The Looking Forward Podcast
The Looking Forward Podcast Episode 93: Looking Forward: Endgame

The Looking Forward Podcast Episode 93: Looking Forward: Endgame

December 16, 2020

After two years on air that’s a wrap for the IPA’s Looking Forward Podcast, as least as a weekly panel show. The biggest issues over the journey have been Trump and the populist insurrection on the centre-right, and of course coronavirus and how populations and Governments have responded.

CoHosts Scott Hargreaves and Chris Berg reflect on what they said and what they learned along the way, as they consider what’s next for the Centre-Right in America and Australia in particular. Will it be the continuing isolation of the libertarians, or will neofusionism take hold; adapting William F. Buckley’s broad church approach to a new era? If it was only the Cold War that held the original coalition together; to what can we look now?

Also mentioned is real economics versus the rubbish taught in (most) Universities, the disappointing nature of Australian business leaders and “Chairman’s Lounge Syndrome”, policy making in a risk-averse age, the overreliance on experts, the uses of a conservative disposition as a rational response to societal threats, and why we should (nevertheless) be optimistic about tech and society’s capacity to adapt and innovate.

In a final Books and Culture segment the hosts review their favourite picks and reflect on what these picks showed about the value society derives from the explosion of streaming services, the impact of great books, and also the corrosion of our creative culture and the extinguishment of the hero as evidenced by Barry, The Boys, and the proliferation of shows with assassins as the lead character.

The host send thanks to their listeners and urge those that aren’t already to join the IPA (

Thanks Ron, Great Party!

Thanks Ron, Great Party!

December 10, 2020

Will history’s verdict be that Trump trashed the legacy of Reagan - as some of his supporters delightedly claim - or that there are stronger continuities between the two, sharing records of lower taxes, regulatory reform and a strong military, all built on votes from mainstream Americans. Where has the Trump insurrection left the Republican Party, and what are the lessons for the Liberals in Australia? By disputing the election and frustrating the handover, will Trump drive people away or is he just positioning to be a de facto Leader of the Opposition for the next four years. If he is, what hopes for those like Marco Rubio who want to complete the demographic reversal of the two major parties, let alone “Restorationists” like Nikki Haley who want to walk the Republicans back from the attitude of permanent revolution. If Conservative Populism rules in Australia too, does that just mean Liberal politicians will jettison all philosophy and ideas and praise their own pragmatism whilst doing nothing that is not in their own self-interest? In the Books and Culture segment, Andrew Bushnell pays a deserved tribute to the great Chuck Yeager, dead at 97, and his portrayal in 1983’s The Right Stuff. Chris Berg’s children drive him to watch and praise Disney Plus’ consciously lightweight The World According to Jeff Goldblum, and Scott Hargreaves describes the epic battles of Tories and Whig in the Long Eighteenth Century in a two minute summary whilst reviewing Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World by Leo Damrosch Links: The Republican Identity Crisis After Trump (New Yorker)

The Looking Forward Podcast Episode 91: Mysterious Measures to Decolonise Museums

The Looking Forward Podcast Episode 91: Mysterious Measures to Decolonise Museums

December 3, 2020

All through the western world Museum Directors have set themselves the task of “decolonising” their collections and exhibits, but what could this become and what does it mean anyway? Do they know, or are they just going woke to protect their own jobs? Is it about appropriately recognising indigenous cultures, or something more?

Regular co-hosts Scott Hargreaves and Chris Berg are joined by the IPA’s Bella d’Abrera to look at the latest ructions at the British Museum and also museums and libraries closer to home, as they look for answers.

The Panel also looks at the fast-fading opportunity in NSW to finally dispense with the national cross-curriculum priorities crowding out and rendering incoherent what is taught K-10 across Auststralia.

Plus in the usual Books and Culture segment, they look at Norsemen, the Norwegian but English language program Berg describes as Game of Thrones meets The Office, the strangely interestingly documentary on the British/Canadian/Indian/American War of 1812, and the gobsmackingly good turns by Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant in The Undoing.

The Looking Forward Podcast Episode 89: The Reckoning of Our Afghan War

The Looking Forward Podcast Episode 89: The Reckoning of Our Afghan War

November 26, 2020

The allegations of serious war crimes by Australian special forces contained within the Brereton Inquiry report mean some change is necessary even as justice takes its course. But should Parliamentarians involve themselves more in Defence and military oversight, as Andrew Hastie MP suggests, or could this politicise the military and cast it into the culture wars? Could adverse findings about a ‘warrior culture’ lead to something useless in its place? And could a ‘black armband’ view of our country and its military record imperil the venerated place of the Australian War Memorial in Australian life and remembrance?

Co-hosts Scott Hargreaves and Chris Berg are joined by former Defence Department employee, Andrew Bushnell, for this discussion. They also revisit the omnishambles that is South Australia’s response to its ‘pizza box’ coronavirus cluster. What does the panic tell us about Governments’ capacity to manage science, public health and known unknowns?

