Fair Comment Archive 2013




December 26:

Best of 2013 Part 1 featuring:

  • Remote polling booths in the lead up to the federal election!
  • Outback Matty!
  • A human library!

December 19:

Australia has one of the highest organ donor rates in the world but one of the lowest transplant rates. Donate Life, The Greatest Gift campaign aims to encourage discussion about organ donation among different cultural and linguistic  communities.  Adam speaks to CEO Organ Transplant Association Yael Cass about how the campaign's going.

The Taronga Zoo are running a special school holiday program and Brendan Legget speaks with one of the zoo's trainers who tells us about his work with the animals.

Australian Science Media Center has revealed the weirdest science stories from 2013. Bridget catches up with Dr Joseph Milton about some of his favourites.


December 12:

 Australian of the Year Victoria winner John Caldwell has faced some difficult times and experienced bullying throught his life. He speaks with Calum Irvine about how he came to be the ambassador for anti-bullying organisation Angels Goal and winning the prestigious award.

Access Arts is a Brisbane organisation that breaks down barriers for people with disabilities and disadvantage. Bridget speaks to Executive Officer Pat Swell about some of the exciting projects Access Arts has in store for 2014.

Following the tagic Black Saturday bushfires that devastated rural Victoria in 2009, local blacksmiths decided they wanted to do something to help out the families and community devastated by the fire. Heath Warren speaks to Australian Blacksmiths Association Victorias Amanda Gibson about The Tree Project, a project she is managing that involves blacksmiths from all over the world.

December 5:

Irish born Samantha O'Dwyer came to Australia to study child services at the Brisbane based Charlton Brown Foundation. She went on to become accepted into the foundations Global Linkages program which saw her working in child services in Sri Lanka. Fair Comment contributor Eduardo Jordan talks to Samantha about this unique experience.

The bushfires that devastated parts of the Blue Mountains may have dropped off the radar but the affected communities are still working on the huge task of rebuilding. Brendan Leggett talks to NSW State Member for Blue Mountains Rosa Sage about the effort.

John Dee is the Founder and Managing Director of Do Something. He talks to Bridget about the community work he's been part of through the organisation.

November 28:

Rough Edges run tours that introduce students and corporate groups to life on the streets in Sydney to help encourage social justice and raise awareness of the difficulties often faced by those less fortunate. Bridget talks to Education Officer Catherine Butterworth about some of the other services Rough Edges also provides and her personal experience with people who are in need of a helping hand

AUDA Foundation has been working to promote internet based education and research activities among remote and indigenous communites. Chris Ng talks to Fair Comment contributor Brendan Leggett about how the AUDA is helping to provide communities with greater internet access.

Documents released by Wikileaks revealed details of the Transpacific Agreement being negotiated among 12 countries. Several passages of the draft documents reveal the US is pushing for a move that could restrict cheaper generic drugs around the world. Mitchell Firman speaks with CEO of the Public Health Association of Australia, Melanie Walker about how this could affect us in Australia.

November 21:

Communities in Northwest rural New South Wales are celebrating a landmark decision to make a huge area of the region gasfield free. Megan Kuhn, Northwest Regional Gasfield Free Coordinator with the Lock the Gate Alliance talks to Adam about how she became involved and a the events surrounding the campaign.

Domestic violence resuls in the death of one woman per week in Australia. White Ribbon Day is coming up on November 25 and Daria Dolgova speaks with domestic violence survivor turned activist, Sherry Clay.

Catherine Marriott runs Influential Women, a company called  that helps to empower regional women through confidence building workshops and social media training. She chats to Bridget about how she came to start the company and the work she's been been doing with women around Australia.


November 14:




Linda Cupid is the co-founder and Manager of the 7 Senses Foundation which is working to reclaim the streets from cars and turn them into something everyone can use and enjoy. She speaks with Bridget about her inspiration for starting the group and their upcoming national 7 Senses Street Day.

Ten years ago Pam Ahern came into the possession of a pig which inspired her to open Edgars Mission which takes in rescued farm animals and helps them to enjoy a better quality of life. She was recognised this yeas is an Australian of the Year Victoria finalst and talks to Adam about her story with Edgar the pig.

Eileen Cook is the treasurer, volunteer and member of the Preterm Infant's Parent's Association and National Premmie Foundation of Australia. Brendan Legget catches up with Eileen to hear about the support she's helping to provide for parents of pre-term infants.



November 7:


The Noonamah Tavern Frog Races take place every year on the day of the Melbourne Cup. Adam speaks with Tony Innes, owner of the Noonamah Tavern about the passion held by the local community for this event as well as the money raised for charities and some of the difficulties tree frogs are facing in the area.

Access to health care in regional communities can be scarce. Stephanie Gerlie introduces us to Telehealth which aims to provide patients with access professional health services that may not be plausible otherwise.

Sunny Kids is a Quensland based charity running the Read2Remember Program. The program engages kids with Remembrance Day by providing them with material to read during the one minute silence. Brendan Leggett speaks to Sunny Kids' Kim Holcroft to find out more.



October 31:


Paradisec is a project run by musicologists and linguists collecting and cataloging the music and languages of Austrlia and the Pacific. Bridget speaks to Project Director Nick Thieberger about why they're in dire need of funding.

The concept of human libraries has been popping up around the globe and is making its way to Australia. Human books with varied lifestyles and background form a catalogue and are available to spend 30 minutes with visitors who may have not intereacted with, or even held prejudices against these people in the past. Adam talks to Co-ordintor of A Fairer World which is running a human library in Hobart.

The Red Cross Disaster Management Team has been instrumental in the recovery process after New South Wales' devastating bushfires. Team member Diana Bernadi seaks with Fair Comment contributor Brendan Leggett about the work she's been involved with rebuilding the affected communities.



October 24:


Founder of the Hidden History Album Project Alesa Lajana travels the country in search of historical stories to tell through music. Bridget catches up with her to see how it's coming along.

Tech Savvy Elders is a program designed to introduce elderly indigenous Australians become familiar with modern technology. Eduardo Jordan speaks with April Long from the National Center of Indigenous Excellence about how they're helping elders to thrive in the digital age.

