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Labor MP calls for retention of PIRs

Federal Labor MP and opposition spokesperson for tourism Anthony Albanese has written an opinion piece for the Fairfax papers arguing against the repeal of parallel import restrictions (PIRs).

In his article, published on 25 October, Albanese writes that ‘the proposal to abolish parallel import restrictions in the book publishing industry does not stack up when the impact on jobs and culture are taken into account’.

‘The [current PIR] arrangements protect the Australian book publishing industry,’ writes Albanese. ‘They ensure Australian authors can make a decent living and continue to bring Australian stories to the world of literature, both here and globally.’

Albanese quotes authors and vocal supporters of PIRs, Peter Carey and Thomas Keneally. ‘The message of Carey and Keneally is that a change in parallel import restrictions would reduce artistic activity in this country and thereby affect the depth and richness of Australian culture. They are correct.’

Albanese also warns of the ‘economic costs resulting from a contraction in the printing industry’. ‘At least 4000 people work in the publishing industry. That figure reaches 20,000 when you add the book sellers and printers. Their jobs are important.’

The Productivity Commission’s final report on intellectual property reform was handed to government in September. Books+Publishing understands the government will table the report in parliament in late November and outline its position.

As previously reported by Books+Publishing, the government has said it is likely to support the Productivity Commission’s recommendations to repeal PIRs, while the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team are against the proposed changes. A spokesperson for the Labor Party told Books+Publishing that Labor’s current position is that it would be ‘very cautious’ about any changes to territorial copyright.


Category: Local news