NEWS: I have a brand new podcast to share with youse.
It’s called Serious Danger, it’s about the Australian Greens and green politics in Australia generally and I’m doing it with my cool friend Emerald Moon.
Also it’s going to fix everything.
Have a listen to hear the trailer and find out why I wanted to make the show in the first place.
(Also don’t stress: I’ll still be posting episodes of LIASYO for the time being.)
Find out more and subscribe to the show by heading to seriousdangerpod.com
Find us on twitter, Instagram, Patreon and YouTube on @SeriousDangerAU
Get to know Emerald more by catching up on our conversation together from last year.
Luke Hilakari has been the Secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall Council since 2014. He's been a Labor member since he turned 18 and has played a key role in electing (and re-electing) the Andrew Labor government and fighting for marriage equality and workers' rights.
In light of all the BATSHIT anti-vax protesting that's been going on in Melbourne of late, I wanted to ask Luke about the presence of anti-vax organising within the labour movement, why some workers might be attracted to this ideology and what can be done about it.
We also discuss the class war that the pandemic has shone a light on, solidarity, why strikes are beautiful, spanking the Labor Party and how the union movement will be approaching the upcoming election.
Cause of the Week: Australians For A Murdoch Royal Commission (murdochroyalcommission.org.au)
Professor Megan Davis is a Cobble Cobble woman from Queensland and is the current pro Vice-Chancellor and Balnaves Chair in constitutional law at the University of New South Wales. She's worked for the United Nations and has been intimately involved in the campaign for meaningful constitutional recognition for Australia's First Nations people, and had the honour of first reading out the Uluru Statement From the Heart publicly in 2017.
Four years on from the creation of the Statement - with its call for Voice, Treaty & Truth - Megan updates me on where the campaign for a constitutional First Nations Voice to Parliament is at, the roadblocks that remain, designing a model and searching for bipartisanship ahead of a possible referendum.
Cause of the Week: Uluru Statement From The Heart Campaign (ulurustatement.org)
Sean Kelly is a writer and journalist, who's a former adviser to Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.
His new book is The Game: A Portrait of Scott Morrison and it's great/scary/infuriating. With great insight and wit, Sean really tries to get at who our Prime Minister is, what drives, what (if anything) he believes in and what his political success says about us a country. We discuss how Morrison plays the "game" of politics, why he won in 2019 and whether he can be beaten again by the ALP in its current state.
Cause of the Week: The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (indigenousliteracyfoundation.org.au)
Sylvie Ellsmore is the Greens mayoral candidate for the City of Sydney in the upcoming NSW local elections. She's running a campaign to make Sydney a city for everyone, not just the rich, with a particular focus on housing and grassroots democracy.
This was a fantastic conversation about the state of local Sydney politics, the legacy of independent mayor Clover Moore and the Greens' vision for how the local city council can play a much more activist role in fixing the truly cooked Sydney housing market. I think you'll find Sylvie's passion ideas inspiring and cool. Go team.
Christiaan Van Vuuren is a comedian and YouTube star who you know from Bondi Hipsters, Bloom and At Home Alone Together. He's the presenter of a great new documentary about money in Australian politics called Big Deal, which was directed by the Chaser's Craig Reucassel.
This issue drives me (and I'm sure you) crazy, and it was great to get stuck into a similarly-outraged Christiaan. We touch on just how much money is washing around our politics, how much anti-democratic influence that money has, why "transparency" simply isn't enough and why Christiaan is optimistic about the possibilities of change and fixing this shit.
Cause of the Week: MakeItABigDeal.org
Dr. Helen Haines is a former nurse and midwife who now serves as the independent member for the Victorian seat of Indi.
Since she entered the parliament Helen has been fighting for the establishment of a federal anti-corruption / pro-integrity body that will actually do what we want it to do: justly hold our public servants to account and root out the shitty corrupt behaviour that is rife in our politics.
In the wake of Gladys Berejiklian's resignation as NSW Premier after ICAC announced it was investigating her (because that it's job), Helen and I discuss what an effective federal body would look like, the Morrison government's scaremongering about accountability, the chances of Helen's bill getting passed and the corrosive influence of political donations.
Cause of the Week: UNICEF's CoVax Appeal (unicef.org.au/covax-appeal)
Felicity Ruby is a former Greens staffer, current PhD candidate at the University of Sydney and longtime friend and supporter of Julian Assange.
In the wake of revelations from Yahoo! News that Trump's CIA floated plans to kidnap and kill Assange after Wikileaks' "Vault 7" revelations in 2017, I wanted to talk to Flick about Assange's plight and its political ramifications. We discuss what kind of a person Julian Assange is, his mission, his trial, the misconceptions that continue to swirl around him and the insane paranoia of Western intelligence agencies (aka our lovely allies).
