REWIND: From The Aus­tralian, Oc­to­ber 27, 2011

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Lifelines -

AC­TRESS Noni Ha­zle­hurst has mounted a vig­or­ous de­fence of her pro­fes­sion, say­ing ac­tors are hard­work­ing and ac­com­plished artists who shouldn’t be con­fused with mere celebri­ties. The stage, film and tele­vi­sion ac­tress says pop­u­lar cul­ture doesn’t re­spect se­ri­ous act­ing and den­i­grates those such as Cate Blanchett who dare to ex­press an opin­ion.

‘‘ There are very few op­por­tu­ni­ties for high­qual­ity per­form­ing artists to show what they can do on tele­vi­sion,’’ she says. ‘‘ The ma­jor­ity of en­ter­tain­ers who get ex­po­sure in prime time are wannabes com­pet­ing in tal­ent shows. Cheap lo­cal con­tent.’’

Ha­zle­hurst — whose tele­vi­sion work has in­cluded City Homi­cide and Play School — was speak­ing yes­ter­day at a break­fast or­gan­ised by arts in­ter­est group Cur­rency House.

The Na­tional Cul­tural Pol­icy dis­cus­sion pa­per re­leased by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment says it prom­ises a more ex­pres­sive and con­fi­dent cit­i­zenry, but Ha­zle­hurst fears a cul­ture dom­i­nated by ag­gres­sive and abu­sive voices: ‘‘ junk cul­ture’’.

She re­peats the de­fence she mounted on be­half of Blanchett on ABC1’s Q & A af­ter Blanchett was ‘‘ vil­li­fied’’ for her in­volve­ment in an ad­ver­tise­ment in favour of ac­tion on cli­mate change.

‘‘ She was de­scribed in one me­dia out­let as ‘ just an ac­tor’,’’ Ha­zle­hurst says. ‘‘ I can’t re­mem­ber who wrote that, but I sus­pect it was just a colum­nist.’’

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