Parisian author and journalist Agnès Poirier discussed her book, Left Bank: Art, Passion and the Rebirth of Paris, 1940-50, which explores the intellectual, literary and cultural flourishing during Nazi-occupied Paris and after liberation. Amy and Agnès discuss this and the many connections and relationships, sexual and otherwise, that were essential to such an intense and productive period. Notable intellectuals and cultural thinkers include, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Robert Wright, Janet Flanner, Arthur Koestler, Jacques Jaujard, Jean Paulhan and many more. Patrick Mullins, discusses his new historical biography, Tiberius With A Telephone: The Life and Stories of William McMahon. McMahon is a man regarded by some as Australia’s worst performing Prime Minister. We ask, has history remembered his political career accurately? Plus Ben Eltham from New Matilda on the latest in federal politics.

Playlist for Uncommon Sense – 4 December 2018

About this program

Long-form conversations about politics and current events, international affairs, history, art, books, and the natural world, to illuminate the issues faced by society and explore them in new ways.

Intro theme: Jamie Isaac – Cnt U See (from his debut album, Couch Baby)

Listen back to any episode in full above via the tiles.

Individual interviews are uploaded to Soundcloud here. And subscribe to the feature interviews podcast on iTunes and Apple podcasts here.

Check us out on Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Soundcloud

*The below interviews are all available to listen to on Soundcloud using the LISTEN links and to download/subscribe to via your podcast app.


  • LISTEN: Charles Massy, farmer and author, on regenerative agriculture and his acclaimed book, Call of the Reed Warbler: A New Agriculture, A New Earth (February 2)
  • LISTEN: Peter Godfrey-Smith, philosopher and author on his book, Metazoa: Animal Minds and the Birth of Consciousness (February 9)
  • LISTEN: Louise Milligan, ABC investigative reporter and author on her book, Witness: An investigation into the brutal cost of seeking justice (February 16)
  • LISTEN: Henry Reynolds, acclaimed historian and author on his book, Truth-Telling: History, Sovereignty, and the Uluru Statement (February 23)
  • LISTEN: Richard Denniss, economist, on integrity and accountability in federal politics, and Australia's unemployment policies (March 2)
  • LISTEN: Marian Wilkinson, journalist, The Carbon Club: How a network of influential climate sceptics, politicians and business leaders fought to control Australia's climate policy (March 2)
  • LISTEN: Rick Morton, senior reporter at the Saturday Paper, on Australia's aged care sector in crisis, the findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and its recommendations (March 16)
  • LISTEN: Alice Gorman, Mari Margil, and Thomas Gooch, make a case for the legal rights of the Moon (March 23)
  • LISTEN: Alison Pouliot, ecologist, natural historian and photographer on her book, Wild Mushrooming: A Guide for Foragers (April 20)
  • LISTEN: Monica Bell, associate professor of law and sociology at Yale University, on police violence, the murder of George Floyd, and the pursuit of racial justice in the United States (April 27)
  • LISTEN: Richard Beasley SC, barrister on his book, Dead in the Water: A very angry book about our greatest environmental catastrophe... the death of the Murray-Darling Basin (May 4)
  • LISTEN: Geoffrey Robertson QC, human rights advocate and barrister on his book, Bad People – and How to Be Rid of Them: A Plan B for Human Rights (May 11)
  • LISTEN: Richard Denniss, economist and author on his book, Econobabble: How to Decode Political Spin and Economic Nonsense (May 25)
  • LISTEN: Mary-Louise McLaws, professor in epidemiology and WHO Adviser, on Victoria's coronavirus outbreak, fourth lockdown, and vaccination drive and rollout (June 1)
  • LISTEN: Cameron Steele and Erin O'Donnell on the threat to the Moorabool River – Victoria's most flow-stressed river (June 29)
  • LISTEN: Mary-Louise McLaws, professor in epidemiology and WHO Adviser, on the Delta variant outbreak in NSW, achieving herd immunity, child vaccination, and the reality of Long COVID (July 6)
  • LISTEN: Bill Bowtell, public health adviser from UNSW, on pandemic politics in Australia, the 'Zero COVID' strategy under threat in NSW, lockdowns, and vaccination targets (August 3)
  • LISTEN: Linda Jaivin, author and Chinese history and culture scholar on her book, The Shortest History of China (August 3)
  • LISTEN: Emma Shortis, historian and author on her book, Our Exceptional Friend: Australia's Fatal Alliance With The United States (August 17)
  • LISTEN: Nick Hayward, wildlife cinematographer; and Anastasia Dalziell, behavioural ecologist on the fascinating birdsong mimicry and behaviours of the lyrebird in Australia, as explored in the documentary, The Message of The Lyrebird (August 24)
  • LISTEN: Richard Denniss, economist and columnist, explains all you need to know about the Doherty modelling and Morrison's "safe plan" to open up Australia (September 7)
  • LISTEN: Greg Mullins, firefighter and former NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner discusses his book, Firestorm: Battling Super-Charged Natural Disasters (October 19)
  • LISTEN: Graham Readfearn, Guardian Australia environment reporter, on Australia's intransigence over climate change and history at UN climate negotiations, plus a preview of the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow (October 26)


