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Like I'm A Six-Year-Old

Comedian Tom Ballard sits down with interesting and passionate people to find out what they do and what they believe in. It's kind of like Kitchen Cabinet except Tom can't cook.
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May 9, 2016

First Dog On The Moon is a dog and a Walkley award-winning cartoonist. His work has appeared in Crikey and now Guardian Australia and it is funny and silly and dog-based and sad and great. 

Here Dog and I discuss the origins of his work, the importance of being a good political hater, the problems with empathy, his horrible lefty family, civil disobedience penguins, brussels sprouts and mountain chicken frogs.

The ABC's Vote Compass  

My piece for Fairfax: Those Fighting Against Offshore Detention Don't Need All The Answers 

The Pacific Solution's brutal truth: we need it by Jonathan Holmes 

My piece for Guardian Australia: Stop the votes! A message from the Prime Minister of Canberra

LGBTIQ+ Issues in St Petersburg & Around The World (happening tonight!)

Me, Lehmo & Genevieve Morris at Sooki Lounge on May 12th

Ridiculous Laws: A Justice Connect event (Wednesday May 18th)

@firstdogonmoon

firstdogonthemoon.com.au

First Dog's Walkley-award winning cartoon ...then where will we be? 

We Have A Serious Problem by Douglas McGrath

Cause of the week: Oscar’s Law (oscarslaw.org)

 

May 3, 2016

Writer, engineer, former political candidate and now pollster Osman Faruqi has written for Guardian AustraliaJunkee and SBS and regularly tweets like a mofo. He's the son of Mehreen Faruqi, the first female Muslim to be elected to any Australian parliament (for the Greens, no less) and has recently launched his own polling site, Metapoll, dubbed "the most reliable poll ever". 

Here Osman tells me how he and his mum first became engaged with politics, the dire state of climate politics in Australia today,the lack of diversity in the Greens and the ALMIGHTY POWER OF THE POLLS. 

Room At MyPlace

The World Keeps Happening encore show at the Sydney Comedy Store

Me, Lehmo & Genevieve Morris at Sooki Lounge on May 12th

@oz_f

metapoll.com.au

Osman's writingatGuardian Australia

Osman's writingatmedium

Osman's writingatoverland.org.au

Cause of the Week: The Refugee Advice & CaseworkService (racs.org.au)

 

Apr 26, 2016

Ben Eltham is the National Affairs Correspondent for New Matilda, the Industry Columnist for Arts Hub and has written for Guardian Australia, the ABC's The Drum, Crikey and many other outlets. He's a Research Fellow at Deakin University's Faculty of Arts and Education and a Fellow of the Centre for Policy Development. 

Basically, he's a major smarty-pants. 

Ben's very, very good at explaining things and in this chat he kindly took the time to explain to me what the hell negative gearing is and what it means for Australia's housing crisis. We also discuss the myth of a "classless Australia", tax dodging, neoliberalism, the government's attacks on the arts and how the 2016 election is shaping up. 

The World Keeps Happening at the Sydney Comedy Festival this week for TWO NIGHTS ONLY

My speeches at the MICF Great Debate, "Everyone's Entitled To An Opinion"

Five Reasons The Myth About Liberals Running The Economy Best Must Die by Costa A

Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs Speaks Out by Ramona Kavol

We Are The Forgotten People: The Anguish of Australia's Invisible Asylum Seekers by Ben Doherty & Abdul Karim Hekmat

@beneltham

Ben's writing at New Matilda

Ben's writing at Crikey

Why Labor Are Right To Chase Turnbull's Wealth by Ben Eltham

Don't bank On ASIC Saving The Day: The Case For A Royal Commission Is Open and Shut by Ben Eltham

The Baaing Of Our Artists by Andrew Bolt

Neoliberalism: The Ideology At The Root Of All Our Problems by George Monbiot

RRR radio

New Matilda

Cause of the Week: Alzeihmer's Australia (fightdementia.org.au)

 

Apr 20, 2016

Nayuka Gorrie is a Kurnai/Gunai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta woman who's passionate about progress for Indigenous Australians.

