A literary award that honours Dorothy Hewett should be renamed, the Senate voted last night, following allegations the playwright “facilitated” sexual abuse of her daughters.
The Australian reports, the motion, put by Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi, called on federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham to “seek assurances from the University of Western Australia (which runs the prize) that it will rename the award’’. The motion said that if naming rights were a condition of the prize, it should be suspended “until the allegations (of abuse) are investigated and resolved’’.
The motion also noted that one of Hewett’s daughters described the family home as “a brothel without payment”, and that the sisters had named perpetrators including the late former Labor speechwriter Bob Ellis, pop artist Martin Sharp, and British erotic photographer David Hamilton.
The motion referred to allegations the playwright “pimped her then-minor daughters for sex’’.
Now in their 50s, Hewett’s daughters, Kate Lilley and Rozanna Lilley, have told The Australian their mother “encouraged” and “facilitated” their early sexualisation within the 1970s bohemian arts scene.
The $10,000 Dorothy Hewett Award is for unpublished manuscripts and was established in 2015.
The University of Western Australia has already said it has no plans to rename the prize.
Picture: Former Labor speechwriter Bob Ellis
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