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1 February 2021

It was a year that had it all for policymakers, and Policy Forum Pod was there every step of the way.

To kick off 2021, Policy Forum has been sharing our most popular podcast episodes of the last year. First up, the team whet your appetite for politics and public affairs with the best of Democracy Sausage with Mark Kenny from 2020. Then, we pulled back the curtain to reveal your top five episodes of the National Security Podcast. Now, we’re bringing you the year’s top five episodes of Policy Forum Pod to complete this countdown trilogy.

From last summer’s bushfires to the global COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 presented more than its fair share of challenges. Across almost 60 new episodes, the Policy Forum Pod team covered the big issues and the important topics that were going under the radar. So whether you’re a policymaker looking to make sense of it all or just interested in learning more about some of the most important public policy issues in Australia and the region, there’s no better way to kick off 2021 than with our listeners’ top five episodes of 2020.


5. Coping in isolation – mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, everyday people have developed a whole new lexicon of isolation, with words like ‘iso’ and ‘lockdown’ becoming parlance. But while physical distancing measures have been critical to controlling the spread of the virus, they have taken a toll on people’s mental health. On our fifth most popular episode of the year, Luis Salvador-Carulla and Sebastian Rosenberg joined us to discuss Australia’s mental health system might cope with any surge in demand, the role of telehealth, and what ordinary members of the community were doing to support each other. Listen here:


4. More than just a flesh wound

In August, some 13.9 per cent of Australians aged 20-24 were unemployed. At the same time, the outbreak in Victoria had just peaked, with the state recording 725 daily cases on 5 August. This left many young people in particular wondering how the crisis and the recession to come might impact their careers and economic prospects. In 2020’s fourth most popular episode, we heard from Ariadne Vromen, Robert Gregory and Matthew Gray about whether the wounds being inflicted on young people through the coronavirus crisis will heal, or leave a long-term mark on their futures. Listen here:


3. Can infrastructure get Australia’s economy back on track?

In May, Australia was just emerging from lockdown, and we asked Sara Bice and Kirsty O’Connell about the role that infrastructure could play in reinvigorating Australia’s post-pandemic economy. In our third most popular episode, the panel discussed how policymakers can consult appropriately to get infrastructure right, and what future projects could look like as we all continue to live with the impacts of COVID-19. Listen here:


2. Can policymakers detoxify social media?

Social media has given people the opportunity to connect with each other and voice their opinions, but it can also be a place where hate and anti-social behaviour is rampant. In this episode, Jennifer Hunt, Jenny Davis, and Yun Jiang joined us to take a look at what policymakers can do to tackle toxic behaviour online. Coming in second in our countdown, this episode also serves as a reminder that all social media users have a responsibility to make these platforms safer and more respectful places. Listen here:


1. WHO’s to blame? International organisations in the COVID-19 crisis

In April, President Donald Trump decided to withdraw American funding from the World Health Organization (WHO) over its handling of the COVID-19 crisis. And whilst WHO head, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, defended the organisation’s response, critical voices said that it was too slow to adapt its public health guidance to the latest research insights. In this episode, which takes the crown as our most popular of 2020, Helen Sullivan and Christian Downie put international organisations’ pandemic responses under the microscope. They also discussed how Australia and other small and medium-sized nations can ensure these organisations are working for the global public good, rather than as vehicles for major power competition. Listen here:


What issues would you like to see covered on Policy Forum Pod in 2021? Leave us a comment below or share your thoughts via Twitter.

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One Response

  1. soundos says:

    thanks for published.

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