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The Conversation's politics podcast
Michelle Grattan, Chief Political Correspondent at The Conversation, talks politics with politicians and experts.

Latest Episodes

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Former MP Kate Ellis on the culture in parliament house

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Former MP Kate Ellis on the culture within parliament house.

The revelation of the alleged rape of former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins and subsequent allegations of sexual misconduct have sparked multiple inquiries into the culture of parliament house. It's a subject on which Kate Ellis is an expert. Ellis was a Labor MP from 2004 to 2019, and held various ministries in the Labor government. She was then – and still is – the youngest person to become a federal…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: David Littleproud on The Nationals and net zero

David Littleproud on The Nationals and net zero.

Scott Morrison has indicated he wants to embrace a 2050 target of net-zero emissions. That, however, requires bringing the Nationals on board, and a vocal group in that party is fighting a fierce rearguard action. The Nationals deputy leader David Littleproud, who is Minister for Agriculture, is sympathetic to the target - so long as there is a credible path to get there, which won't disadvantage rural…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Anthony Albanese on his new frontbench, Joel Fitzgibbon, and Labor's imminent workplace policy

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Anthony Albanese on Labor policy.

Last year, Anthony Albanese was criticised for his lack of cut-through during the COVID crisis, as Labor was sidelined by a hyperactive government. This year, amid ALP leadership speculation and now a shadow ministry reshuffle, Albanese is seeking to assert himself more forcefully, declaring last week "I will be leader of this country after the next election". With that election possible within the…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on promising budget figures

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on promising budget figures.

This week's update shows an improvement on the numbers in the budget that was delivered only 10 weeks ago. The prospects for growth and employment have been revised upwards. While the forecast for the deficit remains massive, at nearly $200 billion, it has been revised down. Read more: So far so good: MYEFO budget update shows recovery gathering pace But even as we return to some sort of normality…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Chief Scientist Alan Finkel on climate, energy and emissions

Chief Scientist Alan Finkel on climate, energy and emissions.

This month Alan Finkel ends his term as Australia's Chief Scientist. An entrepreneur, engineer, neuroscientist, and educator in his former life, Finkel describes the role he's held since 2016 as consisting of two activities. There's "reviewing" – briefing government on all matters scientific, including energy and climate change. And then there's "making things up" – developing programs to support the…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Asia-Pacific expert Bates Gill on China's endgame

Asia-Pacific expert Bates Gill on China’s endgame.

Chinese official Lijian Zhao's tweeting an image depicting an Australian soldier holding a knife against a child's throat and the subsequent angry exchanges is the latest incident in an exceptionally poor year for Australian-Chinese relations. Tensions deepened after Australia's call for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus, and the Chinese have hit Australian exports, most recently with…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: two views on increasing the super contribution

two views on increasing the super contribution.

The increase in the compulsory superannuation contribution, legislated to rise next July from 9.5% to 10%, is being fiercely debated following the release of the retirement income report. In this podcast we hear the views of Brendan Coates, Director of the Household Finances Program at the Grattan Institute and Greg Combet, former Labor minister, and chair of Industry Super Australia. Coates, who opposes…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Defence expert Allan Behm on the background to the Brereton report

Defence expert Allan Behm on the background to the Brereton report.

The findings of the inquiry by Justice Paul Brereton into the misconduct – including allegations of murder of non-combatants and mistreatment of prisoners – by Australian special forces in Afghanistan are released on Thursday. Scott Morrison last week warned these findings will be "difficult and hard news" for Australians. The leadership of the Australian Defence Force will drive a program of reform…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Joel Fitzgibbon on Labor climate policy and leadership

Joel Fitzgibbon on Labor climate policy and leadership.

Labor's Joel Fitzgibbon this week quit the frontbench, ensuring he'll become even more vocal in his campaign to have Labor's climate policy move to the centre and the party give greater attention to the working class part of its constituency. Fitzgibbon – who was shadow minister for resources – and climate spokesman Mark Butler have been at loggerheads, and in this podcast Fitzgibbon makes it clear…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: economist Danielle Wood on Australia's 'blokey' budget

economist Danielle Wood on Australia’s ‘blokey’ budget.

In his budget reply, Anthony Albanese said women have suffered most during the pandemic, but were reduced to a footnote in the budget. He promised a Labor government would undertake a generous reshaping of the childcare subsidy to enable more women to join the workforce or to work more hours. This week, Michelle Grattan talks to Grattan Institute CEO Danielle Wood who, in writing for the Australian…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: a budget for a pandemic

a budget for a pandemic.

With the budget's expected eye-watering debt and deficit numbers, the question remains whether the huge spending will be enough to fight the coronavirus slump. Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann and Shadow Minister Katy Gallagher joined the podcast to discuss the budget's entrails. The government has faced criticism for benchmarking the much vaunted tax cuts against 2017-18, making them appear larger…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Chris Richardson on what Tuesday's budget will and should do

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Chris Richardson on what Tuesday’s budget will and should do.

