The Fifth Estate
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Labor romped to victory under Kevin Rudd in 2007, with a comfortable majority and generous reserves of public goodwill. How did they manage to squander that goodwill, and trash their own brand so thoroughly that they were out of office again within just six years? Alan Milburn, a campaign strategist for Tony Blair and later for Julia Gillard has said he’s ‘never seen anything like it in any country, anywhere, anytime, in any part of the world’.
Milburn was one of more than 100 politicians, staffers, public servants and political insiders journalist Sarah Ferguson interviewed for the riveting ABC documentary series The Killing Season, about this extraordinary period of ALP infighting and implosion. Ferguson had to edit those interviews back to three one-hour episodes – an unenviable task indeed – but her new book, The Killing Season Uncut, goes behind the scenes of the series, revealing material that didn’t make the final cut. The book has much to tell about this turbulent period in ALP history but also provides fascinating insights into the processes of Ferguson– one of Australia’s most celebrated, agenda-setting journalists.
She joins Sally Warhaft for a conversation about Labor, leadership and loyalty.
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.
Sarah Ferguson is an ABC journalist. In the same year that she worked on the award-winning documentary The Killing Season, she also wrote and presented Hitting Home, the landmark series on domestic violence. She is currently the host of ABC’s Four Corners and has presented 7.30. As a journalist on Four Corners she won four Walkleys—including the Gold Walkley in 2011 for ‘A Bloody Business’—the Melbourne Press Club Gold Quill Award, four Logies for most outstanding public affairs report, as well as the George Munster Award for Independent Journalism and the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award. The Killing Season Uncut (MUP) is published on 18 April.
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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