Rites of Passage is a feature length drama film made collaboratively between a group of young people in the Illawarra and award winning director Phillip Crawford. Adam talks to actor Dan De Filipo about his story and how he came to be part of the film.





October 17:

The global social movement of Death Cafes has officially hit Brisbane. Bridget speaks with Beth OBrien, Convenor of the Death Cafe Brisbane to find out more.

About five months ago Kat Henderson made the life changing decision to re-open the Coombah roadhouse. She catched up with Adam to talk about how she manages her time between her family and operating the remote roadhouse.

Boggo Road Gaol in Brisbane's South used to be one of Australia's most notorious prisons. Fair Comment contributor Rod Brewer talks to historian and former prison boarder Jack Simm to find out about the Gaol's past and what's in store for its future.


October 10:

For the past 21 years the Garnduwa Festival has taken place in Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberlies. Adam speaks to Chaz Garnett cultre and music Co-ordinator for the festival about how he and only a small team manage to organise an event that hosts and impacts thousands each year.

A recent study shows over 75% of people haven't had an eye test in the past two years. October 10 is World Sight Day and Bridget Speaks to Vision 2020 Australia CEO Jennifer Gersbeck about how important it is to be aware of our eye health.

Residents of inner-city Melbourne have gathered to protest the drilling of the East-West tunnel through their neighbourhood. Protestor Kat Galea talks with Adam about the impact protests have had against the development so far and why the community is so incensed.

October 3:

Nursing home Monash Gardens faces being put up for sale as unveiled by its local council. Bridget speaks to Gayle Nicholas, Spokesperson for Save Monash Gardens about the communities outcry against the sale.

Josie Jansz is the Deadly Award nominated mentor of the Deadly Sista Girlz Program with the David Wirri Foundation. We spoke to her a few weeks ago about her nomination which she has since ben awarded. Andrew Messenger catches up with Josie to hear about why the award is so special.

Our Art, Our Stories is a documentary film about the artistic history of Brisbane's West End. Bridget talks to Chris Maver producer, writer and director of the film about his research into the topic and some of the interesting people he's met along the way.

September 26:

The Woodford Folk Festival is expanding with the Festival of Small Halls. The festival will feature folk acts touring town halls in regional areas not usually visited by travelling artists. Adam speaks to fetival organiser Chloe Goodyear about why she wants to bring folk music to Queenslands smaller town halls.

A dedicated group of young Austrlians have gathered for the Youth Untitled Conference in Victoria. The conference aims to engage young people in policymaking and Bridget speaks with Dean Barnett from the Youth Reference Group about the impact being made by those involved.

The Ballarat City Council has had the demolition of the cities town hall for some time now. Adam speaks to Dennis Bateman, President of Ballarat Residents and Ratepayers Association about why many in the community are opposed to the destruction of the building.

 September 19:


After hearing about the horrific public execution of a young Papua New Guinean woman a group of PNG women now living in Brisbane decided something needed to be done about the prevalence of violence back in the region. They formed The Leniata Legacy and Adam speaks to President Philma Kelegai about the work they're doing to try change attitudes about violence.

Words and Other Mediums is a collection of poems, stories and plays written by people without the opportunities of many other authors. It is a joint community initiative of Jeays Street Community Centre, Reclink and the Brisbane Fringe Festival to reduce the stigma of homelessness and mental illness while giving budding authors the opportunity to showcase their work. Bridget reports from the launch ceremony.

Steve Phillips is the Hunter Regional Co-Ordinator for the Lock the Gate Alliance. He's been providing training to farmers and residents of rural areas in the act of civil disobedience. He speaks to Adam about why groups not often associated with protest are feeling the need for this training.


September 12:


Kids Teaching Kids is a national program designed to encourage primary school kids to develop an interest in the environment. Founder Aaron Wood talks with Bridget about how the idea for the program came about and the response it’s been getting in schools around the country.

After completing a Typeface Design Masters at the Royal Academy of Art at The Hague, Troy Leinster has returned to his home state of Queensland with a brand new typeface for Brisbane. Adam talks to Troy about how he achieved a task like this. The Brisbane typeface will be featured at Type Masters Exhibition in the city of the same name this October.

Half way through his 10 in 10 for 10 race around the world, Jake Howard checks in with Bridget to let us know his progress so far. Jake is running 10km in 10 cities around the world to raise $10 million for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Australia.


September 5:

With the federal election looming, Bridget speaks to Robert Pugsley from the Australian Electoral Commission in the Northern Territory. He talks about how bringing the polls to remote voters may be a larger task than it seems.

The Black Dog Ride is an annual event led by Steve Andrews to raise awareness about mental illness in Australia. Adam speaks to Steve about what inspired him to start the Black Dog Ride and why mental illness is an issue worth taking to the streets to raise awareness for.

Aidan Ricketts is a social change trainer and lecturer at the Southern Cross University School of Law and Justice. He has also long been involved with anti-CSG groups and campaigners training them in effective non-violent direct action. Gavin Coote has a chat with Aidan about protesting within the bounds of the law.


August 29:

Adele Mapperson has the unique role of Animal Chaplain at Lort Smith Animal Hospital. She talks to Bridget about the support she provides for people who are struggling after losing a pet.

Almost 2000 Australians commit suicide each year due to depression more than the toll taken by cancer. In Brisbane, a support group called Black Dog Boxing is helping the community to literally combat this condition. Eduardo Perez spoke to founder Rodney Bukuya about his own struggle with depression and how he wants to help people suffering the same as he did.

The Deadly Award finalists have been announced and on the list you'll find the Deadly Sista Girlz Program. The program is offered by the David Wirrpanda Foundation to provide support and education to young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls. Adam spoke to Josie Janz, ex-professional net-baller who now leads the program.


