Keep Google In Australia, Save Small Business

Keep Google In Australia, Save Small Business

1 February 2021
Signatures: 87Next goal: 100
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Why this petition matters

Started by Claude Walker

As many of you will be aware by now, the Australian government and the opposition are now pushing for a news media bargaining code that would force search engines like google to pay publishers for showing their links. Not for showing the content, just for showing the links and a small excerpt, like what you see when you do a google search.

These changes harm the open and free internet and will reduce the ability of small businesses to reach their customers. The law envisages a world where the Australian internet is no longer free, and millions of dollars are directed to big businesses like the publishers of The Australian newspaper.

News Media Bargaining Code To Maim Small Businesses

Explicitly, this law only allows large publishers to be paid. In order to get a seat at the table, publishing organisations must have $150k in revenue and have the resources to negotiate with companies like google and facebook. In reality, there are only a handful of large publishers who have any ability to negotiate with google. The are owned by Murdoch, or large media conglomerates with political power and dedicated legal teams.

Small organisations like us have no prospect, nor desire, to enter into negotiations to be paid for google showing our links. We have nothing to gain from this disgraceful law.

But we have everything to lose.

News Media Bargaining Code Is A Regressive Law Taking Us To A Pre-Internet Era

In 1995, Australian small businesses were forced to advertise in publications like The AustralianThe Australian Financial Review, Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Many small businesses in publishing or content creation could not exist, because there was no way to reach customers, and advertising in the media giants was too expensive.  And established dominant players like it like that.

But google changed all that. By surfacing our links when they are most relevant, google has introduced small businesses to many new customers, alongside, not instead of, other publications. This has allowed small family businesses to flourish and, believing that google was a search engine to be relied upon, those families relied on their business to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. 

If this law reduces the power of free google search, and favours the large media organisations, it will take money out of the pocket of small business and hand it to big business. It really is that simple; and the law explicitly excludes businesses with less that $150k revenue.

It couldn't be clearer that this law was designed to protect big media business. Our family business is just one of the businesses that will lose out if this law is enacted.

While big media has the capacity to adapt to large changes, small businesses all over Australia lose out; all so the federal gov't can do a favour for their big media mates.

And so I am asking:

Please help Australian small businesses by signing this petition to keep google in Australia.

Claude Walker

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Signatures: 87Next goal: 100
Support now