Monday 17 August at 9:35 pm

The pandemic has fast turned this nation into two countries - the COVID states, and the COVID-free states, with border closures now a brutal necessity. So, how does Australia stay united ?

Also, it is vital we can trust our sources of news and information during a pandemic. Conspiracy theories, fake news and the influence of big tech are all under the microscope, as a new code comes into force requiring the digital giants to pay old media for news content. Will that solve the problems?

And we look at media diversity, as a scathing new report on the lack of diversity on Australian television screens is due to be released.

  • Barnaby Joyce, Nationals Member for New England

  • Michelle Rowland, Shadow Communications Minister; Prior to entering Parliament, Michelle Rowland was a senior lawyer specialising in competition and regulation in the telecommunications, media and technology sectors.

  • Antoinette Lattouf, Journalist and diversity advocate; Antoinette Lattouf is a multi-award winning journalist and a diversity advocate.

  • Niki Savva, Columnist and author; Journalist Niki Savva has written about every Australian Prime Minister from Gough Whitlam to Scott Morrison.

  • Ziggy Ramo, Musician; Since his first release in 2016, Ziggy Ramo’s razor-sharp lyricism and effortlessly cool musical talent have positioned him as an essential voice in Australia’s national conversation.

  • Sinead Boucher, Chief executive and owner of Stuff Ltd; Sinead Boucher was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Stuff in August 2017 and in 2020 completed a management buyout of the company from previous owner Nine Entertainment Ltd.

Generation COVID

Monday 24 August at 9:35 pm

Even before COVID-19, young Australians faced an uncertain future.

Now they’re facing unemployment, underemployment, drained savings and superannuation accounts, bigger debts, a disrupted school life and serious mental health challenges.

This pandemic has exacerbated many of the issues young people were facing and it’s no wonder increased numbers of young people are fearful and anxious about the future.

So, what’s the way forward? This week, we bring together a panel of young Australians and some of our younger elected representatives to discuss how they overcome the economic and social challenges they’re facing.

  • Scott Yung, Education entrepreneur; Scott Yung is a first generation Australian and education entrepreneur who ran as the Liberal candidate for Kogorah at the 2019 NSW State Election.

  • Ahmed Hassan, Co-founder and Executive Director of Youth Activating Youth; Ahmed Hassan is a passionate and respected advocate for Melbourne’s multicultural community, working with government, industry and community to highlight the issues faced by disadvantaged youth.

  • Kate McBride, Farmer, Western NSW; Kate McBride is a fifth-generation grazier from Western NSW, who has a Bachelor of Commerce with majors in management with agriculture and environmental electives.

  • Olivia Anderson, Year 12 Student, Pymble Ladies’ College; Olivia Anderson is a year 12 student at Pymble Ladies’ College, who has grown up on the Central Coast of NSW.

  • With a live cross to:

  • Andrew Bragg, Liberal Senator for NSW; Andrew Bragg was elected to the Senate in the 2019 federal election. In his recently published book Bad Egg: How to Fix Super , he calls for significant changes to our superannuation system.

  • Anika Wells, Labor MP for Lilley; Anika Wells became the youngest woman in the House of Representatives when she took over the seat of Lilley from Wayne Swan following his retirement at the 2019 Federal Election.

  • Jordon Steele-John, Greens Senator for WA; Jordon Steele-John is Australia’s youngest senator who journeys with a disability.

Hamish stopped using his social media last week,after attacks from trolls.


Panel of Wisdom

Monday 31 August at 9:35pm

This week we draw on the collective wisdom of some highly respected Australians.

How do their life experiences shape what they take away from this COVID-19 crisis? Where do they think our focus should be right now? How do they imagine our future? How should we tackle the big issues facing the country at this time?

  • Kerry O’Brien, Journalist and Author; Kerry O’Brien is a prominent Australian journalist and author whose long career includes 28 years as a national current affairs television presenter and interviewer.

  • Jillian Broadbent, Chancellor, University of Wollongong and leading businesswoman; Jillian Broadbent has had a career across the Australian business, public and arts sectors.