August 22:

With the risk of indigenous stories and culture being forgotten in Australia, one dance company has been keeping them alive for over 20 years. Bangarra Dance Theatre toured nationally with the performance Terrain last year and the star of the show, Deborah Brown was honoured with the prestigious Helpmann award. Adam Jeffrey spoke to Deborah about how indigenous culture inspired her to dance and why she is still so passionate about the art-form today.
Bridget speaks to June Norman and Dr. Rosalie Shultz about their involvement with Reef Walk 2013. Both were part of a group that walked from Cairns to Gladstone, raising awareness about threats to the great Barrier Reef. The 1200km walk spanned 80 days and passed through every town along the Great Barrier Reef coast.
From October 18-20, women from all over South Australia will be meeting in Port Pirie for the South Australian Rural Women Gathering. Adam spoke to organiser Margie Arnold about why she, along with hundreds of other women are going to bomb the town with yarn.

August 15:


People living in rural areas have cottoned on to social media in unique and innovative ways, overcoming problems of mental health, land rights and economic uncertainty. Gavin Coote has a yarn with various farmers across the countryside to see how it's changed their lives for the better.

Featured in the story: Co-founder of AgChatOz and Rural Mental Health Tom Whitty, blogger and part time farmer Marie, fifth-generation farmer and regular Twitter user Kelsey Morgan, #tweetsfromthetractorcab regular Oscar Pearce.

Adam visits the Royal Queensland Show to speak to Matthew McKenzie aka celebrity chef Outback Matty. After spending some of his early life homeless and abusing drugs, Outback Matty turned things around after he qualified for the Fifteen program run by renowned Chef Jamie Oliver.

Outback Matty cooking up a storm with Adam
                                                                Photo courtesy of Lisa Jeffrey

Protesters in the Victorian town of Tecoma have attracted international attention after demolition work began in order to make way for a McDonalds in the town. The community are up in arms about the restaurant's development, and for many Queenslanders, this brings back memories of a community campaign in Maleny to fight off Woolworths from setting up shop. Have corporations and communities learned from the Maleny case? Gavin Coote checks in with the current situation in Tecoma and finds some interesting comparisons with what happened in Maleny.

Featured in this story: Garry Muratore, spokesman for the BurgerOff campaign for No McDonalds in the Dandenong Ranges, Linda Vann, a Maleny resident for almost 25 years, Rob Outridge, owner of Maleny Supa IGA.

August 8:


The Regional Arts Fund recipients list was released recently outlining over 50 projects around the country which would be receiving the grant. David Swain is leading one of those projects in Port Pirie, South Australia. The exhibition "Wings" aims to provide an avenue of expression for people living with disabilities in regional communities.

The National Institue of Circus Arts (NICA) is the only training institute of it's kind in Ausrtalia offer offering a Bachelor of Circus Arts course.  Fair Comment contributor Steven Riggall spoke to Program Manager,Rose Stephens about the course and the circus industry in Australia today.

August 19 is World Photography Day, an international celebration of the art of photography. It was started by the 21 year old Korske Ara who spoke to Adam Jeffrey about how the celebration grew over the past few years and his own story of leaving his old life behind to follow a passion.


^ SEASON 2 2013/14 ^

June 27:


Opposition leader Tony Abbott is proposing a White Paper to develop the Top End of Australia into a ‘food bowl’ by improving and expanding agriculture, infrastructure, resource production and tourism.

Dr Stuart Blanch, director of the Environment Centre in the Northern Territory, is concerned about the environmental impact of the proposed expansion in this unique area in Australia.

Ellie Freeman talks to Dr Blanch about his work in the Top End and his views on the proposed development.


New Zealand tourism is offering Australian same-sex couples the chance to win a holiday and wedding in New Zealand, following the country’s same-sex marriage legalisation earlier this year.

Sarah Wykes speaks to Tim Burgess, New Zealand Tourism’s Australian General Manager, and marriage equality activist Jay Haurat about same-sex couples travelling overseas when they cannot get married in their own.


For people in remote Indigenous communities, survival in the modern age can be a challenge. The Bushlight organisation works with these communities by providing them with renewable energy systems, improving technology, education, health and sanitation. Steven Riggall talks to Sally Ward from Bushlight about how the organisation is improving living conditions in remote areas.


June 20:

Heath Warren speaks to president of the Mountain Hunts Preservation Society about his passion for restoring the historical structures of the Tasmanian high country, the origin of the organisation and their successful struggle for official recognition.

Ellie Freeman speaks to 22-year-old Brisbane student and wheelchair athlete Tristram Peters about his sporting career, thoughts on athletes with disabilities and ambitions to promote wheelchair sports to young people.
Here's a video of Tristram representing Australia in the Power Chair Football Championships against Japan:

Sarah Wykes speaks to Thai vet and PHD candidate Supaphen Sripiboon about her work at the Perth-based Murdoch University to combat a deadly virus that has killed almost a quarter of Asian elephant calves born overseas.


June 13:


Estelle Leacock speaks to Victorian Zoologist Jim Thomas about preserving endangered species of tree kangaroos found in the Torricelli Mountain Range in Papua New Guinea.

Heath Warren speaks to Gemma Webberley from the National Trust about the Hobart-based historic whaling house-turned-museum, Runnymede, its historical link to the Tasmanian capital and Australia's shift in perception towards whaling.

Sarah Wykes speaks to Monash University Professor Mark Armstrong about his passion for the the field of design and his work on the Australian developed Bionic Eye Project, which may provide limited vision to more than  85 per cent of people categorized as legally blind.

June 6:



Heath Warren speaks to Outback Car Trek organiser, Bill Patrick, about his past experiences with the week long rally, which aims to raise funds for the Royal Flying Doctors Service, the importance of the charitable medical organisation and the future of the event. 

Ellie Freeman speaks to two Twitter users - cattle farmer Jean Robins @AskAFarmer_Beef, and cattle producer Sam Livingstone @Sam_Grains who co-founded social media forum #agchatoz - about Australian farmers' increasing social media presence and their relationship with the media following the live export ban.

Sarah Wykes speaks with Charleville-based writer Marg Reynolds about the life-changing importance of literacy and her work with World Reader, an international program aimed at improving literacy levels amongst third world regions of the world.

