After a 16-month-long process, the Australian government has decided not to change the regulatory regime involving the parallel importation of books.
This is a welcome decision. It represents a triumph of common sense over ideology.
It is also a heartening and refreshing sign that the government, from the prime minister down, is able to deal with a highly complex subject in a professional, clear-sighted way while retaining core Labor values.
I also want to thank everybody who contributed to the campaign to retain territorial copyright. While it has been a painful — sometimes agonising — fight, I have been tremendously impressed by the thoughtfulness, commitment, and camaraderie of all the publishers, authors, literary agents, printers, organisations and individuals involved. The result was a remarkable degree of solidarity and a treasure-trove of information about the book industry and what drives the people in it.
I hope we never have to go through this again. But, if we do, we will have at our disposal what will come to be seen as a classic political case-study in how to beat propaganda with the truth.