Scott Morrison favourite Tina Arena quits Australia Council board

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Scott Morrison appointee Tina Arena has resigned from the board of the taxpayer-funded Australia Council for the Arts, ending a controversial four-year term marred by frequent meeting absences.

Appointed by the Morrison government in 2019, Arena has stepped down “due to her work commitments”, two years before the end of an extended three-year term.

Tina Arena was appointed to the Australia Council by former prime minister Scott Morrison. Credit: SMH

The Australian singer, known for hits including Chains and Sorrento Moon, was present for half of the board’s six meetings in 2021-22, just two out of six board meetings in 2020-21, and attended only four out of nine board meetings in 2019-20.

In a statement, the government arts funding body said: “Due to her work commitments, Tina has decided to step down from the Australia Council Board. We thank Tina for her contributions and wish her the best for the future.”

The Australian singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress was appointed to the Australia Council board for a three-year term in March 2019 by then-communications minister Mitch Fifield, seven months after Morrison became prime minister and just weeks before the election was called.

In the financial year between 2021 and 2022 she was paid $35,365 a year in the role. She was reappointed in March 2022, in the weeks before the May federal election.

The board change precedes a shakeup of the Australia Council of Arts, the government’s principal arts investment body, which from July will become a new entity, Creative Australia, responsible for also driving philanthropy and private investment.

Two new bodies, Music Australia and Writers Australia, will be established under its wider remit, and it is to absorb all functions of Creative Partnerships Australia.

    Morrison once described his interest in Arena’s music as “bordering on unhealthy”. He attended her musical Evita in 2018 and her concert in western Sydney in 2019, the night before leaving Australia for his infamous Hawaiian holiday.

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