After reading her piece for Vice entitled Fuck Your Constitutional Recognition, I Want A Treaty, I scurried into her (beautiful) bedroom (with her permission) to talk about the problematic nature of recognition, the echoing trauma of the Stolen Generation, white Australia's denialism, what an Indigenous treaty might look like and, of course, Andrew Bolt.

The World Keeps Happening at the Sydney Comedy Festival for TWO NIGHTS ONLY

My final blog for TheMusic.com.au, wrapping up MICF 2016

@nayukagorrie

Nayuka on the Foundation for Young Australians

Maddee Clarke on twitter - @intoreceiving

Welcome to Country App

Colouring The Rainbow

Peopling The Empty Mirror

Gregory Phillips: Should Australian Cities Bear Indigenous Language Names?  

Causes of the Week: Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention & Legal Service (fvpls.org, Sisters' Day Out), Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network (seedmob.org.au)

 

Apr 13, 2016

Journalist, anthropologist and broadcaster Sally Warhaft is a former editor of The Monthly, host of The Wheeler Centre's Fifth Estate podcast and mother to one-year-old twins. 

In this wide-ranging chat, Sally diagnoses the current state of Australian politics, laments the lack of great political oratory today, explains why Malcolm Turnbull is politically "rooted", shares her thoughts on the cruelty of the death penalty and her friendship with Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran and gives me a bit of an insight into anthropology. 

I gots nominated for the 2016 Barry Award golly gee!

The World Keeps Happening at the Melbourne Comedy Festival

Boundless Plains To Share at the Melbourne Comedy Festival

The World Keeps Happening at the Sydney Comedy Festival

The 2016 MICF Great Debate on tenplay

Article: "I've cried researching my comedy show about refugees"

The Wheeler Centre's Fifth Estate podcast

Well May We Say: The Speeches That Made Australia  

Cause of the Week: Reprieve Australia (reprieve.org.au)

 

Apr 1, 2016

YES I KNOW IT'S BEEN QUITE A WHILE I'VE BEEN VERY BUSY SORRY LOL. 

The good news is this episode is well worth the wait. Simon Hunt is a political satirist, film maker, lecturer, sound designer, musician and activist who's best known for his creation "Pauline Pantsdown" - a hugely popular and scathing parody of the One Nation politician Pauline Hanson. 

In this extraordinary chat (recorded on the day of Mardi Gras 2016), Simon recounts his experiences of growing up gay in NSW in the 80s and explains his his fascination with religious right-wingers like Fred Nile and Anita Bryant, his politicisation in the face of the AIDS crisis, how he came to create Pantsdown and what Hanson says about us as a country today. Plus he's got some stories that are fucking funny. 

The World Keeps Happening at the Melbourne Comedy Festival

Boundless Plains To Share at the Melbourne Comedy Festival

My episode of Wil Anderson’s Wilosophy

My piece for The Saturday Paper on visiting detention centres and writing a comedy show about refugees 

SBS’s The Feed story on Boundless Plains To Share

@PPantsdown  

Pauline on Facebook

Pantsdown clips on YouTube

Pauline Pantsdown on the Star Observer

Electoral Guerilla Theatre in Australia: Pauline Hanson vs. Pauline Pantsdown by Lawrence M. Bogad

Cause of the Week: minus18 (minus18.org.au)

 

Mar 15, 2016

Yes, he is the nerdy one with the glasses and the guitar from Tripod, but Scott "Scod" Edgar is also a politically-conscious clever-clogs who just so happens to be directing my upcoming show about Australia and refugees, Boundless Plains To Share

I'm a huge fan of Scod's - Tripod were a huge inspiration for me getting into comedy in the first place - so working with him has been an absolute privilege. Here we talk about the history of Trades Hall (our venue and rehearsal space), how Scod's education shaped his worldview, the politics of the live music scene and what motivated him to explore this debate by working on this show.

