Browse episodes by:
All episodes by Mike Seccombe
The men who killed the Liberal Party
The Liberal Party is now in the political wilderness. The immediate reaction to the recent federal election focused on Scott Morrison’s personal approval and a series of scandals in the last term of government. But is there a bigger decline happening? Is something irreparably broken inside what was once Australia’s most electorally successful political party?
The Vote: What are the Coalition actually offering?
On the weekend, the Coalition launched its campaign, just six days before the election. The centrepiece of the launch was a new housing policy, which it promises will help more young people to buy a home, by allowing them to take money out of their superannuation. But will the scheme really help new home buyers or is it too little, too late?
The Vote: What are Labor actually offering?
The Labor Party officially launched their campaign on Sunday, unveiling new policies and making their most comprehensive pitch to voters so far. But the policy offering remains slimmer than it was three years ago, which is part of what has been described as the party’s small target strategy. Today, national correspondent for The Saturday Paper, Mike Seccombe on the Labor Party’s policy platform and the demographic data that shaped it.
The Human Rights Commission could flunk its next exam
An international body recently threatened to downgrade the status of Australia’s Human Rights Commission. Today, Mike Seccombe on the state of the Human Rights Commission and what a downgrade would mean for Australia’s voice on the world stage.
Morrison’s counterfeit carbon economy
Australia's pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions relies in part on the success of the federal government’s carbon market. But explosive claims show almost all the money spent on emissions reduction has gone to projects that did not contribute to reductions. Today, Mike Seccombe on the man blowing the whistle on the Morrison government’s sham carbon projects.
Why Angus Taylor tanked Australia’s carbon market
A few weeks ago, Energy Minister Angus Taylor made changes to the Australian carbon market that crashed the value of government-issued carbon credits. The changes made it cheaper for big companies to pollute. They also cost the government as much as $3.5 billion. Today, Mike Seccombe on why Taylor did it and what it means.
Why no one’s calling Angus Taylor
Across Australia, energy companies are beginning to realise they need to rely less on fossil fuels, and redirect their strategy to renewables and green energy. But there’s one big barrier to this transition: the federal government. Today, Mike Seccombe on how the Morrison government lost the trust of the energy sector.
What happened to the Greens?
Climate change might be one of the biggest political issues on the agenda for the upcoming federal election, but the party most associated with environmental policy is struggling to cut through. According to the latest opinion polls, the Greens are finding it hard to connect with voters. Today, Mike Seccombe on the challenges facing Australia’s third party.
The revolt over the Religious Discrimination Bill
The political debate around the the religious discrimination bill has exposed enormous divisions in the Liberal party and raised important questions about how we treat some of the nation’s most vulnerable children. Today, Mike Seccombe on the revolt over the Religious Discrimination Bill, and the political faultlines the bill has exposed.
The cost of Australia’s shadow lockdown
Every day tens of thousands of people are being forced into isolation. Supply chains are falling apart, consumers are staying home either because they’re sick or simply because they don’t want to risk contracting the virus. Today Mike Seccombe, on how this so-called shadow lockdown is much worse than any government mandated shutdown of the past two years.
Scott Morrison vs. the Liberal Party
When Gladys Berejiklian spectacularly resigned as Premier of NSW, most people expected that would be the end of her political career. But then - she was publicly encouraged by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to make a comeback - to run for federal parliament. Today, Mike Seccombe on the real reason Scott Morrison wanted to enlist Gladys.
The independent insurgency threatening the Liberals
Traditionally the Liberal Party’s biggest threat at federal elections is the Labor Party, but this time they’re facing an insurgency in their heartland. Today, Mike Seccombe on what is motivating this wave of independents, and how they could end up shaping the future of Australian politics.
The takeover of a green energy company by an oil giant
Powershop’s focus on renewables investment and political advocacy is responsible for its rapid rise in popularity in the Australian energy market. In a shock announcement to its customers, Powershop announced it had been sold to one of the world’s biggest polluters. Today, Mike Seccombe on the sale of Powershop, and what it tells us about the future of green energy in Australia.
