Australian Story

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#121

Independent’s Day

Monday 3 December at 8pm

When Kerryn Phelps first spoke to Australian Story in 1998 she was a celebrity TV doctor with no public political aspirations.

Twenty years later she defied the odds to pull off the upset political victory of the year, winning former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s blue-ribbon Sydney seat of Wentworth as an independent following his departure from politics.

But making history is nothing new for Kerryn Phelps and wife Jackie Stricker-Phelps. Dr Phelps was the first female leader of the Australian Medical Association and is a long-term community health educator and same-sex marriage advocate.

We join Kerryn Phelps and her family and friends behind the scenes to learn about the extraordinary personal events leading to her new career in Canberra and ask: can she win Wentworth a second time when next year’s federal election comes around?


#122

The Burning Question

Monday 10 December at 8pm

Introduced by Jack Rush, senior counsel to the Royal Commission into the Black Saturday bushfires

As the 10th anniversary of the Black Saturday fires approaches and the nation braces for another devastating bushfire season, we examine the fatal Churchill blaze and the investigation that led police to the enigmatic arsonist, Brendan Sokaluk.

The story retraces Sokaluk’s footsteps on the day and delves into his past to look for clues to why he lit a fire on a day of extreme fire conditions. His actions led to the death of 11 people and the widespread destruction of property, wildlife and bushland.

Featuring never-before-seen police interview footage of Sokaluk, The Burning Question asks what we can learn from the events of that day and how we can use this case to identify potential arsonists in the future.


#123

Inside Story

Monday 17 December at 8pm

In a television exclusive, the untold story of James Ricketson, the Australian filmmaker locked up in Cambodia for 15 months on espionage charges.

Ricketson endured squalid conditions and failing health as he found himself a pawn in much larger game of Cambodian politics.

Meanwhile in working for his release his family faced a dilemma — to go along with the Australian Government’s “softly, softly” diplomatic approach or ceding to James’s demands to shout injustice from the rooftops and risk even harsher punishment.