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

Australian parliamentarians, from across the party divide, believe it’s time for the United States to stop its pursuit of Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange. Assange remains in a UK prison, despite defeating a US extradition request. If the US appeal succeeds, he faces espionage charges, and the possibility of a long …
Inclusion equals success Sept. 21, 2021
What defines success? Australia’s founding fathers proudly dispossessed Aboriginal inhabitants in the name of nation building. Ben Wyatt argues success is now defined by including indigenous people. He was WA’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister when Rio Tinto destroyed the Juukan caves. Now a board member, the former politician explains how it …
People who are abused as children can face life-long health and social problems. Many struggle despite cognitive behavioural therapy, anti- depressants and the like. How much faith should we place in the new frontier of psychiatric medicine? The drug more often associated with motherhood – oxytocin – is showing promise …
Indigenous arts Sept. 16, 2021
The arts industry has been slammed by Covid-19, with many thousands of events cancelled and artists out of work. Indigenous art has been particularly affected. Aboriginal directors Wesley Enoch and Rhoda Roberts believe creative expression is so powerful it can help break down racial prejudice. But now, they fear that …
What does the Australian country town of Gundagai make you think of? The statue of the "dog on the tuckerbox"? The old folksong, Along the road to Gundagai? Or do you think of the great flood of 1852 – the deadliest in our history - and the remarkable heroism of …
Blues legend Bobby Rush has recorded hundreds of songs, collaborated with the likes of Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters, and headlined music festivals all over the world. At 87, he still tours more than 200 days a year, entertaining audiences with his unique funk-infused blues tunes. But Bobby Rush’s story …
At the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Big Ideas looks at how the attacks have reverberated over the past two decades and continue to impact global affairs. What has been the experience of Muslim, and non-Muslim youth growing up during the ‘war on terror’? And how did the attacks influence civil …
It is no secret that the idea of an open, pluralistic democracy is under stress. It is being challenged by a new form of democracy that has certain closed, nationalistic, and autocratic features - so called "illiberal democracy." Illiberalism is anti-plural; seeks to make distinctions by race and ethnicity; and …
How effective are mindfulness apps on your smartphone? These apps are increasingly popular, making mindfulness meditation more accessible. Over a hundred million people have the “Calm” app on their phone. It is a two- billion-dollar business. Do these apps help you to “be present”, or improve your mental health? Or …
What is the legacy of Australia’s first major racism protests, 50 years ago? The action targeted the touring South African rugby team, not our own national shame. Were Australia’s white anti-apartheid activists aware of Aboriginal disadvantage and disempowerment? And how did Queensland’s harsh state of emergency shape its future?
It's 50 years since one of the darkest periods in Queensland history, when police violently suppressed anti-apartheid protests against South Africa’s touring rugby team. Students, unions and Black Rights activists were among the protestors. This is the first episode in a two-part series discussing the legacy of that tumultuous time.
Pacific matters Sept. 2, 2021
At a time when the South Pacific is a focus of geo-political tension, it’s also facing worsening economic and health challenges. There’s rising unemployment, food shortages and girls are being pulled out of schools. The pandemic has smashed tourism – the biggestindustry. Meanwhile, the islands are still recovering from last …
Australia produces world leading scientists, and world class scientific research. But, compared to the United States, the UK, and other countries, we don’t translate enough of our science into solutions or products. Do we lack an entrepreneurial culture? Are universities, and other institutions, doing enough to encourage innovation and industry …
Black Lives Matter: Has anything really changed? The protests following the death of George Floyd generated a surprising solidarity against racism in many countries around the world. And BLM became a symbol against the oppression of many different minority groups. But looking at policies, organisations and the general society, experts …
Pandemic fatigue Aug. 30, 2021
As Covid lockdowns drag on, there’s rising concern about a “shadow pandemic” of stress and mental illness, particularly among young people. Some are struggling with isolation, insecure work and housing and dislocation from higher education. Thirty percent of young people are reporting high or very high levels of psychological distress. …
Do you ever think common knowledge doesn’t seem quite as common anymore? Philosopher, Dr Mike Wilby argues common knowledge is essential for a thriving democracy. But, he says it’s undermined by our increasingly polarised politics and society. It’s a dynamic exploited by populist and divisive leaders…like those of the last …
Celebrating soil Aug. 25, 2021
Should soil be revered and celebrated? Our food and the air we breathe depend upon an intricate web of billions of healthy soil microbes. They even deliver messages underground between plants. But the best of the dirt beneath us – topsoil – is fast being degraded. Author, farmer and chef …
We’ve never been so connected, or divided – thanks to the handful of powerful companies that dominate global computation. They bank billions in profit but take little responsibility for disinformation that harms people and democracy. Should they be forced to limit what billions of users can do on their platforms? …
The Troubles that saw Ireland locked in a violent conflict until the late 90s are still shaping community sensitivities today. The even played out in the recent Brexit negotiations. While some of the killings became notorious, many of the more than 3500 individual deaths disappeared into statistics. And - Big …
Dog's best friend Aug. 19, 2021
It’s well known that pet ownership is surging as we navigate Covid solitude. But our affection goes way back – dogs are even celebrated on ancient rock art. Now some are treated like people, and author Simon Garfield questions whether it’s healthy. This talk is provided by the York Festival …