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

Australia has a larrikin tradition, stretching back to Ned Kelly and Henry Lawson. But, is a lot of what passes for larrikinism, a fabrication? Has it been used as a form of class cover: a disguise for those who aren’t genuine larrikins? Has this faux-persona been exploited by political leaders …
As womens’ roles have changed so too have ideas about mothering , its appeal and challenges. Historian Carla Pascoe Leahy charts the way different generations of Australian mothers have responded to their role. From the stay- at-home mums of the post-war era to the contemporary mother trying to balance career …
Like other animals birds have adapted to living in cities. Lorikeets, powerful owls, cockatoos , brush turkeys and white ibis are just some of the birds who've learned to live in the suburbs. And to befriend the humans who feed them. Our understanding of urban birds is greatly enhanced by …
Soon after entering the White House, President Biden told the world: America is back. That sentence drew a line under his predecessor and summed up his intention to restore America to its leading position in global affairs. And there’s lots to do as he navigates the pandemic, the climate emergency …
The world has entered a post-American era. Some call it the ‘Asian century’. US global leadership is in decline, and Asia is now in the ascendancy. China, in particular, is asserting itself as a global power. So believes Michael Pembroke, who argues in his book, Play By the Rules, that …
Sir Henry Parkes’ vison for Federation has taken a beating over the last two years. The Father of the Federation has fought for over a decade to convince Australia that a Commonwealth is stronger than a collection of colonies – or states. Big Ideas reflects on the life of Henry …
Australia is a federation. But the COVID-sponsored resurgence of the states illustrated how little notice we typically take of our federal contract. On Big Ideas, we look at the history of the Australian Commonwealth and in particular at Western Australia, a state that has often been deemed ‘the Cinderella state …
For all our sophistication, deep down , humans are highly evolved social animals And basic instincts continue to shape behaviour in the modern world. In daily life, on social media, in the groups we join, we find our tribe , defend our tribe and seek social status within the tribe. …
The reputation of Australia’s elite Special Air Service, the SAS, has been seriously undermined by disturbing allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan. The allegations shocked the nation, and led to an Australian Federal Police investigation, and the Brereton inquiry into war crimes. Paul Barclay speaks to ABC journalist and author, …
It’s a dream for many young Australians to be a sports star. You win games. Win medals. You’re a hero to the fans. AFL star Adam Goodes had ticked all the boxes when he came up against career-destroying racist abuse. His experience has forced clubs to confront racist attitudes and …
Cruel mass production or happy cows on Old MacDonald’s farm - people often have a distorted idea of how agriculture works. It’s a business, yes. And often the price of food doesn’t cover the costs of production, resulting in the exploitation of workers and the environment. But farmers are also …
Ready or not , the goal is net zero carbon emissions by 2050. And Australia will be held to account. As the Glasgow climate talks come to an end , we hear from regional communities about the push to net zero. Where to now for places built around coal and …
COVID-19 and cancer Nov. 10, 2021
For cancer patients, the COVID-19 pandemic has been an extremely anxious time. Those with weakened immune systems are more likely to pick up COVID-19, and this can cause serious illness, or death. Given the risks, healthcare systems have reorganised cancer services to ensure patients get the care they need, while …
What does it mean for Israel to be a Jewish state? This is a much more complicated question than it first seems. The meaning of Jewish sovereignty in Israel revolves around Zionism’s charged relation with its own Jewish roots and Israel’s subsequent unresolved claim to a non-religious Jewish identity. This …
With COP 26 in full swing we hear from some of the big players in Australian business about the push for net zero emissions by 2050. Representatives from BHP, Coles, Fortescue and the Australian Industry Group talk about their plans to reduce emissions. Will business convince governments that we can …
Ageing gracefully Nov. 4, 2021
How do you hope life will be when you grow old? The majority of Australians will continue to live independently. But if you do have to go into residential care, what should that look like? What do you need for a fulfilling life into old age?
Lockdowns are ending, travel and quarantine restrictions are lifting. After nearly two years of the pandemic, life is returning to a kind of normal. Well, ‘covid-normal’, anyway. But not everyone is celebrating. Covid-19 fatalities, and hospitalisations, are still mounting, and some people remain vulnerable. Paul Barclay speaks with three contributors …
The freedom to speak your mind is important in a democracy. But does that mean you should have the right to say anything you like? Social media platforms are now urged to block hate speech and misinformation. Is this fair enough or the death of free speech?
Opinions trump facts and truth is no longer absolute. Science is under attack in a world where misinformation thrives, fake news can go viral and conspiracy theories are more popular than ever. How have we arrived at this place of mistrust and what can we do to stand up for …
When was the last time you went into the centre of your capital city or regional town? Almost every service is now available online or at a big suburban shopping mall. And Covid lockdowns have turned the CBDs into ghost towns. So will the CBD and city lifestyles be the …