Thurs May 30:

Heath Warren speaks to Rachael Martin, principal solicitor of the Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women's Legal Centre and convenor of the Community Legal Centres NSW Victims Compensation Committee about the contention over proposed changes to the NSW victims compensation scheme which has sparked a complaint to the United Nations.

Sarah Wykes speaks to Northern Territory Education Union president, Matthew Cranitch, about the state of teaching in the Northern Territory and the impact discontinued government funding for teaching positions in remote Territory communities will have upon the educational opportunities for their students.

Estelle Leacock speaks to Chief Executive Officer of the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia, Dr John Falzon, about the government's plan to drastically reduce homelessness in Australia, his thoughts on how to achieve this goal and his interactions with homeless people.


Thurs May 23:

Heath Warren speaks to Janelle Fawkes from Scarlet Alliance about the regulatory discrimination experienced by sex workers in Australia and the movements to decriminalise sex work in South and West Australia.

Kellie Murphy speaks to Louise Somerville from the Knitting Nannas Against Gas protest group to discuss the peaceful protest movement against coal seam gas, which is gaining momentum both locally and overseas.

Sarah Wykes speaks to Braking the Cycle manager, Lachlan Sherrington, volunteer mentor, Bob Clarke, and recent graduate Stacey-Lee Barnes about their thoughts on the Queensland-based social program that helps underprivileged get their drivers license.


Thursday May 16:



  • Ray and Murray Chambers have dedicated the past six years of their lives to rescuing koalas for their organisation, the Sunshine Coast Koala Wildlife Rescue. The brothers’ 24 hour rescue service knows no boundaries, covering the entire South East Queensland area. Yet despite their efforts, the brothers feel they are fighting a losing battle with only 1 in 7 koalas they rescue making it back into the wild. Fair Comment contributor Sarah Wykes speaks with Ray Chambers about why Koalas hold such a special place for him, and rescuing the iconic Australian animal with his brother.


  • The Federal government has come under fire due the standard of living conditions experienced by asylum seekers living in the offshore processing centres for asylum seekers found on the Pacific islands of Manus and Nauru. Human rights groups and other critics have condemned conditions as harsh, oppressive and unfit to house women and children. Fair Comment contributor Estelle Leacock speaks to Carl O'Connor from the Darwin Asylum Seekers Support and Advocacy Network about the conditions experienced by asylum seekers on the offshore processing centres, how it is affecting children and his opinion on the measures to bring the conditions to an acceptable level.


  • Hailing from a travelling family, Ragini Dey encountered a wide variety of cuisines around India in her youth. Eventually finding her way to Adelaide, Ragini has established herself as a prominent chef in the South Australian capital with her award-winning restaurant Spice Kitchen. Fair Comment contributor Ellie Freeman speaks to Ragini about her cooking career, her unique cooking style and what it's like to start a new business in a foreign country.

Thursday May 9:


  • When 66 Sri Lankan asylum seekers sailed into Geraldton Harbour last month, it was a shock to many. According to bipartisan consensus, Sri Lankans were no longer in danger at home. So why did they flee?   Sri Lanka is a troubled country. It has faced flood, civil war, ethnic and linguistic troubles even after the end of the War, four years ago. It is Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers that have the world record for most suicide bombings by any single group.   Rhian Deutrom, a former producer at 4zzz’s Brisbane Line, has had a close personal connection with Sri Lanka her entire life. In 2011 she decided to go back- and combine her two loves, journalism and Sri Lanka, working at two English-language papers for a month. In the aftermath of her journey, she made Sri Lanka a major topic of her study in Master’s.   Fair Comment contributor Andrew Messenger speaks to with Rhian about Sri Lanka's recovery, and her experience with media in the developing world.


  • Tasmanian father of two and passionate cricket fan Aaron Schultz, now fed up with the prevalence of alcohol, fast food and gambling advertising found in major Australian sports has set up Game Changer, a grassroots campaign aiming to take a stand against the issue. Despite suffering some setbacks coming in the form of the AFL and Cricket Australia obstructing proposed advertisements for the campaign, Aaron believes the movement is steadily gaining traction amongst Australians as he moves towards his goal of taking 100,000 signatures of support to the federal parliament and the major sporting bodies.  Fair Comment contributor Heath Warren speaks to Aaron about why he decided to spearhead this grassroots initiative, his passion for cricket and the extent to which he believes unhealthy advertising is having a detrimental effect upon impressionable Australians. 


  • Australian scientists have discovered that emu oil, a traditional skin treatment amongst indigenous communities, may also be very useful in the treatment internal inflammation, bowel diseases and intestinal damage caused by cancer chemotherapy. Fair Comment contributor Ellie Freeman speaks to post-doctoral research associate at the University of Western Australia, and member of the Multicultural Education Advisory Committee Suzanne Mashtoub Abimosleh, who has been researching the therapeutic applications of emu oil.


Thursday May 2:

  • Environmental group Bush Heritage Australia has established a conservation area in the last untouched part of the Murray-Darling basin after purchasing the Naree cattle station, in a bid to transform it into a wildlife reserve. The 14,400-hectare property, which lies 150 kilometres north-west of Bourke, is home to fish and amphibians, small mammals, plants, reptiles and up to 160 different species of wetland birds.

Professor Richard Kingsford, an ornithologist from the University of NSW and the Australian Wetlands & Rivers Centre, says Wetlands like those found on the Murray-Darling are few and far between. Fair Comment contributor Sophie Tarrant speaks to Professor Kingsford to discuss his life as an environmental scientist and the importance of preserving the Murray-Darling River system to secure the future of its inhabitants.


  • The Wiradjuri language, a traditional Aboriginal language which was officially declared extinct in 2009, is undergoing an extensive revival process after the New South Wales Government announced a pilot program aiming to revive five native aboriginal languages.

Wiradjuri elder Stan Grant AM, who has spent more than 30 years of his life attempting to revive the language, says learning of traditional languages has a positive impact on young Aboriginal people and steers them away from destructive behaviour.

