The power to act together

The MEAA has just been granted the power to collectively represent freelancers. This is a very important development as now the union is able to do a lot more for us.

It will be very interesting to see how the MEAA uses this new power in the following months. There are certainly plenty of awful standard freelance contracts that need to be addressed.

Here’s to seeing some real results!


Speaker Evening March 23: Money and Business Matters

The Sydney Freelance Journalists Group is holding a panel discussion evening on Tuesday March 23 to discuss Money and Business Matters.
Do want to know:

· How to manage your cash flow?
· What you can claim as deductions at tax time?
· About superannuation and income protection – do you have them?
· If you should be charging GST?
· The benefits of paying your PAYG annually instead of quarterly?
· What you should have on your personal tax checklist?

If you want to know the answers to these questions – or any other financial questions – join us for the panel discussion.

Alternatively, come along for a drink and share some nibbles and conversation with other freelance journalists.

Panel facilitator: Emily Chantiri

Emily is a freelance journalist and committee member of the Sydney Freelance Journalists Group. She is a regular contributor to a number of magazines, including NoteBook , ABC Life etc and Fairfax’s BRW Magazine. She is also the author of The Savvy Girl’s Money Book.

Panel speakers
Dianne Hill

Dianne is a Company Director and Management Consultant. Her background is in Chartered Accounting, Banking and Project Management. She has managed her own small business Sector Research Pty Limited for 20 years and has developed and presented financial training programs for non-finance people. Dianne is also one of the four authors of The Money Club, which became a bestseller with sales exceeding 25,000 copies, and of the book Financially Fit for Life.

Robert Peake

Robert Peake is a chartered accountant and partner with the firm, Herkess & Partners Chartered Accountants. Making it onto the MEAA’s recommended list of chartered accountants for journalists, Herkess & Partners have been providing taxation, accounting, audit and investment services for more than 60 years.

Event details
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
6:30pm – 8:30pm
Forresters Hotel,
corner Riley and Foveaux Street, Surry Hills

$10 for MEAA members, $15 for non-members
Call the Alliance Membership Centre on 1300 65 65 13 or email to RSVP and / or pay for your ticket
(credit card payments only).
Payment at the door on the night is fine, but please RSVP.

NSW Writers’ Centre Seminar – Saturday 20 March

Our friends at the NSW Writers’ Centre are hosting a seminar titled
with Dr Meenakshi Bharat
on  Saturday 20 March 2010 from 10am – 4pm

Full Price – $140, NSW Writer’s Centre Members $100, Concession Members $85

Dr Meenakshi Bharat is the biographer of Salman Rushdie and is currently touring Australia to promote her latest anthology, Fear Factor: Terror Incognito Stories (co-edited with Sharon Rundle) which features stories from Australian and Indian writers. In this special one-day seminar Meenakshi will train aspiring jouralists to zero in on the right ingredients for an effective ‘telling’.

She will, among other things, specifically look at:

• the vocabulary choices;
• the different registers;
• the shape and the form chosen for the various pieces.

Level: Intermediate/Advanced
Food: Tea and coffee making facilities will be provided. Course participants are advised to bring their own lunch.
Size: 20 max

To read more about the seminar and Dr Meenakshi Bharat, click here

First step taken against Fairfax freelance contract

It is good that the MEAA has finally taken the first step to change the standard Fairfax freelance contract.

The standard Fairfax freelance contract, which has been in place for three years, is viewed by many freelancers as particularly unfair. For example, if Fairfax publish three pieces of work by a freelancer within a six month period then that freelancer is forbidden to have work published by any other major newspaper or magazine and Fairfax are not required to provide any further work. In other words, for the sake of work worth $3000 at the very most a freelancer is prevented from earning a living. Other clauses relating to licenses allowing Fairfax to use freelancers’ work for no extra compensation are also of concern.

While the Fairfax contract is particularly harsh, it is nonetheless symptomatic of increasingly poor working conditions for freelancers industry wide.

By approaching the ACCC in late December 2009, the union will learn whether it can represent freelancers like it represents journalists who are employees. If it can, then there is no reason why the union can’t begin a bargaining process where Fairfax management will have to come to the negotiating table.

The Sydney Freelance Journalists Group will report whether the union can represent us effectively in this important issue when the ACCC’s decision is made sometime next year.