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)