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. 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.
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.
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This long-running series is a mainstay of the Wheeler Centre’s programme, and of public conversation in Melbourne. 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 a chance to give complex local and global issues the thoughtful discussion they deserve.
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