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Listen up: the ANU pods from 2021 you must hear

The National Security Podcast team
21 December 2021

It’s been another big year for the podcast and no surprise that our thought leaders at The Australian National University (ANU) have again provoked plenty to ponder in the top podcasts of 2021.

It’s also no surprise the top pods come from the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific where the Policy Forum team at the Crawford School of Public Policy once again packed plenty of tasty goodness into their podcasts with the ever-popular Democracy Sausage and the Policy Forum Pod.

While not an official ANU pod, The Little Red Podcast, co-hosted by China studies academic Dr Graeme Smith, again rated highly by placing third in the News & Current Affairs category of the Australian Podcast Awards.

The best pods aren’t necessarily about the number of downloads, so we’ve scoured five of the top podcasts from ANU that are definitely worth another listen.

Democracy Sausage with Mark Kenny

Why is pork-barrelling so commonplace in Australian politics? Does it actually have an impact on how people vote? And will the spotlight on the well-publicised ‘sports rorts’ and car park scandals have a sobering effect on the practice at the next federal election, or will it be business-as-usual?

ANU Professor Ian McAllister, co-author of a new paper on the electoral impact of the Australian sports grants scandal, and Professor Anne Tiernan from Griffith University joined Professor Mark Kenny and Dr Marija Taflaga on this episode of Democracy Sausage.

Who performed this year’s most flagrant and self-interested political backflip? Who has been the most effective political leader? As the curtain came down on Democracy Sausage for another year, Frank Bongiorno, Chris Wallace, Marija Taflaga and Mark Kenny looked back at the best and worst of 2021.

Policy Forum Pod

What is Country and why is it significant for Indigenous Australians? Will Australian governments recognise First Nations Australians as the key decision-makers and knowledge holders of environmental management? And what impact would better policy in this area have on the wellbeing of Indigenous people?

On this first episode in their mini-series on Indigenous wellbeing, lawyer, legal scholar, and water expert Dr Virginia Marshall discussed these questions and more with hosts Professor Sharon Bessell and Dr Arnagretta Hunter.

National Security Podcast

With a new administration in the White House, where should we expect continuity and discontinuity in America’s approach to its allies and the Indo-Pacific? This episode of the National Security Podcast, and the second edition of Security Summit with Rory Medcalf, brought United States Chargé d’Affaires Mike Goldman to Australia to speak on how the Biden Administration views the bilateral relationship, how the United States will respond to increasing Chinese attempts to coerce Australia, and how it is approaching the growing list of challenges to Indo-Pacific security.

The latest instalment of the Security Summit series on the National Security Podcast saw Professor Rory Medcalf and Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers discuss the national security implications of electoral integrity, maintaining Australia’s democratic architecture, and how the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is responding to challenges like disinformation and foreign interference. They also explore the role of elections and the Commission in national security, how the AEC are taking a more active role in countering false narratives regarding elections, and the obstacles to delivering an election in an increasingly contested democratic environment.


Photo: The National Security Podcast celebrated its 100th episode this year.

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