Putting current affairs in context

Episodes of Context are broadcast on Eastside Radio 89.7FM, Thursdays at 6pm


Interest and Inflation

What is inflation? What is the cash rate? And why should the RBA raising one lower the other? To find out, I interview Dr Gonzalo Castex from UNSW’s School of Economics.


Environmental Laws

How well do we balance our need for new developments with the protection of our natural ecosystems? According to the 2021 State of the Environment report, not well. I interview Professor David Lindenmayer from ANU’s Fenner School of Environment and Society to discuss how we could better manage our natural assets.


Social Media Alternatives

Social media has become a staple of most people’s lives and a de facto town square for sharing news and information. But the companies that own social media sites don’t always seem to have users’ best interests at heart. What can we do about it? I’m joined by Dr Kate Mannell, a Research Fellow in Digital Childhoods from Deakin University, who shares some of her insights into the emerging field of alternative social media sites.


Pork Barrelling

Government spending affects all of us, but who exactly benefits from it can be hard to pin down. One issue is the practice of “pork barrelling”, or spending by the government in specific areas to reward or encourage voters. How do we spot pork barrelling in practice, and how can we stop it? I look into this issue with Anika Stobart, Senior Associate at the Grattan Institute and the co-author of a report titled New Politics: Preventing Pork Barrelling.


Domestic and Family Violence

Family, domestic and intimate partner violence affect millions of Australians a year, and disproportionately affect women. Adolescent women especially are often left out of conversations about how to tailor our responses to violence. In this episode I speak with Bianca Johnston from Monash University. Bianca has over a decade of experience working with young women coping with intimate partner violence, family violence and trauma.


History of Voting

At time of broadcast, a bill had been put to parliament to lower the voting age to 16. But why did we decide on 18, and had that always been the case? I decided to find out a little about the history and context of voting in Australia – how long have we been doing it, and who gets to do it? To find out I interview Professor Judith Brett, Emeritus Professor of Politics at LaTrobe University and author of From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage: How Australians Got the Vote


The Australian Republic

Should Australia become a republic? Twenty years ago we decided the answer was no, but is that still the case? I interview Sandy Biar, National Director of the Australian Republic Movement, to find out how an Australian republic might work.

This episode was originally recorded in June 2022, prior to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.


Rental Affordability

Approximately 1.3 million Australian households receive some form of government rent assistance, but the amounts paid have remained flat while rents have increased. I spoke to Bruce Bradbury, Associate Professor at the Social Policy Research Centre of UNSW, who argues that support for Australians on rent assistance needs to double. But how much would that cost, and what else do we need to do to address this problem long-term?


Cosmetic Surgeons

If you need to see a doctor, you’d choose one who specialises in the right field: a cardiologist for your heart, an oncologist for cancer, and so on. These terms are legally protected, but not all “specialists” are what they seem. In Australia “cosmetic surgeon” is not a protected term, and this can be misleading. To find out why this needs to change, I’m joined by Dr Christopher Rudge, a specialist in Health Law from Sydney Law School.


Invasive Carp

Invasive carp now account for up to 90% of live fish mass in some rivers around Australia, particularly in the Murray-Darling basin. Where did these carp come from? Why are their numbers exploding? And how can we control them? To learn a bit more about this fishy situation, I speak with Dr Katie Doyle. She’s a Freshwater Ecologist from the Inland Fisheries Research Group at Charles Sturt University.


Teacher Burnout

Australian schools are facing a teacher shortage as staff burn out, with turnover likened to a “revolving door”. What is causing this high attrition rate, and how can we improve? My guest this week is Educational Psychologist Rebecca Collie, a Scientia Associate Professor in UNSW’s School of Education. She’s worked with teachers and students to learn what keeps staff in schools – and what drives them away.