  • LISTEN: Matthew Sharpe, philosopher and academic, on philosophy and evil, and Martin Heidegger’s 'Black Notebooks' and his associations with anti-Semitic and Nazi ideology. Plus the ideas underpinning existentialism, stoicism, and the work of Albert Camus (February 4)
  • LISTEN: Alexandra Phelan, global health lawyer from Georgetown University, on what we need know about the deadly coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan that continues to spread within China, and across the world (February 4)
  • LISTEN: Elisabetta Ferrari, Italian studies academic, on Italian cinema great Vittorio De Sica and his iconic film, BICYCLE THIEVES (1948) (February 11)
  • LISTEN: Kevin Tolhurst, leading fire ecologist, on the science of bushfire behaviour, what we've learned from Australia's past 57 bushfire inquiries and royal commissions, and how we should manage the land (February 11)
  • LISTEN: Will Shank and Antonio Rava, international art conservators, on their restoration of the famous Keith Haring mural in Collingwood, as well as other Haring murals in Paris, Pisa, and Amsterdam (February 18)
  • LISTEN: Alison Pouliot, ecologist, natural historian and photographer, on The Allure of Fungi (February 25)
  • LISTEN: Gordon Hamilton, composer, on composing a symphony in Antarctica, Far South (March 3)
  • LISTEN: Jessica Whyte, philosopher and academic, on The Morals of the Market: Human Rights & the Rise of Neoliberalism (March 3)
  • LISTEN: Bill Bowtell, public health adviser from UNSW, examines Australia's response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic (March 17)
  • LISTEN: Nick Talley, neurogastroenterologist and Editor of The Medical Journal of Australia, on Australia's healthcare system and COVID-19 (March 31)
  • LISTEN: David G. Haskell, biologist and writer, on The Songs of Trees: Stories From Nature's Great Connectors (March 31)
  • LISTEN: Antony Dapiran, Hong Kong-based lawyer and writer, on his book, City on Fire: the Fight for Hong Kong (April 7)
  • LISTEN: David Quammen, American science writer, on his 2012 book, Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic. David discusses how dangerous viruses 'spillover' from animals into humans, and how we knew a pandemic like COVID-19 was coming (May 5)
  • LISTEN: Sy Montgomery, naturalist and writer, on her lifelong relationship with animals and her critically acclaimed books, The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness and How to Be a Good Creature (May 12)
  • LISTEN: Nicholas Dowse, founder of Honey Fingers, on the emergent intelligence of honey bees, his urban beekeeping practices in Melbourne, the unique bee ecosystem in Australia, "bee culture", and the significance of World Bee Day (May 19)
  • LISTEN: Rutger Bregman, historian, on his book Humankind: A Hopeful History (June 2)
  • LISTEN: Mary-Louise McLaws, epidemiologist and member of the World Health Organisation’s Advisory Panel for Infection, Prevention and Control Preparedness and Response to COVID-19, on the evidence for face masks and an elimination strategy to fight COVID-19 (July 14)
  • LISTEN: Katja Hogendoorn, entomologist and native bee expert, on saving the dazzling Metallic Green Carpenter Bee on Kangaroo Island (August 11)
  • LISTEN: Cordelia Fine, psychologist and author, on the real science of sex differences and the rise of neurosexism (August 18)
  • LISTEN: Robert Macfarlane, writer, on his book, Underland: A Deep Time Journey. Robert's previous works, including Mountains of the Mind, The Old Ways, and Landmarks, are also referenced (September 1)
  • LISTEN: Merlin Sheldrake, biologist and writer, on his book, Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Futures (September 8)
  • LISTEN: Kate Kirkpatrick, philosopher at Oxford University, on her book, Becoming Beauvoir: A Life (September 15)
  • LISTEN: Guillaume Pitron, French journalist and author, on his book, The Rare Metals War: The Dark Side of Clean Energy and Digital Technologies (October 6)
  • LISTEN: Yanis Varoufakis, former Greek finance minister, economist and author, on his book, Another Now: Dispatches from an Alternative Present (October 27)
  • LISTEN: Geoff Raby, former Australian Ambassador to China, on his book, China's Grand Strategy and Australia's Future in the New Global Order (December 8)
  • LISTEN: Matthew Cobb, evolutionary neurobiologist and author, on his book, The Idea of the Brain: A History (December 15)
  • LISTEN: Kate Manne, philosopher and author, on her books, Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny and Entitled: How Male Privilege Hurts Women (December 22)