Fair Comment contributor Luke Rutledge speaks to Stan about feelings towards the latest government initiative, the importance of the Wiradjuri language and the years he has spent to keep the language alive.


  • Since 2006, Geelong's disadvantaged youth have had access to Cafe Meals, a program designed to help young people going through a crisis or running risk of homelessness, eat healthily whilst feeling like part of the community. The continued success of the program has led to plans for expansion within the Ballarat region.

Cafe Meals program manager, Time for Youth's Melanie Craig, feels the initiative provides an important opportunity for the disadvantaged youth of Geelong to have access to an often neglected nutritious diet ,whilst actively taking part within a healthy social environment at participating local cafes.

Fair Comment contributor Heath Warren speaks to Melanie Craig about her many years working on the program and Geelong local Joel to gauge his first hand experience as a Cafe Meals client.

Thursday April 25:

  • Indigenous communities across the outback Australia are celebrating the return of their TV channel, Indigenous Community Television. The television network, which focuses on the remote communities of Australia, returned to full time broadcasting last week following its relaunch hosted in the Northern Territory's Yuendumu. Fair Comment contributor Gavin Coote speaks to ICTV Chair Nelson Conboy about the relaunch of Indigenous Television network, the importance of its specific focus on remote communities and the state of indigenous media initiatives throughout Australia.
A True Getaway - one of the many videos sent to ICTV's YouTube channel IndigiTube for distribution
  • Australian boat designer and cancer survivor, Len Surtees from Queensland's Tin Can Bay, has resumed his round-Australia journey after taking a forced intermission in Broome due to severe weather conditions. Len commenced his record breaking, non-stop and unassisted attempt to circumnavigate the nation late last year, in a bid to is raise money for cancer research. Fair Comment contributor Heath Warren speaks to Len Surtees about successfully beating bowel cancer, his passion for sailing, the journey so far and the path yet ahead.
  • Whilst the many nations of Arab Spring are still adjusting to the changes brought about by the revolutionary wave, the tourism industry within the member nations has taken a severe hit in its aftermath. However,  Brisbane-based international relations graduate Ben Rodgers, who spent two weeks in Egypt and Jordan, feels the time has never been better to visit the region. Fair Comment contributor Luke Rutledge speaks to Ben about his passion for travelling to places that takes him out of his comfort zone, his fascination with Middle Eastern culture and the eye-opening events he witnessed in his recent travels through Egypt and Jordan.

Thursday April 18:

  • Environmentalists from Broome and around Australia are celebrating a victory after energy giant Woodside Petroleum announced they would be shelving their plans for gas hub installation at James Price Point along the Kimberley coast. The now-panned $45 billion LNG project has been a point of contention in the region for the duration of it's more than four year planning stage - offering substantial economic benefits to the wider community, but also angering conservationists due to a variety of environmental concerns.

Fair Comment contributor Adam Jeffrey speaks to resident and Broome Community No Gas Campaign spokesperson, Nik Wevers, to discuss the campaign, the importance of people power and the social, economic and environmental impacts this decision will have upon Broome.

  • A parliamentary proposal to to decriminalise abortions as late as 16 weeks in Tasmania, has left the local community divided by ever-contentious issue. Community members have banded together to rally both in support and opposition of the bill, with one particular pro-life demonstration gaining notoriety for allowing students as young as nine to miss school and attend the anti-abortion rally

Fair Comment contributor Sarah McGowan speaks to both student and Rally for reproductive choice co-organiser, Georgia Allen and Moderator General for the Presbyterian Church of Australia Reverend David Jones to discuss their views on the contentious debate and the use of children in protests.

  • The suicide rate in Australia is much higher in rural areas, and one farmer is campaigning for change. Farmer John Ward from the NSW water irrigation town of Colleambally is putting up road signs along the highways asking drivers "R U OK?" as an ambassador for the R U OK? Foundation for mental health. Fair Comment contributor Ellie Freeman asks John about why he embarked on this project and an insight into rural mental health.

Above: John Ward

 Thursday May 11:

  • The Northern Territory will be playing host to a new Gay Pride festival this year with the launch of Pride Carnivale this coming June. The event promises to unite all members of the community with a jam packed day of events ranging from activities for the kids, fashion parades and camp dog shows. Beyond the festivities event organisers are also aiming to provide educational and supportive workshops to help tackle issues such as homophobia in Central Australia. Fair Comment contributor Heath Warren speaks to Pride Carnivale organisers Lauren Mellor and Sebastian Hall about the upcoming festivities, what they hope they hope to achieve with the event and the state of the LBGTIQ community in Central Australia

LINK: Alice Pride

  • The Federal Government’s announcement to raise the tax on cider from 35 cents to 95 cents - the same as "alcopops" - is drawing mixed reactions from cider producers around Australia. Fair Comment contributor Ellie Freeman talks to two very different cider producers. Chris Illman is marketing director of beverage company Vok Australia which produces Three Oaks Cider commercially. Tony Thorogood is a cider producer and author on a small property in rural South Australia who has a wealth of knowledge on traditional cider-making methods. The cider producers talk about how they came to produce this increasingly trendy drink and their perspective on a possible tax.

LINK: Thorogoods Cider


  • Residents from the Victorian city of Ballarat and the surrounding regions will soon be taking part in the area's very first online choir. The online performance will have 200 people using a computer program to record their part of the iconic Paul Kelly song 'Meet Me in the Middle of the Air' with the culmination of their work being be mixed down into a mass choir recording of the song. Fair Comment contributor Heath Warren speaks to Ballarat's regional arts development officer and coordinator behind the online choir, Verity Higgins, to discuss the inspiration behind the Choir and her work to connect the artistic community of the Central Highlands region.

