About Life's Lottery
Backing Kids, the second season of Life’s Lottery, explores how Australian society values children and childhood. Kids are our future, but they’re rarely at the centre when it comes to the decisions that really matter. What would it take to truly put kids at the heart of policy, of budgets, and broader public work? We’ll hear the voices of advocates, experts, children and their parents and caregivers with bright and practical ideas about how we can improve kids’ health and wellbeing. We’ll dive deep into the Federal Budget and explore how it does, and doesn’t, reflect the realisation of children’s rights. We’ll hear about how young First Nations voices have informed policy development to improve the lives of First Nations kids. We’ll consider how place-based, universally accessible services could better reach vulnerable families and improve the wellbeing of all children. Two years of the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted children’s physical and mental health, their education, and exacerbated the challenges faced by the most vulnerable. There has never been a better time to talk about how we could better back our kids and improve their odds in Life’s Lottery. Produced by The Paul Ramsay Foundation and UTS Impact Studios. Visit lifeslottery.com.au to learn more.
In this bonus episode, Jeni Whalan hosts a discussion on the recent commitments from both NSW and Victoria to deliver a year of universal play-based learning for children in the year before they start school. As well as transforming early childhood education, the goal is to build the sector workforce and further boost productivity by better supporting working parents. Leslie Loble, the co-chair of the Council on Early Childhood Development and Amanda Robbins, Managing Director of Equity Economics, outline the significance of the announcement and what it’s going to take to deliver this ‘triple dividend’ over the next ten years.
In this bonus episode, hosts Jeni Whalan and Glyn Davis examine the insights gained across this season of conversations about putting children at the centre of good public policy. They discuss the frustrating gap between knowledge and action when it comes to shifting the dial towards more positive outcomes for all kids. Without political leadership, meaningful consultation and targeted, place-based responses, many well-intentioned measures fail to make an impact. So is there now enough momentum to bring about real change? We also hear from young people from the Northern Rivers region of NSW who, on top of pandemic disruptions, have also had to cope with devastating floods. Mullumbimby’s Spaghetti Circus, an arts and community engagement organisation, was inundated with water and mud. Members of the Circus community lost their homes, schools and businesses. Performers, Ellen, Maxine, Malaika and Laima share their hopes and fears for the future.
‘Never again’ were words that echoed around the world in the wake of the second world war. Organisations were formed with the explicit aim of respecting and promoting international cooperation, aid and development. Only a few decades later, we have seen the first increase in poverty for a generation. Why? And why does inequality, conflict, and the impact of natural disasters still have such a disproportionate impact on children, especially those forced to leave the countries they call home? Kevin Watkins has spent his career speaking up for marginalised people in some of the world’s poorest countries. As a former CEO of Save the Children UK, and now as a visiting professor at the London School of Economics, he gives a scathing assessment of global leadership and calls for a return to the ideals of mutual responsibility to deliver a better and more sustainable future. But there’s also cause for hope as young people find their voice, organise across borders, and speak truth to power in greater numbers. In an excerpt from The Wait podcast, we also hear what it's like for child refugees like Marzia Yosufi and Sara Rezaei. Now young women, they have spent years marking time in Indonesia, waiting for a chance to be resettled and to be able to continue their education, and their childhood. This excerpt contains references to suicide, so please listen with care. With thanks to: Kevin Watkins, Marzia Yosufi, Sara Rezaei.
