After a week of finger pointing between the federal government and some of Australia’s states and territories over COVID-19 management and the vaccine rollout, Mark Kenny speaks with federalism scholar Tracy Beck Fenwick and media expert Margaret Simons about how the federation is functioning.

Is the sense of national unity between the federal government and the states and territories, perhaps best demonstrated through the early days of the National Cabinet, now gone? Is federalism the problem in these increasingly fractious relationships or just a convenient scapegoat? And what role does the media play in their reporting on COVID-19, especially around misinformation? On this episode of Democracy Sausage, Director of the Australian Centre for Federalism Dr Tracy Beck Fenwick and Dr Margaret Simons from the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Advancing Journalism join Professor Mark Kenny to discuss these questions and more.

Tracy Beck Fenwick is the Director of the Australian Centre for Federalism and Senior Lecturer in the School of Politics in the College of Arts and Social Sciences at The Australian National University.

Margaret Simons is an award-winning freelance journalist, author, and Honorary Principal Fellow at the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Advancing Journalism.

Mark Kenny is a Senior Fellow in the ANU Australian Studies Institute. He came to the university after a high-profile journalistic career including six years as chief political correspondent and national affairs editor for The Sydney Morning HeraldThe Age, and The Canberra Times.

Democracy Sausage with Mark Kenny is available on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. We’d love to hear your feedback for this podcast series! Send in your questions, comments, or suggestions for future episodes to You can also Tweet us @APPSPolicyForum or join us on the Facebook group.

This podcast is produced in partnership with The Australian National University.

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