LINK: The Virtual Choir


 Thursday April 4:

  • In the 1960s, Tjanara Goreng Goreng, an Indigenous girl boarding at the Rockhampton-based Range Convent high school, suffered from years of sexual abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest. He was later jailed for abusing other Indigenous children in his care. More than 30 later, Tjanara was able to finally make a financial settlement, but without any official admission of guilt by the church. Now an Indigenous elder and Assistant Professor at the University of Canberra, Tjanara currently chairs the Foundation for Indigenous Recovery & Development Australia. Fair Comment contributor Estelle Leacock speaks to Tjanara about her long running battle with the Catholic Church, her long road to recovery and her work to assist abuse sufferers.
  • Young school leaver, cycling enthusiast and East Gippsland Shire’s Young Citizen of the Year, Sam Mitchell, is in the beginning stages of his nationwide tour on a homemade solar powered tricycle, which he hopes will promote the benefits of sustainable methods of transport. Fair Comment contributor, Heath Warren speaks to Sam about his journey,  passion for cycling and perspective on Australia’s attitude towards sustainable energy sources.

LINK: Sam's blog Solar Shift

  • Bats, or flying foxes, live in large colonies in Queensland suburbs amidst much controversy. A young boy bitten by a bat carrying lyssavirus is prompting another debate on how to deal with these animals. Premier Campbell Newman is proposing for the State Government to move bat colonies in Far North Queensland, with local councils to foot the bill. Some politicians like Federal MP Bob Katter think bats should simply be culled. Fair Comment contributor Ellie Freeman went with fellow contributor Ruth Chalker to a Bat Rescue in Queensland's Redland Shire during feeding time. She spoke to Bat Conservation and Rescue Queensland president Louise Saunders about caring for these controversial animals, and the ongoing battle for Bat Rescue to keep operating.
Feeding time at the bat rescue


 Thurs March 28:

  • Fair Comment contributor Heath Warren talks to Richmond based real estate agent turned artist, Richard Savage, about stepping down from a successful career to pursue art - and his new art project.  Richard  speaks about the merits of pursuing passion over continuing a career path that holds little interest. He also talks about his fascination with the historically significant photograph of 9 aboriginal Australians chained together in the 19th century, which has served as inspiration for his first major sculpture.
  • Harmony Day is a day celebrating multicultral Australians with events and workshops around the country. Fair Comment contributor Ellie Freeman attended the Many Stories, One Australia Media Forum in Brisbane - a panel discussion about getting diverse stories from ethnic communities into mainstream media, organised by the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland. The panel included Cathie Schnitzerling, Head of News at Channel Ten; Ursula Skjonnemand, former ABC Journalist and Newsroom Coordinator at Citizen J; and 4EB radio broadcasters Manju Jehu from the Indian community and Erwin Cabucos from the Filipino community. The panellists spoke about their personal experiences with the cultural clashes in Australia media, and even gave advice to a Kanaka man, Colin Tarare, about sharing stories about his family history.

LINK: The ECCQ 'Many Stories, One Australia' Harmony Day forum

  • Most pub bands play a little over the volume of 100dB, and one Australian dog's bark is a whopping 113 dB. Charlie, a six-year-old Golden Retriever, now holds the offical Guinness World Record for the loudest bark, which was judged at the Purina Bark in the Park dog social event in Adelaide. Fair Comment contributor Daria Dolgova talked to Charlie's proud owner, Belinda Freebairn, about her world record-holding dog, and Purina dog behavioural consultant Dr Joanne Righetti about what actually happens at a dog social event.



Thursday March 21:



Australia has one of the highest incidences of pet ownership in the world, with 490,000 tonnes of dog waste alone being disposed of every year. Melbourne based inventor and entrepreneur Duncan Chew wants to convert that waste to energy with his new project, Poo Power.   Fair Comment contributor Heath Warren speaks to Duncan about the how he first came up with the idea, the feedback he’s received and just how he plans on turning dog waste into power.


LINK: Poo Power


No longer tethered by commitments of motherhood and feeling as though she was at a crossroads in her life, former Brisbane based counsellor Sharon Lenehan uprooted herself from a stable life to fulfil a lifelong goal of visiting India to assist those in need.   Fair comment contributor and ABloomingBigLife.com blogger Megan Simson speaks to Sharon about her experiences helping the poor children in India and just what it's like to pack up and leave your old life behind.


LINK: A Blooming Big Life's profile on Sharon


Recently released court documents from an ongoing case allege police officers from the North Melbourne suburb of Flemington have been targeting young African-Australians with assault and racial abuse.   Fair Comment contributor Ellie Freeman speaks with civil engineering student, community activist and 3CR radio announcer Daniel Haile-Michael to discuss the case, the state of cultural awareness amongst the police force and how it feels to be a victim of racial profiling.


LINK: 3CR's African Australian Voice



Thursday March 14:

A special Community Digital Radio Program

Fair Comment are campaigning with Commit to Community Radio to address the funding shortfall for digital community radio stations. Without funding for digital radio, programs like Fair Comment might have to be taken off air - leaving our of dedicated team of producers and contributors without an avenue for distributing stories and learning valuable media skills.

We'll be getting to know the faces behind the panel:

  • The Filipino announcers of two Filipino programs broadcast on Global digital radio, talk about the service they provide to the Filipino diaspora around Queensland, Australia and the world that allows them to connect with their culture and community.

LINK: Filipino Brisbane

  • Umesh Chandra, announcer of the Bollywood Show on Global and influential figure in the Brisbane Indian community, talks about his program specialising in the ever-popular Bollywood music genre and how digital radio is the future.

LINK: Brisbane Indian Times

  • Andrew McLellan, Zed Digital Content Coordinator and announcer of several Zed Digital programs, about his favourite shows and how digital community radio will be affected by the funding shortfall.

LINK: Zed Digital

  • 4MBS general manager Gary Thorpe, about MBS Light digital - an alternative for classical music fans who are into other genres such as jazz and showtunes.
  • General manager Ed Richardson of 4RPH, a community radio station for the print handicapped. RPH audiences are increasingly turning to digital radio for its excellent sound quality and vital service for news and information.

