11. Brooke Prentis: political vs partisan, bushfire smoke, burning rainforests, humpback recovery, cashless welfare cards, civil liberties narrowing, persecution of Uyghurs

A conversation with Brooke Prentis, Waka Waka woman, Aboriginal Spokesperson for Common Grace, Coordinator of the Grasstree Gathering. Brooke is currently a Senior Fellow at Anglican Deaconness Ministries, Director of PEACEtalks here at Paddington Anglican, and in a delightful piece of news, Common Grace have recently announced that Brooke will be their next CEO, starting in February.


Episode Outline

I. What's the big idea?

Byron chats with Brooke about the difference between being political vs being partisan, arguing that the former is inevitable but that the latter needn't be. Being political in this broad sense is a neutral term to do with the distribution and application of power in society. Being partisan means to take actions that are intended to benefit or advance the agenda of a particular organised political party. People's aversion to being partisan sometimes leads them to seek to avoid being political, but this turns out to be impossible since even the attempt at neutrality is itself a political move, one that upholds the status quo in its various injustices.

Byron and Brooke also consider some of the ways that the current Australian government has been deliberately trying to erode this distinction, trying to subsume everything within the framework of partisan conflict.


II. What's going on?

1. Sydney set to keep wheezing through 'longest period' of bushfire air pollution on record - SBS

2. Gondwana burning: the ecological catastrophe hidden by the bushfires - ABC


3. Humpback whale population on the rise after near miss with extinction - Science Daily


4. Cashless welfare card could unfairly target thousands of Aboriginal people in the NT, Senate committee hears - ABC


5. Australia’s civil rights rating downgraded as report finds world becoming less free - Guardian Australia


6. 'Allow no escapes': leak exposes reality of China's vast prison camp network - The Guardian



III. What do we do?

i. Immediate: Consider air quality: NSW Air Quality Index.

ii. Podcast recommendation: The Eucatastrophe by Joel Harrison and David Taylor.

iii. Film recommendation: Top End Wedding.

iv. More ambitious: #ChangeTheHeart prayer services, called by Aunty Jean Phillips with the help of Brooke Prentis and Common Grace. NB At the time of recording, these services were still some weeks ago. Apologies for the delay, meaning that the opportunity to participate in these services in 2020 has now passed. Check the Common Grace site for more information and to ensure you hear about next years' services.



  • Host - Byron Smith
  • Producer - Simon Bunstead
  • Sound - Byron Smith
  • Music - Francis Preve
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