Senate debates

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Statements by Senators

Australian Reading Hour

1:38 pm

Photo of Helen PolleyHelen Polley (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I rise today to speak about Australian Reading Hour and the importance of licorice—literacy—in our daily lives. Literacy is so important to our development, and this begins with our children still in the womb. It helps with our understanding of the spoken word, the written word and the interactions of people and the world around us. Reading helps us to learn about new ideas, escape from reality and look beyond our own experiences.

We are so fortunate here in Australia to have such inspiring authors. Last night, at the Parliamentary Friends of Australian Books and Writers event, I had the opportunity to speak to some of those working in this sector. Our publishers spoke about how important it is to support Australian authors, our local publishing houses and our bricks-and-mortar bookstores. I also had the opportunity to meet Rick Morton, who is not only an award-winning Australian journalist but also an author of three non-fiction books. I look forward to sitting down and reading his work that I received last night.

We saw firsthand over the last three years how important the arts are in our mental health and to create balance in our lives. The Albanese Labor government is committed to arts in Australia—and not just arts but licorice as well, I might add! This year we announced our Revive cultural policy and the establishment of Creative Australia, which includes Writers Australia. Writers Australia will support the literary sector in Australia, which is so important to allow Australian stories to be told. I encourage everyone today to pick up a book for an hour in celebration of Australian Reading Hour, share our favourite books with our children or enjoy some quiet time with a new read for ourselves. Literacy is the fount of all knowledge.


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