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Politics with Michelle Grattan

ABC (Australia)

Michelle Grattan, Chief Political Correspondent at The Conversation, talks politics with politicians and experts, from Capital Hill.

Michelle Grattan, Chief Political Correspondent at The Conversation, talks politics with politicians and experts, from Capital Hill.


Sydney, NSW


Michelle Grattan, Chief Political Correspondent at The Conversation, talks politics with politicians and experts, from Capital Hill.






Radio National Sydney, 2001 Australia


Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on promising budget figures

This week's update shows an improvement on the numbers in the budget that was delivered only 10 weeks ago. The prospects for growth and employment have been revised upwards. While the forecast for the deficit remains massive, at nearly $200 billion, it has been revised down. But even as we return to some sort of normality, it will be many years before the economy resembles its pre-COVID self. And the Parliamentary Budget Office predicts the federal budget won't leave its deficit behind in...


Chief Scientist Alan Finkel on climate, energy and emissions

This month Alan Finkel ends his term as Australia's Chief Scientist. An entrepreneur, engineer, neuroscientist, and educator in his former life, Finkel describes the role he's held since 2016 as consisting of two activities. There's "reviewing" – briefing government on all matters scientific, including energy and climate change. And then there's "making things up" – developing programs to support the communication of science, technology, innovation, and research across the...


Asia-Pacific expert Bates Gill on China’s endgame

Chinese official Lijian Zhao’s tweeting an image depicting an Australian soldier holding a knife against a child’s throat and the subsequent angry exchanges is the latest incident in an exceptionally poor year for Australian-Chinese relations. Tensions deepened after Australia’s call for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus, and the Chinese have hit Australian exports, most recently with punitive tariffs on wine. Diplomacy is of the mega variety; Australian ministers can’t get...


two views on increasing the super contribution

The increase in the compulsory superannuation contribution, legislated to rise next July from 9.5% to 10%, is being fiercely debated following the release of the retirement income report. In this podcast we hear the views of Brendan Coates, Director of the Household Finances Program at the Grattan Institute and Greg Combet, former Labor minister, and chair of Industry Super Australia. Coates, who opposes the July and later scheduled rises, says ultimately the money comes out of the...


Defence expert Allan Behm on the background to the Brereton report

The findings of the inquiry by Justice Paul Brereton into the misconduct – including allegations of murder of non-combatants and mistreatment of prisoners – by Australian special forces in Afghanistan are released on Thursday. Scott Morrison last week warned the findings will be "difficult and hard news" for Australians. The leadership of the Australian Defence Force will drive a program of reform in the wake of findings that put a deep blemish on what the ADF and most Australians see as...


Joel Fitzgibbon on Labor climate policy and leadership

Labor's Joel Fitzgibbon this week quit the frontbench, ensuring he'll become even more vocal in his campaign to have Labor's climate policy move to the centre and the party give greater attention to the working class part of its constituency. Fitzgibbon – who was shadow minister for resources – and climate spokesman Mark Butler have been at loggerheads, and in this podcast Fitzgibbon makes it clear he believes Butler should be moved when Albanese has an expected pre-Christmas reshuffle. "I...


economist Danielle Wood on Australia’s ‘blokey’ budge

In his budget reply, Anthony Albanese said women have suffered most during the pandemic, but were reduced to a footnote in the budget. He promised a Labor government would undertake a generous reshaping of the childcare subsidy to enable more women to join the workforce or to work more hours. This week, Michelle Grattan talks to Grattan Institute CEO Danielle Wood who, in writing for the Australian Financial Review, described the budget as “blokey”: “We look at those areas that have...


a budget for a pandemic

With the budget’s expected eye-watering debt and deficit numbers, the question remains whether the huge spending will be enough to fight the coronavirus slump. Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann and Shadow Minister Katy Gallagher joined the podcast to discuss the budget’s entrails. The government has faced criticism for benchmarking the much vaunted tax cuts against 2017-18, making them appear larger. Cormann said 2017-18 is the appropriate benchmark, and wouldn’t be drawn on giving...


Chris Richardson on what Tuesday’s budget will and should do

On Tuesday, the 2020 budget will be brought down. It will show a huge deficit for this financial year and massive government spending, aimed at promoting economic recovery and reducing unemployment. In the wake of COVID, the Coalition’s usual preoccupation with “debt and deficit” has become very yesterday. On this week’s Politics podcast, we speaks with Chris Richardson, partner at Deloitte Access Economics. Deloitte’s Economics Budget Monitor, released this week, favoured bringing forward...


New Zealand’s Helen Clark on the pandemic inquiry and avoiding election ‘cat fights

On October 17, New Zealanders will head to the polls to vote in a general election and also on referendum questions for the legalisation of cannabis and euthansia. In a head-to-head between two women, Labour’s Jacinda Ardern appears to be heading to a comfortable win against National Judith Collins, who only recently became her party’s leader. This week NZ’s three term ex-PM Helen Clark joins the podcast to discuss the World Health Organisation’s investigation into COVID preparedness and...


