This guy is a gun. At just 22 years old, Tim Lo Surdo has advised federal senators and worked at everywhere from the Oaktree Foundation to the Australian Youth Climate Change Coalition to UN Youth to the United Voice union.
He's now set up an advocacy group called Democracy in Colour: an advocacy group dedicated to combating racism in Australian politics. It's a fascinating project, and here Tim outlines his personal experiences of racism, the realities of racism and the politics of fear in Australia today, the Left's failures to combat such racism and how white allies can help (in the right way).
100 episodes, everyone! We bloody made it. Gosh.
Thanks so much for getting onboard with this little show. I love doing it and hope you get something out of each episode. I've learnt so much talking to all the guests on the show over the past two years and hope to keep doing it for as along as I can.
I can think of no better way to celebrate the century than with a live show at The Wheeler Centre with the national director of GetUp!, Paul Oosting.
In this chat, recorded in front of a "sold-out crowd" (it was free, but still - pretty cool) as part of the Centre's Invasion of the Pod People series on Monday March 27th, Paul and I discuss what GetUp! is all about and how things are looking for progressives in this country at the moment. From the far-right's influence on the government to 18C to campaign finance reform to the crucial difference between viewing the electorate as "disenfranchised" as opposed to "disengaged", this is a really interesting and relevant discussion for now.
PLUS we brainstorm about how to stop Dutton getting elected.
A big thanks to Paul for flying down from Sydney just for the show and Helen and everyone at The Wheeler Centre for their help in making this happen.
Here's to 100 more!
Cause of the Week: GetUp! (getup.org.au)
James Paterson has been a Victorian senator for the Liberal Party for just over a year now. He's been making a name for himself as a passionate advocate for freedom of speech in regards to the reforming of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and by proposing that Australia help deal with its debt problem by selling off Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles.
Here the Senator and I talk about our first meeting years ago, his position as something of a political anomaly within his own family, why he's so strident on 18C, racism, offshore detention and corporate tax cuts.
Cause of the Week: Soldier On (soldieron.org.au)
Daniel Webb is the Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre. He is a passionate voice for human rights and for treating people seeking asylum with dignity and humanity.
In this chat Daniel is so crystal clear about why he does what he does, why what we're doing to refugees is wrong, the alternatives that are out there for us and why it's vital that we as a country need to rethink our entire approach here. He also describes what it's actually like for the men being held on Manus Island at the moment and in particular tells me about Mehdi Savari, an Iranian refugee comedian who has been detained on that hellhole for more than three years.
Cause of the Week: The Human Rights Law Centre (hrlc.org.au)
Writer, feminist, sociologist, social commentator, activist and postage stamp honouree Eva Cox AO is a remarkable person. A Jewish refugee child, Eva has always been something of an outsider, agitating for change and asking tough questions her entire life.
In this wide-ranging, educational discussion, Eva sums up the philosophy of neoliberalism and argues the case for social capital. We discuss feminism, Islam, the shortcomings of the same-sex marriage movement, identity politics and the Universal Basic Income. I was inspired and educated by this chat; I hope you like it as much as I did.
Cause of the Week: FIND CAUSES AND IDEAS THAT ARE OPTIMISTIC OR THINK THEM UP YOURSELF
Fin Taylor is a British comedian who's making some fascinating politically-charged work at the moment. I saw his show Whitey McWhite Face at the Edinburgh Fringe last year and it lit a fire under my butt. He made me laugh and think and feel uncomfortable, and that's all good stuff.
Here we discuss his disillusionment with the Left, his journey to progressive centrism, class, Corbyn, Blair, Clegg, Islamism, white white white privilege/invisibility and political correctness.
Cause of the Week: The Euston Manifesto (eustonmanifesto.org)
Kate Ellis has been the Federal member for the seat of Adelaide since 2004. She was the youngest person ever appointed as a minister in the Australian government, holding a number of portfolios. She's currently the Shadow Minister for both Early Childhood Education and Development and for TAFE and Vocational Education.
This is a frank, funny and insightful discussion about Kate's career, the state of politics in this country right now and the changes she's seen over her 13 years in the job. We talk about everything from Islamophobia and dealing with Neo-Nazis to how Tony Abbott changed the dynamics of politics to the disappointments of the Labor leadership turmoil years. Kate reflects on the purpose of factions, the fracturing of the right side of politics and tells an extraordinary story about the bizarre issue that prompted the most vehement feedback she's ever received as a sitting member.
PLUS Kate helpfully sets out how she thinks we should talk about debt, early childcare and Labor's approach to offshore detention of people seeking asylum.
