Asia & Pacific
The Fifth Estate
The Future of Indonesia
What can we expect from President Joko Widodo’s second presidential term? How do Indonesia’s deep political and religious divisions play out in the lives of ordinary Indonesians, and how might they affect the nation’s prospects and ambitions?
In partnership with the Melbourne Writers Festival, we’re presenting a wide-ranging discussion on the future of our great and complicated neighbour. Sally Warhaft…
11 We Lived as a Nation
The men demonstrate their improvised well — Photo: Michael Green
‘Twenty four days we lived as a nation … The only way I can describe [it] is that we were a nation.’– Abdul Aziz Muhamat
The detention centre on Manus Island might be closed, but Aziz – and the vast majority of the men who were held there – remain on the island, living in three different centres.
By early 2019, Aziz is well into his sixth year, waiting. In that time, he’s felt free for only a few weeks – those few weeks when the immigration detention system disintegrated around him.
In this episode, The Messenger returns to late 2017, and the crucial period when Australia shut down the Manus Regional Processing Centre and the men refused to leave. We take you inside the centre as the standoff unfolds. There are no guards, no caseworkers, no immigration officials – and no food, water, medicine or electricity.
Aziz and his friends are in charge. How did they survive? And why did they stay?Transcript
A transcript of this episode is coming soon.
• 'No Exit: The ongoing abuses of Australia’s refugee policy' by Michael Green, Harper's Magazine, July 2018
Abdul Aziz MuhamatMichael Green Behrouz Boochani Benham Satah Poli Boas Clarence Parisau Michael Kuweh
Our theme music was composed by Raya Slavin. Music used in this episode includes 'Unrest' by Adrian Klumpes, 'La Mer' by Pivot, 'Southeast of Boston' by June of 44, 'Out with the Cold' by Kaffe Matthews, 'Rhodes Viola Multiple' by Keith Fullerton Whitman, '1.3'by Piano Magic, 'Passages' by Bowery Electric, 'Shine' by Klara Lewis and 'Iberia Eteria' by Biosphere.
The Messenger is a co-production of Behind the Wire and the Wheeler Centre. It’s produced by Michael Green, André Dao, Hannah Reich and Bec Fary, with Jon Tjhia and Sophie Black at the Wheeler Centre.
Narration by Michael Green. With reporting by Abdul Aziz Muhamat. Transcription by Claire McGregor, Carolyn Turner, Tiarne Cook, Julia Earley and many more. This episode was edited and mixed by Michael Green and Jon Tjhia.
Books and Ideas at Montalto
Family, literature, Papua New Guinea and the complicated lives of creative women – these are the themes to which Drusilla Modjeska has repeatedly returned in her impressive body of work. As a memoirist, essayist, novelist (and master of combining and confounding literary forms), Modjeska is among Australia’s most celebrated writers.
Most recently, she has added a memoir, Second Half First, to an already substantial list of literary accomplishments, including Exiles at Home, Poppy, Stravinsky’s Lunch and The Mountain. That book reflects on the books, people and journeys that have most profoundly affected her in the second part of her life.
At Montalto, Modjeska discusses travel, reading and the intersection of life and work with Andrea Goldsmith.
Books and Ideas at Montalto series sound design and music: Jon Tjhia.
The Wheeler Centre
Stories from Home: One Infinity
What happens when collaborating artists share no common language but sound?
We ask choreographer Gideon Obarzanek and musical director Genevieve Lacey, two of the artists involved in the incredible Chinese-Australian project One Infinity. This dance and music collaboration saw Australian artists work with musicians from the Jun Tian Fang guqin cultural centre in Beijing.
Lacey spent a month at the centre in October 2015, developing the project and learning from local artists. The One Infinity performances, taking place as part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival, sprang from that original collaboration and feature artists from both countries.
Hosted by curator and dancer Nithya Nagarajan, join Obarzanek and Lacey – plus Jun Tian Fang founder Wang Peng and his translator, and British composer and One Infinity collaborator Max de Wardener – for a conversation about artistic exchange and language beyond words.
Presented in partnership with Melbourne International Arts Festival.
The Wheeler Centre
Gillian Triggs: Speaking Up
In conversation with Virginia Trioli, former Australian Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs discusses her life, career and convictions – as well as her family, her experiences travelling to Manus, Nauru and Christmas Island, her relationship with government during her term … and why, moving forward, feminism may demand more 'vulgarity'.
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Gillian Triggs’s career has taken some surprising turns. She’s been a professional ballerina, a practising lawyer and an academic specialising in international public law. She’s even done a stint at the Dallas Police Department in Texas.
But Triggs became a household name as president of the Australian Human Rights Commission. Her tenure, from 2012 to 2017, was unexpectedly controversial. The commission’s inquiry into children in immigration detention made Triggs some powerful enemies in the federal government. Later, she became a kind of human flashpoint for debates about racial vilification and free speech, following the high-profile Bill Leak cartoon case.
Some have accused Triggs and the commission of overreach; for others, Triggs was a human rights champion withstanding unprecedented government pressure. Either way, there’s no denying her commitment to the human rights framework, and her belief that Australia needs its own Bill of Rights.
Stories from Home
Gabrielle Wang: A Ghost in My Suitcase
Ghosts, secrets, travel and adventure – Gabrielle Wang’s spooky, page-turning young adult novel A Ghost in My Suitcase is now a thrilling theatre production.
It’s the story of 13-year-old Celeste, who travels to China to visit her grandmother and uncovers a family secret there. Ultimately, Celeste must learn to make use of her strange, powerful gift as a ghost-hunter.
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