My article: Busting some myths about asylum seekers and refugees

The World Keeps Happening is on now in Brisbane

Boundless Plains To Share at MICF 2016, 11 shows only, cheap preview tickets for opening weekend 

@podeggcarton

@tripodactual

3pod.com.au

Tripod’s 101 Hits at MICF 2016

The Perfectly Good Podcast on iTunes

Dolly: An ASRC Benefit at MICF 2016

The Moosehead Awards

Marches for Justice for Refugees this Palm Sunday

Cause of the Week: 350.org

 

Mar 8, 2016

Since 2011, Jay Weatherill has served as the premier of South Australia - a state where the Labor Party has been in power for the past 14 years. 

He's been attracting some headlines over the past few months as he's spoken out in favour of raising the GST and offered his state as sanctuary for vulnerable people seeking asylum who are in danger of being returned to Nauru. 

I was allowed into the Premier's (very nice) office to discuss what his thinking was here, as well as his journey into politics (as inspired by his father George), the number of lawyers in our parliaments, cynicism, the political history of SA, making submarines, the Bulmer-Rizi case and marriage equality and how he sees 2016 turning out. 

Watch back the 2016 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras on SBS Demand

The World Keeps Happening is coming to Brisbane, Melbourne & Sydney

Boundless Plains To Share at MICF 2016  

@jayweatherill

premier.sa.gov.au

Article: Premier apologises to Marco Bulmer-Rizi

Cause of the Week: Catherine House (catherinehouse.org.au)

 

Mar 1, 2016

I saw Irish comedian Aidan Killian performing at the Adelaide Fringe and knew that he'd be good value for a chat. 

The former Bear Stearns investment banker is currently touring The Holy Trinity of Whistleblowers around Australia and the world and sat down to tell me about his karate his experience, why he opposed marriage equality, why he doesn't vote, his attraction to conspiracy theories and why Assange, Snowden and Manning matter. 

The World Keeps Happening is coming to Brisbane, Melbourne & Sydney

Boundless Plains To Share at MICF 2016 

I'm co-hosting SBS's coverage of the 2016 Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras this Sunday night, 8:30pm

aidankillian.com

Aidan's tour dates

@aidankillian

Aidan on YouTube

callmeluckymovie.com

Cause of the Week: Wikileaks (wikileaks.org)

 

Feb 24, 2016

Brad Chilcott is a highly-principled pragmatist. A progressive pastor, political activist and founder of super-cool outfit Welcome To Australia, I've come to know Brad over the last couple of years and find him to be an extremely inspiring dude. 

Here we have a big fat yarn about how his faith has informed his life and his activism, what he's learnt from his son Harrison's battles with ill health, the luxury of dismissing things as "politics", his criticisms of the progressive left and the story of and idea behind WTA.  

The World Keeps Happening is in Adelaide now, coming to Brisbane, Melbourne & Sydney

Boundless Plains To Share at MICF 2016 

My tour blog for TheMusic.com.au

Me and my fellow hosts covering the 2016 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras for SBS

@bradchilcott

Activate Life Church

Campaign For Australian Aid  

Article: I Donated A Kidney To My Son - Don't Tell Me Not To Make It Political

Article: Fighting Hatred With Hatred At Reclaim Australia Rallies Is A Failure Of Progressive Politics

Article on Brad and boat turnbacks at the Labor conference

Cause of the Week: Food 4 Education (food4education.org)

 

Feb 16, 2016

You probably know Corinne Grant best from her comedic work on Rove, skitHOUSE or The Glass House. She’s been passionate about social justice and politics all her life but has recently made the decision to get her law degree and get her hands dirty for what she believes in.

Here we discuss Sophie Mirabella, unions, how she tried (and failed) to marry her comedy with her politics, the Glass House and ABC bias, the disappointments of Labor, writing speeches for Julia Gillard, Australians and their apathy and refugee rights. We also reflected on a difference of opinion we had a few years ago surrounding gay male comedians and misogyny.

