Change Agents

Change Agents is about the art of change and the people who make it happen. It focuses on real and recent case studies where often ordinary people have brought about profound social, political, cultural and political change. It celebrates their success and challenges them to explain how they did it and the obstacles they overcame along the way. Change Agents is a collaboration between The Conversation and the Swinburne Business School and Swinburne University’s Department of Media and Communication.


  • Change Agents: Rhonda Galbally and Bruce Bonyhady on the birth of the NDIS

    32 mins

    This is the first program in a new podcast series, Change Agents. It will focus on examples of ordinary people who have brought about profound social, political and cultural change, celebrating their success and explaining how they did it. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the biggest social reform in Australia this century.

  • Change Agents: Susan Alberti and Debbie Lee on establishing a national women’s football league

    33 mins

    When it kicks off in 2017 the national women’s football league will include eight AFL teams from five states, with at least another five likely to follow soon after. The national competition is the culmination of decades of work by women’s football associations around Australia. These have steadily grown and overcome ignorance and discrimination to gain greater acceptance.

  • Change Agents: Stuart Morris and Leonie Hemingway on Australia’s most radical reform of local government

    33 mins

    Victoria’s council reforms in 1994 remain Australia’s most radical restructuring of local government. The changes under the Kennett government reduced the number of councils from 210 to 79 through amalgamations. In this episode of Change Agents, Andrew Dodd brings together Stuart Morris QC and Leonie Hemingway (formerly Leonie Burke), the two people who respectively led the Labor and Liberal governments.

  • Change Agents: Alex Wodak and Lucy Haslam on the push to legalise medicinal cannabis

    34 mins


    In 2016 three Australian states and the Commonwealth passed laws to legalise the growing of medicinal cannabis. It was an extraordinary result for a campaign that struggled for decades to gain traction.

    Suddenly the push had taken off in the public imagination, prompting state and then federal politicians to agree to the cultivation and prescription of cannabis for people suffering from a wide range of conditions.

    In this episode of Change Agents, Andrew Dodd speaks to Lucy Haslam, who launched the grassroots campaign in New South Wales after her son Dan was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and Alex Wodak, the president of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation. Together they convinced the public and politicians the time for change had come.

    It is presented by Andrew Dodd and produced by Samuel Wilson and Andrew Dodd, with production by Heather Jarvis.

  • Change Agents: David Buchanan and Fr Paul Kelly on ending the gay panic defence

    33 mins

    The gay panic – or homosexual advance – defence has allowed people literally to get away with murder. It’s given them a way to convince juries they were provoked to kill because a homosexual person propositioned them. In an alarming number of cases, juries were convinced that an advance by a gay – or supposedly gay – man was sufficient provocation for killing him.

    Hosted by Centre for Advancing Journalism director Andrew Dodd and Samuel Wilson, senior lecturer in management, Swinburne University of Technology.

  • Change Agents: Amee Meredith and Caterina Politi on reforming ‘one-punch’ laws

    34 mins

    The death of Melbourne heart surgeon Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann has again focused attention on the fatal consequences of so-called “one-punch” attacks. In response to this form of violence, Australian states and territories have enacted quite different laws, often following campaigns by family members seeking justice for a lost loved one. On this episode of Change Agents, Andrew Dodd speaks to Amee Meredith and Caterina Politi on reforming ‘one-punch’ laws.

  • Change Agents: How Australia put a spoke in the Japanese whaling machine

    35 minutes
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    Scientific whaling is technically allowed under the International Whaling Commission’s treaty, and despite international objections, countries such as Japan have the right to decide for themselves what constitutes “scientific”. But in 2014, Japan’s pretext for whaling was discredited when Australia won a case at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. And, for a year, Japanese whaling stopped. This episode of Change Agents tells the back story of how that happened through the eyes two key players, ANU legal academic Don Rothwell and Darren Kindleysides, then campaign manager at the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Hosted by Centre for Advancing Journalism director Andrew Dodd and Samuel Wilson, senior lecturer in management, Swinburne University of Technology.

    Murky waters: Why is Japan still whaling in the Southern Ocean?