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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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Universal Job Guarantee and Fast Fashion

There are currently seven hundred thousand people in Australia actively looking for a job, and a market with only two hundred thousand vacancies. Not to mention the further million who are under-employed. Edward Miller, a Campaigns Director for Economic Fairness at GetUp joins us to discuss the possibility of an Australian Universal Job Guarantee initiative. Later, ‘fast-fashion’—single-wear wardrobe fillers from brands like Zara and H&M may be cheap, but they come at other costs. Natalie Shehata, founder and editor of Tommie Magazine joins us to talk about slow-fashion, recycling, and making ethical choices with your wardrobe.

Social Media Data and Problem Gambling

The more information we give to social media, the more power they have to influence us. Lyndsey Jackson, a digital rights expert from Electronic Frontiers Australia, joins us to talk about the ways in which our favourite social media apps are changing, and what that means for our online security. Later, Australians gamble $24 billion a year, and growing concern for problem gamblers has helped launch the Community Benefit Payment Scheme. Backchat reporter Eamonn Snow looks into gambling issues in Australia, and what the government is actually doing about it. If you or somebody you know suffers from a gambling addiction, you can reach out to the Multicultural Problem Gambling Service on 1800 856 800 or to Lifeline crisis support on 13 11 14.

Refugees in Uganda and Gossip Journalism

According to the United Nations’ Refugee Agency’s 2019 report, there are currently more than 70 million displaced people around the globe. Lynn Dang is a former refugee, board member of Australia for United Nations Refugee Comission, and head of talent acquisition at Microsoft Australia—she recently travelled to Uganda to understand the progressive programs they’ve implemented to support their 1.3 million refugees. She joins is to share her insight into refugee policy in Uganda, and what we in Australia could learn from them. Later, we take a quick look inside the glossy pages of gossip magazines at celebrity rumour journalism.

Congestion Crisis and Child Modelling

Congestion in Sydney is an ongoing problem, but over the next decade the city’s population is expected to grow to over 7 million people, pushing us into a congestion crisis. Deputy CEO and Director of Policy for Committee of Sydney, Eamon Waterford, talks with us about what 'congestion crisis' means, and what we’re doing to prevent it. Later, ‘Breaking the Model’ is a new doco on SBS Viceland’s The Feed, looking into the way the modelling industry exploits child models. Documentary creator, comedian and former child-model Jenna Owen joins us.

Drug-Testing Welfare Recipients and Lockout Laws

Scott Morrison’s government has revived controversial legislation that would force 5,000 Newstart and youth allowance recipients to undergo drug testing to get their welfare payments. Dr. Nicole Lee, drug policy expert from Curtin University’s National Drug Research Institute, joins us to discuss the proposal. Later, after 5 years of controversy the state government is taking steps to remove the lockout laws - everywhere except for Kings Cross. Michael Rodrigues, Managing Director of Time Out Australia, and chair of the Night Time Industries Association speaks with us about the changes. Finally, ‘Her Sound, Her Story’ is a moving documentary exploring women in Australia’s music scene. An intimate conversation with 45 artists spanning six decades, it discusses the experiences, triumphs and social impact of women in the industry. Documentary co-creator and self-taught music photographer Michelle Grace Hunder joins us.

Water Crisis and Domestic Violence

Sydney Water levels are dropping faster than they have in decades across 11 dams in Greater Sydney, and levels are about to drop below 50%. Still, we aren’t talking about drought in greater Sydney. Environmentalist Liz Miu joins us to discuss the water crisis, and what small changes that we can all make to conserve water. Later, Archibald Prize finalist Amani Haydar has a new exhibition at Fairfield City Museum and Gallery. Lawyer, artist, mother, and domestic violence advocate—Haydar joins us to talk about her life, art and advocacy. If you or somebody you know is experiencing domestic violence you can visit or call Lifeline on 13 11 14 to be put in contact with State Crisis Services.

Russian Internet and Drug Laws

Free flowing information on the internet is seen as tantamount to a functioning democracy. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Russia’s government is looking to implement a centralised, state controlled internet. We’re joined by Russian independent investigative journalists Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, who have spent years investigating how the Kremlin watches over its citizens Later, in the wake of an increase in accidental deaths by drug overdose, new laws by the NSW government may see people who sell illicit drugs be prosecuted for homicide if the person who uses the drug dies as a result. Dr Elyse Methven, Lecturer in Law and a UTS Early Career Research Fellow, joins us to discuss the new law.

Diversity in Arts Leadship

A new report from Diversity Arts Australia indicates that Australian art bodies are lacking in culturally and linguistically diverse leadership across all sectors. Lena Nahlous, Executive Director of Diversity Arts Australia joins us to talk about their report, and what we can do going forward.

Pacific Islands Forum and University Funding

At the Pacific Islands Forum 2019, Scott Morrisson made his opposition to other Pacific Islands nations’ views on climate change known. When it was called for an immediate global ban on the construction of new coal-fired power plants, Australia was the only country to opt out of supporting the statement. Director of the climate and energy program at the Australia Institute, Richie Merzian joins us to discuss our representation at the forum. Later, as of 2020, Australian universities will be measured across new performance criteria to unlock funding increases. These criteria include graduate employment outcomes, student experience, and enrolment of Indigenous, disadvantaged, and rural students. Desiree Cai, Australia-wide President for the National Union of Students, joins us to unpack these changes.

Successfully Protesting and Audio Captions

We’re seeing more and more climate protests across the world, and last week Lobby group Extinction Rebellion hit the main stage with attention-grabbing demonstrations in Brisbane. Nicola Paris from CounterAct joins us to talk about what makes for a successful protest. Later, do you ever wonder how visually-impaired people get immersed in cinema, TV and theatre, or even live public events? Backchat reporter Rhianna Soliman looks into how audio captions work, and why Australia is so far behind.

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