The panellists also discuss their culture picks, including the disappointing Hillbilly Elegy on Netflix, Gotham, the monumental history of New York’s early years, and Based on a True Story, the new and brilliant ‘memoir’ by SNL alumnus, Norm McDonald.

The Looking Forward Podcast Episode 89: Brutal Lockdowns Redux: SA Cut

The Looking Forward Podcast Episode 89: Brutal Lockdowns Redux: SA Cut

November 19, 2020

Now it’s South Australia's turn for lockdown hell for at least six days, and Daniel Wild joins the panel live from Adelaide to report on the chaotic decision making behind the Government’s draconian measures. 

Apparently the coronavirus spread by failure in Hotel Quarantine - who would have expected THAT! Seriously, are our Governments incapable of learning and preparing, and delivering a decent test and trace system?

Meanwhile, the Fatwa issued by Kevin Rudd against Rupert Murdoch gained support from Malcolm Turnbull and the ABC, and now the Senate has launched yet another inquiry into ‘media diversity’. How real are the claims made about Murdoch’s influence, and what does that really have to do with the state of media in Australia? Is this just setting us up for Finklestein Mark II, with government licensing of media outlets and journalists?

We then move on to discuss our culture picks for the week including Daniel’s Australian Prime Ministers by editor Michelle Grattan; Chris’s Netflix original TV series Stranger Things by Ross Duffer and Matt Duffer, which he recommends to anyone looking for an absurd, high quality production with amusing cliches; and Scott’s TV series The Crown by Peter Morgan which Scott enjoys but critiques for its pushing of political agendas and subtly supporting the aristocrats' snobbish view of Margaret Thatcher.


Culture Picks:

Australian Prime Ministers; Michelle Grattan

Stranger Things; Ross Duffer and Matt Duffer

The Crown; Peter Morgan

The Looking Forward Podcast Episode 88: Just Another High Vis Election

The Looking Forward Podcast Episode 88: Just Another High Vis Election

November 12, 2020

It's a global High Vis vest frenzy, because whether or not he’s President going forward the global legacy of Trump is a realignment of politics, with heartland conservatives switched on and centre-right parties around the world looking for blue collar voters. To what extent can this be said about Australia and can it explain what's happened this week in the ALP as the Shadow Cabinet dissolved into a brawl over climate versus coal?

This realignment in the USA brought populist policy change on trade, taxes and social security, but  could anyone other than Trump have withstood enormous media pressure surrounding the Paris Climate Agreement, as well as getting through the deregulation and massive tax cuts that he did? Can we ever imitate this in Australia or is our political system too dissimilar to America’s? Did State LNP organisations blow themselves up chasing populist positions? What will the Biden administration look like for the future of the USA and the rest of the world?

Joining Scott and Chris in this week’s episode to discuss these riveting questions is IPA Director of Communications, Evan Mullholland. 


Culture Picks this week include Chris’ Children of Ash and Elm by Neil Price about Vikings; Scott’s podcast, Noise Before Defeat by Senator Jim Molan about Australian national security; and Evan’s pick of the American, deep-state action-thriller series, Condor by Tom Katzberg, Ken Robinson and Jason Smilovic.

The Looking Forward Podcast Episode 87: Trumpism in a Post Trump Era

The Looking Forward Podcast Episode 87: Trumpism in a Post Trump Era

November 5, 2020

There’s some grieving from Gideon on the Podcast as indications are that Joe Biden will be sworn in as President, though his fabled ‘blue wave’ failed to eventuate. Trump confounded the polls and energised a mass base of Americans in a way that suggests his political legacy will live on. Is this at the expense of the right’s traditional free market values - or was there a fusion? Did Trump really divide America, or was he just the first to be honest about the social and economic division and the nature of the ruling elite?  How can the claim still be made that Trumpism is all dog whistle racism when the GOP made further gains amongst Latinos and other minorities? Trump has permanently flipped the world’s view of China but what now is the future for trade and tariff policies? Will Biden have Australia’s back during any further bruising retaliations by China? 

Guests Gideon Rozner and Morgan Begg join Scott and Chris to answer these questions and also share their culture picks, which include Chris’ highly recommended Netflix TV series, The Queen's Gambit by Scott Frank and Allan Scott; Morgan’s documentary series on Netflix, High Score, stemming from his interest in the history of video games; and Gideon’s rerun of his favourite childhood TV show, 7th Heaven by Brenda Hampton.

The Looking Forward Podcast Episode 86: Australia’s Coronavirus Endgame

The Looking Forward Podcast Episode 86: Australia’s Coronavirus Endgame

October 29, 2020

Scott Morrison’s mid-year plan for a COVIDSafe economy is back on track having been derailed by Victorian bungling, but with vaccines uncertain and international borders closed, what is the outlook for Australia’s coronavirus Endgame?  Can services like education and tourism ever rejoin king coal and iron ore as the foundations of our prosperity, at least any time soon? Why would any business invest when Governments can shut you down at any time?

