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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.


Sydney, NSW


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






Radio National Sydney, 2001 Australia


Politics with Michelle Grattan: ANU Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt on the challenges universities face

Australia’s higher education sector is under heavy scrutiny. Still recovering from the impact of COVID and criticised for its treatment of staff, it faces strong pressures to step up its performance. The government launched a broad review of the sector in late 2022 to inform a Universities Accord. The interim report was released in July, with the full report coming in December. Professor Brian Schmidt, is one of Australia’s most eminent academics, an astrophysicist who shared a Nobel Prize in 2011. Schmidt has been Vice-Chancellor at the Australian National University since 2016, a role he leaves at the end of the year.


Politics with Michelle Grattan: Asia expert Richard McGregor on Anthony Albanese’s coming visit to China

Anthony Albanese has now confirmed he’ll be heading to China before the end of the year. He is the first Australian prime minister to visit since 2016, and it is the culmination of an improvement in China-Australia relations since the change of government. In this podcast, we’re joined by Richard McGregor, an expert on China and senior fellow at the Lowy Institute.


Word from The Hill: Danielle Wood to head Productivity Commission, Alan Joyce bows to public anger, PM jets off again

As well as her interviews with politicians and experts, Politics with Michelle Grattan includes “Word from The Hill”, where she discusses the news with members of The Conversation’s politics team. In this podcast Michelle and politics + society editor Amanda Dunn discuss the latest national accounts and Jim Chalmers’ announcement that Grattan Institute CEO Danielle Wood will take over as head of the Productivity Commission. The appointment came as a surprise, after Chris Barrett, chosen for the position only recently, decided he had a better offer – he will become head of the Victorian Treasury. They also canvass the QANTAS saga, which has seen its now former CEO Alan Joyce step down earlier than scheduled. The news came amid public anger over its poor customer service, and after the national carrier was taken to court by the consumer watchdog for selling more than 8000 tickets on flights already cancelled. And finally, they discuss Anthony Albanese’s trip to Indonesia for the ASEAN summit, followed by a visit to the Philippines, before he attends the G20 meeting in India.


Politics with Michelle Grattan: Battle of The Voice - Yes23 campaign director Dean Parkin and former deputy prime minister John Anderson

October 14, is the day Australians will head to their polling booths to vote for or against an Indigenous Voice being enshrined in the Constitution. Anthony Albanese announced the date in a speech in Adelaide on Wednesday, as politicians across the spectrum and Indigenous “yes” campaign leaders rallied around the country. In this podcast, we are joined by the campaign director for Yes23, Dean Parkin, and former deputy prime minister John Anderson, who sits on the no campaign’s advisory board. We spoke with each of them on the eve of Albanese’s announcement.


Word from The Hill: Date for Voice referendum to be announced on Wednesday

As well as her interviews with politicians and experts, Politics with Michelle Grattan includes “Word from The Hill”, where she discusses the news with members of The Conversation’s politics team. In this podcast Michelle and politics + society editor Amanda Dunn discuss the news that the Prime Minister next Wednesday will reveal the date for the Voice referendum. They also canvass the Intergenerational Report, which gazes into the 2060s, as well as Labor's national conference, that endorsed AUKUS. During the conference Anthony Albanese emphasised the importance of the party staying in office to bed down a long term agenda, with the message to the rank and file not to rock the boat.


Politics with Michelle Grattan: Labor president Wayne Swan on the party’s coming national conference

Next week the Labor Party will hold its national conference in Brisbane. It’s the first face-to-face conference in five years. These conferences don’t have anything like the bite they once did, but there’s still a chance for the party’s rank and file to have a shout about issues. More than 400 delegates will be there. Most of the delegates are aligned to a faction, and for the first time in decades the left will have the largest slice of the numbers. AUKUS and the Stage 3 tax cuts are expected to be among the hot topics, but the conference will be carefully managed – there will be no defeats for Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Ahead of the conference, we have already seen the government change its stance on Palestine, a sensitive subject among the left and right factions of the party. In this podcast we talk with Wayne Swan, the Labor Party National President. Swan was treasurer and deputy prime minister in the Rudd and Gillard governments.


Word from The Hill: Double dissolution hot air, PM dodging Treaty question, Morrison hit with counter punch after Robodebt speech

As well as her interviews with politicians and experts, Politics with Michelle Grattan includes “Word from The Hill”, where she discusses the news with members of The Conversation’s politics team. In this podcast Michelle and politics + society editor Amanda Dunn discuss whether there’s much in the PM’s double dissolution threat, and his defensiveness when pressed on Treaty in an ABC interview. As well, they canvass the Reserve Bank’s reprieve for mortgage holders, which will be only small comfort to those coming off fixed rates. Meanwhile in parliament, Scott Morrison’s rejection of the Robodebt royal commission’s findings against him just sparked fresh attacks on him from the government.


