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Politics and Public Policy: Australia and the World

Listen to Politics and Public Policy: Australia and the World

Australia has one of the world’s most educated populations. We have stable institutions, a strong economy and advanced technology. Yet we seem to face endless obstacles when it comes to solving our problems with good public policy. Is it the ideas, the culture or the political contest that get in the way?

And if we can’t solve problems – even those with broad agreement for solutions – how can we possibly create space for innovation?

In this conversation, we examine how public policy is shaped today and how the avenues to reform have changed in recent times. How do global political shifts impact on governance and public policy in Australia? What part do vested interests, changes in the media landscape and declining rates of political participation play?

Join host Sally Warhaft and two speakers who are uniquely qualified to tackle these questions: Geoff Gallop, former premier of Western Australia and Peter Hartcher, political editor and international editor of the Sydney Morning Herald.

Photo of Sally Warhaft, Geoff Gallop and Peter Hartcher

Sally Warhaft, Geoff Gallop and Peter Hartcher


Portrait of Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer. She is the host of The Fifth Estate, the Wheeler Centre’s live series focusing on journalism, politics, media, and international relations, and The Leap Year, a Wheeler Centre podcast about Australians' lives in the fog of the Covid-19 pandemic. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.

Sally is a regular host and commentator on ABC radio and has a PhD in anthropology. She did her fieldwork in Mumbai, India, living by the seashore with the local fishing community.

Portrait of Geoff Gallop

Geoff Gallop

After an academic career in Australia and Britain, Geoff Gallop was a Member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly from 1986 to 2006. He was a Minister in the Lawrence Labor Government from 1990 to 1993, Leader of the Opposition from 1996 to 2001, and from 2001 to 2006 Premier of Western Australia. As Premier he initiated a wide-ranging programme of political, social, economic and environmental reform, built around his commitment to the sustainability principle.

After retiring from politics, he became Professor and Director of Sydney University’s Graduate School of Government, a position he held until 2015. There he taught public sector management and successfully bid for and delivered a range of public sector leadership programmes in Africa and South East Asia. He was also a regular participant in programmes run by the Australia and New Zealand School of Government.

He currently chairs the Education Committee of the New Democracy Foundation and is on the Board of Per Capita, a public policy think-tank.

Portrait of Peter Hartcher

Peter Hartcher

Peter Hartcher is the political editor and international editor of the Sydney Morning Herald. He is a Gold Walkley award winner, a former foreign correspondent in Tokyo and Washington, and a visiting fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy.

Harcher's latest book is The Sweet Spot: How Australia Made its Own Luck and Could Now Throw it All Away. His 2005 book, Bubble Man: Alan Greenspan and the Missing Seven Trillion Dollars, foresaw the collapse of the US housing market and the economic slump that followed.

The Fifth Estate

The important stories of the day – off the front pages.

Sally Warhaft hosts a dizzying array of guests from the worlds of politics, culture, international relations and beyond, in a witty and revealing analysis of current affairs.