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Julian Burnside: Changing attitudes towards refugees and asylum seekers

Despite international criticism, asylum seekers and refugees have been labelled as ‘illegals’, and painted as threats to Australia’s security. On this very special Policy Forum Pod, we talk to Julian Burnside AO QC about why politicians seem to be so unwilling to engage in honest discussions about refugees, and what lessons we can draw from history to change public attitudes and refocus on the value of human rights. Pod presenters Sharon Bessell and Julia Ahrens also discuss Donald Trump’s...


Living with the city

With an estimated 68 per cent of the world’s population predicted to be living in cities by 2050, policymakers and urban planners have myriad challenges to tackle. On this Policy Forum Pod, Paul Wyrwoll leads a discussion with Jasmine Ha, Sharon Friel, and Glenn Withers, about why migrants – both from rural areas and overseas – are flocking to cities, and how to ensure that inequality, environmental and health issues don’t dominate urban areas. They also discuss why we might move beyond city...


Pilots, but no plane – landing better mental health policies

Despite greater openness about mental health, the stigma attached to, for example, depression and anxiety disorders still runs deep in our society. At this rate, problems are starting to outrun the solutions, with mental health disorders becoming more and more prevalent – an issue that disproportionately affects Indigenous people. On this episode of Policy Forum Pod, we have a powerful conversation with Julie Tongs, Sebastian Rosenberg, and Stewart Sutherland about whether more plans equals...


Katherine Trebeck - What makes a good life?

Economic growth has brought great prosperity to people in developed nations, but with it also comes great challenges. From debt, inequality and climate change to troubling politics all around the globe, our societies are facing strong headwinds. In a climate like this, how can policymakers ensure that everyone benefits from growth and can live a good life? On this week’s Policy Forum Pod, we talk to Katherine Trebeck about her new book The Economics of Arrival, and how to bridge the gap...


Richard Baldwin - The Globotics Upheaval

Around the world, people’s work and workplaces are being transformed by globalisation and the rise of automation, robotics, and AI. That transformation brings significant challenges to policymakers, and to people who see their lives and livelihoods transformed, often in negative ways. So how can we make sure this dramatic transformation benefits humankind? On this week’s special episode of Policy Forum Pod, we hear from Richard Baldwin about his book The Globotics Upheaval: Robotics,...


Language barriers

Language is a powerful tool in increasing engagement, communication, and cross-cultural understanding, and could play a vital role in fostering relations between Australia and the Asia-Pacific. So how can we make sure we’re giving students the language skills and experience they need? On this week’s Policy Forum Pod an expert panel – Associate Professor Angela Scarino, Grazia Scotellaro, and Luke Courtois – discuss policy to encourage the study of Asian languages and whether is doing enough...


Can Australia make its waste work?

In 2017, China cracked down on foreign waste processing by banning the import of many recyclable materials. It was a move that created huge challenges for many countries across the world – including Australia – that had previously been dependent on China for their recycling. This decision has raised major concerns about the future of waste management. With insufficient onshore processing facilities, Australia urgently needs to resolve its waste woes. On this Policy Forum Pod, we hear from...


Food, farming, and climate change

A recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) looked at the role that food systems are playing in contributing to global greenhouse emissions, and drew attention to the ways climate change is threatening the future of food production and food security. On this Policy Forum Pod, we hear from Professor Mark Howden and Professor Michael Roderick on the complex relationship between land, food, and the climate and what governments and individuals can do to tackle the...


Stepping up in the Pacific

In November, Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised to take Australia’s engagement with the Pacific to a new level, announcing five new diplomatic missions, and a $2 billion infrastructure financing facility. But the country’s relationship with the Pacific is increasingly being overshadowed by its lack of serious action on climate, with Pacific leaders warning that the step up will fail, unless Australia takes meaningful action to address the issue. On this episode of Policy Forum Pod, host...


Addressing human rights in Southeast Asia

From the violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar, to President Duterte’s support for extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, to intensifying efforts in Cambodia to curtail political freedom – Southeast Asia has seen many human rights violations in the past few years. And it seems that international and regional organisations, as well as third countries, have had a hard time addressing these acts of state-sanctioned violence. On this episode of Policy Forum Pod, we talk to our panel –...