  • Colin Barnett, Former Premier of WA and Adjunct Professor at UWA; Colin Barnett served as the Premier of WA from 2008 to 2017.

  • Ray Minniecon, Pastor; Ray Minniecon is a community Pastor with St. John’s Anglican Church, Glebe where he is developing a unique and ambitious Scarred Tree ministry.

  • Ronni Kahn, CEO and Founder, OzHarvest; Ronni Kahn founded OzHarvest in 2004, determined to rescue good food and deliver it to people in need.

Border Wars

Monday 7 September 2020 at 9:35pm

The political battle over state borders is heating up. The Premiers are standing firm but the Prime Minister wants interstate travel to resume by Christmas.

Hard border closures are helping contain COVID cases but have caused massive problems for business, health care workers and families in need of medical attention.

And thousands of Australians remain stranded overseas faced with a cap on international arrivals, soaring ticket prices and quarantine costs.

So, who’s got the power when it counts? Are we getting the balance right when it comes to restricting free travel in the name of public health?

  • Michael McCormack, Deputy Prime Minister; Michael McCormack is the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, and Leader of the National Party.

  • Kristina Keneally, Shadow Home Affairs Minister; Kristina Keneally is a Labor Senator for New South Wales and a former NSW Premier.

  • Dr Omar Khorshid, Australian Medical Association President; Dr Omar Khorshid took over from Dr Tony Bartone as the President of the Australian Medical Association in August 2020.

  • Kim Rubenstein, Legal scholar and citizenship expert; Kim Rubenstein is a Professor in the Faculty of Business, Government and Law and Co Director of the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation at the University of Canberra.

  • Tania de Jong, Entrepreneur and soprano; Tania de Jong AM is one of Australia’s most successful female entrepreneurs and innovators having developed five businesses and three charities over three decades.

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The Age of Loneliness

Even before Covid-19 arrived, a quarter of us were feeling lonelier than most. Now the pandemic is cutting us off from our communities, our workplaces and each other.

Loneliness is predicted to be the next public health epidemic of the 21st century. We’re interacting online more than ever, but our sense of isolation is growing. On the flipside, some now crave solitude, desperate to escape the noise of overcrowded households , bad news and social media chatter.

So will this pandemic force us to deal with loneliness, on a personal and political level?

What sort of politics could make us feel more connected? Does technology bring us together or keep us apart? Are we losing our ability to have an inclusive democracy? And how do we regain a sense of community during an epidemic which demands social distancing?

Monday 14 September at 9:35pm

  • Gus Worland, Men’s mental health advocate; Gus Worland is a television and radio host and founder of the Gotcha4Life Foundation which campaigns for men’s mental health.

  • Sarah Wilson, Author and TV presenter; Sarah Wilson is the author of two New York Times bestsellers including First, We Make the Beast Beautiful, which Mark Manson described as “the best book on living with anxiety that I’ve ever read”.

  • Hugh Mackay, Psychologist and author; Hugh Mackay is a social psychologist, researcher and bestselling author of 21 books.

  • Michelle Lim, Scientific Chair, Ending Loneliness Together; Dr Michelle Lim is a Clinical Psychologist and Scientific Chair of Ending Loneliness Together, a national network made up of universities and industry partners.

  • Rosemary Kayess , Associate Director, Disability Innovation Institute UNSW; Rosemary Kayess has devoted her career to disability policy and reform and was appointed to the Australian Government delegation responsible for drafting the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2018.

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US Election 2020: Four More Years?

Monday, September 21 at 9.35pm AEST

Six weeks out from the US Presidential Election there’s one question on everyone’s mind - will Donald Trump be in office for four more years?

His handling of COVID-19 has been widely condemned and racial tensions have sparked protests in many American cities.

Polls suggest Democratic nominee Joe Biden is leading the race, but President Trump has form when it comes to defying predictions.

Joining host Hamish Macdonald - key figures who’ve worked inside the White House on both sides of the political divide.

How serious is the threat of civil war? What would a second Trump term look like? And how would it affect us in Australia and the long term power struggle with China?