Politics with Michelle Grattan: ‘yes’ campaigner Thomas Mayo and ‘no’ advocate Derryn Hinch on the Voice

The Garma Festival is being held over the next few days in Arnhem Land. There will be a great deal of talk this year about the Voice. Anthony Albanese will speak on Saturday, but he won’t announce the date for the referendum. Peter Dutton isn’t attending. Meanwhile in parliament this week the opposition has sought to turn the discussion of the Voice to the issue of treaty, also a feature of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. But the government wants to keep the debate strictly to the Voice, dodging questions about treaty where it can. In this podcast Thomas Mayo, a signatory of the Uluru Statement and one of the leaders of the yes campaign, and Derryn Hinch, former prominent broadcaster and a former crossbench senator, join us to argue for the yes and no sides respectively.


Politics with Michelle Grattan: ACCI Head Andrew McKellar on industrial relations and boosting Australia’s productivity

Australia’s inflation moderated somewhat this week. But in economic terms, there will be more tough months ahead for households and for businesses. Meanwhile, the relationship between business and the Albanese government is somewhat scratchy. From the point of view of business, the Government is delivering to the unions. Business is particularly critical of the Government’s industrial relations changes those already made and those to come. In this weeks podcast, our guest is Andrew McKellar, the chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI). He joins us to give a business take on the economy, issues concerning business and relations with the Albanese Government. ACCI describes itself as Australia’s largest and most representative business network, saying it covers businesses “of all shapes and sizes”.


Politics with Michelle Grattan: Battle of the Voice – Greens senator Dorinda Cox & Liberal senator Kerrynne Liddle

The Voice to Parliament reached another milestone this week, with the official essays for the Yes and No cases published online by the Australian Electoral Commission. These will be sent to all Australian electors in the lead up to the vote, which will be in the last quarter of the year In recent weeks, polls have suggested the “yes” vote is on the slide, and has an uphill battle if it is to be successful. In this podcast, we talk with two Indigenous senators, The Greens’ Dorinda Cox, and Liberal Kerrynne Liddle. Cox is campaigning for the Voice, while Liddle does not believe a Voice will achieve the practical outcomes those in favour are championing.


Word from The Hill: On ditching the Commonwealth Games, the Voice pamphlet, Labor’s factions

As well as her interviews with politicians and experts, Politics with Michelle Grattan includes “Word from The Hill”, where she discusses the news with members of The Conversation’s politics team. In this podcast Michelle and politics + society editor Amanda Dunn discuss Premier Dan Andrews’ surprise decision to pull Victoria out of hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games. They also canvass the official yes and no cases issued this week for the Voice referendum, and Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh’s strong speech warning of the excessive level of factional control within the Labor Party.


Politics with Michelle Grattan: Treasurer Jim Chalmers on Michele Bullock’s appointment as Reserve Bank Governor

For months, speculation has swirled about the appointment of a new governor of the Reserve Bank, a key position in the management of the Australian economy. The present governor, Philip Lowe, has faced sharp criticism, especially over his prediction interest rates would be held steady until 2024, which proved wrong. It always seemed unlikely he would get another term. Now the government has named his successor – the present deputy governor Michele Bullock. She will be the first woman to hold the position. From the government’s point of view, it is a cautious appointment, signalling both continuity and change. Bullock is of the bank, but she will oversee the reforms that have come out of the review of its operations.


Politics with Michelle Grattan: Bill Shorten on Robodebt report’s sealed section, and progress on NDIS reform

The Robodebt royal commission’s report has excoriated a raft of former ministers, especially Scott Morrison, who was a main instigator of the program, as well as public servants who were involved. What we don’t know is who has been referred for prosecution or other action, because the names are in a sealed section of the report. When in opposition, Bill Shorten pursued the scandal, mobilising a class action. Now Shorten is Minister for Government Services, overseeing a department that in an earlier iteration was at the centre of Robodebt. He’s also Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. In this podcast, Shorten joins The Conversation to discuss the aftermath of the royal commission report, and progress in reforming the NDIS.


Politics with Michelle Grattan: Author Bruce Wolpe on the “shocking” consequences for Australia of a Trump 24 win

Next year’s American presidential election is shaping up to be extraordinary. Donald Trump is favoured to be the Republican candidate, despite facing multiple charges over removing classified documents. President Joe Biden has indicated he intends to run again, despite the fact he’ll be 82 at the time of the poll and 86 if he completed another four-year term. In this podcast, author Bruce Wolpe - a senior fellow at the United States Centre at the University of Sydney, who previously worked with the Democratic Party in Congress, discusses his new book “Trump’s Australia”. Wolpe argues a second Trump term would have shocking consequences for Australia.


