I've been busy sending off letters to politicians regarding the Parallel Importation of books issue, trying not to be too defeatist about what I expect will happen... which is the government will yet again cave in to "market forces" and act "for the good of the market" - all complete and utter rubbish and the very reason the economy is utter crap at present. (Yes, "utter crap" is a technical term used by economists and poets!).
I yearn for the days when governments acted for the good of the people, of society, not for "the good of the economy". And I find it supremely ironic that one of my letters is dispatched to the Minister for Arts, Peter Garrett. If anyone should be able to understand this issue, you would hope it's an artist who's aware of the possibility of our culture being overwhelmed by cheap US imports...
Here's my prediction... the government will cave in... they'll make lots of conciliatory gestures about increased funding for the book industry... recognizing that they'll have to prop-up an industry that at present is highly competitive and functioning perfectly well. How stupid is that?
And that increased funding will go to bureaucracy and show-piece events that cost a bloody fortune and are designed to give us all a warm fuzzy feeling about our literary culture. And are forgotten in a few months. What they should do is two things:
- leave the Import Restrictions as they are and let the Industry continue to prosper.
- Peter Garrett should increase PLR/ELR to twice it's present budget. Public Lending Rights and Educational Lending Rights are the fairest, most equitable, wide-ranging government funding scheme I know - every writer benefits annually with minimal bureacracy and no hierarchy of funding - if you're a writer and you have books in libraries, you receive a royalty. How bloody brilliant is that? It goes without saying Gough Whitlam (that's him in the picture!) brought it in. At present, the budget is something like nine million dollars per year. That's the wage of one Macquarie bank executive!! Increase it to eighteen million dollars and watch our literary culture really flourish.
Anyway... back to some real writing... a book that may well be published with characters talking to someone called "Mom" and she's getting "pissed" instead of "pissed", if you get my meaning.