Politics with Michelle Grattan: Angus Taylor on the 'gas-fired' recovery

The Coalition is having yet another go at crafting an energy policy. Faced with the huge economic challenges presented by COVID, the government this week announced its "gas-fired recovery". But the policy is already under fire from both environmentalists and coal advocates, and the energy sector warns it could discourage investors. Part of the announcement was a threat – the government will build a gas generator in the Hunter Valley if the private sector fails to fill the gap in power...


Jodie McVernon on Melbourne’s modelling, a Covid vaccine, and the role of experts in a crisis

In light of Victoria’s cautious roadmap out of lockdown, with some experts claiming the exit is too fast, and others believing it is unnecessarily slow, the modelling underpinning the decisions is under close scrutiny. University of Melbourne Professor Jodie McVernon is director of epidemiology at the Doherty Institute, and a modelling expert. She tells the podcast, “I think the broad qualitative conclusions of the model would have been reached by really any kind of model formulation -...


Chris Bowen on the recession, aged care and priorities for health policy

Had the 2019 election panned out differently, Chris Bowen would have been the treasurer coping with Australia's current economic crisis. Instead, as shadow health minister, he has been critical of aspects of the government's handling of the health issues, especially its failure to act earlier and more comprehensively to secure access to potential vaccines. With Labor homing in on aged care, which has seen the deaths of hundred of residents, Bowen in this podcast questionsd the performance...


Former Greens leader Richard Di Natale on COVID, climate and his successor

In February, then Greens’ leader Richard Di Natale stepped down from the leadership after five years and announced he’d leave parliament to spend for more time with his family. On Tuesday, he delivered his valedictory speech to the senate – remotely – and on Wednesday, he formally resigned. In his speech Di Natale said “We’ve closed off the [parliament] building to the community, but we’re throwing the gates wide open to vested interests with deep pockets.” Asked if there should be tougher...


Professor Barney Glover on the bleak years ahead for higher education

With the withdrawal of the international market, and the stresses of delivering education virtually, the university sector has been hit especially hard by COVID-19. The sector, which in the 2018-2019 financial year contributed $37.6 billion in export income to the Australian economy, is a shadow of its former self. Meanwhile the government last week released its controversial “JobReady Graduates” draft legislation, which aims to promote study in areas it believes will increase the...


Jim Chalmers on tax cuts, inequality, and the Queensland election

The second wave of the pandemic in Victoria has pushed the post-COVID economic recovery further beyond the horizon. Among the challenges for the federal opposition are dealing itself into the debate and formulating alternative economic policies before the next election. With speculation the budget may bring forward the next tranche of the legislated tax cuts, Labor is leaving the way open to give its support. “We’ve said for some time that that’s something that the Government should...


Concetta Fierravanti-Wells on aged care – what needs to be done differently

The Royal Commission into Aged-Care Quality and Safety delivered it’s interim report in October 2019. Titled ‘Neglect’, it provided a scathing insight into the aged care industry - finding it centred around transactions not care. It minimised the voices of people receiving care, lacked transparency, and was staffed by an under-appreciated and under-pressure workforce. The outbreak of coronavirus, and the second-wave of infections in Melbourne, has raised fresh questions. The virus has...


Patricia Sparrow on the need for aged care reform

Those in aged care have been some of the hardest hit by the coronavirus second wave in Victoria. Even before the crisis, there were calls for reform of the sector, which is currently being examined by a royal commission. Issues with staffing and delivery of care have only become worse as many workers are required to isolate, with mass transmission occurring in the homes. Patricia Sparrow is CEO of Aged & Community Services Australia, a peak body which represents not-for-profit members...


Geoff Kitney on a life in journalism and the contemporary media landscape

Geoff Kitney fell into a career in journalism, and rose from reporting the local footy in Western Australia to covering many of federal politics's biggest stories and serving as a foreign correspondent based in Berlin and London. Arriving at parliament house in 1975, Kitney reported on the dramatic Dismissal. Later, the relative decorum of the Canberra press gallery contrasted with the danger and adventure of war reporting. During the Kosovo war, he was sent to Belgrade, travelling...


After the crisis: what lessons can be drawn from the management of COVID-19 for the recovery process?

In this fourth episode of the Conversation-Democracy 2025 Podcast on “Political Trust in Times of Covid-19”, Michelle Grattan and Mark Evans explore the lessons that can be drawn from the management of Covid-19 for the recovery process with the ABC’s Norman Swan and Mark Kenny from the Australian Studies Institute at the Australian National University. The discussion draws on the very latest findings from a comparative survey conducted by Democracy 2025 and Trustgov in May and June in...