Dear Overland family,

It’s no secret that writers and artists are doing it tough, and these conditions are compounded by the radically unsustainable precarity faced by the freelance writers, who constitute the bulk of the literary sector.

In 2023, as we look towards our 250th edition and prepare for Overland’s 70th anniversary, we wish to make a tangible commitment to improve working conditions for our community, and ensure that whatever funding challenges we might face as a left-wing not-for-profit publisher are not passed on to our contributors.

As such, we are proud to become the first publishers to sign onto the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance’s Freelance Charter, which affirms the rights and protections of freelance contributors. In addition to an increase for our online rates of pay, all Overland contributors with an ABN will now be paid 11 per cent superannuation to help support the continuation of their freelance practice.

We want to acknowledge the tremendous effort of our former fiction editor Jennifer Mills for her work on establishing this agreement, and on her efforts to support freelance writers across Australia with fair and dignified working conditions.  Today she writes:

It can be difficult for writers to organise. Freelancers rely on our relationships, and we often can’t afford to be disruptive. But that makes it even more important that we act collectively and in solidarity with others, both in the arts and in every form of precarious work. It’s great to see the literature sector leading the way in discussing and adopting better practices. I’m so proud of the freelance committee and the union for seeing the need to take action and putting in the years of work—meetings, discussions, writing, agitation and more meetings—that are now resulting in lasting change . . . Overland has been essential to my own development as a writer, editor and critic. It’s a journal with a strong radical history and it has always offered its writers and readers space to imagine a more just world. I’m thrilled that the Freelance Charter is now part of that legacy.”

You can read Jennifer’s full statement, view the MEAA and Overland freelance agreement, and endorse the charter here: https://freelancers.org.au/overland-freelancers/

We remain committed to Overland’s community of writers and readers, and hope that this agreement will encourage other publishers to get involved with this industry wide campaign for fair freelance rates and conditions.

In solidarity,

Evelyn Araluen, Jonathan Dunk and Giovanni Tiso

 

Editorial team

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

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.


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