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14 January 2022

What conversations mattered most to you in 2021? To get rolling in 2022, we look back at your favourite Policy Forum Pod episodes from the last 12 months.

2021 was a big year for Policy Forum Pod, with hosts Sharon Bessell and Arnagretta Hunter taking the reins full time. We covered plenty of ground across 44 episodes, with mini-series on Indigenous wellbeing, leadership, work, and the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, plus a whole range of regular episodes.

But what were our audience’s favourites? To kick off the new year, let’s count down our top five most popular Policy Forum Pod episodes from 2021.


5. What’s at stake at the Glasgow climate conference?

What’s been achieved so far in international climate change negotiations? What lessons need to be learnt from both Australia’s Black Summer and the most recent wildfire season in North America? And what was at stake at COP26 in Glasgow? Recorded ahead of COP26, Robert Glasser from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute joined us to discuss these questions and more. Listen here:

Want to hear more? In the weeks following COP26, Dr Glasser joined us back on the pod, along with COP26 negotiator for Fiji Siobhan McDonnell, to reflect on what was achieved in Glasgow, what wasn’t, and what needs to happen over the next 12 months to ensure the next conference in Cairo is a success. Listen here:


4. Reimagining social security

Earlier in 2021, the Australian Government announced the first permanent increase to the country’s unemployment benefit in decades. But many from the social services sector and people out of work expressed dismay and fear at the size of the increase, which amounted to less than $4 a day. Social policy researcher Elise Klein joined Sharon Bessell on this episode to talk through what this policy change would mean for people without work and why those receiving benefits are subject to increasing controls and surveillance. Listen here:


3. The meaning of Country

What is Country and why is it significant for Indigenous Australians? Will Australian governments recognise First Nations Australians as the key decision-makers and knowledge holders of environmental management? And what impact would better policy in this area have on the wellbeing of Indigenous people? On the first episode in our mini-series on Indigenous wellbeing, lawyer, legal scholar, and water expert Virginia Marshall joined us to talk about the meaning of Country. Listen here:


2. The future of the public servant

What role does history play in shaping the values of a particular civil service? How do public servants negotiate issues of integrity and ethics when political leaders are under investigation for unethical or corrupt behaviour? And what does the future look like for the public service? Helen Sullivan, Helen Dickinson, and Hayley Henderson, editors of the new Palgrave Handbook of the Public Servant, joined us to talk about public administration beyond the pandemic. Listen here:


1. Political leadership in Australia

In an increasingly uncertain world, the call for effective political leadership is a loud one. But are Australia’s present-day leaders responding? How are outdated stereotypes about leadership influencing Australia’s political culture? And how do country’s current leaders compare to those of recent history and from around the world? In our most popular episode of 2021, historians Frank Bongiorno and Chris Wallace joined us to take a look at the history of Australian political leadership to kick off our mini-series on leadership and democracy. Listen here:

What issues would you like to see covered on Policy Forum Pod in 2022? Leave us a comment below or share your thoughts via Twitter or join our Facebook group. You can subscribe to the show on Acast, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Subscribe on Android or wherever you get your podcasts.

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