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.