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Non Fiction

The god of cheaper prices: New threats to our literary culture from the Productivity Commission

The federal government has been promoting the innovation economy, but is considering recommendations for legal reform which will undermine the financial and cultural interests of creators. This conflict captures the tension around real reform in this area. Are they being serious? The recommendations are contained in the report of the Productivity Commission, an independent panel which reviews options to make our economy more productive, favouring free markets, and eschewing monopolistic practices.

Intellectual property laws are all about monopolies which have long existed to foster creativity and invention. With respect to copyright, the Productivity Commission has recommended the abolition of restrictions on parallel importation and the introduction of a defence of fair use in copyright in place of the fair dealing defence.

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The Distant Exodus

The Distant Exodus

Australian Jews recall their immigration experiences

This is a book about the immigration experiences of Jews between 1939 and 1950 – a story which has dominated my life as my parents were amongst these immigrants. Notwithstanding the experience of the Nazi persecution, Jews were not welcome as immigrants at the time in Australia, or any other country apart from Palestine/Israel.

The war and its aftermath brought out the xenophobic worst in most people, and the fate of stateless people was not high on national agendas. Indeed, this fact precipitated the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, but that creation did not come about without a prolonged period of warfare. Many Jews did not relish the prospect of heading directly from their wartime experiences in Europe into more conflict in the Middle East. Of all the confrontations in modern times in the Middle East, the war of independence, as Jews call it, was the most bitter and wasteful in terms of loss of life.

For my own family, quitting Poland in 1949, leaving behind countless generations of memories for all time, the  decision had to be made between migration to Israel and anywhere else. Friends had come to Australia, and the  reports were good. My parents could get papers to come, and they took the chance.

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