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Backchat | Podcast

Your alternative to talkback.

Informed and approachable politics and current affairs. We do interviews, discussion, news, lols and longform features with a different guest host each week.

First broadcast live Saturdays at 11am on FBi Radio. Find playlists and feature content here.



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NAIDOC: Constitutional Recognition, Deadly Science, and Statistical Representation

NAIDOC week was observed from July 7th to 14th, celebrating the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This week’s show reflects some of the voices of the people behind these achievements. Thomas Mayor, a Torres Strait Islander man born on Larrakia country in Darwin. He’s also the National Indigenous Officer at a construction union and an advocate for the Uluru Statement from the Heart. He spoke to us about his work on the Statement, and where we should be looking to from here. Later we’re joined by Corey Tutt, a Kamilaroi man who runs Deadly Science, a program which encourages Indigenous students to stick with STEM subjects, by sending them books and equipment across the country. Finally, we speak with Kalinda Griffiths, a Yawuru woman and Epidemiologist at the UNSW Centre for Big Data Research, about how Indigenous people are represented in Australia’s official statistics.

HECS Repayments and Hating On Canberra

Starting this month the HECS repayment threshold has dropped to $45,881 a year. To discuss what this will mean for lower-earning graduates, and the broader economy, Sam Langford, Junkee news and politics reporter joins us.

Later, Canberra is always the butt of Sydney’s jokes, but why is our nation’s capital also our punching bag? Prue Robson, Canberra migrant, and PhD candidate from the University of Canberra joins us in defence of the city.

Climate Crisis and Sydney Transport

‘Climate Emergency’ has been declared in Sydney by Lord Mayor Clover Moore, following 600 similar declarations worldwide. City of Sydney Councillor and Deputy Chair of the Environment Committee Jess Miller joins us to discuss climate futures in Sydney and Australia.

Later, transport in Sydney is a constant cause for complaint, but recent shakeups and innovations seem to be inching us forward. Transportist David Levinson, an Honorary Associate at the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies at Sydney University, joins us to talk about the state of transport in Sydney.

Refugee Legal Aid and Climate Change ASMR

Every day the plight of refugees coming to Australia, especially those on Manus and Nauru, is becoming more and more dire. Florence Cruz Montalvo is a solicitor at Legal Aid’s Refugee Service, and she joins to us about the ways in which their service can improve the lives and experiences of young people and refugees in Australian society.

We also hear a story from Backchat’s regular co-host Shami Sivasubramanian about Techfugees: a not-for-profit that seeks to use technology to help newly-arrived refugees to Australia. 

Later, we’ve been yelling about climate change for a while, maybe it’s time to try whispering. Comedian Issy Phillips joins us to talk about ASMR as the next frontier of climate activism.

Superannuation Changes and the Geography of Islamophobia

From July 1st, there are going to be big changes to how your superannuation is managed, but most young people don’t even know how much is in their super. Acting Director of the Superannuation Consumers’ Centre at CHOICE, Xavier O’Halloran, joins us to explain what’s happening.

Later, the role of geography in Islamophobia. We’re joined by Rhonda Itaoui from the Challenging Racism Project, and PhD candidate at Western Sydney University, to discuss how racism manifests differently depending on where you live and work.

Reconciliation Week and Reproductive Rights

It’s national Reconciliation Week, allowing us time to reflect on the contributions and achievements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. However the week doesn’t go by without criticism from Indigenous Australians. To discuss the triumphs and shortcomings of Reconciliation Week, Nathan moodyi Sentance, a Wiradjuri man from the Australian Museum joins us.

Later, the term ‘revenge porn’ has been used for some time to refer to the sharing of partners’ private images. Many academics are pushing for a move away from the term to ‘image based abuse’, in an effort to desexualise the act and better address the motivations, and consequences for victims. Associate professor in the Social and Global Studies Centre at RMIT University, Nicola Henry, joins us to discuss.

Finally, the abortion ban in Alabama has sparked conversation about reproductive rights the world over. We’re joined by Sydney high school student Bella Ziade has organised a rally to fight for bodily autonomy on June 9th.

Diversity in Publishing and Repealing Medevac

The lack of diverse publications has been increasingly highlighted and internationally challenged in recent years, forcing us to question how well represented Indigenous and people of colour writers are in Australia. Gaining statistics to answer this question, however, is proving very difficult. Hella Ibrahim is the founder and editorial director of Djed Press, she joins us to discuss the issue of representation in publishing in Australia.

Later, following the Coalition’s election victory, one of the LNP’s first priorities is to repeal the medevac law. This law allowed refugees and asylum seekers in need of medical attention to be transferred to Australia. All of this follows a notable spike in self-harm and suicide attempts among off-shore refugees and asylum seekers in the wake of the election. Keeping us up to speed on developments is human rights campaigner Renaire Druery from GetUp!.

If you or anyone you know is in need of support, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, at any hour of the day.

The Young Vote and Eurovision in Israel

With a nail-biting election in process, the unprecedented number of young voters enrolled is expected to shake up results. Ariadne Vromen, a Professor of Political Sociology at the University of Sydney, joins us to discuss the election from a young voters perspective, and the way major parties have (or have not) effectively made campaign appeals to the demographic.

May 18th is also significant in global politics this year, as the finale of the Eurovision contest is set to go ahead in Israel, despite controversies due to the ongoing conflict with Palestine. This comes just three days after Nakba Day, literally translating to ‘Day of the Catastrophe’, which commemorates the mass displacement and human rights abuse of Palestinian people that has continued since late 1940s. Sydney lawyer and Palestinian rights activist Ramia Abdo Sultun joins us to talk about the controversy caused by the decision to host the finale in Israel.

Islamophobia and Election Advertising Laws

A recent YouGov survey indicates that 51% of Australians have ‘unfavourable sentiments’ towards Islam, with only 10% of the population looking upon the religion positively. The results also revealed that Australia is more negative towards Islam than 17 of the other 22 countries surveyed. Writer Ruby Hamad joins Backchat to discuss this survey outcome, and Islamophobia in contemporary Australia. 

Later, a look into the election campaign. Voters are being bombarded with promises and posturing on more platforms than ever before. Whether it’s Clive Palmer’s bizarre United Australia Party’s ads, smear campaigns, or straight-up lies—it seems like it’s pretty much a free-for-all for politicians. Shami and Swetha look into the laws surrounding election campaign advertisements, and just how tight they are. Also, producer Eden Faithful joins for a pop quiz on how well you’ve been following politics in the lead up to the election.

Young Voters and Domestic Violence Funding

The 2019 federal election is set to boast the highest enrolment rate in Australian history—96.8%, and a record enrolment rate for young Australians aged 18-24, at 88.8%. Katie Acheson, CEO of the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition, joins Backchat to talk about the reasons behind the enrolment spike, a possible election outcomes.

Also, the Coalition has recently committed to funding two additional case workers and cyber security measures at the Penrith Women’s Health Centre. This comes under its total domestic violence spending, which adds up to 328 million dollars. Lula Dembele, Co-Founder Childhood Domestic Violence Australia, joins to discuss the ways in which the government can move to a safer and more rigorously supportive society for survivors of domestic abuse. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please call 1800RESPECT for help and information.

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