  • LISTEN: Tim Flannery, palaeontologist, scientist and author, Europe: A Natural History (February 12)
  • LISTEN: Marilyn Waring, political economist and former New Zealand MP, on the limits of GDP and counting women's unpaid work (February 19)
  • LISTEN: Leta Hong Fincher, journalist and scholar, on China's "leftover women" and her book, Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China (March 12)
  • LISTEN: Christopher R. Browning, renowned Holocaust historian, on his landmark book Ordinary Men, and how civilian members of the Order Police joined with the Einsatzgruppen to commit mass murder in Eastern Europe (March 12)
  • LISTEN: Australia's first music thanatologist Peter Roberts and filmmaker Farshid Akhlagi, on their documentary From Music Into Silence and Peter's life-calling to play the harp for the sick and dying (April 30)
  • LISTEN: Philosopher Peter Singer on utilitarianism and his landmark book, Animal Liberation (May 7)
  • LISTEN: Philosopher and journalist Eleanor Gordon-Smith on her book, Stop Being Reasonable, and what really changes people's minds and perceptions (May 28)
  • LISTEN: Bill McKibben, author, climate activist and co-founder of, on his book, Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? (June 4)
  • LISTEN: Antony Dapiran, Hong Kong-based lawyer and author, on the protests in Hong Kong and his book, City of Protest: A Recent History of Dissent in Hong Kong (June 18)
  • LISTEN: Owen Jones, Guardian UK columnist, activist and author, on the bungling of Brexit, Tory populism and the future of progressive politics (August 6)
  • LISTEN: John Burns, Emeritus Professor of politics at the University of Hong Kong, on what's really behind the escalating Hong Kong protests and the view from mainland China (August 13)
  • LISTEN: A.C. Grayling, British philosopher, on the history of (ancient) philosophy, and stopping Brexit (August 13)
  • LISTEN: Jess Hill, investigative journalist, on her book, See What You Made Me Do: Power, Control and Domestic Abuse, and the radical rethink we need to stop domestic abuse (August 27)
  • LISTEN: Deborah E. Lipstadt, the historian who famously defeated a Holocaust denier in the UK's High Court, on her new book, Antisemitism: Here and Now (September 3)
  • LISTEN: Dr Matt McCarthy, New York Infectious-Disease physician and researcher, discusses his book, Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic (September 10)
  • LISTEN: Bob Brown, Conservationist and former Leader of the Australian Greens, on climate denial in Australia, becoming a climate activist, and the most urgent conservation issues we face (September 17)
  • LISTEN: Gabrielle Jackson from the Guardian Australia, discusses her book, Pain and Prejudice, and how the medical system gaslights women (September 17)
  • LISTEN: Bob Gartland, President of the Geelong Football Club, and Jason Smith, Director of the Geelong Gallery, on 160 years of the Geelong Football Club – the second oldest professional sporting club in the world (October 1)
  • LISTEN: Dr Delia Lin from the University of Melbourne, on the 70 year anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the history of modern China and its political thought (October 1)
  • LISTEN: Judith Hoare, author and journalist, on the remarkable Australian doctor who changed the field of psychology forever, The Woman Who Cracked The Anxiety Code: The Extraordinary Life of Dr Claire Weekes (October 15)
  • LISTEN: Shaun Walker, the Guardian's foreign correspondent in Moscow for over a decade, on what he observed from his time in Putin's Russia (October 22)
  • LISTEN: Thomas Gurnett, Head Cider-Maker at Gurneys Cider in South Gippsland, on the fascinating history, art, and methodology of cider-making (December 17)


