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All episodes by Karen Middleton

Jul 22, 2021 • 13m 12s

The debate over vaccinating children

Throughout this pandemic one group in particular have been at the forefront of key policy debates: young people. But as we’ve learnt more about the virus, a new fault-line has emerged: the question of how and when to vaccinate young people.

Jul 7, 2021 • 14m 34s

The $660 million election slush fund

A scathing new report has found that in the lead-up to the last election the federal government spent more than half a billion dollars on infrastructure projects heavily targeted to seats held by the Coalition, or seats they were trying to win. Today, Karen Middleton on what happens when hundreds of millions of dollars and 47 car parks meet a federal election.

Jun 10, 2021 • 18m 15s

It’s textbook ‘how not to run a war’

After 20 years of war, Australia gave three days’ notice before closing its embassy in Kabul. But the decision leaves hundreds of local staff vulnerable to retaliation by the Taliban.

May 12, 2021 • 15m 23s

Josh Frydenberg's big-spending budget

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has handed down what is expected to be the government’s last budget before the next federal election. Today, chief political correspondent for The Saturday Paper Karen Middleton on what’s in the budget, and what it says about the government’s political priorities.

May 3, 2021 • 17m 46s

The government vs. Grace Tame

The Morrison government has ordered an urgent review of the Australian of the Year award process. It denies the review is linked to Grace Tame’s appointment, but comes after criticism from the outspoken Australian of the Year.

Apr 28, 2021 • 16m 40s

What Peter Dutton did next

Peter Dutton has long been one of the most controversial ministers in the federal government. Now, at a time of rising global tension, especially in our region, he’s become the minister for Defence. Today, Karen Middleton on Peter Dutton’s new job, and the concerns already being raised in the Defence community.

Apr 20, 2021 • 14m 42s

The fight to overhaul Australia’s vaccine rollout

Federal and state governments are locked in a high stakes battle over the future of Australia’s vaccine rollout. On Monday Scott Morrison held an emergency meeting of the national cabinet to develop a new vaccine strategy. Today, Karen Middleton on where Australia’s rollout went wrong, and the plan state governments are pushing for.

Mar 16, 2021 • 18m 28s

As Australians march for justice, Christian Porter sues

Thousands of Australians marched in cities and towns across the country yesterday. The protests were sparked by allegations of sexual harassment and assault in federal parliament. Today, Karen Middleton on the march for justice, and whether the government is taking notice.

Mar 3, 2021 • 16m 52s

The sexual assault crisis that rocked Australia

A cabinet minister in the federal government has been accused of rape, but he hasn’t been publicly identified and the Prime Minister has so far refused to initiate an inquiry into the allegations. Today, Karen Middleton on the sexual assault crisis that has rocked the country.

Feb 18, 2021 • 16m 16s

Tanya Plibersek: Labor after Covid-19

As Labor prepares for a possible early election, Tanya Plibersek says the party is ready to confront the government over shortcomings in its handling of the pandemic.

Dec 17, 2020 • 16m 19s

Dutton’s new plan to spy on Australians

The federal government has proposed new laws that would give federal police the power to spy on Australian citizens. But the decision contradicts the government’s own review into national intelligence. Today, Karen Middleton on the controversial expansion of national security laws.

Dec 10, 2020 • 18m 06s

Locked up for being sick

The passage of the medevac legislation last year allowed sick refugees in offshore detention to travel to Australia. The legislation was bitterly opposed by the federal government. Now those refugees say they’re being punished as a result. Today, Karen Middleton on what happens when a government is forced to implement a law it opposed.

Dec 3, 2020 • 15m 48s

The climate threat to Australia’s leaders

Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese are caught between a global shift towards more serious climate action and pro-coal members of their respective parties. Today, Karen Middleton on how Australia’s political leaders are grappling with climate policy.

Nov 23, 2020 • 17m 44s

Who is responsible for Australia’s war crimes?

Detailed accusations that Australian soldiers in Afghanistan committed war crimes have drawn widespread condemnation from around the world. But who is ultimately responsible? Today, Karen Middleton on the disturbing and shocking allegations involving Australia’s most elite military unit, and our collective shame.

Nov 17, 2020 • 14m 46s

Sacked after speaking up

Recent scandals and allegations of workplace bullying have put the spotlight on the treatment of women in Parliament. Today, Karen Middleton on the unique power dynamic between politicians and the people who work for them.

Oct 26, 2020 • 17m 11s

Australia’s diplomatic blind spot

Australia’s relationship with Indonesia has a significant impact on our culture, economy and national security. But despite our proximity, it’s often been a relationship defined by tension as well as indifference. Today, Karen Middleton on Australia’s regional blind spot, and why it’s time we started engaging more closely with South-East Asia.

Oct 7, 2020 • 14m 55s

Budget 2020: Getting on with the jobs

Josh Frydenberg’s second budget is a world away from the surplus he was predicting last year. Now, in the middle of a pandemic, debt is on track to hit $1 trillion and the Treasurer is talking up a jobs-led recovery.

Sep 15, 2020 • 14m 33s

The politics of a coronavirus vaccine

A coronavirus vaccine is the best chance the world has of returning to some kind of normal, but the stalling of one of the most viable candidates last week was a reminder that nothing is guaranteed. Today, Karen Middleton on the Australian government’s plans and the likelihood of a vaccine in 2021.

