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. 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.
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.
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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.
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