Scott and Chris are joined by Andrew Bushnell to answer those questions and also focus on our first COVID State election in Queensland, which also looks like a post-economics election, with ballooning debt and public service payrolls barely even mentioned (except by the IPA!). It’s the clerisy’s business model at work…

And the other election coming up is in the USA - and it seems Trump’s comeback has made it once again too close to call (except by the panellists). The call is made on Florida and the Latino vote. Both candidates played to their strengths and strategy but only one can be vindicated. 

Culture picks (53:28-1:05:43) look at streaming services La Révolution and the disappointing Brave New World, while the coverage of the AFL Grand Final gives Bushnell a chance to wax lyrical about Richmond FC.


Show Notes:

'Enough is enough': Gladys Berejiklian calls for states to open borders, pull their weight on hotel quarantine; Jodie Stephens


Budget 2020: When will Australia re-open its borders?; Mosiqi Acharya


Still the Sunshine State? (IPA Review)


New IPA Research Proposes Models For A Queensland Upper House


Culture Picks:

Brave New World (TV Series 2020)


La Révolution (TV Series 2020)

The Looking Forward Podcast Episode 85: Global Progressives Unhinged By Jacindavirus (ARDERN 20)

The Looking Forward Podcast Episode 85: Global Progressives Unhinged By Jacindavirus (ARDERN 20)

October 21, 2020

Gideon Rozner joins the panel to compare world leaders’ various responses to coronavirus and how this links to politically polarised ideals of “leadership”. If leadership for progressives just means technocracy and more lockdowns, is that why Gideon’s labelling of Jancinda Adern as “incompetent” saw much frothing and outrage across domestic and global media?
We highlight the various leadership styles of Saint Jacida, Chairman Dan, the Donald and others, and ask what can be made of their approaches to gaining followers or popularity through the crisis? And we explain the difference between the errors of State leaders Daniel Andrews and Gladys Berejiklian.

The big question is why should performative leadership’ be rewarded while sheer managerial incompetence is ignored; and whether leadership and management can even be meaningfully separated? 

In the USA President Trump aims to buck the media and the consensus of negative polls; but are those polls really reflective of the likely Electoral College outcomes? Will Americans vote on the virus, or economics and other themes that favour Trump? (37:06-52:40)


Culture Picks this week include American historical legal drama film, The Trial of the Chicago 7, written by Aaron Sorkin; Sally Rugg’s book, How Powerful We Are: Behind the Scenes with One of Australia's Leading Activists; and Apple TV series, Ted Lasso, Created by Brendan Hunt, Joe Kelly, Bill Lawrence. (53:00-1:06:24)

Show notes 


From ‘beacon of hope’ to ‘incompetent’: world media on Jacinda Ardern’s big election win; Toby Manhire


Thirteen Days – A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis; Robert F. Kennedy

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead; The Editors/National Review

Culture Picks

2020 American historical legal drama film, The Trial of the Chicago 7, written by Aaron Sorkin


2020 TV series, Ted Lasso, Created by Brendan Hunt, Joe Kelly, Bill Lawrence


Book by Sally Rugg, How Powerful We Are: Behind the scenes with one of Australia's leading activists


The Looking Forward Podcast Episode 84: The Belated Collapse of Lockdown’s Justifications

The Looking Forward Podcast Episode 84: The Belated Collapse of Lockdown’s Justifications

October 14, 2020

We may look back on this as the week when the global wave of coronavirus lockdown hysteria recedes, as more sensible voices and experts come to the fore, including a key WHO adviser condemning the use of lockdowns as a primary means of control for the coronavirus.

The historic Great Barrington Declaration led by Professor Sunetra Gupta (Oxford) and Jay Bhattacharya (Harvard) replaces lockdowns with “focused protection” to protect the most vulnerable people from the virus, while allowing those at much lower risk to work and/or return to school and life generally. How well does this map in Australia’s unique context to IPA Research calling for a strategy based on “Medical Capacity”? Report co-author Asher Judah joins regular panellists Scott Hargreaves and Chris Berg to discuss.

For months the IPA has been pointing to harm and suffering caused by the lockdowns yet the Victorian government is only beginning to admit this, and that “roadmap” goals are unachievable.  As we survey the destruction of the State’s once great health system, its economy, and its people’s mental health, is there finally scope for a U-turn?

This week’s culture picks include four-part docuseries, Before the Web by Jim Epstein; The IPA’s Climate Change: The Facts 2020; and George Friedman’s novel, The Storm Before The Calm. (45:08-59:15)



Show notes:

The Great Barrington Declaration


Reaching Immunity | A Private Summit of Epidemiologists Against Lockdowns; AIER


Medical Capacity: An Alternative to Lockdowns; Daniel Wild and Asher Judah


Support for eased restrictions grows as Melburnians reach breaking point (IPA Research), Shannon Deery


The Australian Century, Asher Judah



Culture picks:

Before the Web: The 1980s Dream of a Free and Borderless Virtual World, Jim Epstein


Climate Change: The Facts 2020 (Chapter 19); IPA


The Storm Before the Calm, George Friedman

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