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Podcast episodeCover image for of Rick Morton

Books and Ideas at Montalto

Rick Morton  /  Biography & memoir

One Hundred Years of Dirt – Rick Morton’s unflinching memoir – tells of growing up on a cattle station in Queensland: of witnessing a horrific accident befall his brother; his father’s alcoholism; his mother’s strength. It’s a story of poverty, drug addiction, cruelty, anger and tragedy; of love and endurance. The Age praised its ‘exquisite detail’; Christos Tsiolkas has described it as ‘honest and harsh and beautiful and loving’. 

At the heart of the book is the question of social mobility – and it’s a question asked in a time of unfavourable odds. Wealth inequality in Australia is growing. The highest 20% of income earners make five times as much of those in the lowest 20%. In this lowest 20%, we’re most likely to see people who are unemployed, single parents, those aged over 65, migrants from non-English speaking countries, and those living in rural and regional Australia. 

For many years, Morton was the social affairs writer for the AustralianOne Hundred Years of Dirt blends Morton’s own story with reportage and social commentary on how these issues and stories play out every day across Australia. It is both a story of one man and one family, and a story of this country. 

In this discussion with Elizabeth McCarthy at Montalto, Morton shares the process of living and writing his story. Tune in for a discussion about hope and celebrating survival; the lessons we can learn about Australia, and the work we could do to challenge and change inequality.

Presented in partnership with Montalto.

 
Podcast episodeCover image for of The Show of the Year 2019

The Wheeler Centre

The Show of the Year 2019  /  Australia

Content note: This podcast episode contains some strong language, and mentions violence and child sexual abuse.

As the decade turns, The Show of the Year marks 2019 in style – with host Casey Bennetto and a glittering line-up of writers, comedians and musicians. Paul Kelly, Nath Valvo, Alice Bishop, Sista Zai Zanda, Margot Morales Tanjutco, Laura Jean, Alice Gorman, Evelyn Araluen, The Merindas, Brodie Lancaster, Louise Milligan and Bill Shorten share their thoughts on subjects as various as the decommissioning of the Opportunity Rover on Mars, the Tigers' premiership run, the death of Toni Morrison, The Masked Singer and the closure of Uluru to tourists.

Select an image to view in detail

Select an image to view in detail

What a year. Protests shook Hong Kong, the Amazon caught fire and children led a worldwide climate strike. Boris Johnson picked up the prime ministerial ball as it came loose from the back of the scrum, Scott Morrison baseball-capped his way back into government, and Trump impeachment talk turned to (some) action. 

We said goodbye to towering figures in literature and politics, including Toni Morrison, Bob Hawke, Les Murray, Clive James and Mary Oliver. And we farewelled meowing figures of the internet. (R.I.P. Grumpy Cat.)

There were the mandatory Big Cultural Moments, too: someone (no spoilers) finally won the Game of Thrones, Fleabag stormed the Emmys, and a Sydney real estate video went viral. Beyoncé came home, Fyre Festival blew up (again) and Lil Nas X shot to stardom via TikTok. Ah yes, how could we forget: TikTok.

Goodbye 2019 … we hardly knew ye! 

 
Podcast episodeCover image for of #12 Flight from Manus

The Messenger

12 Flight from Manus  /  Migration

 

Aziz, in a hotel room facing onto Genève-Cornavin railway station — Photo: Michael Green

'I just feel like I left my soul back there, you know. Personally I'm here, but my heart is still in Manus.'

– Abdul Aziz Muhamat

Aziz is shortlisted for a major international prize, the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. The ceremony is in Geneva, Switzerland. Improbably, the prize’s organisers secretly arrange permission for him to leave Manus Island to attend the event. 

In this episode, Aziz finally – temporarily – escapes Papua New Guinea, five and a half years after the Australian government took him there against his will. But he has no proper passport or visa, and no idea what to expect.  

After years of exile and captivity, how will it feel to visit Switzerland – one of the richest countries in the world? And can Aziz make any difference for those who remain stuck on Manus Island and Nauru?

Transcript

A transcript of this episode is available here (PDF format).

Further reading 'Aziz: Flight from Manus' by Michael Green, Earshot, ABC Radio National, first broadcast 21 September 2019
The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders

In this episode

Abdul Aziz Muhamat

Michael Green Michael Khambatta Hans Thoolen

Our theme music was composed by Raya Slavin. Music used in this episode is by Hour House (Mark Leacy and Sam Kenna).

More information

The Messenger is a co-production of Behind the Wire and the Wheeler Centre. This episode was originally commissioned and produced for the ABC Radio National programme, Earshot. It was produced by Michael Green. The supervising producer was Lyn Gallacher. The sound engineer was Melissa May.

Narration by Michael Green. Additional editing and mixing by Jon Tjhia.

Thank you

André Dao, Jon Tjhia, Hannah Reich, Bec Fary and Sophie Black. Thanks also to Camilla Chapman, Cecilia Cannon and Sean Cole, and to Behind the Wire's many participants and volunteers. Michael Green's travel to Papua New Guinea was supported by a grant from the Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund.

 
Podcast episodeCover image for of #13 A Stranger in Geneva

The Messenger

13 A Stranger in Geneva  /  Migration

Aziz in the snow, in Switzerland — Photo: Michael Green

'Hard to imagine. Start your life again. Have your own house, your own family.'

– Abdul Aziz Muhamat

Incredibly, Aziz is in Switzerland. And he’s just won a major international award for human rights defenders. 

He’s swamped with attention and adoration, briefings and business cards. But he is only allowed to be in Geneva for three short weeks. Then he has to return to Manus Island – back to the dangerous situation he’s being celebrated for campaigning against.

In this episode, we follow Aziz as he negotiates meetings with diplomats and speeches to the UN. He struggles with an unexpected, oppressive dilemma – should he board a plane back to his brothers on Manus, or seek yet another uncertain path to safety and freedom?

Transcript

A transcript of this episode is available here (PDF format).

Further reading 'Aziz: A Stranger in Geneva', produced by Michael Green for Earshot, ABC Radio National (first broadcast 28 September 2019) 'Flight from Manus' by Michael Green, ABC Radio National, 1 October 2019

In this episode

Abdul Aziz Muhamat

Michael Green Peggy Hicks Michael Khambatta

Our theme music was composed by Raya Slavin. Music used in this episode was produced by Hour House (Mark Leacy and Sam Kenna), except for 'I am the Changer', by Cotton Jones.

More information

The Messenger is a co-production of Behind the Wire and the Wheeler Centre. This episode was originally commissioned and produced for the ABC Radio National programme, Earshot. It was produced by Michael Green. The supervising producer was Lyn Gallacher. The sound engineer was Melissa May.

Narration by Michael Green. Additional editing and mixing by Jon Tjhia.

Thank you

André Dao, Jon Tjhia, Hannah Reich, Bec Fary and Sophie Black. Also Camilla Chapman, Cecilia Cannon and Sean Cole, and Behind the Wire's many participants and volunteers.

Anything and everything in Biography & memoir from across our archives.

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