The World Keeps Happening is in Adelaide now, coming to Brisbane, Melbourne & Sydney

Boundless Plains To Share at MICF 2016 

Minus 18's 2016 Same Sex Formal & Gender Diverse Formal

Mums4Refugees sing "Age Of Reason" to say #LetThemStay

@corinne_grant

corinnegrant.com.au

Article: Let Them Stay Thousands Turn Up To Rallies But Millions Turn Their Backs

I'm Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy's Golden Era

Corinne's piece on gay male comedians and misogyny; my response

Cause of the Week: The Fitzroy Legal Service (fitzroy-legal.org.au), on Facebook here

 

Feb 10, 2016

Here’s another guest I managed to snag whilst in Perth: 17-year-old (!!!) writer and visual artist Somayra Ismailjee

Somayra is of Karen, Gujarati and Kashmiri heritage and has written for Right Now, New Matilda, Media Diversified, Junkee and many other publications on matters of race, political correctness, Islamaphobia, queer rights and Charlie Hebdo. Here we cover everything from Coldplay and cultural appropriation to the power of the UPF in Perth to trigger warnings and orientalism and Somayra was even kind enough to teach me a new word.

The World Keeps Happening is in Adelaide now, coming to Brisbane, Melbourne & Sydney

Boundless Plains To Share at MICF 2016 

An Open Letter from 100 Australian Comedians Saying #LetThemStay

@somayra_

Article: “Australian Muslim is not an oxymoron”

Causes of the Week: Indigenous Literacy Foundation (indigenousliteracyfoundation.org.au), RISE – Refugees, Survivors & Ex-Detainees (riserefugee.org)

 

Feb 4, 2016

Episode 50 you guys!

Senator Scott Ludlam is a Greens Senator for Western Australia. He’s co-deputy leader for the party and its spokesperson for issues such as communications, housing, mining and nuclear power.

Whilst in Perth I chatted with Scott about everything from DJing to his viral hit speech to the cult of personality to his journey into politics to why he’s a “Senate nerd”. Plus the issues that drive his passions: nuclear disarmament, digital rights, Julian Assange, our shitty foreign policies, the TPP, the NBN and the possibility of a Greens government.

The World Keeps Happening coming to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne AND NOW SYDNEY!

Boundless Plains To Share at MICF 2016 

Gimme Shelter: a fundraiser for Road to Refuge

#LetThemStay

No Shame: Why Most Australians Feel Okay About Tormenting Asylum Seekers

Ep 48: Jim Coad

@SenatorLudlam

scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au

Scott’s blog: fieldnotes.org.au

Julian Assange found to be unlawfully detained by UN

Article: Foreign policy that blindly follows the US isn’t in our national interest

CAUSE OF THE WEEK: Save Beeliar Wetlands (savebeeliarwetlands.com), Rethink The Link (rethinkthelink.com.au)

 

Jan 24, 2016

January 26th is upon us again!

To reflect on the issues of blind nationalism and patriotism that Australia/Invasion/Survival Day (of Mourning) throws up, here's a slice of Stan Grant's speech on racism and my conversation with artist Jim Coad, the man behind the Castlemaine civil event named "Chuck another flag on the barbie?"

The World Keeps Happening at Perth Fringeworld

Boundless Plains To Share at MICF

Stan Grant's speech

IQ2 Debate: Racism is destroying the Australian Dream

Australia Day is a time for mourning, not celebration by Nakkiah Lui

The problem with Australia Day by Martin Flanagan

@jim_coad

Chuck another flag on the barbie? on Facebook

ABC article on Jim's event

#proudest100 

proudest100.com

Cause of the Week: Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (asrc.org.au)

 

Jan 19, 2016

Mohammad Ali Baqiri is a former refugee who came to Australia by sea as a child. He spent three years in Australian immigration detention on Nauru. 

Here he kindly shares his story with me and explains what it's really like to be a "boat person".  

