The politics of everything that matters to mankind in the 20th century

The Politics of Everything

Hosted by Amber Daines, The Politics of Everything launched in May 2017 as a weekly podcast series asking newsworthy experts and leaders the tricky questions about the politics of everything that matters to mankind in the 21st century. 

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Future guests are welcome to contact me with your big idea and include the subject line 'POE idea', your chosen topic and a brief biography. 

September 14th 2021
108: The Politics of Freelancing - Alexandra Cain
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Freelance writing is a pipe dream for many burnt-out staff reporters, hobby writers, and anyone who wants to achieve work-life balance on their own terms. Alexandra Cain or Ali as most of her clients and peers call her has spent 20 years building and sustaining a successful freelance business writing career.


Ali wanted to be a business journalist ever since her dad used to bring home the Australian Financial Review when she was little. She couldn't understand a word of it but would still try to decipher what was written. So it's her privilege now to write for the AFR, as well as a huge number of other publications in Australia and overseas including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and Forge. She also edits ASX's magazine, Listed@ASX.

An always in-demand freelancer, Ali also writes for many of Australia's and the world's biggest (and some of its smallest) businesses, regularly producing newsletter articles, blog posts, white papers, speeches, and, more recently, podcasts for her clients. 

Plus she has worked with me for a decade now leading hard-hitting media interview role-plays for my clients in communications training workshops. For Ali, it's all about getting to the crux of why business and money matter and helping people to understand this world.

Hear from Ali on:

  1. What made you want to give up a steady income for freelancing?
  2. What early mistakes did you make as a freelancer?
  3. How do you approach freelance writing business development so you can plan your income and balance your energy levels, so you are not working seven days a week for months on end?
  4. How do you promote yourself given some clients would want to keep your writing services to themselves vs competitors using you?
  5. Do you think freelancers should be better supported by the government?
  6. Take away: What is your final thought or message for us on The Politics of Freelancing?


Contact Ali Cain via:

W: Alexandra Cain

LinkedIn: (7) Alexandra Cain | LinkedIn

September 7th 2021
107: The Politics of Kindness - Hugh Mackay
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In current times, with all the challenges of a global pandemic and what that means for us as we navigate work, family, isolation, sickness and sanity (and in lockdown for some of us), the notion of kindness must be an anecdote for some of that which we struggle with.

I am speaking today to Hugh Mackay, a highly regarded social psychologist and researcher, and the bestselling author of 22 books, including eight novels. His latest book, The Kindness Revolution, was published in 2021.

He has had a 60-year career in social research and was also a weekly newspaper columnist for over 25 years. He is currently an honorary professor in the Research School of Psychology at ANU, and a patron of the Asylum Seekers Centre. Among other honorary appointments, he has been deputy chairman of the Australia Council for the Arts, the inaugural chairman of the ACT government's Community Inclusion Board and an honorary professor at Macquarie, Wollongong and Charles Sturt universities.

Hugh is a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and the Royal Society of NSW. In recognition of his pioneering work in social research, he has been awarded honorary doctorates by Charles Sturt, Macquarie, NSW, Western Sydney and Wollongong universities. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2015.

We talk today about kindness!

In this episode, you can hear from Hugh on:

  1. His new book The Kindness Revolution - how did that book come to be and what can we expect to learn when we read it?
  2. What makes someone kinder? Is it through experiencing it from others and in a non-transactional way or are some of us born kinder naturally?
  3. Food is a popular way to show kindness, with a recent study showing almost four in five (78 per cent) believing that sharing a meal with friends and family is a powerful way to display kindness. Meanwhile two thirds (62 per cent) of Aussies believe that helping our neighbours is something we should do more of. In your observations, do close-knit regional communities vs urban dwellers where we can share an apartment block and not ever know our neighbours?
  4. Are Australians known to be kinder than other countries perhaps?
  5. Take away: What is your final takeaway message for us today on The Politics of Kindness?

To connect with Hugh:


See this Q&A with Hugh on the subject of kindness:

Book: The Kindness Revolution - Hugh Mackay - 9781760879938 - Allen & Unwin - Australia (

Email: Dr. Hugh Mackay | ANU Research School of Psychology


August 31st 2021
106: The Politics of Giving - Charlie Bresler
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Around 20 years ago, I did a whole Masters thesis on Philanthropic models that took me to leaders in this arena across the USA and Europe. While most of us take an impulsive approach to giving, a little bit of research into where your dollars will do the most good can make your donation hundreds or even thousands of times more effective!  The Life You Can Save, an organization based in Australia and the U.S., helps people do just this by highlighting evidence-backed, high-impact, cost-effective charities that save lives, reduce suffering and empower women. So today I speak to Charlie Bresler, co-founder of Peter Singer's The Life You Can Save.

Charlie describes his career path as "not exactly linear".  As a college student at New York University during the height of the Vietnam War, he was a political activist. Wanting to share his perspective with secondary school students, he got a Master's degree from Harvard in Social Studies and Education and taught for three years.  For a variety of reasons, he decided teaching secondary school was not for him. Switching gears, he then went on to manage a tennis club and later wandered into a job as a psychology tech, followed in 1981 by graduate school at Clark University where he received an MA and Ph.D in social and clinical psychology. This led to a seven year stint as a graduate professor of psychology.

Fast-forward to 1992, Bresler ran into his old childhood friend George Zimmer, who enticed him to switch career paths and join his clothing company that had just gone public. He eventually became President of the Company, but In 2008 he walked into Zimmer's office and told his lifelong friend that he was done. Bresler was ready to give up the chance to succeed Zimmer as CEO to make a move that was more in line with his desire to "be a part of producing meaningful social change".  

Bresler feels that TLYCS has a strong proof of concept - namely, The Life You Can Save can move a multiple of dollars invested in organizational infrastructure to the highly effective charities recommended on their website.   In fact, for every dollar spent by TLYCS on their operations over the last eight years, they've been able to raise an average of approximately 12-17 dollars to their recommended charities.

Hear from Charlie on:

  1. You say the "The Life You Can Save" is based on some simple beliefs and assumptions. First, through our effective donations, we can save actual lives of people dying every day that would not be dying with the simple interventions available in the 'developed' world. Secondly, we have an ethical obligation to use some portion of our wealth and privilege to save lives and reduce the unnecessary suffering associated with 'extreme poverty', defined as living on less than $1.25 USD/day (around AUD$2.50)."  In Australia, we do have more social security measures for those in need and had universal health care in Australia for 40 years, but poverty still impacts too many people in a 'wealthy nation'. How can philanthropy start to change that? Is it more than well publicized or strategic hand-outs from the super-wealthy people?
  2. How during Covid has the idea of giving changed? Many are doing it tough still or have lost their own incomes or homes. What does that mean for giving?
  3. What role does government tax benefits and other concessions play in improving giving?
  4. What about ways to know the real impact and do you suggest philanthropists measure what giving can do for those organizations who receive it?
  5. I once met an Australian business owner who wanted to give away all his wealth before he died and had convinced his family that was the way to go - is that the level of giving you see often?
  6. Take away: What is your final thought or message for us on The Politics of Giving?


For more on Charlie and TLYCS: The Life You Can Save - Best Charities for Effective Giving