Big Ideas - Full program podcast

Big Ideas brings you the best of talks, forums, debates, and festivals held in Australia and around the world, casting light on the major social, cultural, scientific and political issues

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Big Ideas brings you the best of talks, forums, debates, and festivals held in Australia and around the world, casting light on the major social, cultural, scientific and political issues
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2019-03-19 01:44
last episode published
2019-03-21 20:05
publication frequency
1.76 days
ABC Radio National owner   author  
Number of Episodes
Detail page
Society & Culture



Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

Indigenous entrepreneurs

Have you ever thought about starting a business, being your own boss, making all the decisions? Indigenous business is a growing sector which provides employment and training in urban and regional communities. We meet four female business owners who ar...
ABC Radio National author

The philosophy of music

Throughout the centuries, music has inspired philosophers. Some thought it was dangerous other found it metaphysically profound or very suspicious. Goetz Richter discusses the perplexity philosophers feel when facing (the) music.
ABC Radio National author

Recognizing and treating eating disorders

Do you feel comfortable in your own skin?  Or are you always on a diet and searching for the perfect body? With so much focus on body image and staying thin , it’s not surprising that eating disorders are on the rise. But , contrary to popular belief, ...
ABC Radio National author

Legalising voluntary assisted dying

Regulating end of life intervention is fraught and raises philosophical and moral questions about our approach to death and suffering.
ABC Radio National author

How geology shapes human evolution – to this day

Geological forces drove our evolution in East Africa; mountainous terrain led to the development of democracy in Greece; today voting behaviour in the US follows the bed of an ancient sea. The human story is shaped by planet Earth.
ABC Radio National author

Macho politics and womens rights

A feature of the current wave of populist leaders is the pushback against women's rights and freedoms. Tough-guy politicians, from Russia to South America, use sexual language to put down their female opponents and champion a return to traditional gend...
ABC Radio National author

The story of Barack Obama

Ben Rhodes tells the story of a politician who started from a position of idealism, was confronted by cold realities, and still had to continue to govern.
ABC Radio National author

How trolling and cyberhate causes real-life harm

Cyber trolling is causing serious real world harm and police and social media companies like Facebook and Twitter are not doing enough to combat it.
ABC Radio National author

Giving legal rights to nature

Can nature, rivers, mountains or animals, have legal rights - just like people? Legal rights will change the relationship we have with nature and that’s crucial to really protect the environment.
ABC Radio National author

China's hardline control of Muslims in Xinjiang

On China’s north west border, the province of Xinjiang is home to the Uyghurs , one of China’s Muslim minorities. Human rights groups estimate that a million Uyghurs are now detained in internment camps for re-education. Beijing aims to make them more ...
ABC Radio National author

Tim Costello and the lessons of Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi has inspired generations of social justice campaigners. One of our best known, the Reverend Tim Costello, tells us why . Gandhi believed that each of us has the power to make a difference and the moral duty to do so.
ABC Radio National author

Ideas for a better future

Tim Dunlop speaks to Paul Barclay about his bold ideas for reinvigorating democratic government, reclaiming the 'commons', and insisting that tech giants pay us for using our personal data.
ABC Radio National author

Vernon Ah Kee on Indigenous art

Indigenous artist Vernon Ah Kee calls for Indigenous art to be completely dismantled and build up again from scratch – by black fellas. He criticises the way the visual art world works and the ‘whiteness’ within the gallery context.
ABC Radio National author

Britain and the EU after Brexit

Ready or not Britain is on track to leave the European Union in a month. But what happens next? There's no clear exit strategy or common vision for the future of trade and foreign policy. What lies ahead for a post-Brexit Britain?
ABC Radio National author

Evolution made humans less aggressive

New research shows that Homo Sapiens is a domesticated form of our species. And that’s the result of the invention of capital punishment. But how could our low aggressiveness evolve from repeated acts of violence?
ABC Radio National author

Jane Caro on the 'accidental feminists'

Jane Caro talks to Paul Barclay about the generation of women who, like her, were born in the 50’s and 60’s, and were quiet revolutionaries who altered the fabric of Australian society.
ABC Radio National author

Time for the state to be entrepreneurial?

The prevailing view is that the state should stop interfering in the economy and let the market decide. Economist Mariana Mazzucato takes the opposite approach. She says we need an entrepreneurial state with ambitious goals to shape the economy and sol...
ABC Radio National author

Mental health crisis among children

Experts in Australia and the UK worry about a crisis of well-being and mental health among children and teenager. What’s needed if we want our kids to be happier? What can teachers, parents and policy makers to about it?
ABC Radio National author

Designing the future with artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence will shape the future of work, the way we live and how we relate to one another. Three computer experts discuss the design of user-friendly robots and apps. Who will have the power to decide what is created and where your data w...
ABC Radio National author

Epidemics and anaesthesia

Which prospect scares you most: undergoing surgery with a general anaesthetic that isn’t working? Or a global pandemic that wipes out hundreds of millions of people?
ABC Radio National author

Indigenous recognition as a step towards an Australian republic

Indigenous recognition, constitutional reform and a future Australian republic. For Megan Davis it’s all connected. Australia can’t move to a republic before we’ve addressed the issue of Indigenous sovereignty and we’ve dealt with the unfinished busine...
ABC Radio National author

Why women think twice about a political career

Does the conservative side of politics have a problem with women? That's been the argument since the recent resignation of several high profile Liberal politicians. The Labor Party's affirmative action quota system has enabled many more women to enter ...
ABC Radio National author

The value of bitcoin

Could the digital money Bitcoin become the world’s primary currency – pushing out paper money and hard coins? Tone Vays believes that Bitcoin can solve the issues faced by traditional finance institutions.
ABC Radio National author

Are we closing the health gap?