  • LISTEN: Jennifer Brea, US filmmaker of the Oscar-shortlisted documentary Unrest, which chronicles Brea's experience living with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (aka Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), plus a panel discussion with ME patient advocate Anna Kerr, Bio21 Researcher Dr Chris Armstrong and CEO of Emerge, Dr Heidi Nicholl (March 13)
  • LISTEN: Jim Robbins, New York Times Science Writer and author of The Wonder of Birds (March 13)
  • LISTEN: Pat Cunnane, Senior Writer and Deputy Director of Messaging for US President Barack Obama, on his new book, West Winging It: An Un-Presidential Memoir (March 20)
  • LISTEN: Gillian Triggs, Emeritus Professor and former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission on The Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in a Post-Truth Era (March 20)
  • LISTEN: Mark McKenna, historian and author of the Quarterly Essay, Moment of Truth: History and Australia's Future (March 27)
  • LISTEN: Daniel Halliday, political philosopher at The University of Melbourne on The Inheritance of Wealth: Justice, Equality and the Right to Bequeath (April 10)
  • LISTEN: Stuart Kells and Ian D. Gow on their book, The Big Four: The Curious Past and Perilous Future of the Global Accounting Monopoly (April 24)
  • LISTEN: Brendan Wintle, Director of the Threatened Species Recovery Hub on Australia’s major impending bird and mammal extinctions and what we must do about it (May 1)
  • LISTEN: Johann Hari, Writer, on his book Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions (May 8)
  • LISTEN: Nic Maclellan, Pacific journalist and author of Grappling With The Bomb: Britain’s Pacific H-Bomb Tests (May 15)
  • LISTEN: Hugh Mackay, Social researcher and author of Australia Reimagined: Towards A More Compassionate, Less Anxious Society (May 29)
  • LISTEN: Bri Lee, Author of Eggshell Skull: A memoir about standing up, speaking out and fighting back (May 29)
  • LISTEN: Daniel Chamovitz, Plant biologist and author of What A Plant Knows: A Field Guide To The Senses (June 5)
  • LISTEN: Academic Andrew Macgregor and ACMI programmer Roberta Ciabarra on French nouvelle vague auteur Jean-Luc Godard (June 5)
  • LISTEN: Don Watson, former speechwriter to Paul Keating, on neoliberalism, the Banking Royal Commission and the language of corporate greed (June 5)
  • LISTEN: David Christian, Historian and author of Origin Story: A Big History of Everything (June 19)
  • LISTEN: Kate Rossmanith, Author of Small Wrongs – examining the nature of remorse (June 26)
  • LISTEN: Karen Jones, philosopher in ethics at the University of Melbourne on the philosophy of trust (August 14)
  • LISTEN: Barry Jones, public intellectual and former Minister for Science in the Hawke government, spoke about what’s wrong with our political parties and system, plus his and Malcolm Fraser's big idea to solve it (August 28)
  • LISTEN: Fiona Patten MLC, Politician, Leader of Reason Party, and author of Sex, Drugs and the Electoral Roll (September 11)
  • LISTEN: Julian Burnside QC, on the threats to multiculturalism in Australia (September 11)
  • LISTEN: Don Rothwell, Professor of International Law at the ANU, on the international moratorium on commercial whaling and Japan's plans to restart commercial whaling (September 11)
  • LISTEN: Alex Edney-Browne, on the impact of drone warfare on civilian populations and drone operators (September 18)
  • LISTEN: Johann Hari, on his best-selling book, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs (September 25)
  • LISTEN: Anne Manne, philosopher and feminist, on replacing the 'universal breadwinner' model with a 'universal caregiver' model (September 25)
  • LISTEN: Greg Champion from the Coodabeen Champions, sings from his published collection of songs, The Thing About Football (October 2)
  • LISTEN: Jürgen Tautz on his book co-authored with Diedrich Steen, The Honey Factory: Inside the Ingenious World of Bees (October 30)
  • LISTEN: Anne Summers, feminist and writer, on her new memoir, Unfettered and Alive (November 6)
  • LISTEN: Ed Hill, conservationist and campaigner on the destructive impact of native forest logging in Victoria (November 13)
  • LISTEN: Kerry O'Brien, journalist and ABC 7.30 Report legend, on his new political memoir (November 20)
  • LISTEN: Stuart Kells, author and professional bibliophile, on The Library: A Catalogue of Wonders (November 27)
  • LISTEN: Parisian author Agnès Poirier on her book, Left Bank: Art, Passion and the Rebirth of Paris, 1940-50 (December 4)
  • LISTEN: Patrick Mullins, historian and author of Tiberius With A Telephone: The Life and Stories of William McMahon (December 4)