Politics with Michelle Grattan: Special Minister of State Don Farrell wants donation and spending caps for next election

The next federal election could be conducted under dramatically reformed electoral laws, with caps on spending and donations, and a much lower disclosure threshold for the disclosure of donations. The changes, being worked up by Special Minister Don Farrell, would also trim the wings of third parties, such as Simon Holmes à Court’s Climate 200. Farrell tells The Conversation’s Politics Podcast he is not waiting for the final report of the parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, which in its interim report has recommended a set of reforms broadly in line with Labor policy. The report was tabled on Monday. Farrell says waiting until the final report comes at the end of the year would make it harder to get legislation in place for the next election, due by May 2025. He will have negotiations over the coming months and wants as much bipartisanship as possible, despite the Coalition opposing key recommendations of the majority report.


Politics with Michelle Grattan: Community Independent Dai Le on what voters are saying

For most voters, the cost of living is their major current concern. Rising interest rates and high prices for power, groceries and other necessities are hurting in particular lower and middle income people. Nowhere is this more the case than in Sydney’s western suburbs. Independent Dai Le, who holds the seat of Fowler in Sydney’s west, managed to pull off the unthinkable at last year’s federal election. Le, who financed her campaign with a very modest budget, defeated Labor’s Kristina Keneally, who was attempting to move from the Senate to the lower house. Fowler has traditionally been Labor heartland. Le is the first non-Labor MP to represent the area, one of Australia’s most multicultural electorates.


Politics with Michelle Grattan: Industry minister Ed Husic on the artificial intelligence revolution

Artificial intelligence is a challenging policy area that’s moving towards the centre stage of public and government attention. Some experts emphasise the immense potential of AI, while others are deeply troubled about the ramifications the technology may have on humans. AI has the potential to open up employment opportunities, but also to replace many jobs. The Albanese government has recently begun consultations as it formulates a policy for seeking to ensure AI technology is both safe and responsible. In this podcast, Ed Husic, the minister for industry and science, who is overseeing the AI policy development process, joins us to talk about this new frontier.


Politics with Michelle Grattan: Liberal MP Bridget Archer urges other moderates to speak up as she presses for party change

The Coalition’s decision to oppose the Voice to Parliament has put its moderate members in a jam. Some moderates are active yes advocates, while others are trying to keep low profiles. Bridget Archer, the outspoken Liberal MP for Bass, is a vocal yes campaigner. More generally, she is also taking a lead in urging the Liberal party to undertake root-and-branch reform. Archer is pushing for extensive change in a party that is electorally on the ropes, out of office everywhere except her home state of Tasmania. Since entering parliament in 2019, Archer has crossed the floor on 27 occasion to vote against her party. She admits there are those colleagues who avoid her, but says her decisions are always based on what is in the best interest of her community, and argues the strength of the Liberal Party historically has been for members to be able to sometimes disagree and to do so respectfully.


Politics with Michelle Grattan: Labor’s Julian Hill on employment, AI, Julian Assange and TikTok

The federal budget gave a much-needed, but very modest, increase to those on JobSeeker and associated payments. However, it didn’t address that other important issue of the unemployed: how to help as many JobSeekers as possible to get into work, whether full- or part-time. This will be canvassed in the government’s coming white paper on employment. It’s already, however, before a parliamentary inquiry into employment services. In this podcast, Julian Hill, the Labor member for Bruce, who chairs that inquiry, joins us to discuss the job market and getting people into work. Hill has also been actively working for Julian Assange’s release from London’s maximum-security Belmarsh Prison. And he boasts a huge following on TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media platform, which is banned on official government devices.


Politics with Michelle Grattan: Greens Max Chandler-Mather on the housing fund, rent freezes and migration

The government’s planned Housing Australia Future Fund has hit a roadblock. Legislation for the $10 billion fund – the returns on which would be used to build social and affordable housing – is being blocked by an unusual alliance of the Coalition and the Greens. Max Chandler-Mather, who won the seat of Griffith in Brisbane from Labor’s Terri Butler, has been under personal attack by the government. Labor leader in the Senate Penny Wong accused him of ego-stroking, and the prime minister suggested he was hypocritical for wanting more social housing while opposing a developments in his electorate. Why is a party that has championed more social and affordable housing opposing an initiative to get more housing into the market? In this podcast, Chandler-Mather says: “Our criticisms are twofold"