The Killing Season Uncut: behind the scenes with Sarah Ferguson

sarah fergusonBeing a fly on the wall when then Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard challenged Kevin Rudd for the leadership in June 2010 with no warning either to him or the Australian public is something many Australians would have loved. Why did she do it? And who was behind the push to topple one of the most popular Prime Minister’s Australia has ever had? This is what award winning journalist Sarah Ferguson set about finding out with her team from the ABC, and the result was The Killing Season documentary series. Remarkably not only did Ferguson coax both Rudd and Gillard to set out their version of events on camera, but over 100 key players, from senior Labor politicians to political advisors, came forward with their account too. Now Sarah Ferguson, along with Researcher Patricia Drum, has put more pieces of the puzzle together in the new book The Killing Season Uncut.

This interview first aired on The Wire

The degrading of a Prime Minister

gravityWhen a political leader breaks ground, their role is bound to be examined and analysed, with judgement ultimately cast in history books yet to be written. When that leader is Julia Gillard, the intrigue, scheming and sheer nastiness that surrounded her reign only adds to the desire to understand just how things went so wrong for our first female Prime Minister. So how will history judge Julia? And who was the person behind the “Ice Queen” persona?

This is what former Victorian Labor MP and author Mary Delahunty wanted to find out. Luckily for her, she was granted unique access to the PM in her last year in office. She got to see Julia Gillard in both public and private moments,and ask her how she kept going in the face of relentless degrading abuse.

Featured in story: Author and journalist Mary Delahunty

This story first appeared on The Wire


Secrets and lies – the mining tax explained

A triumphant Julia Gillard announced the passage of the Mineral Resources Rent Tax through the Lower House today, after a late night deal done with The Greens. But how much do we understand what the tax actually means ?
There’s now a lot of argument between the states and the federal government about the difference between the royalties tax – which states currently collect – and the new resources rent tax, which the federal government will collect.
Catherine Zengerer asks Crikey Canberra Correspondent Bernard Keane to explain the difference.
This interview first appeared on The Wire

Carbon Tax Now Law – but what does it mean for jobs?

By passing the Senate this week, the new carbon tax law will come into force on 1st July 2012.

Polluting industries will pay $23 per tonne of carbon. and households will be compensated for the extra costs through tax cuts and increased benefits.

But what will it mean for jobs?

Mitch Hart is an organiser with Union Climate Connectors visiting workers across Australia and talking about their concerns.


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This interview first appeared on Your Rights at Night

Climate change greater than refugee concern at Pacific Island forum

Questions around how Julia Gillard will respond to the failure of the Malaysian asylum seeker deal continue to dog the PM at the Pacific Island Conference in New Zealand today. And New Zealand PM John Keys has been skirting around questions about a deal with Australia on how to handle refugees. But those aren’t the only issues on the agenda.

For many pacific islands, climate change is a far bigger threat than the occasional wayward boat. And that’s what’s brought UN Chief Ban Ki Moon to the land of the long white cloud, fresh from Kiribati – and with a clear message for pacific island nations including Australia.

Catherine Zengerer caught up with Selwyn Manning – Editorial manager and director of news site – to find out how the pre-conference talks were progressing.


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This story first appeared on The Wire

Manufacturing – how will it survive the economic climate in Australia?

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for steel workers at BlueScope Steel, after the company announced over 1000 jobs losses over its two operations in Port Kembla and Hastings. Now, members of the Australian Worker’s Union are angry at BlueScope’s redundancy offer, which they says is inadequate, particularly when BlueScope executives just awarded themselves a hefty payrise.

The Gillard government have offered 10 million dollars in assistance, but what will this mean for these workers in practical terms?  And how will the manufacturing industry deal with the twin issues of the high dollar and the looming carbon tax?

Catherine Zengerer catches up with John Spoehr,  Executive Director of the Australian Institute for Social Research at the University of Adelaide, who’s spent  considerable time looking at these issues. He mapped the effect of massive job losses in Newcastle and what happened to the workers there over the long term.


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