Reading the horrific stories of abuse and exploitation of migrant workers at 7-Eleven and elsewhere, exposed in recent weeks by Fairfax, it is tempting to ask where were the unions in all this? It’s a legitimate question, as traditionally it has been the role of unions to unofficially police workplace abuses and help to enforce the law. But in this case, while unions have huffed and puffed from the sidelines, their significance in recent stories has mostly been in their absence.
The stories that stood out in this year’s competition, especially those on the shortlist, note judges Alicia Sometimes, Clare Strahan and Leah Swann, honed in on a moment or mood ‘with precision and attention to the finest, evocative detail’.
Since July, a three-year ceasefire between the Turkish state and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has crumbled. From the government’s perspective, the amping up harms the electoral hopes of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) – the electoral force that can deny President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the executive presidency he craves. If the HDP’s popular vote can be driven from 13 per cent to below ten, Erdogan might well get his constitutional executive presidency.
It’s been odd in recent days to witness so much political manoeuvring around a document that no-one outside the upper echelons of the world’s power elite has seen. When the rest of us are finally allowed to read the final text of the Trans Pacific Partnership, we’ll be able to make better sense of the contortions of politicians on all sides of the ocean. Right now, it’s like watching a succession of clumsy people, all of a certain age, fencing with a ghost.
I have such a case of ‘Imposter Syndrome’. I find it really hard to believe that my work is any good at all. I thought that it would go away once I was published, but I can always seem to explain that away (got lucky; they didn’t have anyone better; they took pity on me as a friend/emerging writer, etc). I find myself not applying for prizes or submitting to publications because I’m so intimidated by the competition.