Andrew Doyle is a stand up comedian and satirist who's written for Jonathan Pie, created the parody twitter character Titania McGrath, writes for Spiked Online and runs a "free-thinking" comedy night in London called Comedy Unleashed. But, unlike others who criticise social justice and the "woke movement", Andrew comes at these issues from a Leftist perspective.
Here we chat about why Andrew is so concerned about "wokeness" and how he sees it affecting society, comedy and free speech. We cover the state of Brexit (and why he thinks voting to Remain isn't a left-wing position), fascism and his attitude towards how his work is interpreted.
Oscar Wilde's The Soul of Man Under Socialism
Cause of the Week: Action With Effect (actionwitheffect.org)
Grace Petrie is a socialist, feminist, lesbian singer-songwriter whose political songs place a fire in my heart and whose love songs break my heart. She's brilliant and I feel very lucky to have her on this show.
In this chat I ask Grace about being labelled a "protest singer", her agenda when it comes to her music, the importance of representation, Hannah Gadsby, trans rights, battling with TERFs and Jeremy Corbyn.
Plus at the end she bloody sings a song for us! It is great!
Cause of the Week: UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group (uklgig.org.uk)
CONTENT WARNING: This episode involves discussion of sexual assault
Daniel Sloss is a Scottish comedian who has sold out shows around the world, appeared on Conan shitloads of times and has two specials on Netflix. I'm also lucky enough to consider him a friend.
Daniel's latest show X deals with toxic masculinity and his personal response to an incident involving the sexual assault of a friend. It's a funny and thoughtful response to gender politics, call-out culture, sexual violence and #MeToo. In this conversation (recorded back in March), Daniel and I have a frank and at times tricky conversation about how to navigate this kind of terrain, the ethics of writing offensive and dark comedy and how we can all try to make the most of this cultural reckoning with the widespread scourge of sexual misconduct.
We also have a few laughs.
I'm keen to hear any and all feedback on this episode: my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
James Ball is a journalist and the current Global Editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. He worked with WikiLeaks on the Iraq War documents leak in 2010 and was part of The Guardian team that helped published the Edward Snowden sneaks about the NSA.
Last week I sat down with James in a London heatwave to reflect on Boris Johnson becoming PM, stockpiling for a no-deal Brexit, the way bullshit works in today's politics, the anti-Semitism scandal in the British Labour Party and the plight of Julian Assange.
Cause of the Week: Overgate Hospice (overgatehospice.co.uk)
Corey White is a comedian and writer with a pretty remarkable personal story. His memoir The Prettiest Horse in the Glue Factory is a funny, dark and brutally honest account of being raised in a violent working class home, being put through the harsh foster care system, struggling with issues of sexual identity and drug addiction and eventually becoming the comedian and man he is today.
Here, Corey and I compare notes on our very different childhoods and discuss issues of class, being a member of the lumpenproletariat, the welfare state, outrage, the case for a UBI and "fusionism". We laugh a lot throughout.
Cause of the Week: The Pyjama Foundation (thepyjamafoundation.com)
Former Greens senator and lifelong campaigner Lee Rhiannon has been fighting on the Left since she was fifteen years old.
Almost a year on from stepping down as a Senator for NSW after losing preselection to Mehreen Faruqi, Lee talks to me about being spied on by ASIO from the age of seven, being raised by socialist parents, the state of the union movement, just how badly neoliberalism has knocked around the Left, the tensions that continue to frustrate the Australian Greens and how the party can find a better way to reach out to working people.
Cause of the Week: Frontline Action on Coal (frontlineaction.org)
Playwright, commentator and activist Van Badham is back on the podcast after she joined me in July of 2015.
Since then Van has been a passionate advocate for the re-election of a Labor government and a scathing critic of The Australian Greens. I was keen to dig further into her thinking on that and ask her what she thought went wrong in the 2019 federal election (the answer might surprise you). Van mounts a vigorous defence of Labor's policies here and explains why she sees it as the major hope for the socialist Left in Australia.
Plus also you will hear her dog barking in the background.
Van's opinion pieces:
Cause of the Week: The Australian Labor Party (alp.org.au)
Josh Bornstein is an employment and IR lawyer at Maurice & Blackburn and the director at the Australia Institute.
He's been increasingly concerned about the level of control that Australian employers have gained over their employees' freedom of speech and expression. So when it comes to the case of Israel Falou, he's been (controversially) outspoken about the legal ramifications for workers if we accept that your boss can fire you for saying the wrong thing.
Here Josh and I take the time to flesh out his argument on this, how one can unequivocally condemn what Falou said but still object to him losing his job and what the implications for this saga might be for anti-discrimination protections moving forward.