Scott Morrison’s secret climate weapon
According to the Prime Minister, the economic impact of the Coalition's plan to reach net zero won’t be that significant. But at the last election Scott Morrison had a very different position when he was opposing Labor’s emissions reduction policy. Today, Mike Seccombe on the documents that reveal who’s behind the federal government’s climate modelling and what it tells us about the way science is being spun for political purposes.
The Gladys Berejiklian phone taps
Last week former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian fronted the Independent Commission Against Corruption and was asked candid questions about the nature of her relationship with former MP Daryl Maguire. Today, Mike Seccombe on what happened when Gladys Berejiklian went to ICAC, and what the corruption investigation reveals about NSW politics.
How Australia could wreck the Glasgow climate summit
Right now, world leaders are gearing up for the COP26 climate summit. While many developed nations are preparing to commit to strong emissions reduction targets, Australia remains an outlier. Today,Mike Seccombeon how Australia might undermine global efforts to stop runaway climate change.
The billionaire and the conspiracy theorist
Clive Palmer's party, the United Australia Party, is back with a new leader - Craig Kelly. Kelly, a former Liberal MP known for his controversial views, says that under his leadership the United Australia Party is stronger and bigger than ever. Today, Mike Seccombe on what impact the Palmer-Kelly alliance could have on the next federal election.
Inside the Coalition’s climate war
The Prime Minister Scott Morrison has so far refused growing international pressure to commit to net zero emissions by 2050. Now he’s facing a concerted push from MPs in his own party to embrace the policy. But on the other side of the Coalition, right-wing Nationals are refusing to budge. Today, Mike Seccombe on how climate politics has wedged Scott Morrison.
Why Gladys Berejiklian resigned
On Friday the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian suddenly resigned. Her shocking departure from the top job has left the state in political turmoil in the midst of a pandemic. It's also raised important questions about political accountability and transparency. Today, Mike Seccombe on why Gladys Berejiklian resigned and what happens next in New South Wales.
The battle inside the Catholic Church
The Catholic Church has historically been one of the most powerful institutions in Australia, but in response to its current crisis, a once-in-a-century meeting is being organised to discuss its future. This plenary is pitting church reformists against conservatives, with Cardinal George Pell making a surprise return to the country to try and influence the debate. Today, Mike Seccombe on the influence the Catholic Church has on Australia and the battle for its future.
Why your next car will be electric
Governments and car manufacturers all over the world are preparing for a future where most vehicles will be powered by electricity. But in Australia there’s no national policy on electric vehicles and, as a result, the country is falling behind the rest of the world. Today, Mike Seccombe on how electric cars are poised to take over and what Australia needs to do to keep up.
Angus Taylor's fossil fuel handouts
As scientists continue to warn about the impacts of climate change, the federal government is spending big to help prop up the gas industry. One company which has links to the Liberal Party, has been the sole beneficiary of a government fund established to help drill for gas in the Northern Territory. Today, Mike Seccombe on why Australia continues to subsidise fossil fuels.
NSW abandons Covid Zero
Unlike the rest of the country, NSW appears to be abandoning its intention of eliminating the virus and reaching zero cases of community transmission. Today, Mike Seccombe on the NSW strategy to deal with the virus and what it might mean for the rest of the nation.
Is hosting the Olympics worth it?
Hosting the Olympics is an honour that cities have competed for over a century. It’s seen as recognition of a nation’s economic superiority, and a source of national pride. But, is winning the bid to host the Games really worth it? Today, Mike Seccombe on the power of the IOC, and its vice president, John Coates.
The Liberal factions pushing out Scott Morrison
Scott Morrison has regularly praised NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian for her government’s so-called ‘gold standard’ approach to contact tracing, and unwillingness to enter lockdown. But behind the surface there are growing tensions between key Liberal party figures in NSW and the federal government. Today, Mike Seccombe on how factionalism and mishandled pandemic are weakening Scott Morrison’s influence in his home state.
How an unlikely trio stopped China funding Australia’s biggest coal mine
Four years ago the mining giant Adani was struggling to fund its massive coal project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. So they turned to the Chinese government to try and secure financing. Today, Mike Seccombe on how a group of Australians stopped China from backing Adani, and what the story says about our approach to fossil fuels.
