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

Construction is the second most male dominated industry in Australia, after mining. Sexism persists, and discrimination against women in the workplace is rife. The gender pay gap is over 26%, and growing. Yet the industry faces a skills shortage - a shortage that could be filled by increased female participation. …
In the past several years China has become more assertive, and its diplomats have again used sharper language — it’s been called ‘wolf warrior diplomacy’ and has a long history. Peter Martin discusses China’s diplomacy today and its impact; describes the motivations behind wolf warrior diplomacy and how diplomats are …
Hen welfare Oct. 25, 2021
Australians consume 17 million eggs every day which is pretty good going for a country of 25 million people. When you buy eggs do you think about those hard- working hens? And does it matter to you if they’re in a cage or out in the paddock?
Future of religion Oct. 21, 2021
What is the future of religion? Many see the declining number of ‘traditional believers’ as a clear sign that religion has no future. Others resist any idea that our established religions might adapt to new cultural trends. But religions come and go. Always have and always will. The latest shift …
Oh, the humanities Oct. 20, 2021
The biggest tertiary reforms in decades are taking shape in our universities. Are students attracted to cut-priced STEM courses and rejecting humanities subjects that have doubled in price? Insiders suggest another possibility: cash-strapped universities could create more places in higher fee courses.
Is demography destiny? Oct. 19, 2021
How many houses, schools, pensions, and skilled workers will we need in the next decade? The answer to that requires a handle on the size and shape of our population. Demographers give governments a snapshot but the modelling contains guesswork about fertility rates , life expectancy and immigration policy. Could …
Australia’s aged care system needs an overhaul. The Royal Commission into aged care was very clear on that in their report. The government has promised over 17 billion dollars to respond to the commission’s recommendations. But there is much unfinished business. On Big Ideas, aged care researchers and practitioners point …
Harmful care Oct. 14, 2021
Harmful care might be an oxymoron but that’s how 18-year-old Oceane Campbell experienced the mental health system. She felt blamed and shamed for attempting suicide and had to re-tell her story multiple times. Twenty years on she and her once alienated mother reflect on inter-generational trauma, rape and suicide.
The Empress Dowager, Cixi, led China for the best part of 50 years, from 1861 till her death in 1908, modernising the then medieval country. She did so at a time when women had no formal mandate to rule. While Cixi was capable of ruthlessness, writer, Jung Chang says the …
Ginger Meggs – he is an Australian celebrity. Famous in over 30 countries and entertaining adults and children alike for 100 years now. The cartoon character Ginger Meggs started out as a newspaper strip. But now he has an Instagram account, lives on merchandises and even got a movie. One …
The future of justice Oct. 11, 2021
What can be done about the deepening divisions in society? Individualism is increasing, as is the gap between rich and poor. And, the emphasis on self- made success can further alienate the disadvantaged.
Does Australia have a moral obligation to do more to help Afghanis? It’s unclear how many of the 38-million people of Afghanistan face insecurity, food shortages, service failures and other hardships. Canada has promised 20 000 refugee visas, six times Australia’s initial allocation.
Marc Lewis took every drug imaginable over a 15-year period. He knows drugs can make you feel good, and he experienced the desperate lows of addiction. He's been drug free for over 30 years and is now a neuroscientist. So, what do the drugs he took actually do to your …
Future medicine Oct. 5, 2021
Surgeon Anand Deva saw so many patients with tardily treated skin cancers or chronic wounds that he began trying to change the system. He created clinics where people can access all of their treatment providers on the same day in the same place. It’s called integrated care. And along with …
Iran is often synonymous with rogue behaviour on the world stage, but there is also another, rarely seen side to this nation. Iranian American journalist Tara Kangarloub is telling the people’s story, showing what life in Iran is really like – beyond the many times hostile headlines in the mainstream …
Australian governments have spent billions of dollars fighting gendered violence. But the grim statistic persists – on average one woman is killed by an intimate partner every week. How many people understand violence sits on a continuum that can start with rigid stereotypes and sexist jokes? How can campaigns against …
Words matter, and they have power. If they didn’t, writers and poets wouldn’t be persecuted and imprisoned for what they had written. Around the world, citizens are banned from saying and writing certain things. And we can all think of well-chosen, or well-written, words that have helped inspire and liberate …
There are around 7000 languages in the world. But about half of them are endangered or nearly extinct. Some languages are spoken only by a handful of people. Like Ongota in Ethopia or Lemerig on Vanuatu. Losing a language also means losing cultural heritage. Find out on Big Ideas, how …
The recent AUKUS security pact reaffirms Australia’s long held commitment to the United States. They’ve been in a formal alliance since 1951. On the 70th anniversary of the countries’ first Treaty - ANZUS - former Prime Ministers John Howard and Julia Gillard explained why they support it.
What is happiness? Sept. 23, 2021
Many of us spend years building up our skills and climbing the career ladder. When we earn more money, does it make us happier? Perhaps the ancient Greeks were right – living a virtuous life is the key to feeling good. What about positive thinking and gratitude, do they work?