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)
He used to co-host Australian Idol but this year James Mathison ran against former prime minister Tony Abbott for the federal seat of Waringah as an independent.
In this chat James explains why he decided to run, his frustrations with the current political deadlock in Australia, the limitations of election campaigns and his predictions of a new progressive movement on the horizon.
Plus he shamelessly advertises Coke.
Cause of the Week: Barnados (barnados.org.au)
22-year-old student Brendan Busch is angry and frustrated about Australian racism and denial, particularly in relation to First Nations peoples.
He's spoken out against Andrew Bolt receiving a platform at the 2016 Festival of Dangerous Ideas and garnered some media attention last month when he offered to give away his Falls Festival ticket to anyone who could prove they had convinced radio station triple j to change the date of their massive annual song countdown, the Hottest 100, from "Australia Day" on January 26th.
Here Brendan (eloquently) explains his thinking and the ideas behind the #changethedate movement, reacts to the subsequent response from triple j and the public and discusses the murky distinctions between the expression of "challenging views" and hate speech, holding our public institutions to account and how we balance the importance of calling out racism with the goal of actually changing people's minds.
Comedian Josie Long makes me feel better about the world. She is a ball of delightful, charming and passionate energy whose comedy is hilarious and socially conscious and life-affirming.
In this chat, recorded backstage at the lovely Soho Theatre, Josie and I chat about how she became more politically active, the trickiness of “helping” in the right way, the UK Labour leadership, austerity, art, privilege and voting for what you believe in.
Plus a few Kurt Vonnegut quotes for good measure.
Cause of the Week: Arts Emergency (arts-emergency.org)
Backstage at the Soho Theatre I got to sit down with journalist Johann Hari to discuss how the media corrupts our public debate, Australian television and his powerful book, Chasing the Scream: The First & Last Days of the Drug War.
What is addiction? Why is the drug war still continuing? What is it costing us? Is there a better way?
Cause of the Week: Unharm (unharm.org)
Finally! An actual new ep!
And what an ep it is. Comedian, writer and broadcaster Nish Kumar hosts topical comedy show Newsjack on the BBC and has been twice nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award. He writes very smart, politically charged comedy and his laugh is glorious to behold.
Here Nish and I discuss the current "spicy meatball" of a political period the UK is experiencing. From the concept of "right-wing comedy" to post-Brexit xenophobia to Jeremy Corbyn to Jo Cox to Trump to Hanson, this has got everything you've been craving.
Cause of the Week: We Love Immigration: A Comedy Night for Migrant Rights Network, Help Refugees UK (helprefugees.org.uk)
Just a small message to say that this podcast is still happening and everything, I just got distracted and tired and drunk at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Sorry lol.
New episodes coming soon!
In a week of Sonia Kruger and Pauline Hanson nonsense, let's talk to someone who's actually doing something GOOD for immigrants and refugees and people of colour.
David Manne is a human rights lawyer and the Executive Director of Refugee Legal (formerly the Refugee Immigration Legal Centre or RILC). He's passionate about helping people who ask our country for - and are deserving of - legal protection.
David gave me the lowdown on the Australian refugee crisis as he sees it: where we're at, what laws we're breaking, just how generous we are and what should (and can) happen next - an immediate evacuation of people languishing in our offshore detention centres.
Cause of the Week: Refugee Legal (rilc.org.au)
It's episode 69 so let's talk about LOVE.
Writer and philosopher Alain de Botton is in the country to promote his (brilliant) new book The Course of Love: an exploration of the confusing ideas romanticism serves up for us. He thinks love is a serious matter indeed and one worth examining closely, and in this chat we talk about its effects, its position in our hard-wiring and its many forms.
Also, in the wake of Brexit and Trump, Alain reflects on how emotional intelligence might better inform our public debate.