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

The 2021 John Button Oration asks what sort of economic future we want to leave for the next generation. How can today’s policymakers better reflect tomorrow’s voices? Plus, what would a sustainable, and human-centred, economy look like? Is changing the system even possible, or is it in the realm of …
Research indicates that social connection, spending time with friends, and sharing a meal, are vital ingredients for a healthy life - especially as we age. This is also an antidote to loneliness, which is a major social problem. What else contributes to living well, later in life? How do we …
All aspects of our lives have been changed by Covid, and politics and politicians have felt the tremors too. What is our current relationship like, and what do we want from our government?
Some 116,000 people experience homelessness every night in Australia, and that number is expected to grow. What is it like to be homeless? What do those who've been in that awful circumstance think is the answer?
Crisis in Afghanistan Feb. 16, 2022
The crisis in Afghanistan Six months after the withdrawal of Australian troops from Afghanistan, it is clear the embattled country is in the midst of a major humanitarian crisis. Millions are at risk of starvation, the economy is on the verge of collapse, and a mood of despair has taken …
When was the last time you visited a museum? Museums are popular with adults and children alike and the multi-media exhibitions make subjects come alive in a unique way. So are museums uniquely suited to communicating complex science and social issues? Could they help us win the war against climate …
Australia’s been a member of the OECD for the last fifty years. Former federal politician Mathias Corman is now the Secretary General. The OECD’s claim to fame is its comparative analysis on economic and social policy. Australian educators, for example, use OECD benchmarks to measure the effectiveness of our education …
Should we criminalise coercive control - an insidious form of domestic violence, used to control, humiliate, and intimidate another person? Women, and older Australians, are often the targets of coercive and controlling behaviour, but it is difficult to prevent and police. Some argue this is because existing laws are inadequate. …
COVID in India Feb. 8, 2022
India’s struggle to contain the COVID 19 virus made international headlines. ABC South Asia Correspondent James Oaten witnessed the devastating mark the pandemic left on the country firsthand.
The international think tank, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), has called for a wholesale review of monetary policy in Australia, but what should be up for discussion?
A study examining the safety and security of migrant and refugee women in Australia found one in three of those surveyed experienced some form of domestic and family violence, including coercive and controlling behaviour. This was often exacerbated by insecure visas. Many migrant and refugee women found it difficult to …
We can recycle to put materials to new uses not just to replace the original product. We hear how textiles and plastics are repurposed to make building tiles and how the fashion industry is trying to reduce, reuse and recycle. Mass produced clothes currently contribute enormous amounts to landfill and …
Australia's mental health system is broken and needs to change. On this, psychiatrists, as well as those with a mental illness, agree. But what needs to be done? Are we pathologizing normal human distress, and prescribing too much medication? Could psychedelic drugs, and therapy, be part of the solution?
International negotiations on climate change and biodiversity often put the scientific case behind economic and political interests. So, people increasingly turn to the courts to get justice for the environment. What makes those court cases successful? And what does a new form of environmental justice that connects nature with economic …
Love it or hate it, technology rules the world. Our social systems and values are bent out of shape by innovative technology. Ideas we used to hold dear like privacy are suddenly negotiable in the online world and tech companies set the rules with governments struggling to catch up. So …
Joe McCarthy is the figurehead of the anti-communist crusades of the 1950s-era. Thousands of Americans were investigated as alleged communists and Soviet agents during the 'Red Scare'. McCarthyism became the synonym for hysterical intolerance – and some say it’s prevalent again today. Historian Richard Norton Smith explores the rise of …
What does a brutal murder tell us about our attitudes to land ownership, farming, and the natural environment? There are laws in Australian limiting the clearing of native vegetation. These laws have long been controversial, and many farmers fiercely oppose them. But none have ever gone as far as farmer …
Randy Frost explains the meaning possessions play in our lives and how and why this can go astray.
Psychedelic drugs were a feature of 1960s counter-culture and the subject of serious medical research from the 1940s onwards. Research was halted after psychedelics were declared dangerous and banned but new research is finding them to be powerful medicine. And, with the coronavirus pandemic in full swing, why are there …
Cities 2060 Jan. 6, 2022
A sea-change or tree change has its appeal but you’re running against a global trend. Over half of the world’s population now live in towns and cities and there’s no sign of it slowing down. It’s a headache for city planners who are trying to keep up with demand. The …