Yesterday, June 30, the Productivity Commission took their findings to the Australian Parliament on whether Australian authors and illustrators will lost Territorial Copyright. Over the past decade this protection has ensured a phenomenal increase of quality Australian-authored books and the emergence of a battalion of award-winning authors. More significantly is the fact it has given the world an insight into our country through the eyes and words of Australian authors.
But we, the general public will have to wait until 14th July to find out what is about to befall the book publishing industry in Australia.
Do I have a sense of the Productivity Commission‘s findings? No. I just hope the PC’s commissioners have listened to the voices of thousands of authors and their supporters.
Bob Carr, one of the mouths who lobby to open up the Australian publishing industry to the ‘free-market’ has been on the air-waves constantly, bleating about how he came from a poor family with no books and now he wants poor Australian families to have access to cheaper books.
He says nothing of the fact that the Productivity Commission itself says there is no guarantee books will be cheaper; no does he mention that poorer families have access to free public libraries and free school libraries when their children want to read; nor does he tell anyone about the threat to the Australian publishing industry and the flow-on effect to thousands of people who work in this field, from authors to printers to distributors, and to independent booksellers.
Bob, we know what you try to hide with your shadow dancing and your dominating, loud voice – the desire of higher profits for the large, retail booksellers like Dymocks, Woolworths and Coles.
We can only hope that all sides of politics in the Federal Government will listen to us.
Just imagine a world where our Australian authored books have returned to colonial status; where Australian children’s books feature American spelling and values, and with less Australian content; where Australian authors struggle to be accepted by publishers in the US and the UK. A world where, as Tim Winton says, ‘to be Australian is to be second rate’.