Promoting private investment in the Pacific

In November last year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the establishment of an Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific worth $2 billion. Despite its well-intentioned goal, the initiative has also attracted criticism for not considering the private sector enough in its strategic approach. On this episode of Policy Forum Pod, we hear from three private investment experts – Frank Yourn, Sally McCutchan, and Milissa Day – about the massive infrastructure needs of the...


Philip Alston - poverty as a political choice

Professor Philip Alston accused the Trump administration of being driven by “contempt, and sometimes even hatred for the poor,” compared the UK’s post-GFC austerity welfare policies to Victorian workhouses, and warned the country’s poor faced lives that were “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” In return, he’s been accused of bias by the US, warned he’d be the subject of a formal complaint to the UN from the UK government, and seen his report blasted by a UK newspaper as an “insult...


Business and the Sustainable Development Goals

How are the world’s business leaders adapting to the Sustainable Development Goals? That’s the topic for this week’s Policy Forum Pod, where we hear from John Denton, the Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce. Pod hosts Julia Ahrens and Quentin Grafton also discuss the challenges facing the Murray-Darling Basin and tackle some of your questions and comments. John Denton AO is the Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce. Lydia Kim is an Associate...


Fixing the National Disability Insurance Scheme

The National Disability Insurance Scheme is a significant policy. Launched in 2016, the NDIS provides support to Australians with a disability, their families, and their carers. But while it has been broadly welcomed, its implementation has not been without significant challenges. This week on Policy Forum Pod we hear from former Labor government Minister Jenny Macklin, Dr Gemma Carey, and Clare Moore about what it will take to fix the NDIS. Pod hosts Sara Bice and Martyn Pearce also chat to...


Hold the front page – media policy and problems

Fake news, global media moguls flexing their political muscles, getting people to pay for journalism, and the challenge posed by social media companies – the problems facing the media and journalism are many. In our panel discussion this week, Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times, Siddharth Varadarajan of The Wire, and Amy Remeikis of The Guardian Australia talk to Mark Kenny and Jill Sheppard about the future of the media. Pod hosts Sara Bice and Martyn Pearce also chat to Professor Mirya...


In the public service we trust?

In March, the Australian Public Service review set out four priorities for change to future-proof the public service. But will those changes be enough to tackle the significant challenges ahead and rebuild declining trust in institutions? We hear from the review’s Chair David Thodey in conversation with Helen Sullivan and get the thoughts of review panel member and fellow policy podcaster Glyn Davis. David Thodey is Chair of the Australian Public Service review, Chair of the Commonwealth...


A policy wish list

If you could have your wishes granted and have Australia’s government implement three policies that would change the country for the better, what would you choose? That’s the question we put to our panel this week. Our experts – Helen Sullivan, Inala Cooper, and Janine O’Flynn give us their wish lists in conversation with Sharon Bessell. Helen Sullivan is the Director of Crawford School of Public Policy. Her research and teaching explore the changing nature of state-society relationships;...


Getting science into policy, politics, and public discussion

Australians support science and having policy informed by the best scientific evidence, but in the recent federal election campaign, science was in short supply. So what more should scientists and the scientific community do to encourage evidence-based policy to tackle the big issues of our time? What responsibilities to scientists have to engage directly with the public, particularly in the frequently hostile environment of social media? And how can we tackle the rise of anti-science? On...


Driving electric vehicle policy

For a brief moment during Australia’s recent election campaign, everyone’s attention was turned towards electric vehicles – and rightfully so. Electric vehicle sales are booming around the world, and the motor industry is rapidly rolling out electric car models and setting significant sales targets. But with Labor’s electric vehicle policy now barely visible in the rear-view mirror, will policymakers ever take the wheel, or is Australia’s electric vehicle policy in need of roadside assist?...


Reconciliation Week 2019 – Honesty is the best policy

This year, Australia’s National Reconciliation Week theme is ‘Grounded in Truth: Walk Together with Courage’. But just how courageous has Australia’s Indigenous policy been, and what will it take to get it right? Will Ken Wyatt’s appointment as the first Indigenous minister for Indigenous Affairs bring the change that Australia needs? On this episode, we hear from Tony Dreise on the ups-and-downs of Indigenous policies past and present, and get his suggestions for policies for the future. We...