Owen Jones is an activist (first) and celebrated writer (second). He's the author of bestselling books Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class and The Establishment And How They Get Away With It, is a regular Guardian columnist and has a cracking YouTube channel. He's a major Leftist voice in UK politics and quite frankly, I was pretty stoked when he agreed to give me some of his time.
Here we talk about democratic socialism, what Corbyn's political rise means for that cause, the dangers of centrism and the basics of Brexit. We also touch on what defines the "working class", being friends with Tories and Owen's cat.
Cause of the Week: The Advocacy Academy (theadvocacyacademy.com)
Acclaimed comedian and all-round nice guy Ahir Shah was just nominated for the big award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for his passionate, insightful and hilarious show Control. It's a brilliant treatise on the fallout of Brexit and Trump and humankind's inability to learn from its past mistakes.
Here Ahir tells me about how the racist debate surrounding Brexit affected him personally, why he couldn't vote for Jeremy Corbyn in this year's election, the "economic anxiety" argument used to explain demonstrations of racism, being friends with conservatives and punching Nazis.
Cause of the Week: British Red Cross South Asian Flood Appeal
Geoff Norcott is a rare thing indeed: an (openly) right-wing comedian. His recent stand up shows have explored his working class background and his conservative politics and they've been mighty funny.
This was a fascinating discussion about Goeff's thoughts on capitalism, right-wing politics in comedy, Brexit, immigration, outrage, Corbyn, Brixton and personal responsibility.
Cause of the Week: Medicins Sans Frontieres (msf.org.uk)
What better week to talk about Australia and marriage equality lolololol
Sally Rugg is an out and proud campaign director at GetUp! calling for queer rights. She's been leading the marriage equality campaign for a while now (it regularly makes her "wake up tearing her hair out") and this week the movement has seen another ridiculous setback.
This chat was recorded a few weeks ago but I think it's a really important insight into where we're at in Australia with the marriage equality debate and the underlying issues around it. From the ACL to the stupidity of the plebiscite to what it all says about our politics, Sally is frank and passionate about this cause and makes it very clear that she won't be stopping until this discrimination is removed from the Marriage Act.
Cause of the Week: Twenty10 (twenty10.org.au)
Mark Di Stefano is the outgoing political editor at BuzzFeed Australia.
This is a frank chat where we both air our grievances about the shitty state of Australian politics, media and debate at the moment. From the cosy relationship between the press and the political class, the plethora of pundits who never get their comeuppance for being wrong to the good ol' fashioned outrage industry.
Also Mark explains what the Milkshake Duck is. I am old and uncool.
Cause of the Week: Copwatch (huffed.org/project/copwatchnjp)
Caroline Marcus is the "Political Reporter for the People" for Sky News and an opinion columnist for The Daily Telegraph.
Caroline joined me live onstage at the Giant Dwarf theatre in Redfern in front of a lively crowd on Wednesday July 12th. We touch on the media landscape, bias, identity politics and her experience reporting on the Australian detention centres on Nauru for A Current Affair. Our disagreement occasionally got heated, but I really appreciated the chance to explore this stuff with Caroline in detail.
A huge thank you to the Giant Dwarf for having us.
You can hear the first episode recorded on the night with Tanya Plibersek here.
Cause of the Week: Lifeline (lifeline.org.au)
Tanya Plibersek has been the Member for Sydney since 1998. She's the Deputy Leader of the ALP and Shadow Minister for Education and for Women.
Tanya joined me live onstage at the Giant Dwarf theatre in Redfern in front of a lively crowd on Wednesday July 12th. We touched on the ideological rift bubbling up in the Coalition at the moment, gender equality, Mark Latham, education funding and Labor's refugee policies.
A huge thank you to Tanya for making the time (particularly as she was battling a cold on the night), everyone for coming out to see the show and to the Giant Dwarf for having us.
The second conversation with journalist Caroline Marcus will be next week's episode.
Cause of the Week: Oxfam's East Africa Appeal
Jeff Sparrow is a writer, broadcaster and activist. He's a former member of the International Socialist Organisation and was one of the founding members of the Socialist Alternative.
I've been wanting to talk to Jeff for a long time and really appreciate this chance to ask him about radical politics, Marxism, class, oppression, the widespread rejection of centrism and the matter of taking one's politics "seriously".
Cause of the Week: Triple R (rrr.org.au)
This week I'm bringing some highlights from a panel I chaired last week for Amnesty International Australia entitled Defending Human Rights In A Time Of Heightened Populism.
The panel included refugee rights advocates Andre Dao and Aran Mylvaganam, Indigenous lawyer Meena Singh and businesswoman and social activist Hana Assafiri. Claire Mallinson, the National Director of Amnesty Australia, was also on the panel, but unfortunately due to audio issues I haven't been able to include her here.
I thought this was a really enlightening discussion on the way that populist politics affects our conception of human rights and plays into public debate. We reflected on what does and doesn't work for human rights advocacy in the face of populism, the death of facts and reason, persuasive storytelling and the impact of the Murdoch media on this conversation.