On Tuesday, the 2020 budget will be brought down. It will show a huge deficit for this financial year and massive government spending, aimed at promoting economic recovery and reducing unemployment. In the wake of COVID, the Coalition's usual preoccupation with "debt and deficit" has become very yesterday. On this week's Politics podcast, we speaks with Chris Richardson, partner at Deloitte Access…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: New Zealand's Helen Clark on the pandemic inquiry and avoiding election 'cat fights'

ew Zealand’s Helen Clark on the pandemic inquiry and avoiding election ‘cat fights’

On October 17, New Zealanders will head to the polls to vote in a general election and also on referendum questions for the legalisation of cannabis and euthansia. In a head-to-head between two women, Labour's Jacinda Ardern appears to be heading to a comfortable win against National Judith Collins, who only recently became her party's leader. This week New Zealand's three term ex-Prime Minister Helen…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Angus Taylor on the 'gas-fired' recovery

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Angus Taylor

The Coalition is having yet another go at crafting an energy policy. Faced with the huge economic challenges presented by COVID, the government this week announced its "gas-fired recovery". But the policy is already under fire from both environmentalists and coal advocates, and the energy sector warns it could discourage investors. Part of the announcement was a threat – the government will build a…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Jodie McVernon on Melbourne's modelling, a Covid vaccine, and the role of experts in a crisis

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Jodie McVernon on Melbourne’s modelling, a Covid vaccine, and the role of experts in a crisis.

In light of Victoria's cautious roadmap out of lockdown, which some experts applaud and others believe is unnecessarily conservative, the modelling underpinning the decisions is under close scrutiny. University of Melbourne Professor Jodie McVernon is director of epidemiology at the Doherty Institute, and a modelling expert. She tells the podcast, "I think the broad qualitative conclusions of the model…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Chris Bowen on the recession, aged care and priorities for health policy

Chris Bowen on the recession, aged care and priorities for health policy.

Had the 2019 election panned out differently, Chris Bowen would have been the treasurer coping with Australia's current economic crisis. Instead, as shadow health minister, he has been critical of aspects of the government's handling of the health issues, especially its failure to act earlier and more comprehensively to secure access to potential vaccines. With Labor homing in on aged care, which has…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Former Greens leader Richard Di Natale on COVID, climate and his successor

Former Greens leader Richard Di Natale on COVID, climate and his successor.

In February, then Greens' leader Richard Di Natale stepped down from the leadership after five years and announced he'd leave parliament to spend for more time with his family. On Tuesday, he delivered his valedictory speech to the senate – remotely – and on Wednesday, he formally resigned. Read more: Where are the Greens? As Di Natale leaves, Bandt must find a spotlight for his party in a pandemic…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Professor Barney Glover on the bleak years ahead for higher education

Professor Barney Glover on the bleak years ahead for higher education.

With the withdrawal of the international market, and the stresses of delivering education virtually, the university sector has been hit especially hard by COVID-19. The sector, which in the 2018-2019 financial year contributed $37.6 billion in export income to the Australian economy, is a shadow of its former self. Meanwhile the government last week released its controversial "JobReady Graduates" draft…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Jim Chalmers on tax cuts, inequality, and the Queensland election

Jim Chalmers on tax cuts, inequality, and the Queensland election.

The second wave of the pandemic in Victoria has pushed the post-COVID economic recovery further beyond the horizon. Among the challenges for the federal opposition are dealing itself into the debate and formulating alternative economic policies before the next election. With speculation the budget may bring forward the next tranche of the legislated tax cuts, Labor is leaving the way open to give its…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Concetta Fierravanti-Wells on aged care – what needs to be done differently

Concetta Fierravanti-Wells on aged care – what needs to be done differently.

The Royal Commission into Aged-Care Quality and Safety delivered it's interim report in October 2019. Titled ‘Neglect’, it provided a scathing insight into the aged care industry - finding it centred around transactions not care. It minimised the voices of people receiving care, lacked transparency, and was staffed by an under-appreciated and under-pressure workforce. The outbreak of coronavirus, and…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Patricia Sparrow on the need for aged care reform

Patricia Sparrow on the need for aged care reform.

Those in aged care have been some of the hardest hit by the coronavirus second wave in Victoria. Even before the crisis, there were calls for reform of the sector, which is currently being examined by a royal commission. Issues with staffing and delivery of care have only become worse as many workers are required to isolate, with mass transmission occurring in the homes. Read more: View from The Hill…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Geoff Kitney on a life in journalism and the contemporary media landscape

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Geoff Kitney on a life in journalism and the contemporary media landscape.

Geoff Kitney fell into a career in journalism, and rose from reporting the local footy in Western Australia to covering many of federal politics's biggest stories and serving as a foreign correspondent based in Berlin and London. Arriving at parliament house in 1975, Kitney reported on the dramatic Dismissal. Later, the relative decorum of the Canberra press gallery contrasted with the danger and adventure…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

After the crisis: what lessons can be drawn from the management of COVID-19 for the recovery process?

After the crisis: what lessons can be drawn from the management of Covid-19 for the recovery process?

Democratic Fundamentals podcast on "Political Trust in Times of Covid-19" In this fourth episode of the Conversation-Democracy 2025 Podcast on "Political Trust in Times of Covid-19", Michelle Grattan and Mark Evans explore the lessons that can be drawn from the management of COVID-19 for the recovery process with the ABC’s Norman Swan and Mark Kenny from the Australian Studies Institute at the Australian…

2 Hosts: Mark Evans and Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Jane Halton on the risk of 'vaccine nationalism'

Jane Halton on the risk of ‘vaccine nationalism’

Jane Halton, who formerly headed the federal health and finance departments, is chair of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness. CEPI, founded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is at the forefront of the international search for a COVID-19 vaccine. She is also a member of the Morrison government's National COVID-19 Coordination Commission, which liaises with business and advises government…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Christopher Pyne on being 'the ultimate insider'

Christopher Pyne on being ‘the ultimate insider’

Former Liberal Minister Christopher Pyne attracted critics for his political front. But he always had plenty of friends and networks, enabling him often to be a player, if not always a "fixer". After his election to the South Australian seat of Sturt at age 25, he went on to hold senior portfolios, notably education and defence, and to stride the parliamentary stage as Leader of the House of Representatives…

1 Host: Michelle Grattan