Prime Minister Please Project 2015-2016
The Prime Minister Please (PM Please) quilt is a socially engaged artwork made in the style of an Australian wagga quilt. This quilt was created as a gift for the newly appointed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in October 2015 and is made up of 121 hand-stitched messages meant for Turnbull, all of which start with the words PM Please.
The idea for this quilt came in October 2015, not long after Turnbull (yet another new Prime Minister) was sworn into office. At the time there was a very palpable shift in the way people perceived the government as a result of the latest leadership change, a shift marked by a renewed hope that it may once again be possible to engage in more complex and inclusive dialogue about the future of Australia. With a federal election less than 12 months away I felt that there was no better time to reach out to the Prime Minister in order to try communicate what’s really important to us ordinary citizens.
With this project idea in mind I successfully put forward an application to perform the making of this work as part of the HillsceneLIVE art festival which was held in Monbulk, VIC on the 30th of October 2015. In the three weeks leading up to the festival I collected 121 messages for the quilt (read the full list of messages below). With the help of festival goers, I hand-stitched every single message I received onto suit swatches without making any changes or omissions to the messages I was sent. I then used these embroidered suit swatches, along with a bundle of second-hand ties as patches for the quilt (above) which also features an appliqué portrait of Turnbull holding beloved dog Mellie, who sadly passed away in 2013.
The idea behind this project was to find a creative and generous way to reach out to the new Prime Minister and communicate the issues and concerns of everyday citizens who wanted to reach out and have their voices heard by their new leader. In this way this artwork is about democracy – it is about the right of citizens to voice their concerns and have the issues they feel passionately about acknowledged and addressed by their elected leaders.
Since the completion of this quilt I’ve been trying to make contact with Turnbull in order to give him the quilt as a gift on behalf of all the people who contributed to this project. Now, in the lead up to an early election, this artwork continues to advocate for the issues and concerns articulated in the lovingly stitched messages on the quilt. As well as provoke audiences to reflect on the issues they are passionate about this election and encourage them to reach out to the politicians who will soon be representing them.
To date I have still not received any messages or replies from Turnbull and his team, so if you feel you might be able to help get this quilt to Malcolm Turnbull then please get in touch!
The full list of 121 messages I collected via social media and as part of the HillsceneLIVE art festival in Monbulk (VIC) include:
1. #PMPLZ put the environment first.
2. #PMPLZ stop coal mining ruining our future.
3. #PMPLZ end mandatory offshore detention.
4. #PMPLZ prioritise preventative healthcare.
5. #PMPLZ save the Syrian refugees
6. #PMPLZ legalise same sex marriage.
7. #PMPLZ decriminalise abortion.
8. #PMPLZ address the human rights abuses of our country, particularly with regard to asylum seekers.
9. #PMPLZ improve mental health services in Australia. Particularly in rural areas.
10. #PMPLZ invest in renewable energy.
11. #PMPLZ let your actions speak louder than campaign promises
12. #PMPLZ decriminalise sex work.
13. #PMPLZ ban live animal exports
14. #PMPLZ accept my conditional thanks. Now repair Abbott’s actions.
15. #PMPLZ don’t disappoint us.
16. #PMPLZ govern for people not corporations.
17. #PMPLZ ban plastic bags now.
18. #PMPLZ restore the arts funding
19. #PMPLZ take care of our refugees and asylum seekers
20. #PMPLZ don’t deprive refugee children of a normal life
21. #PMPLZ listen to us
22. #PMPLZ take global warming seriously
23. #PLZPLZ keep children out of detention.
24. #PMPLZ put a price on carbon
25. #PMPLZ stop so many women being murdered by their partners
26. #PMPLZ put food before mines
27. #PMPLZ no nanny state
28. #PMpPLZ value our indigenous peoples’ ways of knowing.
29. #PMPLZ legalise medicinal marijuana
30. #PMPLZ protect sacred sites
31. #PMPLZ end welfare quarantining
32. #PMPLZ acknowledge Indigenous sovereignty
33. #PMPLZ tax the wealthy not the poor
34. #PMPLZ protect the Great Barrier Reef
35. #PMPLZ protect our oceans from overfishing
36. #PMPLZ respect the CSIRO
37. #PMPLZ support the state education system
38. #PMPLZ please keep our penalty rates
39. #PMPLZ keep our privacy private
40. #PMPLZ end mandatory data retention
41. #PMPLZ stop taxing our periods
42. #PMPLZ make us proud
43. #PMPLZ ensure the national roll out of the disability insurance scheme
44. #PMPLZ stop modelling Australia after America, or we will end up with the same kind of homelessness
45. #PMPLZ increase the money we spend on international aid
46. #PMPLZ set serious targets for reducing carbon emissions
47. #PMPLZ legislate marriage equality.
