"Aysha" (not her real name) is a Kashmiri activist who advocates for the rights of those suffering under the Indo-Pakistan-Chinese conflict in her home country.
I've previously known very little about the situation in Kashmir and was grateful to Aysha for giving me a crash-course history lesson on the conflict and the 2019 escalation of tensions by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We discussed the nature of India's occupation, the possibilities of democracy in the region, the effects of COVID-19 and what others can do.
Cause of the Week: Stand With Kashmir Australia (standwithkashmir.org.au)
Guy Rundle is a political essayist, comedy writer, activist and the correspondent-at-large for Crikey. He's a former editor of Arena Magazine.
Guy's been writing about the strangeness and politics of COVID-19. Here I ask him about what a collective virus means for certain political ideologies, what it means to be a "post-Marxist" and what he made of the Democratic National Convention and the possibilities of a Biden presidency.
Cause of the Week: Free Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert (change.org)
This week's ep is a conversation I had with journalist and author Melissa Davey about her brilliant new book, The Case of George Pell.
The book was launched on Tuesday night and Mel kindly asked me to discuss its details and what the story and trials of Pell mean for us now.
Cause of the Week: Broken Rites Australia (brokenrites.org.au)
It's episode 200! Hurrah.
Dominic Kelly is a political historian and Honorary Research Fellow at La Trobe University. His 2019 book Political Troglodytes and Economic Lunatics: The Hard Right in Australia examines the activities and influence of four Australian right-wing single-issue advocacy groups: the H.R. Nicholls Society (focussed on industrial relations), the Samuel Griffiths Society (constitutional issues and federalism), the Bennelong Society (Indigenous issues) and the Lavoisier Group (climate change). All four groups were created and steered by three central figures: mining executive Hugh Morgan, his speechwriter Ray Evans and former public servant John Stone. It's a fascinating and (blackly) amusing history.
Here Dominic lays out just how far these four societies have pulled Australia to the right over the past thirty years, what the Left can learn from them and what it shows us about the role that mining interests play in Australian politics.
Cause of the Week: Australian Unemployed Workers' Union (unemployedworkersunion.com)
Max Chandler-Mather is a former union activist and active member of the Queensland Greens. He was the party's candidate for the seat of Griffith in last year's election, where he increased the Greens vote by 7.2%, the biggest Greens swing in the country.
I find the more explicitly Leftist approach taken by Max and the Queensland Party really exciting because they're pushing good, anti-neoliberal polices and, more importantly, it's really working for them. Here I ask Max to explain how a democratic socialist like him is making this happen and why it's been successful. We talk about renters' rights, building the foundations of a mass party, door-knocking, selling "common sense and popular" ideas and the perennial Greens/ALP conflict.
Cause of the Week: The Queensland Greens (greens.org.au/qld)
Alison Pennington is a Senior Economist at The Australia Institute's Centre for Future Work. She has a Masters of Political Economy from the University of Sydney and she rules.
After a week of changes to the JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments, the government's "mini-budget" announcement, a torrent of shitty "deficit politics" and some ominous talk about industrial relations reform, Alison talks to me about the state of play for Australian workers right now. We discuss the possibilities of reimagining the entire welfare system in this country right now, why debt doesn't matter, why working from home might really suck for workers' rights and what the future of the trade union movement might look like.
Dave Donovan is the founder and editor of Independent Australia, a progressive journal focussed on Australian federal politics, democracy and economics.
In a time of a declining media industry slashing jobs left right and centre, I think supporting independent Australian media is vital, and I for one find it refreshing to read explicitly progressive takes on the news in IA. Here Dave talks about his background in the Republican movement, just how much neoliberalism has reshaped Australia over the past 40 years, class confusion, the overwhelming conservatism of Australian media and the attacks on the ABC.
Cause of the Week: The Federal ICAC Now Party (federalicacnow.org)
CW: This conversation involves discussion of sexual assault
This is the second part of my conversation with human rights lawyer and self-described "social justice witch" Sunili Govinnage.
Here we continue our conversation on what cancel culture is and what it isn't, privilege, oppression, intersectionality and class; topics that have certainly SPICED UP over the past week.
Sunili Govinnage is an Australian human rights lawyer and self-described "social justice witch" who has recently come to some realisations about themselves and their politics.