Why Frydenberg lobbied to sack Australia’s biggest energy boss
Six years ago one Australian energy company tried to shift from coal to renewables. Now, new details have emerged showing the role played by the federal government in stopping that from happening. Today, Mike Seccombe on how ideology keeps trumping economics when it comes to Australia’s climate policies.
The scientist who predicted the death of the reef
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, but now it’s on the cusp of being declared “in danger” by UNESCO. But scientists have been warning for decades that rising sea temperatures could kill off the Reef. Today, Mike Seccombe on the scientist who predicted the end of the reef, and why the Australian government doesn’t want to listen to him.
What’s next for Christian Porter
Christian Porter’s decision to settle his defamation suit against the ABC is the end of one battle. But the former attorney-general, accused of a historic rape he strenuously denies, is still fighting on at least two other fronts.
Australia breaches international law, again
Last month, under the cover of the federal budget, the Coalition government rushed through new laws legalising the indefinite detention of refugees. Today, Mike Seccombe on how Australia got to this point, and what it means for those seeking safety in our country.
The government's war on charities
The Morrison government is contemplating new laws which could see charities held responsible for minor legal breaches by their members and supporters. The sector says the changes are an attempt to stifle protest. Today, Mike Seccombe on why the government is targeting charities, and what the changes could mean.
How Australia is blocking global climate action
World leaders are preparing to meet for a historic global climate change summit, to try and limit the catastrophic impacts of global warming. But Australia has already been singled out as a roadblock to taking serious climate action. Today, Mike Seccombe on the global shift towards tackling climate change, and how Australia could hold everything back.
Big government is back, but not in Australia
Both the United States and the UK have recently announced policies to increase their tax rates, and spend the revenue on new social policies, as part of their economic response to the pandemic. But Australia is bucking the trend. Today, Mike Seccombe on what Australia’s economic recovery plan is, and who stands to benefit.
How these billionaires doubled their wealth during a pandemic
For many Australians the pandemic has led to some kind of economic hardship, but while workers have suffered some of Australia’s billionaires doubled their wealth during one of the worst global recessions on record. Today, Mike Seccombe on how badly implemented government policy combined with pure luck to make the country’s richest even richer.
First came the fires, then the floods
Nearly 20,000 people have been evacuated as Australia’s east coast suffers from the worst floods in more than half a century. NSW’s mid-north coast, one of the worst hit regions, was also devastated by the Black Summer bushfires. Today, a first-hand view of the floods, and what the increasing severity of wild weather events is telling us about climate change.
Why is Australia’s vaccine rollout taking so long?
Australia’s Covid-19 vaccination rollout is already behind schedule, but while the headlines have focused on issues with supply and delivery, there are much deeper problems. Today, Mike Seccombe on the challenges to the federal government’s vaccination plan, and what’s at stake if we don’t get it right.
Why won’t house prices go down?
Australian property prices have just hit a record high -– despite predictions the market would crash during the pandemic. So what will it take for prices to go down?
The world is embracing climate action. Why isn't Australia?
All over the world governments are abandoning fossil fuels like coal and gas, and embracing renewable energy, leaving Australia isolated and economically vulnerable. Today, Mike Seccombe on the new climate policies sweeping the globe and how Australia is already being left behind.
The Liberal minister forcing action on climate
The Liberal party has historically been handbrake on serious climate action, but in NSW one minister is pushing through ambitious environmental policy. Today, Mike Seccombe talks to Matt Kean, the Liberal minister forcing action on climate change.
The laws letting miners destroy sacred sites
Rio Tinto’s destruction of the Juukan Gorge caves sparked a global backlash, and now a parliamentary inquiry is exploring what needs to change. Today, Mike Seccombe on how the system locks out traditional owners, and the cross-party alliance of federal politicians pushing for reform.
Rudd, Turnbull and the Murdoch cancer
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is under assault, with two former Prime Ministers, from opposite sides of politics, uniting in their criticism of the media company. Today, Mike Seccombe on whether the world’s biggest media empire might actually be under threat.
Australia’s new convict age
In recent years Australia has seen an acceleration in law and order style electioneering, and it’s led to a record high incarceration rate. Today, Mike Seccombe, on who gets jailed in Australia and what needs to change.
