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Pandemic Politics

Politics has been transformed by the COVID era, with national power siphoned towards state premiers, the allergy to massive government spending cured and scientific advice brought to the fore. But as well as new developments, the pandemic has placed existing fault lines in our relationship with politics and politicians under the microscope.   

What do Australians want from their governments? Who can we trust if our politicians don’t represent us or tell us the truth? If corruption and pork barrelling in politics are no longer a source of shame, what else will we be willing to accept?  

Watch Fran Kelly chair a discussion between political correspondent Laura Tingle, Constitutional lawyer Rosalind Dixon, and political commentator and author George Megalogenis.

The Reckoning is presented by the UNSW Centre for Ideas and Sydney FestivalUNSW Sydney is the Education Partner of the 2022 Sydney Festival.  

Photo of Rosalind Dixon

Rosalind Dixon

Rosalind Dixon is a Professor of Law and Director of the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at UNSW Sydney. She is a graduate of UNSW and Harvard, and has taught at law schools around the world – including Harvard, Columbia, University of Chicago and National University Singapore, and is the author of a new book, with Richard Holden, From Free to Fair Markets: Liberalism after COVID out later this year. She is passionate about law and politics, and currently Director of the Pathways to Politics for Women Program at NSW. 

George Megalogenis

George Megalogenis

George Megalogenis is an author and journalist with more than three decades' experience in the media. He is the author of five books, including The Australian Moment  which won the 2013 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Non-fiction and the 2012 Walkley Award for Non-fiction, and formed the basis for his three-part ABC documentary series Making Australia Great. George’s other books are Faultlines, The Longest Decade,  Australia’s Second ChanceThe Football Solution and Balancing Act, which contains his two previous Quarterly Essays, No. 40: Trivial Pursuit – Leadership and the End of the Reform Era and No. 61: Balancing Act – Australia Between Recession and Renewal. He is the author of the new Quarterly Essay, No. 82: Exit Strategy – Politics after the Pandemic.

Laura Tingle

Laura Tingle

Journalist, essayist and author Laura Tingle has reported on Australian politics and policy for more than 35 years. In 2018, she joined the ABC as chief political correspondent for its flagship current affairs program 7.30, after 16 years with the Australian Financial Review where she was political editor, and having held reporting positions with other major Australian mastheads, including The Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian and The Age, reporting on both politics and economics. A multi-award winning journalist, she is the author of Chasing the Future – a book about the early 1990s recession; and four Quarterly Essays: Great Expectations (2012); Political Amnesia (2015); Follow the Leader (2018); and The High Road: What Australia can learn from New Zealand (2020). An assembly of her essays, In Search of Good Government, was published in 2017. 

Fran Kelly | Chairperson

Fran Kelly | Chairperson

Fran Kelly is a highly respected radio presenter and current affairs journalist and was the long term presenter of ABC Radio National’s agenda-setting Breakfast program. In 2001 she became political editor for ABC TV's 7.30 Report. After two years she took up an overseas posting as the ABC's Europe correspondent based in London. In March 2005, Fran called time on London, returning home to Australia to take up her current position. She revelled in Breakfast's wide brief, which has reignited her passion for the arts, sport, issues and travel, and is in the thick of Australian and world politics. Fran has earned a reputation as an intelligent, informed and balanced journalist who has been a key contributor to the nation’s political and social debates for the past 20 years. She has also been described by the Australian electronic magazine Crikey as “one of the most influential media players in the country.”

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