A couple of weeks ago, I spoke with Tamara Winikoff, CEO of NAVA, which is an Australian association for visual artists. It was time to face up with the Queen of ARR in Oz, and see if there was perhaps any middle ground which could be reached concerning Australia's Artists Resale Royalty.
We spoke for about half an hour - off the record - and it quickly became apparent that there was no budging from the position which she held. In fact, the conversation consisted of a form of sales pitch for the royalty, loaded with the same old same old which we’ve all heard before, and which completely ignored any real factual nuts and bolts. Facts such as the royalty, as it stands currently, has very little benefit for young and emerging Australian indigenous artists, and the only real winners are a very few artists at the top of the tree (the top 20 in fact), who, it should be noted, are mainly white.
Rather than get drawn into a useless argument during our conversation, I decided to send through some questions after the call, which, initially, Tamara agreed to answer.
Upon her return from the week long interstate road trip, we received a response to our reminder e-mail saying ‘’ From your questions it appears that you are deliberately ignoring the factual data being published about the operation of the scheme in Australia. Therefore I don’t think there is much point in my answering these questions which I regard as biased and misleading.’’
Like the Straight Deal Charter, we ask straight questions in hope for straight answers. Too bad Tamara declined to answer our questions.
Much of Tamara's argument centred around the success of ARR contingent upon it being adopted in the two largest countries of the world, China and the United States. For those that haven't paid attention, the leading tax revenue collector of the United States, the Internal Revenue Service, picked a fight with the United States Congress. After initiating prosecutions of a purely ideological nature when caught, the IRS claimed they lost all the related e-mails; how convenient. Subpoenas will be issued, tax bureaucrats finally face lengthy jail time, unless of course, they sing like a canary. In the meantime the tax revenue structure is not only extremely unpopular in the USA right now, but this could be a turning point, with some real pushback. So, in effect, there is no momentum for silly revenue ideas right now to be redistributed to rich white people in the USA, and the excess money grab legacy of the Obama era is under an extremely valid attack.
The NAVA website:
If anyone else can get answers from Tamara to the below questions, we'd be delighted to publish them.