Public office with (alleged) benefits
A week after her secret relationship with a politician being investigated over corruption was first revealed, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is still facing questions over what she knew. Today, Mike Seccombe on what the premier’s connection to a disgraced MP means for her political future.
James Packer shows his hand
Over the past few weeks an inquiry into Crown Resorts, Australia’s largest gambling company, has laid bare a culture of risk taking and threats. It’s also embroiled one of the company’s biggest shareholders. Today, Mike Seccombe on James Packer’s extraordinary evidence, and what’s at stake for Crown.
The NSW Koala War
When the NSW National Party threatened to break up the state’s Coalition over the issue of koalas many were mystified. But behind the political fireworks lies a story about a party being squeezed from both the right and the left. Today, Mike Seccombe on the Nationals fight for survival.
Rupert Murdoch's next move
Australia has one of the most concentrated media markets in the world, and that concentration could worsen as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp launches a new service. Today, Mike Seccombe, on how the Australian Associated Press was nearly shut down, and now faces the prospect of being starved out.
5 Reasons Facebook Is Ditching News (You Won't Believe Number 3)
After lobbying from the Murdoch press and Nine newspapers, the government is trying to force Google and Facebook to pay for journalism. The tech giants have responded by threatening to stop sharing news from Australian outlets. Today, Mike Seccombe on the battle that will shape the future of media in this country.
How branch stacking helps conservatives
Serious allegations of branch stacking and factional warfare have engulfed both major parties in recent months, and the latest example even implicates senior federal ministers. Today, Mike Seccombe on why branch stacking has become more common, and how it’s influencing key policies.
Supercharging the generational wealth gap
The federal government’s decision to give workers access to their superannuation accounts risks dramatically increasing Australia’s generational wealth gap. Today, Mike Seccombe on how the government is reshaping the fundamental purpose of superannuation.
Reaganomics is back, baby
As Treasurer Josh Frydenburg praises Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan’s economic policies, a controversial recovery plan is gaining traction. In today’s episode, Mike Seccombe discusses whether Australia can spend its way out of the crisis.
Coronavirus and the rise of "zombie charities"
With volunteers staying at home due to Covid and donations drying up, there are serious concerns about the viability of Australia’s charity sector. Today, Mike Seccombe on the challenges charities are facing, and what we might lose if they collapse.
The power of tradesmen
As Scott Morrison announces his HomeBuilder scheme, there are serious questions about who it serves and how powerful tradesmen have become as a political bloc.
When is a bushfire like a coronavirus?
Instead of making us forget the bushfires, evidence suggests coronavirus will make us more conscious of the need for change. The urgent response to the pandemic makes political arguments against climate action less credible.
The Accord according to Morrison
Scott Morrison’s appeal for a new compact between workers and business has reminded some of Bob Hawke’s 1980s Accord.
Who is really planning Australia’s economic comeback?
The Prime Minister has appointed a panel of business leaders to develop a blueprint for the country’s economic recovery, but there are serious questions over how they were picked. Today, Mike Seccombe on the vested interests leading this panel and what they’re pushing for.
The ABC’s funding crisis
ABC staff are revealing the pressure they are under as the public broadcaster absorbs huge budget cuts. Today, Mike Seccombe on the role the ABC plays during a national crisis and the future of the national broadcaster.
The 160,000 jobs lost while the government waited
Serious questions are being asked about whether the timing of the government’s economic relief packages may have actually led to job losses. Today, Mike Seccombe on the flaws in our rescue package that could have cost 160,000 jobs.
The generation “done over” by coronavirus
Younger workers are bearing the brunt of the current economic downturn, just like they did during the GFC. Today, Mike Seccombe on how the pandemic is fuelling generational inequality.
The coronavirus endgame
As the number of coronavirus infections in Australia stabilises, talk has turned to how and when this crisis might end. Today, Mike Seccombe weighs up the different exit-strategies and analyses the coronavirus end game.
What governments are hiding behind coronavirus
While the country’s attention has been focused on the fight against coronavirus, Energy Minister Angus Taylor has forged ahead with a plan to prop up a coal-fired power generator. Today, Mike Seccombe on the push to undermine environmental protections during this crisis.
Policing a pandemic
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, police have been granted extensive new powers to crack down on public association, private gatherings and travel. Today, Mike Seccombe on how Australia is policing a pandemic.