In the first part of this frank conversation we discuss her "decolonising journey", her focus on dismantling the "colonialist-capitalist-heteropatriarchy", anti-racism and cancel culture. We identify areas that we agree on and some points where we have different perspectives - differences that will be further fleshed out in part two.
Sophie Payten records and performs as Gordi. She makes powerful, sweeping, personal indie-pop and last week released her sophomore album, Our Two Skins. I am a fan and it is good.
I wanted to talk to Sophie about her other job (she's a qualified doctor and has been on standby during the pandemic) and explore the political ideas surrounding her recent discovery of her queer identity and the loss of her beloved grandma. We reflect on the 2017 marriage equality plebiscite, the political stasis that Millennials are trapped and having difficult conversations with people who have different politics.
Cause of the Week: North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (naaja.org.au)
Dr. Chelsea Bond is a Munanjahli and South Sea Islander woman and a senior lecturer at the University of Queensland. She's worked and researched extensively in the area of Aboriginal health and regularly writes and speaks about race and racism in Australia today.
In this conversation, Chelsea reflects on how the recent Black Lives Matter uprising has played out in Australia, her personal experiences with the police, the fierceness of Black women in this struggle and the intersection of racial power structures and class.
Cause of the Week: Inala Wangarra (inalawangarra.com.au)
Andy Zaltzman is a British comedian, the co-host of the hugely popular satirical podcast The Bugle and (sadly) a fanatical cricket fan.
I've been lucky enough to become friends and work with Andy over the past five or so years and have been meaning to have him on as a guest for quite a while now, to laugh about everything in the world and ask him some (mildly) serious questions about his political outlook. Here discuss sport, statues, Fawlty Towers, the failures of the Corbyn moments, his "radical centrism" and the future of Brexit Britain.
Cause of the Week: The Sick Children's Trust (sickchildrenstrust.org)
Gavin Stanbrook is a revolutionary socialist who hails from Gumbanyggir country on the NSW mid-north coast. He's a member of Socialist Alternative who's been campaigning for justice for Aboriginal families for years and who helped organise last week's #BlackLivesMatter protest in Sydney.
In this conversation Gavin tells me how about tearing down statues, the revolutionary potential of this moment, police violence, the tragic cases of Aboriginal deaths in custody, his personal involvement in the #JusticeForBowraville campaign and why he thinks the police should be abolished.
Cause of the Week: The Justice for David Dungay Jnr. GoFundMe
Oliver Twist is a very funny and intelligent up-and-coming Australian comedian. He was born in Rwanda, grew up in a refugee camp in Malawi and has lived in Australia since 2014.
I was planning on taking a week off the podcast this week, but in the midst of everything that's happening right now, Oliver reached out and we decided to record this honest conversation about his relationship to the police, race, class, Black Lives Matter and what meaningful action looks like.
There are even a few laffs in there too.
CAUSE OF THE WEEK: blacklivesmatter.caard.co
Mark Seymour is one of the best singer-songwriters Australia has ever produced. He's the former frontman of Hunters & Collectors and now writes and performs with Mark Seymour & The Undertow. The new Undertow record is called Slow Dawn and comes out today.
Mark has regularly been outspoken about his politics through his music and public appearances, particularly when it comes to Australia's refugee policies. Here he tells me about how he approaches tackling social issues in his music (without being sanctimonious), why he's left-wing, wearing an "Asylum Seeker" t-shirt at the AFL Grand Final, his experiences in South Africa and how the tides of history weigh on us all today.
Cause of the Week: The Frankston Life Church (frankston.life)
Tim Wilson is the Liberal MP for the Victorian seat of Goldstein and the Chair of the House Economics Committee. He last joined me on the podcast back in July 2015.
I wanted to talk to Tim about how he's found dealing with the COVID-19 crisis as a local member and his thoughts on the Morrison's government's economic response thus far as a well as a bit old-fashioned ideological argy bargy. We discuss the JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments, neoliberalism, government debt and why being a democratic socialist makes me an evil idiot.
Cause of the Week: Bayside Community Information & Support Service Inc (bayciss.org.au)
Rick Morton is an award-winning journalist and writer. He reported on Social Affairs for The Australian for years and is now the Senior Reporter for The Saturday Paper. His memoir 100 Years Of Dirt - about surviving his poverty- and trauma-ridden childhood - has been a critical and commercial success.