The World Keeps Happening at Perth Fringeworld

Boundless Plains To Share at MICF

@AliBaqiri

Mohammad on Facebook

Article: Burning the Stakeholders 

Cause of the Week: Road to Refuge (roadtorefuge.com)

Gimme Shelter! A Road To Refuge Fundraiser

 

 

Jan 12, 2016

Fiona Patten is a former lobbyist for the sex industry, she's the founder and leader of the Australian Sex Party and she was elected to the Victorian Legislative Council in 2014 as the member for the Northern Metropolitan Region.

Fiona is passionate about civil liberties and honest conversations about everything from sex to drugs to voluntary euthanasia. We had a great ol' time talking and laughing about sex work (and her personal experience with it), porn, the history of Fyshwick, abortion clinic buffer zones and more.

Midsumma Hypothetical - 2022: A Queer Odyssey

The World Keeps Happening at Perth Fringeworld

Boundless Plains To Share at MICF

@fionapattenMLC

fionapatten.com

sexparty.org.au

Guardian profile on Fiona

Cause of the Week: Harm Reduction Victoria (hrvic.org.au

 

Jan 5, 2016

Paul Farrell is a Guardian Australia journalist who writes about juicy stuff like national security, privacy and immigration. He’s concerned with what our government does and doesn’t let us know.

In this conversation Paul and I discuss Freedom Of Information, data retention, whistle-blowing, what’s happening inside Australia’s detention centres and the shocking truth behind Channel Nine’s Border Security.

The World Keeps Happening at Perth Fringeworld

Boundless Plains To Share at MICF

@FarrellPF

Paul's writings at Guardian Australia

The Detention Logs

Episode 34 with Freya Newman

Cause of the Week: Open Australia Foundation (openaustraliafoundation.org.au)

 

Dec 30, 2015

James Fry is a writer whose debut novel, That Fry Boy, tells the story of his journey from a normal happy childhood to a violent white supremacist (and back again).

James kindly shared his story with me and we discuss what lessons it might hold for the current conversation about the radicalisation of young men by Muslim extremists.

Boundless Plains To Share at MICF 2016 

The World Keeps Happening at Perth Fringeworld 

My mailing list

jamesfry.com.au

@thatfryboy

That Fry Boy

James on Q&A 

Waleed Aly's editorial, ISIS Is Weak 

 

Cause of the Week: Medicine Sans Frontier (msf.org.au)

 

Dec 22, 2015

My chat with the Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby continues.

Things get heated as Lyle and I discuss the ACL's objections to the Safe Schools program and how we educate young people about sexual and gender diversity.

My Radio National documentary, How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love The Gay Bomb

The World Keeps Happening tour 2016

My chat with Lyle (Part One)

@LyleShelton

acl.org.au

The Safe Schools Coalition

Lyle talks with Walt Heyer

minus18

Cause of the Week: Alliance for Gambling Reform (pokiesplayyou.org.au)

 

 

Dec 17, 2015

Here's a quick taste of the in-depth radio investigation I put together for ABC Radio National.

In the mid-1990s, the US Air Force considered investing $7.5 million in the development of a 'Gay Bomb'—a chemical weapon designed to alter the enemy's sexual orientation.

When out-and-proud comedian Tom Ballard saw this story being referenced on one of his favourite TV shows, he thought it was hilarious. When he found out that it actually happened, he was gobsmacked.

So Tom decides to do some digging… and finds out a lot more than he bargained for.

After finally receiving security clearance from the very highest echelons of the American military, he can now officially bring you this unbelievable story: a story of political intrigue, secrets, betrayal, death and sex; a story that proves once and for all that truth is always stranger than fiction.

Listen and download the piece in full here

 

Dec 15, 2015

Merry Christmas everyone! To remind us all of the reason for the season, who better to talk to than the Managing Director of the Australian Christian LobbyLyle Shelton.

The ACL is a significant political force in Australian politics and Lyle and his team are active and determined about advocating on public policy issues from a faith perspective, from life issues to same-sex marriage to Australia's treatment of refugees. 