Hoaxes, lies and coronavirus
With misinformation about coronavirus rampant, we look at what the spread of the virus is telling us about news, social media, and who we trust.
Coronavirus, part two: How the government failed
Medical experts say that the government’s slow response to the coronavirus outbreak has left Australia exposed. In part two of our series on COVID-19, Mike Seccombe on the challenge our country and health system is facing.
Trust in the time of coronavirus
Public trust in government is at an all time low, just as we’re turning to our political leaders to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
Labor’s climate smokescreen
Labor has now got an emissions target, but no mechanism for getting there. The party’s current position is a far cry from the world-leading climate policies the party used to champion. Mike Seccombe on how Labor lost its nerve.
The minister for nuclear power
Meet Keith Pitt - climate sceptic, coal evangelist and the parliament’s most strident nuclear advocate. He’s also the new minister for Water and Resources.
Did Clive Palmer buy an election for $84 million?
From the point of view of his failed candidates, Clive Palmer’s campaign was a success. So what does $84 million buy you at an election?
Australia’s secret emissions target
Every state and territory government in Australia has a target of net zero emissions by 2050. What are the benefits, and the risks, of the states defying the federal government?
Brendan Nelson’s gravy sandwich
As minister for defence, Brendan Nelson controversially spent $6.6 billion on Boeing fighter jets. Now he is running the company’s Australian division.
Angus Taylor’s hydrogen scandal
How the government – led by Angus Taylor and Matt Canavan – is ensuring Australia’s hydrogen industry is controlled by fossil fuels.
Thoughts and prayers are not enough
Last week, a million hectares of eastern Australia was burnt in catastrophic bushfires. In the main, politicians refused to acknowledge the science that links these fires to climate change.
Morrison’s darkest speech yet
Scott Morrison’s speech to the Queensland Resources Council has been called a defining moment in his leadership. Mike Seccombe on what it says about his “ordinary bloke” mask.
The death toll of inequality
In Australia, the gap in life expectancy between the rich and poor has reached 10 years – the outcome of “savage capitalism”.
Lock ’em up
Australia is almost alone its willingness to lock up primary-school-age children for criminal offences, but “tough on crime” politics means there is little will to change this.
Peter Dutton’s war on dissent
From anti-protest legislation to funding cuts, this government has waged war on dissent. In recent weeks, its rhetoric has intensified.
Almonds are the devil’s nut
The Murray–Darling Basin is being ruined by cronyism and incompetence. But there is a new problem, too: high-yield almond crops.
What’s eating Philip Lowe
Philip Lowe is the governor of the Reserve Bank. He is a conventional person who’s been pushed by the economy to make unconventional choices.
Christian Porter’s integrity commission
As ICAC exposes apparent corruption in NSW, focus is drawn on the government’s integrity commission, which, among other things, could not make findings of corruption.
The truth about wages
The reality of the wage debate in Australia is that companies are geared to pay dividends rather than to invest in growth – and the treasurer’s intervention does nothing to change that.
Is China a threat?
As Xi Jinping increases his power and ambition, there is tension over the influence China has in Australia. Progressive critics finds themselves aligned with right-wing voices.
On politics and gambling
The refusal of the major parties to hold a parliamentary inquiry into Crown Casino speaks to a larger relationship between politics and the gambling lobby. It’s not just donations: Labor draws millions in profits from poker machines it owns.
Game, Setka, match
As the Morrison government pushes for legislation to more easily deregister unions, there are questions over timing and the new laws’ real intent.
The case for raising Newstart
As the campaign to raise Newstart intensifies, details emerge of who is actually living on the payment and for how long.
The march of the older voter
As older voters become a larger and more powerful voting bloc, they are also becoming more organised.
The truth about small government
Scott Morrison’s signature achievement could be the tax cuts he legislated earlier this month – although not for the reasons he believes.
Scott Morrison and the Laffer napkin
Scott Morrison’s tax cuts are based on an American theory of economics trialled in the 1970s, but the evidence since suggests it does not work.
Looking for Mike Cannon-Brookes
As Al Gore continues his fight against climate change, Mike Cannon-Brookes has become the movement’s Australian face.