The Fifth Estate: Faith in Politics
Fifth Estate host Sally Warhaft is joined by World Vision CEO and former Baptist minister Tim Costello, and former deputy prime minister and Australia’s first Rome-based Ambassador to the Holy See Tim Fischer, to discuss Christianity and religion in modern Australia, and to ask just how closely religion and politics are intertwined.
Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd are two of the most overtly devout leaders in recent political history. Julia Gillard is firmly atheist. So how do the religious beliefs of our leaders influence their work? Is it possible to separate faith and politics? And does it matter?
Australia is a secular democracy, but the beliefs of our politicians sometimes conflict with party policies. Tony Abbott has said he has never made a political decision based on religious grounds, but his Catholicism informs much of his thinking. How do politicians resolve these tensions? And how have our political, social and religious institutions evolved over time?
Tim Fischer is a former NSW and Federal politician who, since retiring from politics, has served as Chair Tourism Australia and Australian Ambassador to the Holy See. He is the author of several books.
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.
Tim Costello is one of Australia’s most sought after voices on issues of social justice, leadership and ethics. Since 2004, Tim has been CEO of World Vision – Australia’s largest international development agency.