Aug 20, 2020 • 14m 27s

Another death in detention

The Australian government is currently holding over fifteen hundred people in immigration detention centres across the country, and many have been detained for years. Today, Karen Middleton on the fate of one those detainees, and the secrecy surrounding our immigration detention.

Jul 22, 2020 • 17m 59s

A night at the opera: How Whitlam and Kerr fell out

After a 10-year legal battle, the “palace letters” were finally released last week. They show exactly how Gough Whitlam’s relationship with the governor-general broke down.

Jul 15, 2020 • 15m 37s

Setting up for the second wave

With Victoria one week into its second shutdown, and NSW on high alert, there are new fears about what a second wave could mean for Australia’s coronavirus recovery.

Jul 9, 2020 • 14m 25s

Morrison’s rule by ‘Henry VIII’ clauses

During Covid-19, the government has been increasingly using ‘Henry VIII’ clauses to bypass the parliament and make laws that are never voted on.

May 18, 2020 • 16m 34s

The push to expand ASIO’s powers

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has recently introduced legislation to expand the surveillance powers available to Australia’s domestic spy agency. Lawyers and civil rights groups are concerned the proposed laws are too broad. Today, Karen Middleton on the attempt to expand ASIO’s powers in the midst of a pandemic.

May 13, 2020 • 15m 59s

Australia’s worst coronavirus cluster

The decision to allow passengers on the Ruby Princess to disembark led to Australia’s biggest coronavirus cluster, and it’s now being investigated by a number of inquiries. Today, Karen Middleton on what happened in the hours leading up to the ship’s docking.

Apr 27, 2020 • 15m 50s

Anthony Albanese’s pandemic response

Labor leader Anthony Albanese is juggling the need to appear constructive while holding the government to account. But what does the public actually want from their opposition during this crisis? Today, Karen Middleton on the Opposition’s tactics in a pandemic.

Apr 14, 2020 • 14m 15s

The other holes in Australia’s quarantine

Confusion between different levels of government has exposed flaws in Australia’s strict quarantine measures, and they go beyond the case of the Ruby Princess. Today, Karen Middleton on the other holes in Australia’s quarantine.

Apr 6, 2020 • 14m 40s

Surviving the economic turmoil of coronavirus

What happens when everyone in a household loses work because of coronavirus? Today we look at the human cost of unemployment and what the government is doing to help people survive.

Feb 24, 2020 • 11m 39s

How billions in government spending could be unlawful

In the past year, the government has directed nearly $5 billion to various schemes using a process lawyers say is likely unconstitutional.

Jan 29, 2020 • 14m 55s

Sports grants are the tip of the iceberg

As the government deals with the Bridget McKenzie scandal, questions are being asked about other larger grant programs.

Dec 19, 2019 • 13m 34s

What is Labor doing on coal?

Anthony Albanese says ending Australian coal exports won’t halt climate change. He says we need to cut emissions, but Adani should get on with it and start digging in the Galilee Basin.

Dec 12, 2019 • 16m 57s

What happened to David Savage

Seven years ago, David Savage was injured while working for the Australian government in Afghanistan. He has fought since to have his compensation settled and the truth of what happened acknowledged.

Nov 20, 2019 • 15m 48s

The cabinet maker

Since becoming prime minister, Scott Morrison has stamped himself on the cabinet process. There will be more PowerPoints, and less debate about issues he sees as being routine.

Nov 14, 2019 • 15m 04s

ASIO officers broke law on warrant

We don’t know what exactly happened or what ASIO was investigating; those details are secret. We do know that early last year the spy agency broke the law while conducting an operation.

Oct 23, 2019 • 17m48s

Out of office

As Labor waits for a review of its election loss, and another into the operations of its NSW branch, Anthony Albanese is wrestling with divisions inside the party.

Oct 17, 2019 • 15m14s

Cash and the black economy

New legislation will restrict the way Australians use cash. But there are concerns the laws could jail people for using legal tender.

Sep 4, 2019 • 14m53s

American secrets

As Brian Toohey releases his major book on national security in Australia, he reveals that American spies have been working here without detection.

Jul 30, 2019 •

Cyber spy powers

Home Affairs is pushing for new powers to allow the Australian Signals Directorate to embed in corporate computer systems – transforming the body into one that disrupts crime and other attacks.

Jul 23, 2019 • 15m50s

On Uluru

Despite hopes that were placed in Ken Wyatt as minister, Scott Morrison says there will be no constitutional enshrinement of an Indigenous Voice to parliament. Karen Middleton on the campaign to keep the Voice alive.

Jul 9, 2019 • 16m50s

Cancelling citizens

As the government produces legislation to temporarily ban foreign fighters from returning to Australia, there is growing concern over whether existing citizenship legislation is unconstitutional.

Jul 1, 2019 • 14m59s

Morrison’s inner circle

Scott Morrison’s inner circle is a group linked by faith and friendship – and now, the front bench. Their ties were confirmed during the leadership spill last year.

Jun 11, 2019 • 15m13s

Sacking Scott Morrison

Before entering parliament, Scott Morrison ran Tourism Australia. He was sacked by the minister, but the details of what happened have never been made public.

Jun 3, 2019 • 19m 20s

Albanese speaking

Anthony Albanese didn’t always expect to be Labor leader but now he’s in the job, he’s not going anywhere.

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513: War games and an espionage arms race