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Politics with Michelle Grattan

ABC (Australia)

For time-poor politics lovers there's the 'just Michelle Grattan' podcast: 5-7 minutes each day, from one of Australia's most experienced Press Gallery members.

For time-poor politics lovers there's the 'just Michelle Grattan' podcast: 5-7 minutes each day, from one of Australia's most experienced Press Gallery members.
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Sydney, NSW


For time-poor politics lovers there's the 'just Michelle Grattan' podcast: 5-7 minutes each day, from one of Australia's most experienced Press Gallery members.






Radio National Sydney, 2001 Australia


Brian Howe on revisiting Henderson, poverty and basic income

How to increase wages and tackle inequality are live political and economic debates. Many Australians are feeling the cost-of-living squeeze. Speaking ahead of a conference in Melbourne this week to revisit the landmark Henderson inquiry into poverty, conducted in the 1970s, former deputy prime minister Brian Howe says the targeted nature of Australia’s contemporary social security system goes hand-in-hand with stigmatising welfare recipients. Howe, a minister in the Hawke and Keating...


Mark Dreyfus on refining foreign interference legislation

Introduced in the final hours of sitting last year, the government’s foreign interference legislation have been criticised for being too broad and draconian. Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus says Labor acknowledges the need to do more about espionage activity and foreign influence in Australia but argues changes need to be made to the “hastily” and broadly drafted bill. On the security legislation, he says despite a narrow defence journalists risk being sent to jail for handling...


Bill Ferris on Australia’s innovation mission

Innovation has been a buzzword of Malcolm Turnbull’s government, but the public reception of this message has been less than enthusiastic. Innovation and Science Australia chair Bill Ferris launched a report this week setting out a plan over five key areas – education, industry, how government can be a catalyst for change, research and development, and culture and ambition – that seeks to put Australia into the top tier of innovation nations by 2030. Ministerially, the innovation area...


John Blaxland on new foreign interference laws

The government’s new foreign interference laws propose broad changes to political donations, counter-surveillance, and lobbying in Australia. ANU professor John Blaxland has some real concerns about the unintended consequences of the legislation for academic debate. He says there’s a real chance that good people engaging intellectually with issues might get caught up in the broader crackdown. On the controversy surrounding Sam Dastyari’s dealings with a Chinese businessman, Blaxland says...


Greens Jordon Steele-John on being an ‘accidental’ senator

New Greens senator Jordon Steele-John is the youngest person ever to sit in the senate. He was sworn in this week with two other ‘accidental’ senators who are the gainers from the citizenship crisis. He talks to Michelle Grattan about coming to Canberra for the first time since he was a baby, his political passion, and his commitment to promote his causes - youth and disability issues.


Swinging into the Sunshine State’s election

The pundits are reluctant to place bets on who will win Queensland’s November 25 election, with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Opposition leader Tim Nicholls both carrying a good deal of baggage. A lot of attention is focused on Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, which has been polling strongly and might end up with the balance of power in the new parliament. The Adani coal mine project has been centre stage early in the campaign, with the Labor government saying it would veto any financing...


Kevin Rudd on avoiding Donald Trump

Not for the Faint-hearted, the first volume of Kevin Rudd’s massive autobiography is out, and the former prime minister is on the promotion circuit. Rudd now spends much of his time in America, where he is president of the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York, and keeps a close eye on the unfolding Trump presidency. He argues Australia should minimise direct engagement with Donald Trump in favour of dealing with “sane people” in his administration. “Assume that this will be a passing...


Energy Security Board chair Kerry Schott on a national energy plan

The government’s long-awaited energy plan has rejected Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s Clean Energy Target, which focused on subsidies for renewables, in favour of a National Energy Guarantee (NEG). The government has promised affordability and reliability, as well as compliance with Australia’s international climate obligations. Energy Security Board chair Kerry Schott headed a group of energy experts charged with developing a scheme, the details of which are now being modelled. She says...


Tiernan Brady and Cory Bernardi reflect on the marriage postal ballot

There are still a few weeks left to run in the same-sex marriage postal ballot campaign, and millions of votes are yet to be returned – or not returned. With 67.5% of ballots now in, Equality Campaign executive director Tiernan Brady says the high turnout shows the importance of a “yes” vote to people’s lives and dignity. He says tyranny of distance in Australia has made campaigning difficult, compared to his experience during Ireland’s marriage referendum. Despite criticism of what...


Gareth Evans on being an Incorrigible Optimist

This podcast is a recording of an In-Conversation with Gareth Evans, former foreign minister and currently Chancellor of the Australian National University, which took place on October 12 in Canberra at a dinner of university chancellors from around Australia. The occasion was hosted by the University of Canberra’s chancellor Tom Calma in collaboration with the Australian National University. Evans talks with Michelle Grattan about his new book, Incorrigible Optimist, in which he...