Please bear with the audio: I guarantee you it's worth it.
Cause of the Week: Amnesty International Australia (amnesty.org.au)
Samantha Ratnam is a social worker and Greens politician who's currently serving as the Deputy Mayor of Moreland City Council. She's previously served as Mayor in Moreland and in 2016 ran as the Greens candidate for the federal seat of Wills, losing out to Labor MP Peter Khalil.
This is a great insight into local politics and why Sam's passionate about it, particularly its ability to inspire change by example. We also cover the situation in Sri Lanka and how that's informed Sam's attitude towards conflict and multiculturalism, how Australia's approach to race feels like it's going backwards and the future of the Australian Greens.
Julian Burnside AO QC is a barrister and refugee advocate who has acted in some of the highest profile legal cases in Australian history, from the cash for comment inquiry to the waterfront dispute to the Tampa affair.
For the past 16 years Julian has tirelessly spoken out about Australia's cruel immigration policies and has acted pro bono for refugees and people seeking asylum. He received the 2014 Sydney Peace Prize for "his brave and principled advocacy for human rights and for those wronged by government [and] for insisting that we respect our international legal obligations toward those seeking asylum".
I got to go to Julian's (freaking amazing) house and talk to him at length about the state of refugee rights in Australia today, why he's never run for office himself, how the MUA case changed the way he looked at governments, the arts, justice and evil.
Cause of the Week: The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (asrc.org.au)
Shireen Morris is the Constitutional Reform Advisor at Noel Pearson's Cape York Institute.
In the wake of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and the Uluru Statement From The Heart, Shireen runs me through the history of constitutional recognition, what it means and how it might work moving forward. We cover symbolism, the political reaction to the Statement, what an Aboriginal Voice might look like, treaty and the tension between Indigenous land rights and environmental considerations.
I learnt a whole lot here because Shireen is fully heaps smart.
Cause of the Week: 1 Voice Uluru (1voiceuluru.org)
Jack Latimore is a Goori man of the Birpai nation. He's a journalist and researcher who covers indigenous affairs, media, culture and politics and his work has appeared in The Guardian, Indigenous X, Koori Mail, The Citizen, medium, SBS and Overland.
In the past week we've marked Sorry Day and the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and witnessed 300 Indigenous leaders gather in Uluru for a summit on what constitutional recognition for Australia's First Peoples might look like. Here I ask Jack what he made of the summit's Statement from the Heart, how recognition and/or treaty could work and media representations of Indigenous peoples, from First Contact to Stan Grant to Bill Leak's cartoons.
SAVE THE DATE: June 22nd for a charity gig for Refugee Legal at Howler Bar in Melbourne
John Safran is one of the most interesting writers/comedians/filmmakers/broadcasters/provocateurs/social commentators Australia has ever produced. He’s fascinated by issues surrounding religion and race and the Illuminati and he’s very funny when exploring them.
John’s latest book, Depends What You Mean By Extremist, sees him hanging out with far right extremists like the United Patriots Front and Reclaim Australia, Islamic fundamentalists and far left anarchists. It’s brilliant, challenging and very relevant to the INTENSE political moment we’re living through. Here John and I talk about patriotism, extremism, Australia’s reluctance to accept radicalism in any form and geese and ganders.
Cause of the Week: The Make A Wish Foundation (makeawish.org.au)
One of the biggest and best comedians in Australia, Wil Anderson is super funny, super smart and super nice. Wil is a world-renowned stand up, the host of the ABC hit Gruen, former host of weekly satire show The Glass House and serial podcaster. He's been thinking and telling jokes about the news for a long time and he's pretty bloody good at it.
This chat covers a lot of ground, from Wil's thoughts on the size of government to the state of journalism and the ABC to his approach to political comedy. We also eat some cheese and laugh about Mark Latham.
Gay and Bi men are being persecuted in Chechnya - you can help:
Cause of the week: UNHCR (unrefugees.org.au), support independent media please
Sara Saleh is a self-identifying "radical" poet and human rights activist. She works in refugee resettlement, is a GetUp! board member, co-founded the Dubai Poetry Slam and has worked with organisations like Amnesty International and WestWORDS.
At a time of heightened Islamophobic debate raging in the public sphere in Australia, Sara and I talk about what it's like to have your faith and community constantly being scrutinised and demonised by politicians and commentators. From the plight of Yassmin Abdel-Magied to Palestine to Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the intersection of Islam and feminism, this is a really enlightening discussion about uncomfortable things.
Cause of the Week: GetUp! (getup.org.au)
Chris Berg is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs and a Postdoctoral Fellow at RMIT. He's passionate about civil liberties, defending freedom, shrinking the size of government and general libertarian good times.
Here Chris and I cover a lot: "ideology" not being a dirty word, the pitfalls of politics, the role of the State, prosecuting radical ideas, human flourishing, adapting to (rather than taxing) climate change, the Nanny State, partying in Amsterdam, why the Commonwealth Games are a rort and what he admires in the Left.
Cause of the Week: The Human Capital Project (humancapitalproject.com.au)
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)