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The Fifth Estate

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Politics and Public Policy: Australia and the World

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.


Portrait of Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft

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.

Portrait of Peter Hartcher

Peter Hartcher

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.

Portrait of Geoff Gallop

Geoff Gallop

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.

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. 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.

Subscribe to the popular Fifth Estate podcast – or book a ticket – for expert analysis on today's key debates.



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