  • Kim Hoggard, Former advisor to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush; Kim Hoggard is a non-resident fellow at the United States Studies Centre and a former US government official who has worked for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush.

  • Barbara Heineback, Former First Lady White House Press Officer; Barbara Heineback served in two White House administrations, as staff press officer to a First Lady, and as contractor to other White House presidential administrations.

  • Cole Brown, Author; Cole Brown moved from the US to Sydney in February 2020, and has since contributed commentary on American politics to a variety of national outlets.

  • John Ruddick, Author and Liberal Party insider; John Ruddick has been active in and around the NSW Liberal Party for 25 years as a campaigner for democratic reform.

  • Kylie Morris, Journalist and former Washington D.C. correspondent; Kylie Morris is an award winning Australian journalist and broadcaster who has covered the rise of Donald Trump, Black Lives Matter and the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

Road to Recovery

Monday 28 September at 9:35pm

After the devastating impact of bushfires and COVID-19, what should our economic recovery plan look like?

The Government has unveiled its Technology Investment Roadmap, and reaffirmed its commitment to a gas-led recovery out of the coronavirus recession. The Opposition however describes it as a “Road to Nowhere” and wants renewables to be the focus. So where should our priorities lie when it comes to jobs and growth post-pandemic?

Our relationship with China remains in the spotlight, with tit-for-tat deportations of journalists, bans on Aussie agricultural exports and an announcement by President Xi Jinping that China will reach net zero emissions by 2060.

All as Australia braces for the next bushfire season.

Mike Cannon-Brookes, Co-founder and co-CEO of Atlassian ; Mike Cannon-Brookes is the co-Founder and co-CEO of Atlassian, a collaboration software company that helps teams organise, discuss and complete shared work.

Darren Chester, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel; Darren Chester was sworn-in as the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Minister for Defence Personnel and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of Anzac in 2018.

Mark Butler, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy; Mark Butler is the Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy and Deputy Manager of Opposition Business in the House.

Marian Wilkinson, Investigative journalist and author, The Carbon Club; Marian Wilkinson is a multi-award winning journalist with a career that has spanned radio, television and print.

Yun Jiang, Editor, China Story blog at the Australian National University; Yun Jiang is the director at China Policy Centre, an independent research organisation, and the editor of the new China Story blog, which publishes analysis and commentary on China issues.

With a musical performance from Alex the Astronaut

Budget Special

Monday 5 October at 9:35pm

Next week’s budget will be unlike any other. Our gross debt has now soared past a record-breaking $800 billion, and somehow the Government must support the economy and plan a recovery amidst a pandemic still throwing up unknowns.

It’s one of the most important budgets in our history, similar to finding a way out of war and back to peace time.

So how will the Government meet the challenge? How long will financial support remain in place? What is the plan to get Australia working again?

  • Naomi Simson, Founder, RedBalloon; Naomi Simson founded RedBalloon in 2001 and co-founded the Big Red Group in 2017. She is a vocal commentator on small business and the start up community.

  • Jane Hume, Assistant Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation; Jane Hume was first elected to the Senate in 2016 and was appointed to the Morrison Government Ministry in 2019.

  • Jim Chalmers, Shadow Treasurer; Jim Chalmers, as Shadow Treasurer, is tasked with taking the fight on economic management to the Government and formulating the economic policies that Labor will take to the next election.

  • Jane Halton, Health expert and former head of Australia’s Finance Department; Jane Halton is the chair of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and co-chair of the COVAX initiative.

  • Nicki Hutley, Economist, Deloitte Access Economics; Nicki Hutley is a senior partner at Deloitte Access Economics, whose work has encompassed issues as wide as modern slavery, housing affordability, and climate change.

Last night’s show finished with a tribute to the late Helen Reddy, with Mahalia Barnes and band performing I Am Woman.

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Anthony Albanese

Monday 12 October at 9:35pm

Next week on Q+A, a one-on-one special with the man who wants to be Prime Minister - Anthony Albanese.