Juice Media's Honest Government Ad about AUKUS
Cause of the Week: The Courage Foundation (couragefound.org)
This week's episode is from an event I took part in with the Centre for Independent Studies, hosted by Tom Switzer and featuring academic Satya Jeetmarar.
Together we discussed/debated intergenerational inequality in the face of the COVID pandemic. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I think capitalism is the problem, while Satya and the CIS holds a different view.
See wot u reckon lol
Cause of the Week: Youth Projects (youthprojects.org.au)
Nick Boshier (Trent from Punchy, Bondi Hipsters) and Jazz Twemlow (Tonightly with Tom Ballard lol) are two very nice men and good comedians who have created a new satirical sketch show for Amazon Prime, The Moth Effect.
The dudes let me know the guiding philosophy behind the show's satire, their favourite sketches, the irony of taking the piss out of corporatism while working for Amazon, giving less of a shit about the insane news cycle and how to do comedy about the shortcomings of "wokeness" without being a douchebag.
Cause of the Week: The Great Koala National Park (koalapark.org.au)
Cause of the Week: International Rescue Committee (rescue.org)
Mehreen Faruqi has been a Greens senator for NSW since 2017. Her memoir Too Migrant, Too Muslim, Too Loud was released in July, describing her life, politics and reflections on being a progressive and outspoken migrant in Australia.
Here Mehreen and I discuss how her perceptions of what Australia is have changed over the past thirty years, her thoughts on compromise and incrementalism and the Greens' role in pushing big bold ideas, as well as her desire to see a "feminist, anti-racist Australia".
(Sincere apologies for the long time between podcast episodes, everyone: I have been going LOOPY in lockdown and have been having a bit of a rough trot that stopped me doing very much at all. I am much better now though thank you. I hope you are ok too. The end. As you were.)
Cause of the Week: Greyhound Rescue (greyhoundrescue.com.au)
Victor Kline is a writer and barrister who is the leader of a new political party, The New Liberals. The party was born out of a frustration that Victor and some close friends felt by the current state of Australian politics and the lack of any party that truly represented them.
Here we discuss what Victor believes it means to be a truly "liberal" party, why they want to reclaim that name, the party's political strategy, and what I would argue is liberalism's limits: its inability to wrestle with questions of class and political economy.
Cause of the Week: The New Liberals (newliberals.net.au)
Luke McGregor is a beloved Australian comedian who co-stars in the ABC series Rosehaven alongside Celia Pacquola and presents "Lukenomics" on The Weekly. He's also my very nice friend and one time we got KFC together.
A month on from his appearance on Q&A alongside (now Nationals leader) Barnaby Fucking Joyce, Luke talks to me about the frustrations of public debate, why studying economics stopped him being a Liberal voter, and the ins and outs of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).
Cause of the Week: Brightside Farm Sanctuary (brightside.org.au)
Josh Callinan is the Secretary of the Retail And Fast Food Workers' Union (RAFFWU); a young fighting union which represents thousands of overwhelmingly younger Australian workers in highly casualised and insecure industries.
RAFFWU was set up in opposition to the right-wing "yellow" union the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (the SDA), aka Christian Porter's favourite union. In this conversation Josh explains just how bad the SDA has been for workers, the scourge of casualisation and how RAFFWU is organising for a better deal and a better future.
Cause of the Week: RAFFWU! Join them yourself or spread the word (raffwu.org.au)
Tim Hollo is a former staffer for the Australian Greens, is the Greens candidate for the federal seat of Canberra and works as the Executive Director of the official Greens think tank, The Greens Institute.
He's currently working on a book laying out his theory of "ecological politics"; a a self-organising democracy grounded in the natural world and connection. Tim wants a politics seeks to go beyond the neoliberal capitalist status quo, rejects the far-right's "solutions" and avoids what he considers to be the limits of socialism. We discuss the details of Tim's theory, as well as his reflections on the Greens' strategy around Kevin Rudd's CPRS, how fossil fuel companies killing off the possibilities of climate action, decentralising power and why consensus decision making isn't centrism.
Cause of the Week: IndigenousX (indigenousx.com.au)
Emma Dawson is an ALP member and a former adviser to the Rudd and Gillard governments on public broadcasting policy. These days she’s the Executive Director of the think tank Per Capita, “an independent, progressive think tank, dedicated to fighting inequality in Australia”.
After very kindly providing me with a nice lunch, Emma explains where her politics come from, the Labor Party's neoliberal legacy, the role of markets in society and her passion for social democracy. She lays out the policy complexities with the #80ADay JobSeeker campaign and the tensions between idealistic, activist politics and brutal electoral math.
(Note: at one point I think Emma accidentally said Linda Reynolds when she was referring to Linda Burney.)
Cause of the Week: The Australian Unemployed Workers' Union (unemployedworkersunion.com)
Jonathan Biggins is a legendary Australian satirist, actor and writer, who is currently performing his one-man show The Gospel According To Paul - a theatrical biography of the reforming Labor Treasurer and Prime Minister, Paul Keating.
