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July 10, 2024

MPs champion writing

The ASA applauds the comments made recently in the House of Representatives by MPs Susan Templeman, Graham Perrett, and Kate Chaney in the second reading of the Creative Australia Amendment Bill to introduce two new bodies: First Nations Arts and Writing Australia.

Susan Templeman MP and Special Envoy for the Arts, said, “By investing in writing and reading we’re investing in the vitality of our culture and the well being of the Australian people…I want to acknowledge the advocacy of the many individuals and organisations whose insights have informed the National Cultural Policy. They planted the seed of an idea that would soon emerge as Writing Australia. To organisations like the Australian Society of Authors, Books Create Australia, Australian Publishers Association, Australian Library and Information Association, thank you for everything that you have done to allow us to better understand the literature sector’s needs and to bring us to this moment.”

Graham Perrett, who is both an MP and a published author, spoke from his experience when he said, “Having support to do the work will have such a positive impact. It is also recognition for the hours and hours of work that go into that glossy book that you pick out at the bookshop, download on your Kindle or select to listen to as an audiobook. I’m particularly excited by the opportunities that Writing Australia will provide for emerging writers and writers from diverse backgrounds who have important stories to share as our society changes and grows.”

Kate Chaney highlighted the step-change Writing Australia represents, saying, “Olivia Lanchester, CEO of the Australian Society of Authors, pointed out to me that there were 152 submissions to the cultural policy public consultation process advocating for the literature sector… Literature has fallen through the gap between the arts and commercial activity. The general public thinks that authors get paid well by their publishers, but making a living as a writer in Australia is very challenging… Writing Australia represents an opportunity for a national vision for literature.”

For authors, these comments feel hard won and highly welcome. We know how many of our members called for change and, after many years, we’re buoyed to see the fruits of our relentless advocacy with the implementation of Revive and introduction of Writing Australia. The ASA is determined to make the most of this unprecedented opportunity and stands ready to work with Creative Australia and the new writing body to improve opportunities for authors.

Read the full Hansard transcript.