On Tuesday, 8th September a large Petition bundle of SAVING AUSSIE BOOKS signatures were handed over to Federal Labor Members of Parliament – Arch Bevis, Graham Perrett and Steve Gibbons, and two Senators from The Greens, Christine Milne and Scott Ludlam. All five spoke of their support for the Restrictions against Parallel Importation of Books and the utter importance of maintaining our viable and successful Australian publishing industry. In particular, Steve Gibbons told the media about his electorate town of Maryborough, Victoria that faces many job losses in the printing industry.
Representing the publishing industry and authors were celebrated Australian author, Kate Grenville, the Australian Publishers Association’s CEO Maree McCaskill and a spokesperson for Saving Aussie Books, Sheryl Gwyther. All related their own particular slant and concern about the Productivity Commission’s threat to lift the Restrictions. The bearer of the Petition, Sheryl Gwyther spoke about our particular worries as children’s writers with the threat to Australian children’s books of the future.
The combination of our Petition, with the Petition gathered in Steve Gibbon’s printing town of Maryborough and those from the APA, brought the total of signatures to approximately 10,000. The Saving Aussie Books online petition is still open and continues to increase.
These signatures have been gathered honestly – not with ready-made online loyalty customers who weren’t told of the negative effects of Parallel Imports – but with hard work, with patience, with shoe-leather and with support from members of the community. Those signing have ranged from big-name authors like JM Coetzee, Tara Moss, Kate Grenville and Lian Tanner to a group of high-school writers, from professionals to tradesmen and shopkeepers, from teachers, librarians and parents, from the young and the elderly in nursing homes. The one thing in common with all has been the love of reading and in particular, reading Australian-authored books.
On behalf of all Australian writers we thank those who have spread the paper Petition and returned them signed, and all those whose names and thoughtful, passionate comments fill the Online Petition. NOTE: The Online Petition is still active.