48. #PMPLZ make same-sex marriage legal.
49. #PMPLZ allow people in love to get married.
50. #PMPLZ support full adoption rights for same-sex couples.
51. #PMPLZ don’t waste money on a plebiscite
52. #PMLZ abandon the unnecessary and damaging changes to arts sector funding.
53. #PMPLZ restore arts funding.
54. #PMPLZ understand artists need funding and encouragement
55. #PMPLZ stop animal factory farming
56. #PMPLZ end live animal export
57. #PMPLZ care for our water
58. #PMPLZ re-instate the carbon tax
59. #PMPLZ roll out a national container deposit scheme.
60. #PMPLZ establish the Great Forest National Park
61. #PMPLZ consider green energies and a blue economy
62. PMPLZ ban CSG mining
63. #PMPLZ legislate voluntary euthanasia
64. #PMPLZ celebrate Australian multiculturalism.
65. #PMPLZ I want a humanitarian government.
66. #PMPLZ have a greater consciousness than any before.
67. #PMPLZ seek justice, love and mercy.
68. #PMPLZ increase the supply of suitable affordable housing
69. #PMPLZ end homelessness
70. #PMPLZ remember that whistleblowers should be protected not prosecuted
71. #PMPLZ treat refugees as people too
72. #PMPLZ ensure better planning for infrastructure in remote indigenous communities.
73. #PMPLZ have zero tolerance for all forms of discrimination
74. #PMPLZ respect traditional owners land rights, beliefs and values.
75. #PMPLZ resign
76. #PMPLZ let love in
77. #PMPLZ let us have a conversation.
78. #PMPLZ fight for the workplace rights of our medical professional.
79. #PMPLZ roll back ‘security’ measures that infringe on our civil rights
80. #PMPLZ keep your hands off our metadata
81. #PMPLZ visit Emerald for a cuppa and chat
82. #PMPLZ adopt an Australian bill of rights
83. #PMPLZ print more money so we can all be better off
84. #PMPLZ support our seafarers
85. #PMPLZ invest in a shipbuilding industry
86. #PMPLZ help end poverty worldwide
87. #PMPLZ lift alcohol restrictions in rural communities and allow them to regulate their own consumption
88. #PMPLZ update the animal welfare act in all states
89. #PMPLZ let the boats in, everyone is human
90. #PMPLZ help close the gap
91. #PMPLZ help preserve aboriginal sacred sites
92. #PMPLZ put an end to domestic violence
93. #PMPLZ put people before the economy
94. #PMPLZ keep university accessible to all
95. #PMPLZ what tragedy happened to you that you can hear the voice of money but are deaf to to humanity and the cries of mother earth
96. #PMPLZ don’t be afraid to risk your political career in order to make a difference
97. #PMPLZ address gender inequality
98. #PMPLZ care for our environment
99. #PMPLZ lead the world in compassion
100. #PMPLZ Stay out of my business
101. #PMPLZ create an equal society for all
102. #PMPLZ learn compassion
103. #PMPLZ don’t be shit
104. #PMPLZ end animal cruelty
105. #PMPLZ remember the bees
106. #PMPLZ tax Gina
107. #PMPLZ wage peace
108. #PMPLZ be honest
109. #PMPLZ speak respectfully of your opposition
110. #PMPLZ ban cage eggs
111. #PMPLZ ban horse racing
112. #PMPLZ treat refugees with respect
113. #PMPLZ abolish uni fees
114. #PMPLZ ban factory farming
115. #PMPLZ empty the tanks
116. #PMPLZ support the arts
117. #PMPLZ share your wealth
118. #PMPLZ tax the wealthy not the poor
119. #PMPLZ help us are with dignity, increase aged care funding
120. #PMPLZ respect us, represent us, good luck
121. #PMPLZ just stop eroding common law
ARTIST BIO: Tal Fitzpatrick (PhD candidate, VCA, University of Melbourne) is a Melbourne based artist, craftiest and community development worker. Her participatory approach to the practice of Appliqué quilting is driven by her fascination with the power of craft to solicit the sharing of stories and ideas. In her creative practice as well as in her practice-based research Fitzpatrick looks to unpack how we might drive social and political change by using art as a way to encourage diverse groups of people to have complex conversations. As part of her creative process Fitzpatrick engages with the public as well as with community groups and charity organisations on projects that explore issues such as women’s rights, disaster resilience and the everyday practice of democracy.