10 years ago the World Health Organisation called for the ‘health gap’ to be closed in a generation. What’s been achieved in the last decade?
ABC Radio National author

China's military challenge in the Asia-Pacific

Are China and America on a collision course? China has ambitions to be the dominant power in Asia. Is there room for two superpowers or is military conflict inevitable?
ABC Radio National author

Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

Conspiracy theories stretch from the absurd to the dangerous with far-reaching consequences. But what makes them so hard to debunk? Why do people believe in these theories?
ABC Radio National author

Refugee diplomacy

Faced with the rising tide of asylum seekers governments are resisting the UN Refugee Convention and building legal and physical barriers to keep them out. Can international law hold governments to account?
ABC Radio National author

What are the ingredients for ageing well?

Ageism can adversely affect health outcomes and longevity. Other social determinants of ageing include income, education, where you live, and whether you're marginalised due to gender, sexuality, race, or disability.
ABC Radio National author

Our fascination with ancient Rome

The legacy of Ancient Rome is still felt today in western culture in areas such as government, law, language, architecture, engineering, and religion.
ABC Radio National author

Exploring space

A space scientist and astronaut discuss the challenges and benefits of space exploration.
ABC Radio National author

Daniel Hannan - identity politics undermines Enlightenment values

Daniel Hannan says that the modern form of identity politics moves beyond fighting discrimination. External characteristics like race or gender, now determine whether we’re allowed to say something - not the empirical truth of the statement.
ABC Radio National author

CBC Massey Lecture 2 - Big brother’s hunger

Tanya Talaga explores the legacy of cultural genocide against Indigenous peoples and in this talk she looks at the important role land and being able to live off the land plays.
ABC Radio National author

CBC Massey Lecture 1 - We were always here

The rising number of suicides in Indigenous communities is not just a result of social, educational and health inequality. It’s a problem of loss of cultural identity and self-determination.
ABC Radio National author

BBC Reith 5 - Wars fatal attraction

Can we really call a painting beautiful when it’s inspired by the ugliness of violence and death? Margaret MacMillan talks about the role of artists and writers in shaping our views on war. Due to copyright restrictions we can't provide a download or...
ABC Radio National author

Music and memory

Music is a powerful memory aid. That's why you can recite the lyrics of a song from years ago but struggle to remember where you put your keys. Even dementia patients respond to music when other memories are lost.
ABC Radio National author

Lemn Sissay on the abuse he suffered in state care

Poet, Lemn Sissay, was taken from his mother and spent 18 years in the state care system in the UK where he was physically, emotionally, and racially abused.
ABC Radio National author

Science is the best source for health information

A vaccination expert pushes back against pervasiveness of pseudoscientists, quacks and dangerously misinformed activists. What are the Dos and Don’ts of successful science communication?
ABC Radio National author

Sarah Krasnostein and the trauma cleaner

Sarah Krasnostein talks about the incredible life and times of Sandra Pankhurst, a transgender trauma cleaner.
ABC Radio National author

Algae - a new sustainable resource

Algae is the new ‘green gold'. On Big Ideas, an expert panel describes the potential of algae as a game-changing sustainable resource for numerous industries.
ABC Radio National author

Self-determination and respect for remote indigenous communities

Fred Chaney, formerly co-chair of Reconciliation Australia, calls for an end to heavy-handed government policies which disempower remote communities and ignore indigenous culture.
ABC Radio National author

How real are our fictional monsters?

The monsters we create in our classical literature and modern pop culture say a lot about ourselves and our society. They reflect power dynamics, prejudges and irrational fears of their time.
ABC Radio National author

Lawyering on death row

What is it be like to be a lawyer who witnesses the execution of your client? Richard Bourke knows the feeling. He represents defendants facing capital punishment, and inmates on death row, in Louisiana in the United States
ABC Radio National author

Radical histories for uncanny times

Do we need a new frame of reference to truly understand our environmental emergency?
ABC Radio National author

The myth of gender essentialism

Do hormones maketh the man, and the woman?  Testosterone makes men tall and deeper voiced, but is it also the cause of male aggression?
ABC Radio National author

Technology - friend or foe for people with a disability?

Have people with a disability sufficient access to the intangible environment online? New technologies offers them many liberating opportunities, but they can also pose new barriers.
ABC Radio National author

Men, masculinity and #metoo

What is "toxic masculinity" and do men need to rethink what it means to be masculine in an age of #metoo?
ABC Radio National author

BBC Reith 2 – Making sense of the warrior

Margaret MacMillan says that war is a part of being human, so we need to examine it boldly. What motivates men and women to fight in a war? Why do we fear, but also love war? Due to copyright restrictions we can't provide a download or stream of this...
ABC Radio National author

Did the science investigating gender differences get women wrong?

While we like to think of science as neutral , can we entirely separate the scientist from the science when it comes to gender difference? A science journalist discusses gender bias in the research about the differences between men and women.
ABC Radio National author

The virtue of dark humour

Laughing in the face of crisis and trouble. A good sense of humour lets people see hope in an otherwise hopeless situation. And it’s the glue that keeps relationship together.
ABC Radio National author

Parliament House turns 30

New parliament house is one of our iconic buildings. It attracts thousands of visitors as well as being the engine room of our democracy. Builders, politicians and artists discuss how well the building has met its design brief in supporting our system ...
ABC Radio National author