  • LISTEN: Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate (Jan 17)
  • LISTEN: Lesley Harding, curator of Making Modernism: O'Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith at the Heide Museum of Modern Art (Jan 24)
  • LISTEN: Lars Kraume, film director of The People vs Fritz Bauer - the true story behind the hunt for Adolf Eichmann (Jan 31)
  • LISTEN: Fiona Wright, Stella Prize Shortlistee on her Lifted Brow essay There's No Dirt In My Food, our societal obsession with "clean eating" and living with an eating disorder (Jan 31)
  • LISTEN: Hugh Mackay AO, social researcher, on the importance of community to our health and humanity (Feb 7)
  • LISTEN: Barry Dickins, author and playwright, on his book Last Words: The Hanging of Ronald Ryan: Unanswered Questions 50 Years On (Feb 7)
  • LISTEN: Cordelia Fine, psychologist and author, on her book Testosterone Rex: Unmaking The Myths of Our Gendered Minds (Feb 14) *Winner of the 2017 Royal Society Science Book Prize
  • LISTEN: John Pilger on his documentary The Coming War On China (Feb 14)
  • LISTEN: Bob Inglis, former US Republican Congressman, on his conversion to climate action and advocacy for a carbon tax (Feb 21)
  • LISTEN: Carus Thompson, Freo singer-songwriter on his poignant new album Island, his social and political commentary, and played a few songs for us in the studio (Feb 28)
  • LISTEN: Philosopher A.C. Grayling on the origins and future of humanism, the age of genius, and war (April 18)
  • LISTEN: UK conservationist Dame Fiona Reynolds on her book, The Fight For Beauty (May 9)
  • LISTEN: Dr Maryse Helbert on Emmanuel Macron's presidential election win and what's next for Macron and France (May 9)
  • LISTEN: Renowned political journalist Laura Tingle on her book, In Search of Good Government (May 16)
  • LISTEN: Professor Robert Jensen from the University of Texas at Austin on his book, The End of Patriarchy: Radical Feminism for Men (May 30)
  • LISTEN: Philosopher Clive Hamilton from Charles Sturt University on his book, Defiant Earth: The Fate of Humans in the Anthropocene (July 11)
  • LISTEN: Professor John Keane from the University of Sydney on the new despotism of the 21st century (July 18)
  • LISTEN: Professor David Lindemayer AO on the critically endangered Mountain Ash forests of the Central Highlands, Victoria (August 1)
  • LISTEN: American science writer Jennifer Ackerman on her book, The Genius of Birds (August 29)
  • LISTEN: Dutch historian Rutger Bregman on his book, Utopia for Realists (September 5)
  • LISTEN: Associate Professor David Vine from American University, Washington D.C., on his book, Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World (September 12)
  • LISTEN: Author George Megalogenis on the history of Australian politics, the major parties and their shifting ideologies (October 10)
  • LISTEN: James Thornton, lawyer and Founding CEO of ClientEarth, a global not-for-profit law firm that represents the planet, on his new book Client Earth (October 17)

The podcast intro and outro theme is Soft Illusion and was generously provided by Andras.