Community Radio National Day of Action, Wednesday 13 March


Thurs Mar 7


Quitting a corporate career to start your own business is a risky move, but for Gr8 Women founder Aina Notoa it's all worth it to help support women and their goals. ABloomingBigLife blogger Megan Simson chats to Aina about the challenges she faced starting her own business and her vision behind Gr8 Women.


from A Blooming Big Life

LINK: Gr8 Women

  • Remember Dolly the sheep? Meet Evie the cow! Hear contributor Adam Jeffrey talking to farmer Nev Hansen from Central Queensland, whose cow gave birth to Evie the cloned calf during the floods. 
  • Once upon a time, trams carried building materials around Queensland's Sunshine Coast. Historians of Cooloola have found the Cooloola tramway and want it to be heritage-listed. Fair Comment contributor Ellie Freeman talks to historian Dr Elaine Brown about what she's learned about the history of Cooloola and researching tramway founder William Pettigrew, who pioneered the industrial revolution in Queensland.



Thurs Feb 28:



  • The Queensland Government and City Councils have sought to tighten their grip on unsanctioned graffiti, most recently in the form of the ‘Tag Them Back’ campaign. The community driven-campaign aims to utilise the Brisbane public to report graffiti offenders in an attempt to reduce reported costs of 3.6 million dollars per annum in graffiti removal. However, the street art community feel the increased crackdown only serves as misguided move that will worsen relationships between the authorities and youth. They suggest that in place of increased restrictions the state government and city councils should consider providing public places where street art and posters can be legally placed to allow free public expression of the views of young people. Fair Comment and 4ZZZ Brisbane Line contributor Saskia Edwards speaks to Jugglers Art Space Director, Peter Breen, and street artist Lucks about how Queenslanders perceive Graffiti and their opinion on the current direction of the government sponsored anti-graffiti measures.

LINK: Jugglers Art Space

Outside Jugglers Art Space

  • Seven marathons, over seven days over seven different continents of the world - that's what New Zealand Pilot, adventurer and charity campaigner Mike Allsop has just conquered. The seven day adventure, which was part of a campaign to inspire disadvantaged children and raise money and awareness for the childrens' charity KidsCan New Zealand. This latest feat of endurance comes off the back of an extensive climbing career, which has spanned six continents over 12 years and saw him complete ultimate mountaineer’s challenge of reaching the summit of Mt Everest. Fair Comment contributor Heath Warren speaks to Mike about the KidsCan charity, his adventures and what daring adventure he plans to conquer next.

LINK: The 777 Project

  • The Student ShoutOut initiative asks students aged 13 to 18 across Australia to express their opinion on what mattered to them in their education and how it could be improved. The program has allowed for students to directly communicate with those in power including an open discussion with education minister Peter Garrett and most recently a senate inquiry into teaching and learning. Fair Comment Contributor Sophie Tarrant speaks to Ricky Campbell-Allen, Director for the Centre for New Public Education, to discuss the origins and the success of the Student Shout out campaign and the importance of gauging the feedback from students within the education system.

Feb 21:

Listen here or subscribe to Fair Comment podcasts in iTunes

  • The small Pacific island nation of Tuvalu has a long tradition of oral storytelling. Ancient stories of Tuvalu’s history and culture are told to each new generation. Melbourne-based “cultural animator” George Siosi Samuels is recreating these stories using animation and online media in a series called "Tales of Nanumea". Fair Comment contributor Shirley Way talks to George about his multicultural heritage, the issues facing modern-day Tuvalu and his passion for telling stories about his home.


LINK: All about George and Tales of Nanumea at his website, Siosism

  • ‘percussion’ is a book that asks drummers from bands around the world – from Australia’s PVT to American rockers AFI – a few simple questions: what is your favourite percussion instrument? And why? Founder of music review website The AU Review, Larry Heath, is publishing the book and donating all the proceeds to SoundSchool – a charity that gives underprivileged children musical instruments and tuition. Fair Comment contributor Ellie Freeman talks to Larry about meeting the children SoundSchool assists, how the book came about and his love of music.

LINK: More about the book percussion

  • Outdoor food on the go for hungry Queenslanders and an opportunity for refugees to develop their own small business. That’s what Street Food Australia founder Helen Bird has in mind for her new enterprise, where refugees operate food carts on bicycles. Street Food Australia launched in Brisbane on February 7 and have since been appearing at outdoor festivals such as the BrisAsia Festival. 4ZZZ’s  Brisbane Line and Fair Comment contributor Kellie Murphy chatted to Helen about how she plans to help the refugee community through her business.

LINK: Street Food Australia


 Feb 14:


  • The Queensland government in the 80s, run by conservative Joh Bielke-Petersson, was a politically turbulent time in the state’s history. The LGBTIQ community suffered under this government, unable to be openly homosexual without the risk of losing their jobs, homes or families. Gold Coast Queensland College of Art photography lecturer Heather Faulkner is documenting the lives of 8 lesbian women who lived through this time in Queensland. Her research has taken her from northern Queensland, to the Brisbane suburb of Rocklea, to Warwick in New South Wales and as far as Adelaide. Fair Comment contributor Ellie Freeman met Heather to talk about making her documentary and photos of the extraordinary women she’s met – a diverse mix of rockstars, academics, activists and grandmothers.

LINK: Heather Faulkner's QLD Stories research blog


Heather at work
Heather at work


  •  17 Browning St in Brisbane’s West End has a rich history. When English teacher Elizabeth Jeffs and her husband inherited the then-dilapidated old house, the couple took on the responsibility of taking care of the group of impoverished men who lived there. Elizabeth discovered historical documents from World War II and began writing the story of this house’s rich history. Fair Comment contributor Sophie Tarrant speaks to Elizabeth about her fascination with 17 Browning St and how she came to write her book.

LINK: Elizabeth Jeff's 17 Browning St  on Library Thing

View Larger Map

  • It's illegal for an employer to knock back a job applicant based on race, nationality, sex, political affiliation or religion. But for the church, that doesn't apply. Currently, church groups are allowed to refuse employment to someone if they argue against its teachings or are seen to live in such a way as to argue against the church's teachings. The Federal Government is looking to change that. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many in the church are against the changes. But not all. Reverend Leigh Neighbour from the Metropolitan Community Church, Brisbane agrees with the changes. He sees them as yet another instance of the world becoming reconciled with God. Fair Comment Contributor Steven Riggall spoke to Rev. Neighbour about what that means.

