District and Parliamentary Secretary to Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs

Published in The Indian Sun (Indian Magazine  in Australia)

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