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Andrew Boe on Australia's flawed justice system in The Truth Hurts

Drawing on his experiences as a child of Burmese migrants fleeing a military junta and his evolution from a naive law clerk, too shy to speak, into a lawyer whose ponytailed flamboyance and unbridled willingness to speak truth to power riled many within the legal establishment, Andrew Boe delves into cases he found unable to leave behind. These cases have shaped who he has become.

Taking us from a case of traditional punishment gone wrong in the Gibson Desert to deaths in police custody on Palm Island and in Yuendumu in the Northern Territory - places where race relations are often stalled in a colonial time warp - to an isolated rural home, and the question of what is self-defence after decades of domestic abuse; to cases of children abandoned, 'stolen' and then fought over; and into prison interview rooms and courthouses around the country where Boe defended serial killers, rapists, child sex offenders, murderers as well as the odd politician - he holds fast to the premise that either every one of us is entitled to the presumption of innocence or none of us are.

In this episode, Andrew joins Max Lewis to expand on The Truth Hurts - explaining our misconception that the justice system is designed to find the truth, and the effect of the Black Lives Matter movement on this country's tragedy of Indigenous deaths in custody.


Paddy Manning shares the human cost of climate change in Body Count

Suddenly, when the country caught fire, people realised what the government has not: that climate change is killing us. But climate deaths didn’t start in 2019. Medical officers have been warning of a health emergency as temperatures rise for years, and for at least a decade Australians have been dying from the plagues of climate change – from heat, flood, disease, smoke. And now, pandemic.

In this detailed, considered, compassionate book, Paddy Manning paints us the big picture. He revisits some headline events which might have faded in our memory, and brings to our attention less well-publicised killers. In each case, he has interviewed scientists to explore the link to climate change and asks how – indeed, whether – we can better prepare ourselves in the future.

In this episode, Paddy joins Max Lewis to open up about his experience in writing the book, and how the current climate disaster and COVID-19 pandemic have more in common than we might think.


Jamil Jivani on why young men are being turned to violence, and what we can do to stop it

The day after the 2015 Paris terror attacks, twenty-eight-year-old Canadian Jamil Jivani opened the newspaper to find that the men responsible were familiar to him. He didn’t know them, but the communities they grew up in and the challenges they faced mirrored the circumstances of his own life.

His book, Why Young Men traces Jivani’s education as an activist fighting one of today’s most dangerous and intractable problems: acts of violence by angry young men. Jivani relates his personal story, his work with disenfranchised people of colour in North America and at risk youth in the Middle East and Africa, and his experiences with the white working class. He profiles a diverse array of young men – and those trying to help them – drawing parallels between these groups, refuting the popular belief that they are radically different from each other, and offering concrete steps towards countering this global trend.

Jamil joined Max Lewis to chat about the process of writing the book and revisiting his adolescence, the role of the media in shaping identity, and what parents can do to make sure their sons aren't going down a dangerous path.

Truthteller by Stephen Davis


STEPHEN DAVIS on how we can win the War on Truth

There's a war on truth, and the liars are winning.

So goes the warning of veteran investigative journalist Stephen Davis about the state of our media landscape. In his new book, Truthteller, Stephen reveals the 'toolbox' of methods used by governments and corporations to mislead the public and dodge accountability.

Here he tells Angus Dalton fascinating stories from his life as a journalist, from M16 agents and Russian threats to an unresolved case of alleged murder in Sydney, and how we foot-soldiers can contribute to the War on Truth.


Breaking and Entering



JEREMY N SMITH on befriending a powerful hacker called Alien

At a local playground where his daughter was playing, writer Jeremy N Smith met a woman who turned out to be a cybersecurity expert and a seasoned hacker. They got talking about her life and Jeremy quickly became fascinated.

His new book, Breaking and Entering: The extraordinary story of a hacker called Alien, is the result of that chance meeting. It's a fascinating profile of a daring hacker, a deep-dive into the history of cybersecurity, and a troubling wake-up call for those of us who'd rather not think about how vulnerable we are to hackers in our hyper-connected world. 

Here Jeremy tells Angus Dalton about the death-defying form of hacking Alien was introduced to at MIT, and reveals why he's ditched using Google as a result of hanging out with hackers.


The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper


CHLOE HOOPER on the Black Saturday bushfires: ‘It was like lighting a bomb’

On 7 February, 2009, hundreds of bushfires tore across Victoria, taking 173 lives and destroying over 40 000 hectares of bushland and private property.

In this podcast, we sit down with with Walkley Award-winning author and journalist Chloe Hooper to speak about her new book The Arsonist, a captivating and haunting retelling of the Black Saturday bushfires through the eyes of those who were there, as well as the subsequent investigation and trial of firebug Brendan Sokaluk.

Chloe shares her own experience of the fires that swept past her house in Northern Victoria, discusses the role and response of governments when it comes to managing fires on a rapidly warming planet, and helps to answer the burning question: what kind of person is an arsonist?


Home by Ben Quilty 


BEN QUILTY on the book that should be in every school, lounge room and library

In 2016, Archibald Prize-winning artist Ben Quilty travelled with Richard Flanagan to places where the Syrian refugee crisis was peaking. He had no idea what to make of the experience until he met a young girl named Heba, and asked her to draw him a picture of her home.


Follow the Leader by Laura Tingle



LAURA TINGLE on political chaos and YA fiction

As ABC political correspondent Laura Tingle put the finishing touches on her latest Quarterly Essay, Follow the Leader: Democracy and the rise of the strongman, Canberra descended into chaos. Dutton challenged, Turnbull fell, Morrison won.

After some lightning-fast edits, the updated essay came out in the wake of the turmoil, and it examines Australian politics and the leaders of Germany, America, and China in order to answer the question in the minds of many: What the hell is going on?

Angus Dalton quizzes Laura on the connections between political leadership and YA fiction, Trump’s Voldemortian qualities, and what needs to change in order for us to see a Prime Minister survive a full term.