The best bits.
Last night’s ABC Q&A panel was meant to be ‘dangerous’, stacked as it was with speakers from Sydney’s The Festival of Dangerous Ideas. There was feminist journalist Laurie Penny, climate change activist Naomi Klein, novelist and campaigner Tariq Ali, theology expert Miroslav Volf and (right-leaning) ABC Radio National Between the Lines host Tom Switzer. And as you’d expect, there were some pretty heated exchanges about feminism and climate change.
It went like this:
1. The discussion about why we got fired about ‘Operation Fortitude’ but not other issues.
One of the most heated exchanges in the show came when an audience member asked about the widespread protests against news that Border Force officials would be checking visas in the Melbourne streets.
While Naomi Klein and Laurie Penny welcomed protests against Operation Fortitude, both said they’d like to see people rise up against other oppressive government policies, too.
Klein invited Australians across the country to take a stand against the Federal government’s mandatory offshore detention policy for asylum seekers.
“Nauru is tantamount to torture,” she said. “I think the lesson of this is, when people do rise up and send a message, you can enact policy.”
Penny agreed, condemning the “anti-immigrant rhetoric that is ramping up in Western nations particularly this year”.
“It is easy to come out against broad, sweeping state interventions and invasions of everyone’s privacy of the state, but let’s not kid ourselves that this is the only human rights abuse that is against migrants in Australia today,” she continued.
Pretty spot on, we think.
2. The bit where activists were called “watermelons”.
When an audience member asked whether Australia will ever abandon its current “environmentally destructive economic system,” Switzer responded by launching a rather odd verbal attack on climate change activists.