Cause of the Week: The Zahra Foundation (zahrafoundation.org.au)
Senator Skye Kakoschke-Moore was elected as part of the Nick Xenophon Team in the 2016 election.
Now that she's 7 months in, she reflects on the job in all its glory and its frustrations. Skye talks about what it means to be in the "sensible centre", why she moved from political staffer to candidate, working with the likes of Cory Bernardi and Pauline Hanson, gambling reform, her views on offshore detention and the government's proposed visa lifetime ban for people seeking asylum and she even gives some tips about the best way to get your Senator's attention.
Cause of the Week: The Carly Ryan Foundation (carlyryanfoundation.com)
Comedian and Daily Show correspondent Ronny Chieng is back in Australia at the moment and gave me some of his time to talk about a whole many things. We covered offence, racism, interviewing white supremacists, freedom of speech, outrage, satire in the age of Trump and his conservative upbringing and disposition.
Oh, and my Nazi haircut. Apparently.
Apologies for the slightly not great audio quality on this one. Persevere, please: it's worth it. It's Ronny Chieng, for God's sake.
Make America Hate Again - Ronny's undecided voters piece
Cause of the Week: The CNN Freedom Project (cnn.com/freedom)
Let's talk about a little thing called democracy.
MiVote is a new political movement that launches next week and it's all about direct democracy. It's an online platform and political party that enables its members to directly influence their elected representatives: representatives that will be committed to enacting the people's (informed) will.
Founder Adam Jacoby kindly gave me a lot of time to talk through the idea and answer my annoying questions. He sets out just how fucked the system currently is and why he believes this might just work.
Cause of the Week: MiVote.org.au
Charlie Wood is the Campaigns Director at 350.org, an international climate action organisation that are fighting for a future that’s free from fossil fuels.
Here she describes where climate politics is at in these troubling times, how divestment is changing the game, climate scepticism, just how much the fossil fuel industry influences our politics, fear-mongering, how she manages to maintain hope. Charlie explains why Trump might actually be a good thing for the movement and whether or not, actually, for real, we (the human race) are fucked.
Cause of the Week: 350.org
Playwright, Black Comedy writer, tweeter and Aboriginal not-activist Nakkiah Lui joins me for a chat ahead of that ugly date, January 26th. Nakkiah reveals how she and her family mark Invasion Day and we discuss the merits of even having a national day at all.
We also touch on ideological diversity within Indigenous Australia, the "personal responsibility" narrative, deconstructing whiteness, the myth of multiculturalism, Bill Leak and the new TV series we're now going to pitch all over town, Blackfulla Mirror.
Cause of the Week: Butucarbin Aboriginal Corporation (butucarbin.org.au)
Lara Jeffery is the director of MyChoice Australia and describes herself as a right-wing libertarian. She's all about pushing back against the "nanny state", reducing the size of government and letting the free market do what it does.
Here we discuss how she came to this worldview and how that plays out in relation to education, healthcare, social justice, housing, smoking, the environment and more. We also cover the legacy of Ayn Rand, claiming the moral ground and Uber.
Cause of the Week: Students For Liberty Australia & New Zealand (studentsforliberty.org/anz)
Happy 2017 everyone!
Sally Goldner is the Executive Director of Transgender Victoria, the treasurer of the Bisexual Alliance Victoria and the first ever trans woman to be included on the Victorian Women's Honour Roll.
The Greens MP for Melbourne Adam Bandt joined me for the first ever live instalment of LIASYO.
Recorded in Collingwood on Sunday afternoon at the Easy Street Concert Hall in Collingwood, Melbourne, this discussion examines how Adam, the only Greens MP ever elected to the House of Representatives, is feeling at the end of what has been, largely, a shitty year for progressive causes.
An eternal optimist, Adam picks apart Turnbull's legacy, parliament's effectiveness, Trumpism, neoliberalism, the future of the Greens and how progressives can get better at winning. He even manages to find some good news in all of this.
AND he tells a great story about getting a voicemail from Tony Abbott. AND he tells us what he admires about Christopher Pyne.
This will be the final ep for the year, I'm going to have a break and cry more and drink beer and get sunburnt and think more about the revolution. Never fear: the show shall return in 2017. Thanks for everything, y'all.
Cause of the Week: Sea Shepherd Australia (seashepherd.org.au)
Nayuka Gorrie returns to unpack Episode 2 of First Contact with me. It's bloody tough going as the episode looks at overcrowded housing and poverty in the NT town of Elliott and survivors of the Stolen Generation.