First Nations children in Australia are some of the most disadvantaged and disenfranchised in our society. But they’re also on a journey of discovery, healing and strength through culture in response to the devastating impact of colonisation. Our guest host for this episode is Leila Smith, the CEO of the Aurora Education Foundation, which works to improve the educational outcomes of Indigenous students. Leila sits down with two other change-makers, Lawyer, Mum and former care-kid, Kirsten Gray, and Barrister and campaigner Tim Goodwin. What’s working and what’s not to improve the odds for Indigenous kids? How does a deeper understanding of culture, language, truth-telling and reconciliation benefit us all, but most importantly our future generations? We also hear from the Ngaalang Moort: Lullabies from Home initiative. Since 2017 Community Arts Network has worked alongside Noongar artists, Elders and their families to shape the Lullabies program across Noongar Boodja, the south west of Western Australia. Over the past 6 years, more than 50 original songs have been written and recorded in Noongar language by Noongar families. The Lullabies project imagines a future where all Noongar children grow up being lulled to sleep with songs sung in their traditional language. We hear from Noongar musicians Phil Bartlett and Charmaine Councillor, along with Charmaine’s niece, Mika Bennell about the songs that celebrate moort (family), koort (heart), woonya (love) and a legacy for all. The lullabies project is supported through the Australian Government’s Indigenous Languages and Arts program and the Australia Council for the Arts. With thanks to: Leila Smith, Kirsten Gray, Tim Goodwin, Charmaine Councillor, Phil Barlett, Mika Bennell, Elly Jones and the Community Arts Network. Music Credits: Ruby’s Lullaby: Written and performed by Phyllis Bennell Kaya Maaman Hello Daddy: By Phyllis Bennell and Mika Bennell Kwobidak Koolang Beautiful Child: Written by Sharyn Egan, Phil Bartlett and Charmaine Councillor. Performed by Sharyn Egan. Wargada To Search: Written by Megan Ugle and Charmaine Councillor. Performed by Megan Ugle and Trevor Ryan. Rock-a-bye Lullaby: Written by: Cherie Slater, Ilija Jacobs, Lola McDowell, Megan Ugle, Tammy Prior, Charmaine Councillor and Phil Bartlett. Performed by Phil Bartlett and the Ngaalang Moort Singers.
We know what children need in their first five years to develop to their full potential, so why isn’t action around this at the top of the national agenda? Former Premier and South Australian Minister for Children, Jay Weatherill, leads the Thrive by Five campaign, which seeks to change that. He’s advocating for a universal, high quality childcare system for all Australian children. What would it take to get the states and the Commonwealth to cooperate and hasten the pace of reform to improve kids’ outcomes and better support parents and carers? Ebony Curtis also shares her story of becoming a mum for the first time at 15. What's it like to navigate pregnancy and raising children when you’re not an adult yourself? As a young parent who has pursued her education and career dreams, while adding to her family, Ebony also lends her lived experience to the work of The Brave Foundation. Brave works to support teens in their communities to become the parents they want to be, while also juggling their own education and other needs. With thanks to: Jay Weatherill, Ebony Curtis, Brave Foundation
The first five years of a child’s life are crucial for developmental outcomes and long term health. Paediatrician and leading child health researcher, Professor Sharon Goldfeld, argues we need a radical redesign of how families can be best supported during a child’s early years. In this episode, she outlines the need for creativity in public policies to address the growing disparities in child health and wellbeing - and she’s excited about the possibilities. We also visit the Think+DO Tank in Western Sydney, a neighbourhood hub that brings together creatives, psychologists, and multilingual community connectors to craft innovative solutions to the everyday challenges of belonging, mental health, wellbeing, and literacy faced by migrant communities. With thanks to: Professor Sharon Goldfeld, Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI). Think+Do Tank, especially Marian Abboud, Afaf Al-Shmmari, Maysoon Shinawas, Shahad Alsaad, Harri Harding, and the students at Marsden Road Public School.
