I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 8-16 March

Background Briefing (ABC)  This judge’s unfair decisions upended people’s lives. What can be done about it? (Feb 2020) particularly attracted me because of my own work on Justice John Walpole Willis who, like Judge Vasta in this podcast, had been accused of intimidating interruptions from the bench (as for example, in the case of J.B. Were who ended up being sentenced for an extra month each time he opened his mouth). And as with Justice Willis, the presence of such a polarizing and controversial figure on the bench gives rise to questions about judicial independence versus judicial accountability.

How fracking could threaten Australia’s Paris Target from 1 March 2020 has two threads. The first is the effect of climate change in the Northern Territory, with unseasonal fires and the drying out of the mangroves.  The second theme is the planned expansion of fracking at Beetaloo Basin, with its slippery projections of carbon emissions which make a mockery of any offset activities.  I hate the pernicious influence of lobbyists, who have such sway over governments.

The Eleventh (ABC) Episode 3 Dangerous Circus jumps forward to 1974, when the wheels were starting to fall off the Whitlam Government as it lurched from one scandal to the next.  First there was Jim Cairns and Junie Morosi; then there was Rex Connor and the Loans Affair, and then Cyclone Tracy blew in. Whitlam was not impressed by the calls for him to return home (shades of ScoMo in Hawaii perhaps?)  Episode 4 The Advisor features Elizabeth Reid, the 33 year old who was appointed as Whitlam’s advisor on women at a time when there wasn’t a single female MP in the House of Representatives. Her path crossed with the newly appointed Governor General John Kerr – and what a sleazy story that is.


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