LINK: Metropolitan Community Church website

Feb 7


  • Did you know that Australia has had an average of 330 intercountry adoptions each year, and most of them are from Korea?
    Fair Comment contributor Ellie Freeman speaks with Sydney based PhD student and Korean-American adoptee HeeRa Heaser about about her life as an intercountry adoptee; her research into how adoptees utilise social media to access resources and interact with each other online, and her experiences meeting other adoptees around Australia
  • People from from across the nation gathered together in the Coastal New South Wales region of Taree to celebrate Australia Day through vibrant Aboriginal culture for the Saltwater Freshwater Festival. Fair Comment contributor and Ze...d Digital’s Indigi-Briz host, Kristy McMahon, speaks to Birpai woman and part of the Stolen Generation Auntie Jackie Travis about her life and her experiences being taken from her mother having her son taken from her.


  • With recent talks of the withdrawal of Australian troops from Afghanistan, post-conflict support group SoldierOn says wounded young veterans will need the assistance from their local community to successfully re-integrate back into s...ociety.
    Fair Comment contributor Heath Warren speaks to SoldierOn co-founder Cavin Wilson to discuss the his work with the support group and how they aim to empower, enhance and inspire Australian servicemen and women who have been physically or psychologically wounded in recent conflicts.  

LINK: SoldierOn


Jan 31


  • A Bribie Island mother asked to leave an aquatic centre for breastfeeding her baby has sparked a nation-wide debate among the public and media about whether it is appropriate to breastfeed in public. Further controversy arose when TV host David Koch expressed his opinion that breastfeeding should be done discretely, which sparked a “nurse-in” protest. UQ Social Sciences academic Dr Karen Brooks found herself in the middle of the debate when she wrote a column about it in the Courier Mail. Fair Comment and 4ZZZ Brisbane Line contributor Saskia Edwards talks to Dr Brooks about the varied responses to her article and her opinion on the debate.

LINK: Dr Brooks’s column

  • Many social media users uploaded photos of flooding in Queensland online, but there’s a group of die-hard weather fans who seek out Australia’s spectacular storms. Fair Comment contributor Heath Warren talks to New South Wales stormchaser and weather photographer Michael Bath about his experiences pursuing wild weather in Australia and the United States.

LINK: Michael Bath’s Lightning Photography

  • Aboriginal sexual health superhero Condoman is making a comeback in 2013 in the form of comic books and radio plays, this time with a Torres Strait Islander female sidekick named Lubelicious. Fair Comment contributor Ellie Freeman talks to Michael Scott, manager of the 2 Spirits program, which is using Condoman and Lubelicious to promote sexual health in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

LINK: 2 Spirits


Little Two Eyes - Rain Music

Samantha Morley - The Nearness of You


Jan 24:


  • Did you know population levels of the Tasmanian Devil have dropped by 80% over the past 16 years? Heath speaks to Queensland-based environmental expert Professor Hamish McCallum to discuss the increased threat of extinction facing the Tasmanian Devil following the recent approval of mining development in the northwest Tarkine region, which remains one of the final bastions untouched by a widespread disease that is ravaging the Tasmanian Devil population.


  • Detained Sri Lankan mother Ranjini recently gave birth to a baby boy in Villawood Detention Centre, sparking outcry in the community and refugee activist groups campaigning for her freedom. One such group, Chilout, is fighting for an end to children in detention. Fair Comment contributor Ellie Freeman speaks with Chilout campaign coordinator Leila Druery about her work with Ranjini’s family and her experiences meeting children in detention centres.


  • A recent outbreak of violence between aboriginal and Pacific Islander groups in the south-Brisbane suburb of Logan, is prompting community leaders to come together and address issues in the area. Fair Comment contributor and Zed Digital's Indigi-Briz host, Kristy McMahon, talks to Brisbane Aboriginal activist Uncle Sam Watson about social and economic issues and working towards a better future for this racially diverse community.


Old Man River and Javier Fredes - Merry Christmas Island

Bokchoy Boys - Make a Stand

Jan 17:


  • The Gold Coast Council is voting on repealing a ban on the use of animals in circuses. Fair Comment contributor Heath Warren talks to Gold Coast animal rights activist Simone Hewitt from Coast to Coast Animal Friends, who are rallying to keep the ban in place and stop exploitation in circuses.


LINK: Ban All Circus Animals Protest

  • Tony Abbott's revival of comments on abortion inspired Fair Comment contributor Amelia Paxman to ask 32-year-old woman Nadine about her experiences undergoing two abortions.


  • When farmers lose their land or livestock after freak weather, volunteer-based emergency aid organisation BlazeAid is there to help rebuild. Fair Comment contributor Ellie Freeman talks to Tasmanian Eugene Ross about their work to assist farmers and families in rural Australia during bushfire season.


LINK: BlazeAid


The Good Ship - Powder Monkey

Super Magic Hats - Wind

Thursday Jan 10:


  • The government's decision to slash Single Parent welfare payments down to the same amount as Newstart is causing outcry in the community from parents saying it just isn't enough. Fair Comment contributors Amelia Paxman and Ellie Freeman talk to a student, jobseeker, a single mother and an ex-jobseeker about life and survival on welfare payments.
  • Our story on the plight of Monte Carlo Caravan park residents facing eviction last year really struck a chord with our listeners. Fair Comment contributor Steven Riggall catches up with Michael Edridge, chair of the Monte Carlo Caravan Park Residents Association, to find out how the residents's ongoing battle to save their homes from a state government sale is progressing.

LINK: Save the Monte Carlo

  • A new experimental method called "Eradicat" is being developed to control the Australian feral cat population. Fair Comment contributor Heath Warren talks to Western Australian Bush Heritage Australia ecologist Matt Appleby, who is part of the team developing Eradicat, about how the new method could potentially see the reintroduction of protected and endangered species.

LINK: Bush Heritage Australia


Skyways are Highways - Wild Animals

The Temper Trap - This Isn't Happiness