PARALLEL IMPORT RESTRICTIONS – CAMPAIGN TO CANBERRA

If you’re like me and concerned about how removing Parallel Import restrictions on books is a terrible idea both domestically and globally, you can write to Federal politicians who will be debating the matter in Canberra in the very near future.

Here’s what I wrote to our Prime Minister, Mr Rudd:

Dear Kevin,

RE: PROPOSAL TO REMOVE PARALLEL IMPORTATION RESTRICTIONS ON BOOKS

I wrote to you back in April to express my concern at the proposal to remove Parallel Importation Restrictions on books.

At that time, I outlined in detail what I believed the cultural impact would be as well as the economic outcomes for all parties involved in the publishing industry.

Removing parallel import restrictions is supposed to benefit the reading public, yet we will be imposing overseas (in particular American) culture in an Australian context, and this will surely diminish representation of our own culture and language in our books. Some changes our readers might be subjected to include the use of:

  • faucet instead of tap
  • diaper instead of nappy
  • bro instead of brother
  • Mom instead of Mum
  • ketchup instead of tomato sauce
  • drugstore instead of chemist
  • jello instead of jelly
  • jelly instead of jam
  • gasoline instead of petrol
  • spyglass instead of telescope

In a country that already laments the deterioration of grammar in our schools, we may be subjected to y’all instead of all of you/everyone, off of instead of off, and other gems like gotten and putten and  winningest (having the most wins).

The entire basis for considering removing PIRs is predicated on the fact that it will put downward pressure on the price of books however, publishers and printers at the Melbourne Roundtable discussions asserted that the reverse was more likely to occur. Printers would have to recoup the same fixed costs, even though their volume of work had decreased, and publishers would need to increase costs to cover the increased risk on books that they might not ‘break even’ on.

And in fact, Dymocks, the bookseller pushing for these reforms, charges more than many other booksellers and earns at least five times as much as the author on any book sold.

Furthermore, the price of books is not one of the major factors affecting consumer’s book buying decisions. I know I buy books because of the author, subject matter, themes, or because they look interesting.

I have only ever bought two books on-line, and this was simply because they weren’t available here and I needed them for research. If the Australian market is flooded with cheap imports because they are more profitable, this will restrict the choice for consumers and many may be forced to buy more of their books online.

In fact, Dymocks, who advocates removing PIRs is forcing Australians to buy on-line already because they don’t stock some works by Australian authors; and rural customers in particular, are forced into this purchasing method.

I have been told that you recognise the valuable cultural contribution Australia’s literary sector makes to reflecting and celebrating our identity. As a proud Australian author, I ask that you protect it.

From a personal perspective, I am urging you to keep PIRs in place and not destroy the local publishing industry, and kill the careers of dedicated writers like me before they have had a chance to flourish.

I spent more than ten years writing my young adult novel, Letters to Leonardo – that equates to more than 2,000 hours and more than 1,000,000 words in print. Obviously, I did not do it for the money (an hourly rate of around $3.00) – I wrote because I had a story to tell and because I wanted to share it with young Australians.

On behalf of my children, I beg you to consider the damage to our history and culture that would eventuate from reforms to existing copyright laws.

I also ask that you consider the future of authors like me, dedicated to their craft and to telling their stories the way they need to be told.

But above all, I ask you to remember that books are not ‘mere product’ , they are something of special significance, a reflection of the country and times in which we live – something to be valued; not thrown on the scrap heap for the sake of making a few quick bucks.

Yours sincerely,

 

Dee White

Author

 

Write to Canberra and tell our politicians how you feel about the prospect of removing Parallel Import Restrictions on books. These are the specific Ministers/and Opposition who are dealing with this issue:

The Hon Kevin Rudd
Prime Minister
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

The Hon Julia Gillard
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Education; Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations; Minister for Social Inclusion
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

The Hon Chris Bowen
Assistant Treasurer
Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

The Hon Peter Garrett, AM
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

OPPOSITION:
Senator the Hon Helen Coonan
Shadow Minister for Finance, Competition Policy and Deregulation
GPO Box 3513
Sydney NSW 2001

Mr Luke Hartsuyker MP
Shadow Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs
(Deputy Manager of Opposition Business in the House)
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Mr Steven Ciobo MP
Shadow Minister for Small Business, Independent Contractors, Tourism and the Arts
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP
Leader of the Opposition
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Also contact the minority parties who hold the balance of power in the Federal Government.

If you want a lot more information … See  ‘How to get Politicians’ Attention‘  – from Electronic Frontiers Australia

You can also canvas your local Federal MP.  If you are not sure who your MP is, or how to contact them, or how to address them etc, look at this website which contains all that info! The most important thing is to show your MP how you personally could be effected by the repeal of Australia’s PIR’s – http://www.efa.org.au/Campaigns/lobby.html

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