Announcing the winners of the Fair Australia Prize

What does a fair Australia look like, and how do we get there? The Fair Australia Prize asked writers and artists to engage with these questions and imagine a new political agenda for Australia through essay, fiction, poetry and illustration.

Overland and the National Union of Workers are very pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural Fair Australia Prize, all of whom will be published in Overland 220, a special extended edition to be launched in Melbourne in late August.

Congratulations to the following writers and artists for their visions of a fairer Australia.

Co-winners of the essay prize

Dall‘Lessons in class and casualisation’

‘Lessons in class and casualisation’ argues that universities, far from being ‘communities of scholars’, are degree and research factories using increased casual labour to undermine workers’ rights – nevertheless, casuals have more industrial power than is often assumed.

Erima Dall graduated in political economy with a Sydney University medal and a very casual tutoring job, so she joined the NTEU. A recent recipient of a scholarship from the Journal of Australian Political Economy, Erima is also a socialist, a refugee activist, and a member of Solidarity.


Wright‘The most fucking intense, crazy, rock ‘n’ roll thing you could be writing about’

My essay looks to make a lot of make a lot of noise about the absence of women’s voices and experience in the way that men politically speak about the world.

Stephen Wright lives in Nimbin on a landsharing community. He has won some things (2009 Eureka St Prize, 2013 Nature Conservancy Prize) been shortlisted for others (2012 Creative NonFiction prize, 2014 Calibre Prize, 2015 Gavin Mooney Prize) and was once runner up for a poetry prize he’s forgotten the name of. He is writer-in-residence for the 2015 Mesmerism new music festivals.


Co-winners of the fiction prize (co-winners)

SJCollins‘Zero Hours’

2048: Citizen Level Three Elizabeth Deacon meets Wallace, another Three with a plan to revolutionise the work model.

Sarah-Jane Collins is a Sydney-based journalist. She has worked at The Age, The Global Mail, The Sydney Morning Herald and the ABC, reporting on politics, courts, the arts, the environment, education and science. She writes fiction in her spare time, for now.


TroyHendersonpic‘100 Days’

The world’s least likely revolution takes place in the world’s most boring city: our correspondent is on the ground to make sure you don’t miss a beat.

Troy Henderson is a PhD candidate in political economy at the University of Sydney. His research topic examines the case for a universal basic income in Australia. His Masters focused on the four-day work week. His writing has appeared in The Australian, Arena, Left Flank and New Matilda. He blogs at


Winner of the poetry prize


‘Glossary’ is an act of casuistry – a wry hermeneutic is applied over the frame of the term ‘casual’ to reveal something of its form, and of the language in which it sits.

Mitchell Welch is a writer, editor and poet. Originally from Brisbane, Mitchell lives in Melbourne where he is writing a novel and working as a cemetery administrator.


Winner of the cartoon and illustration prize

McDougall‘Casual wear’

Casual employment is a wonderful way for employers to shirk responsibilities and minimise risks… by dumping them onto the workers!

Keith McDougall is an artist from Melbourne. He makes biographical comics about artists such as George Grosz, The Fall and Noel Counihan. He has rapped, played and produced for Spitfire Parade, Eden Monaro and Keith Party, and composed music for fourteen plays.


About the NUW

The prize is supported and funded by the National Union of Workers, a large union that is made up of workers in a diverse number of industries including warehousing, cold storage, poultry, pharmaceutical, dairy and market research. Increasingly, NUW members are dealing with insecure and precarious work.

The NUW stands for jobs that all workers can count on, whether permanent, casual, contract or labour hire. NUW workers and community members collaborate and organise to build a fair Australia inside and outside the workplace.

The NUW believes that a union must be part of a broad social movement to create democratic change, equality and sustainable jobs.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

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