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The Fifth Estate responds to the most important stories of the day and reignites those that have fallen off the front pages.

The Fifth Estate responds to the most important stories of the day and reignites those that have fallen off the front pages.
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The Fifth Estate responds to the most important stories of the day and reignites those that have fallen off the front pages.




Political Wrap 2019

For the final Fifth Estate of 2019, George Megalogenis returns to reflect with host Sally Warhaft on the year in Australian politics. Sally Warhaft and George Megalogenis They discuss the early manoeuvres of Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese, and the 46th federal parliament. They talk, too, about the stories that made domestic headlines – as well as how major international news events were felt here in Australia. What do these stories and controversies reveal about our country and...


Samantha Power on Influence and Idealism

How does a person navigate the change from activist outsider to influential insider? How do you balance idealism and pragmatism under pressure? Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Samantha Power has had to navigate these questions first-hand. From a troubled childhood in Dublin to a career as a war correspondent then academic, she landed at the heart of American politics in 2005 – when her critiques of US foreign policy drew the attention of Barack Obama. She joined his team, eventually...


Past Imperfect: Writing Australian History

For this Fifth Estate discussion, we're joined by two prominent historians for a conversation about their careers, and how they have each navigated the changing tropes and traditions of Australian history writing. What role do contemporary historians play in shaping the way all Australians remember – and reckon with – the past? From left to right: Sally Warhaft, Clare Wright and Geoffrey Blainey Geoffrey Blainey is the author of more than 40 books, including The Rush That Never...


Women's Work

American-born journalist Megan K. Stack is an acclaimed author and war correspondent. She was Moscow bureau chief for the L.A. Times when she made the decision to work from home and look after her newborn child. As her growing family followed her husband’s work through China and India, Stack’s new life forced her to understand the economy of women’s work, and the inequalities that make it possible to exploit ‘poor women, brown women, migrant women’. Megan Stack (left) and Sally Warhaft...


Red State Real Talk: Mia Love

Mia Love Mia Love was once a rising star of the Republican Party. She was the first black female Republican elected to congress, running and winning in Utah's 97% white 4th District in 2015. During her time in office, Love was appointed to the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees the Treasury and the Federal Reserve. But Love chose not to embrace President Donald Trump during her mid-term election campaign last year, and drew his ire. Since losing her re-election bid...


Tim Costello

Sally Warhaft and Tim Costello For decades, Tim Costello has been among Australia’s most outspoken voices on issues of social justice and global inequality. Through his work as a minister, as a lawyer and as the mayor of St Kilda council, he’s tackled pressing social issues – from gambling and homelessness to gun control. He’s perhaps best known to most Australians, though, for his 15-year tenure as CEO of World Vision – a job which took him to conflict and disaster zones across the...


Family Violence Emergency

Sally Warhaft and Jess Hill The recent book by Jess Hill, See What You Made Me Do, calls for a drastic and urgent rethink in the way we conceive of family violence in Australia. Rigorously researched, and packed with interviews and case studies, it's a once-in-a-generation book that asks us to look beyond received wisdom to confront the complexities of family violence squarely. Hill asks: What are we really doing about family violence? Why, in so many cases, are our justice and...


Foreign Affairs

Sally Warhaft and Michael Fullilove What is Australia’s place in the world? How are we getting along with our neighbours? And how is our international outlook changing? For this conversation, Sally Warhaft is joined by executive director of the Lowy Institute, Michael Fullilove. The pair discuss the foreign policy challenges Australia is facing now and into the future. Can we find ways to work better with our neighbours, especially Indonesia? How can we best navigate the increasing...


Plots and Prayers

Sally Warhaft and Niki Savva When Julia Gillard overthrew Kevin Rudd in 2010 it was as if the Canberra sky fell in. In the years since, we’ve seen Rudd the Second punished by the electorate and Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull each dispatched by their own party. This year, something changed. Scott Morrison and the Coalition government were re-elected as if the leadership coup against Turnbull never occurred. Niki Savva is a veteran of Australian journalism and Liberal Party circles –...


Medicine and Healthcare in Australia

Sally Warhaft, Ranjana Srivastava and Gustav Nossal There's much to celebrate in the history of Australian medicine and medical care – from the famous breakthrough in penicillin to the development of the Gardasil vaccine. Our Medicare model is the envy of many countries. But have we become complacent? What are the pre-existing and emerging gaps in our system? And how might we adapt our healthcare and research models in line with changes in demography and technology? In this Fifth...