Here I ask Rick about issues he's been writing about of late - the conspiracy theories that have thrived amid COVID-19 and the new aged-care "Uber app" that's been given a multi-million dollar government contract - as well as his broader approach to journalism, the realities of poverty, how class works in Australia and the privatisation of the welfare state.
Cause of the Week: Brotherhood of St. Laurence (bsl.org.au)
Rachel Siewert has been a Greens Senator for WA since 2005. She's the whip for the Greens in the Senate and her portfolios include First Nations Affairs, Family, Ageing and Community Services, Gambling and Mental Health. She recently chaired a Senate Committee into the adequacy of the Newstart/JobSeeker payment and has been fighting hard for the government to #RetainTheRate after the COVID crisis has passed.
In this conversation, Rachel explains how her politics are founded on concern for both people and the planet, the realities of our punitive welfare system, just how shitty JobSeeker is and why the Greens' "Invest To Recover" policy proposal - including a jobs, income and education guarantee - is the kind of bold response Australia needs right now.
Cause of the Week: The Australian Greens (greens.org.au)
Dave Anthony is a stand up comedian, writer, activist and co-host of the history comedy podcast The Dollop. In May 2016 he correctly predicted that Hillary Clinton was going to lose to Trump in the presidential election. So yeah - he knows stuff.
Dave joined me from LA in the GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD to talk about the death of American empire, what he's learned from history, his journey to socialism, the right-wing Democratic Party and why Joe Biden is really really bad. We laugh and also talk about the end of hope.
Cause of the Week: Extinction Rebellion (rebellion.earth)
Jon Kudelka is a Walkley Award-winning political cartoonist who's been drawing for over 20 years. He drew thousands of cartoons for The Australian until 2019 and his work now regularly appears in The Hobart Mercury and The Saturday Paper.
Jon kindly joined me from Tasmania via Zoom to reflect on his journey to cartooning, the (minimal) influence that satire has on things, what he learnt from John Clarke, the deterioration and stasis of Australian politics, punching down, how compromised the ALP has become and how COVID-19 might wake people up to shitty free-market ideology.
Cause of the Week: StreetSmart Australia (streetsmartaustralia.org)
Celeste Liddle is an Arrente woman, a trade unionist and Leftist who's written for Eureka Street, The Guardian and SBS.
Celeste Zoom'ed me from her couch to discuss how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting First Nations people, over-policing and deaths in custody, culture warring about Captain Cook and the "Indigenous alt-right".
Cause of the Week: Djirra (djirra.org.au)
Adam Creighton is the Economics Editor for The Australian and has written for The Economist and The Wall Street Journal. For the past couple of months he's been highly critical of the Australian government's economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic and has called for the immediate easing of restrictions.
I asked Adam to sketch out his critique of the response and his concerns about its economic impact, as well as discussing the Swedish, economic "trade-offs", the "statistical value of life" (it's $4.4m, apparently), the joys of tax and what kind of changes he does (and doesn't) want to see once the pandemic passes.
Cause of the Week: Alcoholics Anonymous (aa.org.au)
Mark Humphries is a comedian who regularly makes satirical sketches for the ABC's 7:30 along with Evan Williams. He always makes me laugh and I've been lucky enough to become friends with him over the past few years.
Mark joined me via Zoom from deep in the heart of the ABC to discuss his politics, his (haphazard) journey into comedy (featuring some stories involving ME!!!), Mark Latham and the state of Australian right-wing media craziness and the limits of satirising it. We had a good ol' giggle and we barely talked about coronavirus at all.
Cause of the Week: Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia (msra.org.au)
Nick McKim is a Tasmanian senator and the co-deputy leader of The Australian Greens.
He joined me via Zoom (sorry) from Tasmania to discuss the Morrison government's (sometimes okay but generally shitty) response to the COVID crisis, the neoliberal Labor Party, how this pandemic affects folks in immigration detention and the current Greens' plebiscite on the election of the federal leader.
Tash Heenan and Anna Sturman are ecosocialist academics who are writing about and organising around the possibilities of a Green New Deal for Australia.
They both joined me via Zoom (I AM VERY SICK OF ZOOM) to lay out what their vision for a GND entails, its "four Ds" (decarbonisation, decolonisation, decommodification, democratisation), how much currency it had as a political idea prior to the current COVID crisis, the possibilities these new conditions could bring and the dangers of eco-fascism.
Climate Justice Collective - @greennewdealau
Cause of the Week: Sisters Inside (sistersinside.com.au)