Darren Chester on the infrastructure spending spree

Jokes about the satirical program Utopia aside, managing the rollout of infrastructure programs in Australia is a formidable task. Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester says there is too much hyper-partisanship in Australian politics. “I think that the tone of debate in Australia has deteriorated in recent years and we’ve shown ourselves incapable of having a good, rational debate on significant issues and its lead to some poor policies.” The challenge of projects spanning more than one...


Rob Sitch on Utopia and political satire

Canberra politics often seems beyond satire. So it’s perhaps not surprising that Working Dog’s TV show Utopia has more than once foreshadowed reality in its hilarious depictions of life in a federal authority. Rob Sitch, Utopia’s co-writer and star, says he’s had no need to draw on covert leaks and insights from bureaucrats for material. “90 plus percent of what we find is sitting in front of everybody. It’s on the front pages.” And he’s had plenty of feedback from insiders to confirm the...


AGL chief economist Tim Nelson on what to do with Liddell

In the eye of the storm over energy policy is Liddell, an ageing coal-fired power station owned by energy giant AGL. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has twisted the arm of AGL chief executive Andy Vesey to take to the company’s board the proposition that it should extend the plant’s life beyond its scheduled 2022 closure, or alternatively sell it to an operator that would carry it on. AGL chief economist Tim Nelson says the company is running the rule over both options but he argues...


Judith Brett on The Enigmatic Mr Deakin

It is popular to look at today’s political challenges through the prism of prime ministers past, but when it comes to former liberal leaders it’s usually Robert Menzies, not Alfred Deakin, who comes to mind. However Judith Brett, emeritus professor of politics at La Trobe University and author, says we have much to learn from Australia’s second prime minister. Her new biography, The Enigmatic Mr Deakin, reveals the intense inner world of one of the most important fathers of Australian...


Politics podcast: Mark Butler on energy uncertainty

Pressure is mounting on the government to put an end to energy uncertainty as an Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) report warns of looming power shortages over the next few years. Opposition climate change and energy spokesman Mark Butler has written about the toxic divisions on energy policy in his recent book, Climate Wars. He recognises there are challenges in the Coalition party room over the Finkel report, but says Labor will negotiate with the government on an energy...


Nick Xenophon on media reform

As leader of a senate crossbench party, Nick Xenophon’s position on contentious legislation, currently media reform, is crucial for the government. He says it’s “not for lack of trying” that the Nick Xenophon Team has not yet reached an agreement with the government on media ownership rules. He is pushing for tax breaks for smaller organisations to promote media diversity. He also opposes concessions that the government has made to Pauline Hanson that would clip the wings of the ABC,...


Mathias Cormann on the same-sex marriage postal survey

When the government didn’t get the numbers to pass legislation for a same-sex marriage plebiscite they put the wheels in motion for their second best plan: a postal survey. Since announcing that the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) would be responsible for carrying out the same-sex marriage postal survey, acting special minister of state Mathias Cormann has had no shortage of questions from journalists and on social media. In the absence of normal protections offered by the...


Derryn Hinch on surviving the Senate

After spending a year immersed in the parliamentary machine, broadcaster-turned-senator Derryn Hinch is keen to see a more efficient Senate. His suggestions include shortening the length of speeches – and thus the opportunity for filibusters – and trimming supplementary questions. He’s frustrated by the government’s “Dorothy Dixers”. “It’s a waste of time,” he says. As the debate around same-sex marriage continues to affect the government, Hinch has made clear his support for...


Tiernan Brady on same-sex marriage showdown

The issue of same-sex marriage is derailing the government’s attempts to promote its agenda as tension mounts ahead of a special Liberal party meeting on Monday and parliament’s resumption on Tuesday. The executive director of The Equality Campaign, Tiernan Brady, a leader of the successful ‘yes’ referendum on same-sex marriage in Ireland, has been working with activists in Australia to get marriage equality over the line. He says the majority of MPs and the opposition just “want to find...


Michael Cooney on an Australian republic

Malcolm Turnbull, perhaps Australia’s best-known republican, declared himself “an Elizabethan” during his recent visit to London. Turnbull insists the quest for an Australian republic is on the backburner until Queen Elizabeth’s reign ends. But Bill Shorten is pushing for an earlier timetable, as is the Australian Republic Movement (ARM). The ARM’s national director, Michael Cooney, argues that becoming a republic would give Australians, who are facing a political system that is breaking...


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