Image for Advance Australia Where ... ?

*Pic by Gail Boserio: Dr Bob Brown, Julian Burside, Kerry O’Brien and Phillip Adams.

Advance Australia where?
Thursday 24 March 2016 10:05PM (view full episode)

Australia, we are told, is the lucky country - the land of the fair go, a land where mateship creates strong bonds, a country which, on the whole, is a good place to live and work. It has class divisions but they are not entrenched as they are in the UK. It has racial divisions but they are not as toxic as those in the US.

We are relatively prosperous, relatively well educated, relatively sane and safe. And yet our country has become synonymous with two glaring injustices – our record on indigenous rights and our treatment of asylum seekers - which has seen both major political parties racing to outdo each other in thinking up policies which are inhumane by any measure. So Advance Australia where, and for whom? That was the theme of a Tamar Valley Writers’ Festival panel recorded last week.


Bob Brown
Former leader of the Australian Greens, head of the Bob Brown Foundation
Kerry O’Brien
Journalist, TV presenter and author of Keating, following the ABC TV Series
Julian Burnside
Barrister, human rights advocate and author; recipient of the 2014 Sydney Peace Prize.


Presenter: Phillip Adams. Producer: Amruta Slee

Listen HERE

Gail Boserio pic

Australia’s favourite gardener

Wednesday 23 March 2016 10:40PM (view full episode)

Peter Cundall AM, horticulturalist, conservationist, author and broadcaster still broadcasts a gardening program from his home in Tasmania. As Phillip discovered, his legendary joie d’vivre remains undiminished.

Phillip Adams interviews Australia’s favourite gardener ... Peter Cundall

• Ed had a bit-part in the festival, moderating a session with Julian Burnside, Alice Pung and Michael Cathcart ...

Julian Burnside was one of the stars of the 2014 festival and returns to inform, entertain and provoke. The Queen’s Counsel and human rights and refugee activist is one of Australia’s best-known legal figures. Last year he won the Sydney Peace Prize, largely for his pro-bono work with asylum seekers. In 2004 he was designated a National Living Treasure.

Alice Pung is not short on life experience. She is a practising solicitor and has worked as an art instructor and school teacher at primary and secondary schools. Her first book, the memoir Unpolished Gem came out in 2011 and Laurinda was published late last year. She has been shortlisted as the Sydney Morning Herald’s Young Novelist of the Year for 2015. Alice’s writing has been featured in The Monthly Magazine, Good Weekend, The Age, The Australian, Griffith Review, Meanjin, and The Lifted Brow. She has also had work published in the Best Australian Stories and the Best Australian Essays, and book anthologies.

Michael Cathcart is the presenter of Radio National’s Books & Arts program and he has also presented Arts Today and the Radio National Quiz. For ABC TV he has presented the history magazine show Rewind and the documentary series Rogue Nation. Cathcart is the author of Defending the National Tuckshop (1988), an expose of a secret militia called the White Army formed in Victoria in 1931, and he has published an abridgement of Manning Clark’s epic A History of Australia and an anthology of Australian speeches. His latest book is The Water Dreamers.

Lindsay Tuffin: The title of today’s discussion is ...

“Is the light on the hill still burning?” Questions of national identity … (A ref to then-PM Ben Chifley’s speech to the NSW Labor state conference in 1949)

To which I would respond:

I wouldn’t really know. I’m from Tasmania. We never had a light on the hill. But I do remember sitting on the outside dunny at Natone at the back of Burnie 50 or so years ago and looking at the Southern Aurora.

And I also remember mate Richard Flanagan telling me of the time he won the 2014 Booker. It seems he did two weeks of non-stop interviews all managed by a PR company.

This PR company was puzzled. They came to him to check his nationality …

• Whether he was an Australian …

• or a Tasmanian.

To which he replied: “Tasmania is convinced it is a part of Australia. But I’m not sure. It is an open question …”

(Then ensued 40 minutes of the most wonderful discussion from Julian, Alice and Michael ...)

AND PHILLIP ADAMS also interviewed ...

Pic: Gail Boserio

Bob Brown’s Tasmania. Listen HERE

Pic: Gail Boserio

Her most Excellent Excellency. Listen HERE