Cause of the Week: The Centre for Future Work (futurework.org.au)
Jeremy Poxon is a social security activist and the media officer for the Australian Unemployed Workers Union. His spicy twitter account regularly draws attention to the plight of unemployed and underemployed people in Australia, from those living on Newstart to people on Work for the Dole to folks just trying to survive in the gig economy.
Here Jeremy explains exactly how organising unemployed workers in a union works, why capitalism is antithetical to the idea of (actual) full employment, why Labor's centrism SUCKS BUTT, what's involved in a jobs guarantee and what an Australian Green New Deal might look like.
Cause of the Week: The Unemployed Workers Union (unemployedworkersunion.com)
Something a little bit different for you this week: highlights from a live performance of A Rational Fear at Queensland's inaugural Climate Week.
There were jokes and songs and facts about the impending climate crisis, featuring myself, Dan Ilic, Melinda Buttle, Steph Tisdell, Lewis Hobba, Prof. Hilary Bambrick and Bridie Connell & Wyatt Nixon-Lloyd. Enjoy.
Jonathan Green is a veteran journalist and broadcaster who presents at the ABC and edits the literary magazine Meanjin.
He's been working as a journo since the late 70s so I thought he'd be a good person to reflect on how the political media is serving us in 2019 (hint: it's not). We talk about exactly why Jonathan thinks politics is "bollocks", the corrosive influence of the Murdoch media empire and whether there's anything to do about it, the smallness of the "Lucky Country" and the challenges ahead for progressive politics.
Cause of the Week: The Smith Family's Sponsor-A-Child Program (thesmithfamily.com.au)
He's back! The socialist journalist, author, broadcaster and activist Jeff Sparrow is back to help make sense of the election result.
Hear what Jeff makes of the idea that the ALP should return to the "sensible centre", how unconvincing Bill Shorten was as a progressive leader, the radical response that the climate crisis requires, where to next for the #StopAdani campaign, the fate of The Greens and whether class warfare is really over (hint: it's not).
Jeff's articles: Where to now for the Left?
Cause of the Week: BDS Australia (bdsaustralia.net.au)
Gideon Rozner is a Liberal Party member and the director of policy at free market think tank The Institute of Public Affairs. He loves markets and freedom and shit like that.
I'd booked this discussion in prior to the weekend's election results which for SOME FUCKING BONKERS reason s3aw the Morrison government re-elected. Gideon was very pleased with the result and in this conversation we discuss what he think happened, what Morrison will actually do, his climate scepticism, "class warfare", abolishing the Fair Work Act and how much money he won by betting on the election.
Cause of the Week: Give Money To Homeless People (or alternatively support Justice Connect's Homeless Law justiceconnect.org.au)
Singapore-based fund manager Alex Turnbull is the son of the ousted PM Malcolm and self-described "activist in most senses of the word".
Since the leadership coup in August of last year, Alex has been publicly scathing of the state of the Liberal Party and has actively campaigned to get centrist independents elected in traditionally safe Liberal seats. Alex joined me via Skype to talk with me about about his new approach to politics and public debate, what the heck the "sensible centre" really means and whether or not his dad ever watched my TV show.
Cause of the Week: Carbon Tracker (carbontracker.org)
Richard Di Natale is a Senator for Victoria and the leader of the Australian Greens. His seat isn't up this election but he is out there campaigning hard for the Greens to retain their positions in the Senate and potentially pick up some lower house seats too.
In this conversation we covered a lot, from Richard's thoughts on the egging of the PM to the ghosts of social media past sinking young people's political careers to his party's political fortunes to capitalism to MDMA. But it's clear that the Greens' and Richard's passion is focussed on the existential threat of climate change (as you'd expect). Here Richard outlines the importance of the battle against Adani, the bizarre coal culture war and what a just transition for coal miners might actually look like.
Cause of the Week: The Australian Greens (greens.org.au)
My childhood friend Alex Dyson is a very nice and very funny man who I got to host the triple j breakfast show with for four years.
Now, somewhat insanely, he is running as an independent candidate in our home seat of Wannon in south-west Victoria. It's a seat that's been held by the Liberals for 64 years and is currently held by Minister for Education Dan Tehan by a margin of 10%.
We drank a lot of wine, watched the godawful Leaders' Debate and had a long and fun and slightly-tipsy chat about his politics, why he thinks it's worth running in a safe seat, political ideology and Lupe Fiasco. We laughed, we reminisced, we respectfully disagreed, we danced. Enjoy!
Cause of the Week: Dangerous Females (dangerousfemales.com.au)
Kath Larkin is a unionist and socialist activist. She’s the Victorian Socialists candidate for the seat of Cooper (formerly Batman) in the 2019 federal election, running against Labor’s Ged Kearney.