In the first part of this polite but passionate conversation, Lyle and I discussed the role faith should play in politics, evidence, reason, marriage, parenting and gender. 

The iTunes Top Podcasts of 2015

The World Keeps Happening tour 2016

@LyleShelton

acl.org.au

Buzzfeed profile on Lyle

Kevin Andrews' Maybe I Do

A "reality check" for the Regenerus study on gay parenting 

tangledwebs.com.au

It's An Urban Myth That Same-Sex Couples And Married Heterosexuals Have Equal Rights by Tracey Spicer 

Cause of the Week: ChilOut Sydney fundraiser at Giant Dwarf Theatre

 

Dec 8, 2015

Activist Ali Hogg is the Victorian convenor of national marriage equality campaign Equal Love. She's proudly radically progressive and she's been leading the call for same-sex marriage in Australia for over a decade.

In this chat Ali talked me through her progressive upbringing, her personal experiences with homophobia, the Socialist Alternative, the next steps in the equal marriage debate, the ethics of protest and that time she charged into a restaurant on Lygon Street to confront former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

My 2016 show The World Keeps Happening touring to Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane & Melbourne 

ChilOut Sydney fundraiser at Giant Dwarf Theatre

@alihogg99

The Socialist Alternative

Students stage a protest during Q&A

Article: Abbott not gay about dinner ambush

triple j says It Gets Better

Cause of the Week: Equal Love (equallove.info

 

Dec 1, 2015

David Marr is a self-described "bourgeois do-gooder". He's written for Fairfax Media, The MonthlyThe Saturday Paper and Guardian Australia, appeared on Q&AThe Drum and Insiders and is the author of multiple in-depth profiles for the Quarterly Essay

In this second part of our chat, I ask David to outline the complex and bleak politics surrounding our policies towards refugees. Why are we so terrified of the boats? Why do our politicians stoke those fears? Is there any possibility of a solution? 

Part One of my conversation with David

A Very Canberra Comedy Festival Christmas

My 2016 stand-up show The World Keeps Happening at the Brisbane Comedy Festival

Dark Victory by David Marr and Marian Wilkinson 

Cause of the Week: Doctors Without Borders (doctorswithoutborders.org)

 

 

Nov 24, 2015

Respected journalist and MORTAL ENEMY OF GERARD HENDERSON (not really), David Marr is a self-described "bourgeois do-gooder". He's written for Fairfax Media, The MonthlyThe Saturday Paper and Guardian Australia, appeared on Q&AThe Drum and Insiders and is the author of multiple in-depth profiles for the Quarterly Essay

In this first part of our conversation, David tells me about who Bill Shorten is, Labor and the unions, why Australia is so late to progress, drugs, conservatism and right-wing commentators. Hot dang! 

A Very Canberra Comedy Festival Christmas

David's writing for Guardian Australia

David's writing for The Saturday Paper

David's Faction Man: Bill Shorten's Path To Power

 

Cause of the Week: Maternity Worldwide (maternityworldwide.org)

 

 

Nov 17, 2015

Peter Reith was a member of John Howard's cabinet from 1996 to 2001. He served as Minister for Small Business, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and the Minister for Defence. He's perhaps best known for formulating the GST policy and his roles in the 1998 waterfront dispute and the "children overboard" scandal. 

Peter's just released The Reith Papers, an annotated collection of his diary entries during his time in government. Here we got to discuss (and occasionally lock horns over) the notion of humanising politicians, the recent Paris attacks, military action in the Middle East, Australia's approach to processing refugees and the role of unions in today's society.

Me in conversation with Darren Hanlon for MyTunes at Giant Dwarf Theatre

A Very Canberra Comedy Festival Christmas

peterreith.com.au

@peter_reith

The Reith Papers available from Melbourne University Press

Peter on The Verdict  

Peter on ABC News Breakfast with Virginia Trioli

Cause of the Week: Enterprise Victoria (enterprisevictoria.com.au), the French Red Cross (soutenir.croix-rouge.fr)

 

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