Democracy Sausage with Mark Kenny

Democracy Sausage with Mark Kenny

Mark Kenny takes a weekly look at politics and public affairs with expert analysis and discussion from researchers at The Australian National University and beyond. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


May 30, 2023 51 mins

On this episode of Democracy Sausage, Brendan Crabb and Chris Wallace join us to discuss whether Australian governments have dropped the ball on COVID-19 prevention.

With winter approaching and infections likely to rise, what will the human cost of Australia’s current COVID-19 strategy be in the coming months? Why hasn’t Australia seen a concerted public information campaign about preventing infection? And what would it take for...

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On this special episode of Democracy Sausage, Stan Grant discusses the importance of speaking truth with love, his decision to step away from media and his new book, The Queen is dead.

Following his decision to step down as host of the ABC’s flagship Q&A program, Stan Grant spoke in front of a live audience on campus at The Australian National University (ANU). In a powerful conversation with Mark Kenny, he discussed writing...

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May 23, 2023 43 mins

Peter van Onselen joins our discussion on the first year of the Albanese government on the 250th episode of Democracy Sausage.

How does the first year of the Albanese government compare to that of its predecessors? Can Labor build a case for major reform over time or, facing a weakened opposition after the 2022 election, do they risk letting the opportunity slip away if they don’t act now? And will Labor run a candidate in the F...

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May 16, 2023 49 mins

Demographer Liz Allen and social policy expert Ben Phillips join us to discuss the budget's impact on struggling Australians and the politics of the population debate.

What impact will the modest increases to the JobSeeker payment and other benefits have on the lives of people who are doing it tough? Is the federal government doing enough to build the case for more substantial increases in social security spending? And should pe...

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May 10, 2023 41 mins

Miranda Stewart and Peter Martin join Mark Kenny to fire up the barbecue for a sizzling post-budget Democracy Sausage special.

The budget may be back in black - albeit briefly - but with a $40 per fortnight JobSeeker increase falling far short of what many experts are calling for, are vulnerable Australians going to slip further into the red? In response to the growing spending pressures on the budget, will the government h...

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May 2, 2023 55 mins

Historian Frank Bongiorno joins the show to discuss coronations, consecrations and policy cremations.

Poised to deliver its second budget in under a year, is the Albanese government’s post-election honeymoon period finally coming to an end? Can the Liberal Party be a truly ‘broad church’ or is it now beholden to conservatives and the secret Coalition agreement? And will Australians answer Buckingham Palace’s call to swear an oat...

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April 26, 2023 45 mins

Chief Executive Officer of the Grattan Institute Danielle Wood joins Democracy Sausage to discuss the pressures facing the Australian economy and to preview the May budget.

How can the federal government manage the significant pressures on the budget while at the same time supporting those most in need during the cost-of-living crisis? Can Australia let go of its property investment ‘fetish’ and ensure everyone has access to an ...

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Former Member for North Sydney Trent Zimmerman joins the show to discuss the current direction of the Liberal Party, the demographic challenges the party faces and how it can engage younger voters.

With younger Australians now less likely to become politically conservative as they age, can the Liberal Party connect with this changing electorate? Can the remaining moderate members of the Liberal party room effectively influence i...

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April 11, 2023 38 mins

On this episode of Democracy Sausage, Kos Samaras joins Mark Kenny and Marija Taflaga to discuss how the Australian electorate is changing and the Liberal Party’s declining fortunes at the ballot box.

Out of government everywhere bar Tasmania, is the Liberal Party suffering from cyclical changes in politics or are its problems structural? Why is the party struggling to hold onto metropolitan electorates? And with the primary vot...

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Former Senator Rex Patrick joins Democracy Sausage this week to discuss the Australian government’s “mind-blowingly absurd” AUKUS decision-making.

Has the Australian government put all of its eggs in one nuclear basket with the AUKUS submarines deal, rather than investing in the range of capabilities necessary to defend Australia? Will the “highly risky” British-designed submarines actually make it to Australian shores - and wha...