It’s a tricky time to be in Opposition, while we’re consumed by the pandemic and those leading us through it.

But now Labor’s leader has pledged to change tack and start providing an alternative.

It’s now or never for the Labor Leader – and next Monday night he’ll face the Q+A audience to take your questions on how he’d lead Australia out of the pandemic.

Social Disconnect

Monday 19 October at 9:35 pm

We post, we tweet, we like, and we share - but what are the consequences of our growing dependence on social media?

Tech designers have control over how billions of us think and act, and some of them have started sounding the alarm on their own creations.

Reports show higher social media use is now linked to a decline in mental health.

Political disinformation campaigns on social platforms are on the rise, undermining democracy in some countries.

So how do we stop social media from reprogramming our lives and take back control? Is government regulation the way to go?

How do we retain the positive aspects of connectivity and people power that social media offers?

  • Tristan Harris, Former Google Design Ethicist and star of “The Social Dilemma”; Tristan Harris is a former Google Design Ethicist, and features in the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma.” He spent three years developing a framework for how technology should “ethically” steer the thoughts and actions of billions of people from screens.

  • Marc Fennell, Tech Reporter and Author; Marc Fennell is an award-winning interviewer, journalist and author, who has worked with the BBC, Audible, Showtime, Monocle, triple j, Network Ten, ABC, SBS, Beyond Blue, Red Bull and The Sydney Opera House.

  • Julie Inman Grant, eSafety Commissioner; Julie Inman Grant is Australia’s eSafety Commissioner, leading the world’s first government agency committed to keeping its citizens safer online.

  • Matt Ford and Jack Steele, The Inspired Unemployed; South Coast larrikins, Jack Steele and Matt Ford, have been creating videos for fun since their high school days.

  • Sally Rugg, Executive Director, change.org; Sally Rugg is the Executive Director of campaign platform Change.org, supporting ordinary Australians to make the changes they want to see in the world through collective, online action.

  • Jocelyn Brewer, Cyberpsychologist; Jocelyn Brewer is a Sydney-based registered psychologist with a special interest in the psychology of technology and staying human in a digital age.

The Guardian Australia has speculated that the show could move to Thursdays next year, to improve the channel’s flagging ratings on that night.


That would be quite interesting. Monday night ABC-viewing has been a staple of mine for many years but I would also tune in on Thursdays to the ABC if it were to air then.

An Ethical Australia?

Monday 26 October at 9:35 pm

Accountability, ethics and leadership in the time of the pandemic.

In these challenging times, who holds the powerful to account? Are the standards of our political leaders slipping as we grapple with the COVID crisis?

The Premiers of two of our key states are both under mounting pressure. In NSW, Gladys Berejiklian faces questions over her relationship with disgraced former MP Daryl McGuire, while Victorians are demanding greater accountability from Daniel Andrews over the hotel quarantine debacle. Is a federal anti-corruption body the answer?

And with public trust in our politicians and institutions like the banks at an all-time low, how do we achieve a more ethical Australia? Could we embed ethics into all levels of society? What are the principles you try to live by, and do you see them reflected in national institutions?

  • Ken Henry, Former Treasury Secretary; Dr Ken Henry held senior policy advising positions in the Australian Treasury from late 1984 until early 2011.

  • Dave Sharma, Liberal Member for Wentworth; Dave Sharma is the Liberal Party member for the seat of Wentworth, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

  • Tanya Plibersek, Shadow Minister for Education; Tanya Plibersek is the Shadow Minister for Education and Training and Federal Member for Sydney.

  • Simon Longstaff, Executive Director, The Ethics Centre; Dr Simon Longstaff AO is Executive Director of The Ethics Centre, a not-for-profit dedicated to bringing ethics to the centre of everyday personal and professional life.

  • Dani Larkin, Lawyer, Uluru Dialogue Leadership Group; Dani Larkin is a public lawyer, a representative of the Senior Dialogue Leadership group for the Uluru Statement From The Heart, and the Director of Higher Degree Research and the Indigenous Law Centre at UNSW .