We debrief the 2022 Federal Budget to explore how children are reflected in the national economic plan. Amanda Robbins and Alicia Mollaun from Equity Economics share their analysis of the implications for kids and families and explore how the Budget process could better deliver big picture reform for those without a seat at the table, or a vote at the ballot box. As some nations explore the use of child-centred budgets, what’s the best way to use this annual accounting process and public spending to inform good social policy and make real improvement to kids’ lives? This episode is rounded off with a catchy rap written by primary school boys in Western Sydney as part of the Respect program which focuses on educating kids about the nature and causes of family and domestic violence. Tevita Ngata, now 15 years old, reflects on his experience participating in the program run by Outloud, an intersectional, CALD-focused social impact arts organisation that creates meaningful opportunities for young people in Western Sydney. With thanks to: Amanda Robbins, Alicia Mollaun, Tevita Ngata, Craig Taunton and the Outloud team.
We live in a wealthy nation but the experiences of Australian children are diverse, with many experiencing real challenges in their everyday lives. Two years into the pandemic, there are strong concerns about the impact on kids and the cost to their wellbeing, especially for those who were already behind. In this episode, we hear from National Children’s Commissioner Anne Hollonds, who is calling for a concerted effort to elevate the rights, needs and voices of children in the national conversation. She wants action around systems that affect our kids and she’s putting political leaders and policy makers on notice. We also meet Kaytlyn Johnson, a student and musician from north-west Tasmania. Kaytlyn, a Palawa woman and the 2022 Young Tasmanian of the Year, offers her observations on navigating the challenges faced by young Australians. Produced by UTS Impact Studios: Executive Producer: Olivia Rosenman Audio Producer: Nicole Curby Researcher/writer: Jackie May Theme music and Sound Design: James Milsom Graphic design: Celia Neilson
In season 2 of Life’s Lottery we explore how we can best support and back children through better policy making and public investment. How do we create a society where all kids can thrive? Join us for a series of thought-provoking conversations about how to put children at the centre and why it makes sense for all of us. Visit lifeslottery.com.au to learn more. Music credit: Kedalak Night Time. Written and performed by the Ngaalang Moort Singers. Produced by UTS Impact Studios: Executive Producer: Olivia Rosenman Audio Producer: Nicole Curby Researcher/writer: Jackie May Theme music and Sound Design: James Milsom Graphic design: Celia Neilson
If we want to inform better public policy to end poverty and disadvantage, hard data and facts are more important than ever. This sets up both a challenge and an opportunity for organisations as philanthropy in Australia develops even further. In this episode, we draw together the threads of our earlier conversations. We talk to Susan Urahn, from the Pew Charitable Trusts, about philanthropy’s role in bringing diverse groups together and governments to the table. She shares her insights from over two decades of work as a pioneer in the field, especially in relation to sentencing and corrections reform in the United States. And we also hear from Anhaar Kareem, a young Australian woman, with her imagining of what a better future looks like. This is the final episode is this season of Life's Lottery. Stay tuned for more in 2022. Visit lifeslottery.com.au for more. Produced by UTS Impact Studios: Executive Producer: Olivia Rosenman Audio Producer: Nicole Curby Researcher/writer: Jackie May Theme music and Sound Design: Frank Lopez Production music: Blue Dot Sessions Graphic design: Celia Neilson
No major social problem has a single cause so why would a single approach or organisation be able to solve it? Collective Impact starts with social objectives that are agreed upon across all sectors of society. This episode considers the idea at the heart of Collective Impact: that large-scale social change comes from better cross-sector coordination rather than from the isolated intervention of individual organisations. How does abandoning individual agendas and short-term solutions kick-start long term processes of social change? Matthew Cox shares the experience of building Logan Together from the grassroots up. The project is making gains around a singular focus - to improve life outcomes for children in a region with some of the most entrenched poverty in the country. We’ll also hear how justice reinvestment works to tackle existing systems and structures geared towards ‘isolated impact’. Julie Williams and Judy Duncan from Just Reinvest NSW give insights into their lived experience of the criminal justice system and talk about their holistic efforts to divert young people away from it for good. Visit lifeslottery.com.au for more. Produced by UTS Impact Studios: Executive Producer: Olivia Rosenman Audio Producer: Nicole Curby Researcher/writer: Jackie May Theme music and Sound Design: Frank Lopez Production music: Blue Dot Sessions Graphic design: Celia Neilson