In this conversation Kath told me about asking Jordan Peterson a question on Q&A (that he didn’t like), her history of union organising, why she’s running in Cooper (and whether she’s going to win), her vision of a socialist future in Australia and she maintains hope in the idea of achieving radical change.
Cause of the Week: Victorian Socialists (victoriansocialists.org.au)
Simon Holmes à Court is an energy transition expert. He's a Senior Advisor to at the Climate Energy College at Melbourne University, sits on the board of the Smart Energy Council and spends a lot of his time on twitter correcting the likes of Josh Frydenberg and Chris Uhlmann when they say silly wrong things about climate and energy issues issues.
In this conversation (recorded on an unseasonably warm April day), Simon talks me through the influence of fossil fuel money, the dumb culture war between coal and renewables, why he's a climate optimist and what the parties are offering in this climate election.
Greg Larsen is one of the funniest people I've ever met in my whole bloody life. He and I worked together on Tonightly where we made some very silly and naughty comedy together before we were cruelly cancelled by the FASCIST LIBERAL GOVERNMENT.
In this chat I ask Greg to reflect on the Tonightly months, his political punk band The Feminazis, wokeness, debate and the pointlessness of protests.
Cause of the Week: Donate to The Australian Greens (greens.org.au/donate)
Sorry about the delayed episode, all! My bad. Comedy Festival is on and all that. Anyway.
Sally McManus has been the Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions since 2017. She's the public face of the trade union movement in Australia and she takes little to no shit whatsoever.
We recorded this chat on the day the ACTU launched their call for the minimum wage to be raised to a living wage. I asked Sally to explain what that means, as well as her stances on democratic socialism, neoliberalism, privatisation, insecure work, just how hard it is to go on strike in Australia and how the ALP could become a helluva lot better.
Cause of the Week: JOIN YOUR FUCKING UNION PLEASE (australianunions.org.au)
Samah Sabawi is a playwright, poet and activist who is passionate about fighting for the rights of the Palestinian people. Just days after the horrific massacre in Christchurch, Samah explains to me why she was "disappointed but not shocked" by the horrific attack and how nearly two decades of poisonous Islamophobia has led us to this point.
Samah also lays out what life is like for Palestinians in their own land, what the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions movement is calling for and why it's important you #BoycottEurovision2019.
Melissa Davey is the Melbourne Bureau Chief for Guardian Australia. She’s done brilliant reporting about lots of different things over her career, but over the past few weeks has been diligently covering on the trial and conviction of George Pell.
As Pell receives his sentencing today and as we learn more about his case for appeal, Melissa explains what it’s been like following this massive story, the journalistic ethics at play, the judicial process and the reactions from the media and the Church to the guilty verdict.
WARNING: This conversation contains discussion of sexual assault and abuse
Cause of the Week: Dementia Australia (dementia-australia.org)
Emma is in Year 11, Anthony has just started uni and together they're involved in organising the second School Strike 4 Climate on Friday March 15th. It's a nation-wide, non-partisan, student-led protest demanding our political leaders take some GODDAMN REAL ACTION on climate change for once please.
It was an honour to sit down with these two passionate, funny, committed young people to discuss their motivations for organising the march, their hopes for what it might achieve and their thoughts on the very dumb criticism it's received from right-wing dumbos.
Trust me: listening to this will fill your heart with hope.
Cause of the Week: SUPPORT THE STRIKE ON FRIDAY MARCH 15TH! SEE YOU THERE! THANKS!
Giordano Nanni is a historian and satirist and the driving force behind The Juice Media.
He was the co-creator of the hugely successful Rap News series which has tallied millions of views and featured cameos from the likes of Noam Chomsky and Julian Assange and since 2016 he's been collaborating in his lounge room with his partner Lucy and actors Ellen and Zoe to make the very-funny-and-extremely-on-point Honest Government Ads series. The series has tackled everything from net neutrality to East Timor to the arms trade to Australia Day and they make me laugh and they make me angry.
Here Giordano and I have a bloody lovely chat about the story of The Juice, how history forms his politics, working with Assange and Chomsky and how doing satire could potentially see him sent to prison for five years. Funny stuff!
Cause of the Week: East Timor Women Australia (etwa.org.au)
Aimee Terese is a law student, podcaster and socialist.
Until this week she was the co-host of the Dead Pundits Society podcast in which she picked apart US politics from a Leftist perspective, filling my brain with a bunch of smart insights and funny jokes. She doesn't suffer contradictions or bullshit and I loved getting to pick her brain during this conversation about the origins of her politics, electoralism, "lesser evil voting", Jordan B. Peterson and Bernie Sanders.
Cause of the Week: The NSW/ACT Aboriginal Legal Service (alsnswact.org.au)