Last week ALIA CEO Cathie Warburton and ALIA Director of Policy and Education Trish Hepworth attended the Parliamentary Friends of Australian Books and Writing event at Parliament House. The event was held on the eve of Australia Reads, a national day dedicated to sharing the joys of books, reading and stories.
Mr Graham Perrett MP and Dr Anne Webster MP, Co-Chairs of the Parliamentary Friends group, extended a warm welcome to all the guests, including the MC Anna Burkey, Head of Strategic Communications for Australia Reads and the special guests authors Rick Morton and Anne Brinsden. Members of Parliament and their advisors in attendance included Special Envoy for the Arts, Susan Templeman MP; Dr Monique Ryan MP, and Senator Jacqui Lambie amongst many others. There were also representatives from the Office of the Arts, Australia Council, Copyright Agency, Copyright Council, Attorney-General’s Department, Australian Society of Authors, Australian Publishers Association and Book People.
Anna Burkey facilitated a wide-ranging discussion with Rick and Anne which covered a range of topics; growing up in regional Australia, the many benefits of reading, libraries and their role in the community, mental health, empathy, and the power and price of honesty in writing.
It was wonderful to see such support for Australia Reads from not only the book industry and the arts, but also from MPs on all sides of politics. Reading really brings people together. The goal to get more people reading more books, more often is one that is shared across industries and across the political spectrum in the interest of ensuring and improving the wellbeing of all Australians.