What does the airing of this show actually mean for Indigenous Australians? Why do some react to the stories of the Stolen Generation with blatant denialism? How can non-Indigenous people (try to) be better allies?
Cause of the Week: Indigenous Literacy Foundation (indigenousliteracyfoundation.org.au)
Episode 1 of First Contact has arrived.
The kind Nayuka Gorrie joined me for a viewing of the show and to share her thoughts. We discuss #DefineAboriginal, the difficulty in making a show like this and the issues and attitudes it exposes.
Jamila Rizvi is a writer, commentator, former Labor staffer and political junkie. She was raised in Canberra by her immigrant public service parents, joined the Labor Party at 18 and has worked for the Rudd and Gillard governments.
On the dancefloor at Mardi Gras this year, I met Tim Rosenberger. He is a gay, conservative, Republican law grad from Ohio. And he has supported Donald Trump's candidacy for President of the United States. That candidacy was successful. And now we're here.
Here I have a lengthy chat with Tim via Skype about why he thinks Trump and Pence will be good for LGBTIQ+ Americans, racial politics, "pussy-gate", the electoral college, Clinton, climate change PC, identity politics and much more. I listened. It was hard and frustrating. But useful. I hope. #MAGA
In these times of uncertainty and fear, I speak to my mum and dad.
Neil and Judy tell me about their political beliefs, the changes they've seen in their lifetime, what they make of the election of Donald Trump and how they think progressive change can happen.
I learnt and laughed a lot. I hope you enjoy it.
Cause of the Week: Amnesty International (amnesty.org.au)
It happened. Donald J. Trump is going to be the next President of the United States.
I am very sad.
I don't know about you, but I want to help. I want to make things better.
Support queer rights by donating to allout.org
Support refugees by donating to UNHCR Australia
Support the fight against climate change by donating to 350.org
Support gender equality by donating to Emily's List Australia
Nur Warsame is Australia's first openly gay imam.
He's an incredible man with a fascinating story that I think is really important to hear. If you're like me and want to call out and stand up against any religious bigotry towards queer people BUT you also don't want to pile on to the current shitstorm of Islamophobia that's swirling around this country at the moment, there's a lot to be learnt here from Nur. Here we discuss his journey to coming out publicly, what that decision has cost him, how he reconciles his faith with his sexuality and how we can have better conversations about critiquing Islam and certain oppressive cultural attitudes.
Cause of the Week: Marhaba (@marhaba_Melb)
Activist, writer, engineer, motoring enthusiast and outspoken young Muslim woman of colour Yassmin Abdel-Magied is kicking arse on multiple levels right now and I felt very lucky indeed to have this opportunity to chat with her.
Earlier this year, Yassmin sparked a large controversy in the literary world when she walked out on author Lionel Shriver's speech on cultural appropriation at the Brisbane Writers Festival. Here she reflects on that experience and further explores her thoughts on why an awareness of what cultural appropriation is and how it works is important.
Last week's guest Gay Alcorn had a different take on this subject; you can listen back to that episode here.
Cause of the Week: Mumtaza (mumtaza.agency)
Gay Alcorn has been a journalist for over 25 years. She's been a Washington correspondent, edited The Sunday Age, won three Walkley Awards and is now the Melbourne editor for Guardian Australia.
I wanted to talk with Gay about a whole many things (we began by talking about this week's 4Corners report on the refugee children of Nauru and the roles and biases of journalism), but the bulk of our chat became focussed on the notion of "political correctness": the nature of our public discourse, section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, identity politics and cultural appropriation.
Gay describes herself as a progressive person but is a staunch advocate of the freedom of speech and has concerns about the way we go about talking with each other. Is it now longer possible for us to "reasonably disagree"?
This piece by Gay on PC is the basic starting point for our chat, I'd recommend reading that first before listening here. We also got on to Lionel Shriver's speech at the Brisbane Writer's Festival and the ensuing furore; this will also be the focus of next week's episode with Yassmin Abdel-Magied.
TIME TO MEET ANOTHER HERO, EVERYONE! Shen Narayanasamy is the Human Rights Campaign Director at GetUp!. She's an outspoken activist for refugee and migrant rights who is seriously shaking shit up at the moment and she was nice enough to explain to me why (and how) she's doing it.
From her Di Gribble address on "The Great Immigration Con" to taking on the private companies that are complicit in human rights abuses through the operation of offshore detention centres to the task of defeating the philosophy behind the "detention regime" in its totality, I reckon this is a really illuminating and (mildly) hopeful discussion.
Cause of the Week: No Business In Abuse (nobusinessinabuse.org)