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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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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.

Decriminalising Abortion and Sex and Disability

Globally, 2019 has been full of bad news for reproductive rights. The good news is, the Reproductive Healthcare Reform Bill 2019 has seen bipartisan support in NSW Parliament. Medical Director of Family Planning NSW, Dr Deborah Bateson joins us to discuss the ramifications of decriminalising abortion in NSW. Later, dating can be tricky at the best of times. For young people with intellectual or learning disabilities, the challenges and stigma surrounding dating and relationships can be overwhelming. Relationship coach and sexuality advisor Liz Dore is a on a mission to break the taboos surrounding love and relationships for everyone—she joins us to discuss her work. Finally, that feeling of overwhelming sadness, and dread has a name—‘climate grief’. Comedian, ASMR eco-activist, and climate griever Issy Phillips talks about mourning the Pale Blue Dot.

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.

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