The Fifth Estate

The Wheeler Centre

Arts, Literature, Government & Organizations, News & Politics, Society & Culture, Technology

The Fifth Estate responds to the most important stories of the day and reignites those that have fallen off the front pages.


The Numbers Game

February 2nd, 2012

Episode 4 of 83 episodes

The Fifth Estate is the Wheeler Centre’s new series of fortnightly forums: a more measured approach to news and current affairs. Provocative and studied, authoritative and unhurried, this is real analysis that will be pulling no punches. Hosted by broadcaster, journalist and anthropologist Sally Warhaft, The Fifth Estate is indispensible live journalism. And to kick things off, Lindsay Tanner, former Finance minister and ALP heavyweight, talks with Sally about the state of the democratic process in Australia. Together they’ll ask: how robust is our democracy? Australia’s economy is one of the world’s most stable, but the same can’t be said about our government. Since the knife-edge federal election of 2010, the ALP has held minority government with the support of a loose coalition of very different interests: the two rural independents, anti-pokies maverick Andrew Wilkie and Greens MP Adam Bandt. Adding fuel to that volatile mix is the uncertainty at the head of our major parties: the recent leadership tussle – and the contrast between public campaigning and party politics it exposed – may have left Australian voters more baffled and disillusioned than ever. What are the implications of our vote? Has it all just turned into a numbers game? Does it matter who’s in charge, anyway? And is our democratic process in peril? Download the audio: mp3