I asked Jonathan about his thoughts on Keating's complicated legacy - the good and the bad - and how his (often arrogant, but politically effective) leadership contrasts with the shit we have today. We discuss "economic rationalism", the waging of culture wars and identity politics and Jonathan's grave concern about the effect that social media technology is having on our society..
Cause of the Week: The Actor's Benevolent Fund (actorsbenevolentfund.org.au)
Richie Merzian is the Director of the Climate & Energy Program at The Australia Institute.
With Australia embarrassing itself on the global stage when it comes to setting actual reduction targets that might actually do something, this was a great chance to check in with where the climate debate is at. Richie lays out just how lacking our commitments are, what they should be and what other countries are doing, as well giving me the rundown on electric vehicles, carbon accounting tricks, just transition models, fossil fuel subsidies and the (relatively straightforward) path to addressing this existential crisis.
Cause of the Week: The Juice Media (thejuicemedia.com)
Hello! Sorry for the radio silence - I have been busy being too hot for TV and annoying Andrew Bolt. Apologies.
This week's ep is a slice of a conversation I had with socialist councillor Stephen Jolly and Leftist intellectuals (and previous LIASYO guests) Alison Pennington, Jeff Sparrow and Guy Rundle for Stephen's new podcast, Melbourne Calling.
We had a wide-ranging chat about the state of the Australian Left in the wake of COVID, the sexual assault crisis in Canberra, workers' power and ideology.
Cause of the Week: Pay The Rent (paytherent.net.au)
Samantha Maiden is an award-winning journalist who's currently the political editor at news.com.au. In February, she broke the story of Brittany Higgins' alleged rape in Parliament House in 2019, which has since sent shockwaves through Canberra and the Australian political class.
I wanted to ask Sam about what's really been going on over the past couple of months: what we're witness, what it means and why it's different to the #MeToo moment from a couple of years ago. She reflects on Higgins' bravery, people wanking on desks and the Morrison government's attempt to respond to the ongoing crisis.
Cause of the Week: Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia (rape-dvservices.org.au)
David Milner is an award-winning journalist who now regularly writes for The Shot - a "profound and profane" news site from The Chaser that is consistently pumping out sharp, angry rants about the state of Australian politics and the sinister influence of the Murdoch media.
This was a great conversation about how The Shot was born in the fires of Melbourne's 2020 lockdown, what David learned from his time as a video journalist, just how toxic Newscorp is, how we could reject it, the ALP's lack of a fight and why right now is "a depressing time for people who give a shit about things".
Cause of the Week: March 4 Justice (march4justice.com.au)
Ricardo Menéndez March was elected to the Parliament of Aotearoa in 2020. He was born in Mexico, immigrated to New Zealand and eventually became a socialist, queer activist and anti-poverty campaigner.
Ricardo tells me about the motto he lives by ("Be gay. Do crime"), the neoliberal legacy of the NZ Labour Party, the gap between the Ardern government's rhetoric of kindness and the reality on the ground, and the Green movement's challenge to remain authentic and grassroots-driven, while still being productive and professional to make things better for ordinary people.
Cause of the Week: Auckland Action Against Poverty (aaap.org.nz)
Jordon Steele-John is a disability and youth activist and has been a Greens senator for Western Australia since 2017, when he replaced Scott Ludlam in the Senate at just 23 years old.
Here I ask Jordon about how parliament actually works and how it feels to be inside it as a Millennial Green. He explains why he's in parliament, his disappointment in the ALP, what being a socialist means to him, empowering young people, the fight for "ecological democracy" and the good and bad of the NDIS and the ongoing Royal Commission into the abuse and neglect of people with disabilities.
Cause of the Week: People With Disabilities Australia (pwd.org.au)
Amy Remeikis is Guardian Australia's political reporter who writes the Australian politics live blog, covering the thrills and spills of Australian politics as they happen.
Amy joined me after another crazy week in Canberra, to reflect on the "Remeikis experience", why the political class sucks so much, what to make of the media bargaining code and Labor's strategy to win back Queensland at the next election.
Cause of the Week: Support your local florist!
Dr. Evan Smith is a historian and academic who's extensively researched the history of the Far Left in Australia and the UK. Last year he released his book No Platforming: A History of Anti-Fascism, Universities and the Limits of Free Speech.
I reached out to Evan last month after the whackiness of the storming of the US Capitol and Trump's removal from Twitter. We only managed to find some time recently for a chat, but this is clearly still a relevant conversation (as Trump is formally acquitted by the Senate in his impeachment trial). Evan lays out the history of "no platform" as a political tactic, the moral and political arguments surrounding it, the grey areas and its potential limits as a strategy for the Left.
Cause of the Week: The Australian Unemployed Workers' Union (unemployedworkersunion.com)