Most people in jail have experienced disadvantage at some point in their lives, and it’s a legacy that often passes from parent to child. This episode examines current Australian research into the experience of mothers in the criminal justice system with Professor Susan Dennison from Griffith University. Her research project, Transforming corrections to transform lives, explores how having a parent in prison shapes the development and life outcomes of their children. A better understanding of parental identity in prison could help to improve the experience of those parents, and promote their rehabilitation. We’ll also meet Tegan in this episode. Tegan is serving a sentence at the Darwin Correctional Centre, and her mum is there too. We’ll hear what it’s like for Tegan trying to parent three young children from inside prison. Could transforming policies and systems for parents in prison reduce the intergenerational transmission of offending and disadvantage? What kind of measures would ensure prisoners maintain strong relationships with their children and why are these investments worth it? Might this be a way to ensure a prison sentence becomes an offramp to break the cycle of disadvantage? Tegan’s story is excerpted from Birds’ Eye View, the first podcast made by women in the Darwin Correctional Centre. For more information, and to listen to the podcast in its entirety, visit birdseyeviewpodcast.net Visit lifeslottery.com.au for more. Produced by UTS Impact Studios: Executive Producer: Olivia Rosenman Audio Producer: Nicole Curby Researcher/writer: Jackie May Theme music and Sound Design: Frank Lopez Production music: Blue Dot Sessions Graphic design: Celia Neilson
In this episode we examine systems change and possibility thinking with a leader in the field. Charlie Leadbeater is a creative systems innovator who works with organisations around the world to address long term problems, such as unacceptable rates of poverty. He says it’s time to reframe social issues to create meaningful solutions that are driven by a more inclusive set of values. Can we imagine a place for love and creativity in policy innovation? This approach has influenced the Family by Family project run by the Australian Centre for Social Innovation. We meet participant Melissa Hughes who shares her experience of how a relationship with a mentor family helped her move through a tough time and become a more confident and resilient parent. We’ll also explore the challenges put to the educated and the powerful, including philanthropic organisations, to foster new ways of thinking to influence better public policy and evidence-based programs on the ground. Visit lifeslottery.com.au for more. Produced by UTS Impact Studios: Executive Producer: Olivia Rosenman Audio Producer: Nicole Curby Researcher/writer: Jackie May Theme music and Sound Design: Frank Lopez Production music: Blue Dot Sessions Graphic design: Celia Neilson
Australians believe our country is the land of the fair go. A meritocracy where if you work hard you can be successful, no matter what circumstances you were born into. But how true is this? Is intelligence and hard work really enough to break out of a cycle of disadvantage? This episode interrogates the idea of meritocracy and how it was established in the Australian context with Alison Pennington from the Centre for Future Work. We also hear from the author and Saturday Paper social affairs journalist Rick Morton. He questions the reality of merit and social mobility at a time of widening wealth inequality and what that says about our commitment to provide opportunities for all. Visit lifeslottery.com.au for more. Produced by UTS Impact Studios: Executive Producer: Olivia Rosenman Audio Producer: Nicole Curby Researcher/writer: Jackie May Theme music and Sound Design: Frank Lopez Production music: Blue Dot Sessions Graphic design: Celia Neilson
Birth is a throw of the dice. The consequences can last a lifetime. A child born into disadvantage today will struggle to break out in adulthood - no matter how hard they work. Life’s Lottery is a podcast about new ways to break the cycle of disadvantage, from the Paul Ramsay Foundation in collaboration with UTS Impact Studios. In conversation with policy and research leaders, expert practitioners and people whose lives have been touched by disadvantage, we’ll look towards a brighter future. After almost two years of upheaval caused by the Covid pandemic, how can we seize the chance to build back better? Please join us! Search for Life’s Lottery wherever you get your podcasts.
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