We wish to acknowledge the sudden passing of the Hon. Simon Crean at the age of 74.
Mr. Crean was Minister for the Arts from 2010 – 2013 under Prime Minister Gilllard where he made a significant contribution to the sector. On 13 March 2013, he launched the National Cultural Policy — Creative Australia— the successor to Creative Nation delivered by Paul Keating in 1994. Mr Crean considered this policy to be a fresh expression of the values and priorities that would sustain Australia as a richly creative society in the 21st century and it continued the spirit of engagement with the arts embraced by his predecessors Gough Whitlam and Paul Keating.
It affirmed the centrality of the arts to Australia’s national identity, social cohesion and economic success. The release of Creative Australia had been much-anticipated, with the policy being developed since the consultation process first commenced in 2009 before Mr Crean was the Minister.
Creative Australia presented a vision and strategy to place arts and culture at the centre of modern Australian life. It spoke to five overarching goals, developed in close consultation with the community. Those goals left a lasting legacy and established the framework that was central to the development of the Australian Government’s current cultural policy, Revive.
As Minister, Mr Crean conducted the last review of the Australia Council in May 2012 with the aim of ensuring that it was resourced, refocussed and renewed. The existing Australia Council Act 1975 was repealed by new legislation designed to revamp and modernise the governance of the Australia Council, including the creation of a new skills-based board.
Mr Crean attended the launch of Revive earlier this year where he congratulated the Prime Minister and Minister Burke. He was a passionate advocate for artists during his time as Minister and after that served as Chair of McClelland Gallery. He was also an enthusiastic supporter of The Australian National Academy of Music, and always understood and championed the value of arts in Australian society.
Mr Crean is survived by his wife of 50 years Carole and two children Sarah and Emma.
Mr Crean had an abiding sense of humanity and was respected by all who had the privilege of working or interacting with him. We send our condolences to his family for their sudden and tragic loss.