The Fifth Estate
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Australia has one of the world’s most educated populations. We have stable institutions, a strong economy and advanced technology. Yet we seem to face endless obstacles when it comes to solving our problems with good public policy. Is it the ideas, the culture or the political contest that get in the way?
And if we can’t solve problems – even those with broad agreement for solutions – how can we possibly create space for innovation?
In this conversation we will examine how public policy is shaped today and how the avenues to reform have changed in recent times. How do global political shifts impact on governance and public policy in Australia? What part do vested interests, changes in the media landscape and declining rates of political participation play?
For this Fifth Estate discussion, join host Sally Warhaft and two speakers who are uniquely qualified to tackle these questions: Geoff Gallop, former premier of Western Australia and Peter Hartcher, political editor and international editor of the Sydney Morning Herald.
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.
Peter Hartcher is the political editor and international editor of the Sydney Morning Herald. He is a Gold Walkley award winner, a former foreign correspondent in Tokyo and Washington, and a visiting fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy.
Harcher's latest book is The Sweet Spot: How Australia Made its Own Luck and Could Now Throw it All Away. His 2005 book, Bubble Man: Alan Greenspan and the Missing Seven Trillion Dollars, foresaw the collapse of the US housing market and the economic slump that followed.
After an academic career in Australia and Britain, Geoff Gallop was a Member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly from 1986 to 2006. He was a Minister in the Lawrence Labor Government from 1990 to 1993, Leader of the Opposition from 1996 to 2001, and from 2001 to 2006 Premier of Western Australia. As Premier he initiated a wide-ranging programme of political, social, economic and environmental reform, built around his commitment to the sustainability principle.
After retiring from politics, he became Professor and Director of Sydney University’s Graduate School of Government, a position he held until 2015. There he taught public sector management and successfully bid for and delivered a range of public sector leadership programmes in Africa and South East Asia. He was also a regular participant in programmes run by the Australia and New Zealand School of Government.
He currently chairs the Education Committee of the New Democracy Foundation and is on the Board of Per Capita, a public policy think-tank.
Our long-running current affairs series, The Fifth Estate, is a mainstay of the Wheeler Centre programme. With our in-house news anchor Sally Warhaft at the helm, it's a series of in-depth conversations with guests from the world of politics, culture, journalism and international relations. It's free, it's fortnightly and it's rigorous long-form interviewing at its best.
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.