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Sizing Up Government

As the dust settles on this year’s federal budget, the Fifth Estate turns its eye to matters economic with Ross Gittins, economics editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, and public policy experts Miriam Lyons and Ian McAuley.

While the Federal Government expects to spend more in 2015 than at the height of the global financial crisis, it appears that well-funded health and higher education are inching further out of reach – not to mention an economy that addresses climate change or the growing divide between rich and poor.

Must the ‘path back to surplus’ entail a leaner, meaner government? Doesn’t public sector involvement make sound economics? What is the role of government in Australia today?  

Join Sally Warhaft and guests as they illuminate the complexities and contradictions of the modern economy – and its effects on our daily lives.

Who?

Portrait of Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft

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.

Portrait of Miriam Lyons

Miriam Lyons

Miriam Lyons is a Renewable Energy Campaigner with GetUp! She is also an Australian policy analyst, writer and commentator, and the co-author, with Ian McAuley, of Governomics, published by Melbourne University Press in May 2015.

Miriam is a member of the Centre for Australian Progress board, and a Fellow and former CEO of the Centre for Policy Development, which she co-founded with John Menadue AO and others in 2007. She is a frequent guest on various TV and radio programs, including the ABC shows Q&A and The Drum, has contributed to several publications and co-edited the CPD books Pushing Our Luck and More Than Luck. Earlier roles include policy editing for New Matilda, researching freedom of speech in East Timor, and organising ideas festivals. 

Portrait of Ian McAuley

Ian McAuley

For most of his life Ian McAuley has lived and breathed public policy. He has been an engineer in a manufacturing firm (in the days when we had a home-grown manufacturing sector), a trade commissioner, a policy analyst and a manager in the federal Department of Industry, and more recently a lecturer in Public Sector Financial Management at the University of Canberra.

He has worked on consultancies for Australian and foreign governments and for international agencies (the UN and the OECD). He is a regular contributor on public policy issues to The Conversation and New Matilda, and with Miriam Lyons, co-authored the book Governomics: Can we afford small government? (2015).

Portrait of Ross Gittins

Ross Gittins

Ross Gittins is the economics editor of Sydney Morning Herald and an economic columnist for the Age. He is a winner of the Citibank Pan Asia award for excellence in financial journalism and has been a Nuffield Press fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge, and a journalist-in-residence at the Department of Economics at the University of Melbourne.

Ross is frequently called upon to comment on the economic issues of the day and has written and contributed to many books and periodicals. His books include Gittins' Gospel, Gittinomics and The Happy Economist.

The Fifth Estate

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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