Believe some commentators, and there are constant examples of ‘political correctness gone mad’ – words you can’t say, opinions you can’t express, clothes you can’t wear. Even the public appears to agree, with most respondents in the ABC’s Australia Talks survey saying political correctness has gone too far. But what does that actually mean? The same survey found a majority of people believe accusations of discrimination are used to silence legitimate debate but, at the same time, freedom of speech is often used to justify discrimination. And how should we even take the majority’s opinion when the whole point of political correctness is to protect the minority? In the battle between freedom of speech and freedom from prejudice, both can be used as weapons. So what do the critics of political correctness actually want to say and do that they can’t currently? And how would those who believe in the idea choose who and what to censor? One thing’s for sure – everyone will get their chance to say what they really think in this panel.
Van Badham is a writer, commentator, activist, occasional broadcaster, theatremaker and one of Australia’s most controversial public intellectuals. In addition to a weekly column for Guardian Australia, her work has appeared in The Age, Australian Cosmopolitan, Daily Life, Southerly, Women’s Agenda, Britain’s Daily Telegraph and in anthologies for UQP, Hardie Grant and Monash University Press. She is a frequent guest on panels for ABC’s Radio National, The Drum and Q and A, Channel 7’s Sunrise, the All About Women festival and The Festival of Dangerous Ideas. As a playwright, her work has been performed across Australia and the UK, in the US and Canada, and in Iceland, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, Germany and Austria, and she is the recipient of three Premier’s awards for stage writing. Her first novel, Burnt Snow, was published by Pan Macmillan in 2010. Born in Sydney, Van is a very proud alumnus of Port Hacking High School Miranda, the University of Wollongong, the University of Sheffield (UK) and Melbourne Uni.
Sarah is a dual Walkley Award-winning investigative reporter and presenter with the ABC, working across radio and TV current affairs. She is donor conceived, and is currently writing a book on donor conception and the fertility industry. In 2019 she addressed the United Nations on the rights of the child in the age of biotechnology. As a journalist, her work for the ABC has also won the Walkley Foundation’s Our Watch award for reporting on violence against women and children, UN Media Peace Prizes, Amnesty Media Prizes, the Voiceless Media Prize, and the Australian College of Educators Media prize. In 2010 she was the ABC’s Andrew Olle Scholar.
Kevin Donnelly AM is Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University.
Since first warning about the dangers of political correctness during the early 90s Kevin has established a reputation as one of Australia’s leading conservative commentators and authors fighting against the cultural-left ideology and group think that is poisoning society and stifling free and open debate. Kevin writes for The Australian and the Daily Telegraph and appears regularly on Sky News. His most recent book is titled A Politically Correct Dictionary and Guide,
Political correctness denies the ability to reason and be impartial as knowledge, supposedly, is a social construct and all relationships are based on privilege and power. In opposition, Kevin champions the strengths and benefits of Western civilisation, the Enlightement and our Judeo-Christian heritage that underpin our political and legal systems and way of life and that are being undermined by a rainbow alliance of neo-Marxist, postmodern theories. Kevin was a secondary school teacher for 18 years and in 2014 he co-chaired the review of the Australian National Curriculum. In 2016 Kevin was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to education.
Osman Faruqi is the editor of 7am, Schwartz Media’s daily news podcast.
He was previously the deputy editor of ABC Life and an award-winning reporter with the ABC’s flagship audio documentary program, Background Briefing. He also hosts The Mix, the ABC’s arts and culture TV program and was formerly Junkee Media’s news and politics editor.
He has judged the Walkley Awards and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and sat on the board of FBi Radio. He’s currently writing a book about race-relations in Australia, due out with Penguin in 2021.
Chris Kenny is an Australian political commentator, author and former political adviser. He is currently a columnist for The Australian newspaper as well as the host of a weeknight current affairs program, The Kenny Report, and weekly media program, Kenny on Media, on Sky News Australia. He takes an unashamedly rationalist approach to national affairs.