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This week on Democracy Sausage, we discuss negotiations between the government and the Greens over the ‘safeguard mechanism’ and the findings of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report with experts Mark Howden and Arnagretta Hunter.

Having reached an agreement with the Greens over its signature climate policy, is the government finally putting to bed Australia’s so-called ‘climate wars’? What role will t...

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Strategic studies expert Hugh White argues that the AUKUS submarines arrangement is a deeply flawed deal that ties Australia to the United States in the event of a major armed conflict in Asia.

Are nuclear-powered submarines the most cost-effective and strategically sound option for Australia? Is Australia paying for the Virginia-class submarines with a portion of its sovereignty as well as a very large sum of money? And is the ...

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Senior Reporter for The Saturday Paper Rick Morton joins the show to discuss what the Robodebt royal commission hearings uncovered and the dire state of Australia’s policymaking apparatus.

How was the Robodebt scheme, which illegally and inaccurately used income averaging to calculate welfare debt, allowed to become policy and wreak havoc on some of Australia’s most vulnerable citizens? What did the royal commission hearings, wh...

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March 7, 2023 46 mins

Historian Frank Bongiorno joins us to discuss superannuation reforms, Robodebt and the state of policy debate in Australian politics on this episode of Democracy Sausage.

Why has the backlash to the government’s superannuation changes been so fervent, despite an overwhelming majority of Australians supporting the move? What did the illegal Robodebt scheme reveal about the exercise of power in Australian politics and society? And...

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Social media expert Jennifer Stromer-Galley joins us to discuss social media, echo chambers and the erosion of democratic institutions on this episode of Democracy Sausage.

Effective policymaking depends on people coming together to find common ground, but is that still possible in the increasingly caustic political atmosphere in the United States? What role has social media - particularly Twitter - played in undermining democra...

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February 21, 2023 40 mins

International relations scholar Charlie Miller joins the show to discuss Joe Biden’s visit to Ukraine and the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

Will United States President Joe Biden’s surprise visit to Kyiv influence Russia’s strategic calculus in Ukraine? Is a decisive Ukrainian victory on the battlefield possible in the second year of Russia’s invasion, or is the current stalemate likely to continue? And how can last...

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February 14, 2023 46 mins

Journalist Hamish Macdonald joins Mark Kenny to get under the skin of some of the world’s most prominent political leaders.

How did Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin make their way to the top of their respective political systems? What does the leadership of Giorgia Meloni suggest about how Italy has grappled with its past? And how does Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s power extend around the world, including into A...

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February 7, 2023 49 mins

Sophia Gaston and Mark Kenny discuss balloons in the United States, tanks in Ukraine, and railways in the United Kingdom on this episode of Democracy Sausage.

It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s a 200-foot-high Chinese surveillance balloon flying over the northern United States (allegedly)! On this episode of Democracy Sausage, Head of Foreign Policy and UK Resilience at British think tank Policy Exchange, Sophia Gaston, joins Profess...

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January 31, 2023 35 mins

On this episode of Democracy Sausage, former Chair of the Australian Republican Movement Greg Barns joins Mark Kenny to discuss the Voice referendum and the challenges of running a ‘yes’ campaign.

What lessons can the ‘yes’ campaign in the upcoming Voice to Parliament referendum learn from the failed republican campaign in 1999? How much is too much when it comes to detail ahead of the vote? And how significant is it that Anthon...

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January 26, 2023 36 mins

Treasurer of Australia Jim Chalmers joins Mark Kenny and Marija Taflaga to discuss the future of Australia’s economy and society on the first episode of Democracy Sausage for 2023.

Despite the simultaneous and interconnected crises ravaging the global economy, can Australia find a way forward that leaves the country stronger? How can the economy support a more robust and inclusive democracy? And what legacy does the new treasure...

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