Category Archives: History

Interview with Laura Tingle, In Search of Good Government

Laura Tingle, author and political editor of the Australian Financial Review, joined me on Uncommon Sense to discuss her new book of selected essays, ‘In Search Of Good Government’. We delved into Laura’s Quarterly Essay, ‘Great Expectations’ which looks at why we are so angry with our politicians, including how and why they don’t and can’t possibly meet our expectations of state paternalism. Plus we talk about Laura’s new essay on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, which challenges the dominant narrative that his government is adrift and rudderless.

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Interview with John Pilger, The Coming War On China

As you may know, I am the presenter of Uncommon Sense on 3RRR FM in Melbourne, a 3-hour weekly talk show on politics, international affairs, history, art and the natural world. You can tune in every Tuesday, 9am til noon – check out the show here and listen back via podcast and Soundcloud.

I was lucky to meet and interview John Pilger in February to talk about his new documentary The Coming War On China.  It airs on SBS1 tonight (Sunday 16th April) at 8.35pm AEST.

It couldn’t be a more timely documentary with the escalation of tensions in the Asia-Pacific, the growing US presence, and the proliferation of nuclear weapons despite our intent to reduce them. One of the most harrowing parts of the film is the US’ nuclear testing activities in the Marshall Islands in the 1940s and 50s. It’s worth watching just to see a counter-argument to the traditional China-US narrative.

Listen to the interview here:

Watch the trailer:


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The 1916 conscription referendum – 100 years on

October 28, 2016 marked 100 years since the first conscription referendum was held in Australia. The anniversary was largely unnoticed by mainstream media and it is no surprise. It doesn’t tell a story of great unity, but rather a moment of great conflict during a war where the ANZAC myth had just been forged.

To mark the occasion and to examine what the conscription conflict means to us today (and perhaps more importantly, should mean), I interviewed Associate Professor Sean Scalmer, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at The University of Melbourne.

My first foray into Australian history came from attending lectures by Sean Scalmer – his strength as an academic and lecturer is that he illuminates Australian history with clarity, life, perceptiveness and nuance.

To listen to the my chat with Sean Scalmer, click here (Triple R On Demand). It will play from the beginning of the interview.

ccgw-cover-printScalmer co-wrote the book, The Conscription Conflict and the Great War (October 2016), with fellow historians Robin Archer, Joy Damousi, and Murray Goot.

It was launched in Melbourne at Trades Hall by Federal Leader Bill Shorten on October 27, 1916.

It’s clear that the conscription campaigns of 1916 and 1917 are still very important to Australian Labor Party’s identity and to labour history. There is much contention around this and how it is remembered by society and by the labour movement currently. More from me on that at a later date.

Later in the show, I spoke to Dr. Lucina Ward (listen to the interview here) from the National Gallery of Australia who is Senior Curator of the Versailles: Treasures from the Palace exhibition (opens December 9, 2016).

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