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The Fifth Estate

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at The Wheeler Centre

On the Bench

If you want a friend in Washington, the famous saying goes, get a dog. Is the same true of Canberra? With a sometimes cynical electorate and a particularly hostile parliament, is it hard to hold onto one’s belief in politics as public service? What keeps long-time politicians in the game?

Sally Warhaft is joined by Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne (who was, until a recent reshuffle, Minister for Education) and Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen to discuss life on the front bench. In a wide-reaching conversation, the two Christophers will reveal their motivations, their views on Australian political culture today and their personal political heroes in their respective portfolios: education, industry, innovation, science and treasury.

Who?

Portrait of Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer. She hosts the Fifth Estate, the Wheeler Centre’s live series focusing on journalism, politics, media, and international relations, now in its ninth 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.

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 Christopher Pyne

Christopher Pyne

Christopher Pyne is the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science and Leader of the House of Representatives in the Turnbull Government. Under Tony Abbott's leadership, he served as Minister for Education. Christopher was elected to the House of Representatives for the seat of Sturt aged twenty-five. He was Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Minister for Ageing in the Howard Government. During that time he founded headspace: the youth mental health initiative. In Opposition he served as a senior Shadow Minister, most notably in Education and as Manager of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives. Christopher is married to Carolyn and is the father of Eleanor, Barnaby, Felix and Aurelia.

He is the author of A Letter to my Children, published by Melbourne University Press in 2015.

Portrait of Chris Bowen

Chris Bowen

Chris Bowen was elected to federal parliament as Member for Prospect in 2004 and McMahon in 2010. He was appointed to the federal Labor Party’s frontbench as the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Revenue and Competition Policy in 2006, and appointed Treasurer by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2013. He is the current Shadow Treasurer.

He is the author of The Money Men, published by Melbourne University Press in 2015.

The Fifth Estate

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.

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Where?

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