Big Ideas

by ABC Radio · · · · 30 subscribers

Big Ideas brings you the best of talks, forums, debates, and festivals held in Australia and around the world, casting light on the major social, cultural, scientific and political issues

All animals communicate, but only humans have language. Why only us? Why has language been more important to human success than have our genes?
Make the most of your life and be at peace with death. Easy to say but hard to do. Death is not a topic we’re encouraged to talk about but its shadow shapes many of the things we do. Can you have a happier life if you let go of …
Policy Drift March 30, 2022
Whatever happened to visionary politics, big policy ideas, and governments with bold reform agendas? Australia faces a range of daunting challenges, yet Coalition and Labor governments have been in the grip of policy paralysis. That’s the view of public policy experts, Martin Parkinson and John Daley. Why has policy ambition …
Australia’s relationship with China is at an all-time low. And you’ll be hearing alot about security and defence in the upcoming federal election. As China’s star continues to rise, politicians warn that China is a threat to Australia’s security. But is that threat exaggerated? Should we step back and see …
How do you get to the essence of an activity that is part sport, part leisure, and a large part cultural identity?
The world is online and so are the criminals. Police are using artificial intelligence to find the needles in criminal haystacks but should there be limits on what they can do? And how neural implants connect to the brain and the power of the nocebo effect. Nocebo is placebo's evil …
Illegal drug taking, alleged bullying and harassment, and deliberately losing matches to gain access to prized young recruits. These are some of the scandals that, over the years, have plagued the biggest sporting competition in the country, the AFL – the Australian Football League. But despite these, and other, crises, …
Exploring the deep sea March 22, 2022
After almost 150 years of exploration and research we understand the sea is deep, dark and definitely different - the earth's last great frontier perhaps - but how much do we know of what's beneath the surface?
At the end of the week does your fridge contain lots of uneaten leftovers and fresh food that’s past its use-by date? Food waste is bad for your budget and dire for greenhouse emissions so how do we reduce it? And the history of exercise from the ancient Greeks to …
Is nature as important to you as the human species? Using legal imagination to create a sustainable economy and being a loud and proud nature freak might just be what's needed now. And how do we revitalize city life after the Covid shutdowns?
Judged by our foreign aid budget, human rights, how we treat refugees, and intransigence on climate change action, Australia’s record as a good international citizen is looking tarnished. So argues former Australian foreign minister, Gareth Evans. He also gives his assessment of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Change is constant in society, even if we can’t see it. So how likely is it we can even begin to predict what the future might look like for productivity and innovation, and do we have the means to do so?
The war in Ukraine has galvanized the western world. It’s history writ large. We see the long shadow of the Second World War. The unfinished business of the Cold War. And the dream of unity in the European Union and NATO. Why did Putin invade and what are the possible …
The notion of reconciliation has been discussed in Australian politics for forty years, but are we any closer to achieving a meaningful reconciliation with First Nations people in Australia? How can we possibly move forward if we don't reconcile with our past?
Why are arts and culture so important to as Australians? Is it because we are home to the world’s oldest living culture, and the cultural stories and practices of First Nations Australians? The stereotype is that we are a sports obsessed mob but, truth be told, more of us attend …
Australians say they believe in equal opportunity and equality. But is that the reality for women at home and at work ? Three female leaders discuss the roadblocks and the way forward for gender equality. ABC TV also raids the National Gallery collection to discover female artists in The Exhibitionists.
How to fix democracy March 7, 2022
Democracy has existed since the Greeks came up with it as a form of government in the 5th Century BC, but as the 21st Century deepens the democratic norms are being challenged, and flaws are being exposed as never before. Is it broken? Can we fix it?
Economists use gross domestic product as a measure of progress but increased GDP doesn't guarantee a good life for all. Bhutan adds social, health and environmental factors to the mix to measure gross national happiness. And we hear the story of three trailblazing female war reporters who rewrote the rule …
By electrifying virtually everything, we can solve the climate change crisis. Electric vehicles, electric heating, electric cooking, a decarbonised grid – all powered by renewables and batteries. This is the future Australia should be pursuing, argues inventor and entrepreneur, Saul Griffith. He says the electric revolution starts in the home, …
We’re tempted to buy products and support companies who say they’re looking after the planet but are their claims real or just greenwashing? And how can universities recover after two years of pandemic restrictions on staff and students?