Subjects: Parallel imports, nuclear waste, Malcolm Turnbull
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well it’s great to be here at the launch of a book by Gavin McCormack, a local author of children’s stories, a teacher who has written stories to teach young people morals about life. In this case, the moral is about kindness. It’s a great example of Australian authors and the contribution that they make to the Australian story. The fact is that if we allow wholesale importation of books we will see a diminishing of Australian stories being told. And that’s why the flourishing of Australian authors is so important and Labor is opposing the freeing up of the wholesale importation of books, because we know that in New Zealand that led to less authors, less books being published locally and it cost jobs. The Australian book publishing and printing industry creates some 20,000 jobs and here we have Australian authors, Australian publishers, Australian booksellers and Australian printers, all saying that we need to protect our Australian industry so that Australian stories can be told.
JOURNALIST: So obviously you were saying that it’s going to challenge the Australian book publishing industry, but wouldn’t you already say that that importation pressure is already there, on the internet and other places, re-sellers and things like that?
ALBANESE: Well individuals can now import whatever book they want. They can buy a book on Amazon and they can engage in that so that the current rules are that if a book isn’t published in a short period of time here in Australia then the importation is allowed. So it is, we believe, a system that has its balance right. What it doesn’t allow is for the mass importation of books and what that would do is to diminish the presence of the Australian book industry that’s been so important, which is why authors, be it Anna Funder, Tom Keneally and others, have been opposed to this change, because they know that the Australian stories being told is so important. I learnt about Western Australia and its landscape by reading Tim Winton’s book. So many Australians have learnt the Australian story based upon published books and it’s important that we cherish that because we do have a unique Australian culture and that’s worth protecting.
JOURNALIST: Also comments made yesterday by pretty much a living legend, Bob Hawke, about nuclear waste and the need for Australia to embrace that as a renewable resource, what would you say as far as Labor stands on nuclear waste, and disposing of it in the country?
ALBANESE: Well Australia has, up to this point of course, been opposed to further engagement in the nuclear fuel industry and the nuclear (inaudible) and there is of course a study that’s underway in South Australia that was rejected by the group of people who were appointed to examine this proposal. So any proposal could only succeed with public support and up to this point in time that public support hasn’t been there.
JOURNALIST: The papers today have been talking about what a tough week it’s been for Malcolm Turnbull, have you got any comments on that?
ALBANESE: Well it has been a diabolical week for Malcolm Turnbull, Malcolm Turnbull said himself that if you stand for nothing, the public will wonder why you’re there. And people will wonder what is the point of Malcolm Turnbull’s Prime Ministership. Here we have a report by the Council of Australian Governments saying that if you adopted the Emissions Intensity Scheme for energy, would result in lowering prices for households and for businesses of $15 billion, and that was rejected by Malcolm Turnbull. One wonders how he can continue, given he is Prime Minster in name only and is a captive of his Party’s right wing.