Some 8000 Rohingya asylum seekers and Bangladeshi migrants are currently stranded, lacking food, water and sanitation – and the governments of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia are pushing their boats back into the ocean, knowing they have nowhere to go.
The blunt reality is this: we have a generation, or more precisely, several generations, who can only imagine life getting more difficult. Job security is lower, competition for employment is greater, education is getting ever more expensive.
Literary contests are sliding more and more towards charging fees that exclude many people, and exploit many who can ill afford the entry fee. I am lucky, in that if I really wanted to enter something, my partner could provide the means. But I would not enter a competition that cost $33 because it is simply too much of the household’s money for me to spend with a clear conscience.
The Abbott government is now on course to drive aid lower than it has ever been. Aid programs take time to implement and require a stable stream of funding.
The hot summer of February 1982: we are loading guitars, amps and drums up the concrete steps from the grimy car park of the Prince of Wales Hotel into the PBS studios on Fitzroy Street in St Kilda. The air is thick with red dust reflecting the blue lights of police vans cruising the strip.