The Fifth Estate
View all events in this series
What might the economic and social upheavals of 2020 mean for climate policy in Australia? For this Fifth Estate conversation, host Sally Warhaft will bring together two writers who have undertaken in-depth research into the resource economy and Australian climate scepticism.
Judith Brett's recent Quarterly Essay, 'The Coal Curse', traces the history of Australia's resource dependence and its impact on our political culture. Marian Wilkinson's book, The Carbon Club, explores the loose but powerful alliance of Australian media, mining and political figures whose scepticism has hindered meaningful climate policy development for decades.
There are signs, though, that the stalemate might be starting to shift. Amid widespread criticism during the bushfires earlier this year, Scott Morrison began to soften his climate rhetoric, speaking of ‘adaptation’ and ‘resilience’. James Murdoch spoke out against News Corp’s climate scepticism in January and, more recently, dramatically resigned from the board. Will the seismic impacts of Covid-19 set us back into our entrenched economic habits, or could 2020 mark a turning point?
Our online bookseller for this event will be Readings.
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.
Judith Brett is emeritus professor of politics at La Trobe University. A former editor of Meanjin and columnist for the Age, she won the National Biography Award in 2018 for The Enigmatic Mr Deakin. She is the author of four Quarterly Essays: Relaxed and Comfortable, Exit Right, Fair Share and The Coal Curse. Her other books include From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage, Robert Menzies’ Forgotten People and Australian Liberals and the Moral Middle Class.
Marian Wilkinson is regarded as one of the most distinguished journalists in Australia. A member of the Australian Media Hall of Fame, Marian was a pioneer in the resurgence of Australian investigative journalism.
She was a senior journalist for many years with the Sydney Morning Herald, serving as its Washington correspondent, Environment Editor and Deputy Editor. She also worked as a senior reporter and executive producer for the ABC’s Four Corners program. She was a co-author with David Marr of Dark Victory (Allen & Unwin, 2003) and the author of The Fixer: The Untold Story of Graham Richardson (William Heinemann, 1996). Her latest book is The Carbon Club (Allen & Unwin, 2020).
For in-depth insider analysis of current affairs, it doesn't get any better than The Fifth Estate.
This long-running series is a mainstay of the Wheeler Centre’s programme, and of public conversation in Melbourne. Twice a month, our in-house news anchor Sally Warhaft hosts guests from the world of politics, culture, journalism and international relations to dissect pressing questions of policy, power and public affairs. It's free, it's fortnightly and it's a chance to give complex local and global issues the thoughtful discussion they deserve.
Guests are announced in the weeks prior to events, so keep an eye on our website (or the Wheeler Weekly newsletter) for updates. Subscribe to the popular Fifth Estate podcast – or book a (free) ticket – for expert analysis on today's key debates.