The Fifth Estate
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In 2010 the Gillard Labor minority government was formed – after seventeen days of limbo – with the support of three key independents and the promise of a new political paradigm. The Member for New England, Tony Windsor, and the Member for Lyne, Rob Oakeshott shared the balance of power in the 43rd parliament of Australia and remained in the spotlight until their retirement at the 2013 federal election.
What was it like to serve in this role in one of the most turbulent periods of Australian political history? How do they view the current parliament and our changing political culture? And what is the future for independent candidates in Australian politics?
Join host Sally Warhaft as she talks to Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott about the advantages and drawbacks of political independence, and their unexpected stint at the forefront of Australian politics.
Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer and the host of the Wheeler Centre’s live journalism series, the Fifth Estate, now in its sixth year. 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.
Tony Windsor was the Independent Member for Tamworth (1991–2001) in the NSW Parliament for 10 years, and the Independent member for New England in the federal parliament for 12 years.
For nearly a third of his political career, Tony Windsor held the balance of power working to demand attention for country people from the major parties.
Rob Oakeshott was the Independent member for Lyne in the House of Representatives from 2008-13. Prior to that, he had been a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, elected in 1996 as the National Party candidate. He left the party to become an Independent in 2002 and retained the seat until 2008. The Independent Member from Lyne: A Memoir (Allen & Unwin) is his first book.
Sally Warhaft has been the Wheeler Centre’s in-house news anchor since 2012. In 2018 – over 100 episodes in – the anthropologist, broadcaster and intrepid interviewer’s fortnightly live series continues, as she responds to the most important debates of the day and reignites stories that have fallen off the front pages.
Every second Tuesday, Sally 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. It’s an event series and a live podcast taping rolled into one. Topical guests are announced in the weeks prior to events: keep an eye on our website (or in the Wheeler Weekly) for updates.
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