Post-Election Wrap 2019

Sally Warhaft and Paul Kelly A month on from the federal election, once the dust has settled, we take an in-depth look at the events of 18 May and discuss what we might expect from the new Morrison government. With a mandate, and likely a revamped front bench, can Scott Morrison unite a fractured country and leave a lasting legacy? What are the policy goals of the Liberals in their third term in government and how will they handle the cynicism that has infected much of the...


In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy

Sally Warhaft and Frédéric Martel The Catholic Church, writes Frédéric Martel, is ‘a system built ... on the homosexual double life and on the most dizzying homophobia … Without this key for understanding, the recent history of the Vatican and the Roman Church remains opaque.' How is Martel qualified to make such statements? He is an acclaimed academic and journalist in France, and the author of several widely translated books on contemporary culture and political science, including...


Jill Abramson

Sally Warhaft and Jill Abramson on stage at the Athenaeum Theatre — Photo: Scott Limbrick How should the media survive the current age? It’s a question that haunts the bones of many in the industry, and a through-line of Merchants of Truth, a bracing new account of American journalism’s moral crisis written by Jill Abramson. A former executive editor of the New York Times, and a widely-respected media veteran, Abramson looks at fake news, click-bait and the commercial objectives of...


Right or Duty? Compulsory Voting in Australia

Sally Warhaft, Kim Rubenstein and Judith Brett In a democracy, should voting be a citizen’s right or a citizen’s duty? Australia is one of a small number of countries – including Argentina and Egypt – with mandatory voting. Australia is rare, within this small group of nations, in imposing penalties on citizens who fail to turn up to vote. Compulsory voting has been in place here since 1924 and it sets us apart from other advanced democracies. Less than 60% of the US voting-age...


On Hate

When, and how, does hate flourish in a society? How is hate spreading in our society? When do speech acts qualify as acts of hate? Who is encouraging the spread of hate, and what do they have to gain? In this conversation, we’ll discuss the disturbing rise of nationalist populism in Australia today, expressed through such events as the United Patriots rally at St Kilda beach, the ‘African gang’ scare campaigns and the white supremacist terrorist attack at Christchurch. Tim Soutphommasane...


Federal Election 2019

After yet another year of chaos in the Australian Parliament, a federal election looms. For an in-depth discussion of the context – and possible outcome – of the vote, Sally Warhaft will be joined by two veterans of Australian political circles: journalist Michelle Grattan and former Liberal leader John Hewson. Warhaft, Hewson and Grattan — Photo: Johnboy Davidson / José Eveline What are the major parties offering, in terms of health, education, housing and climate policy? Which...


Kassem Eid: My Country

Sally Warhaft and Kassem Eid on stage at the Wheeler Centre In 2013, Kassem Eid narrowly escaped death when Bashar al-Assad’s government unleashed a now-infamous sarin gas attack on Ghouta, Syria. It wasn’t just sarin: the area was also bombarded by mortar fire. At least 1500 people died. Eid didn’t, but the devastating assault irreversibly injured his community and upended his life. Since its beginnings during the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, the war has claimed tens (some say...


Political Wrap 2018

For the final Fifth Estate of 2018 – and in the wake of the Victorian election and its recriminations – we look back at the year in Australian politics with series host Sally Warhaft and seasoned political observers George Megalogenis and Gabrielle Chan. Our panellists unpack and reflect on the issues that have monopolised domestic headlines – from yet another leadership spill to the banking royal commission and the senate’s controversial ‘It’s OK to be white’ vote. They examine the major...


Kerry O'Brien

Sally Warhaft and Kerry O'Brien — Photo: Jon Tjhia Kerry O'Brien at the Wheeler Centre — Photo: Jon Tjhia ‘We absolutely cannot make any assumptions about the future of democracy in this country.’ He’s interviewed Nelson Mandela, David Bowie, Margaret Thatcher, Herbie Hancock and Mikhail Gorbachev. As a journalist, he’s watched 13 Australian prime ministers come and go and he’s personally interrogated most of them, live on The 7.30 Report. Kerry O’Brien is a singular figure in...


US Midterms and Beyond

Sally Warhaft, Bob Carr and Dennis Altman The 2018 midterm elections in the United States will be held on Tuesday 6 November. In the heated, highly partisan atmosphere in Washington – and indeed across the whole of the United States – the stakes feel higher than ever. Two years into Donald Trump’s presidency, the midterms are a test of his often controversial administration. In the lead-up to the big day, Sally Warhaft dissects the polls, candidates and analysis with former Foreign...