The act of broadening one’s horizons is not an easy one. You need to find content which you can consume and also a desire to do so. Often the barrier between learning about anything new, is a lack of interest. The world today offers so much information from across various realms and cultures in such appealing and different formats. No longer is the act of learning confined to having to read something for although as an activity enjoyable, it needs time and concentration most of us find difficult to part with. I have found that the instigating of interest in World Affairs, cultural problems and concerns of the populous of this Earth are often well covered and documented on the internet, That is where I found Question & Answer Australia. A panel show based on the concept of moderated televised debate but with the restriction of no allowances for free form speeches. Every word uttered must be a question ( by the audience) or an answer by the panelists.

Issues from religion, science, politics, race, immigration, faith, sexuality, violence find themselves being discussed and debated by some of Australia’s most and very rarely least, prominent thinkers. You shall find world renowned scientists, archbishops, actors, pop singers, environmentalists and politicians going head to head on the questions and comments of some very astute audience members. Participation through video questions online and through twitter is also encouraged. It is unlike any other TV program that I have ever seen where real life’s questions are discussed in a civilized manner. Many news channels have tried to recreate the model but none I have seen have been as successful. Not all the programs are excellent, there are periods of lull and some panelists do try your patience but still the show remains entertaining.  Its also fun to see grown people fight and defend their ideals. Perhaps the most decent thing is, that the show is available for streaming free on the ABC network website.

Q & A

If you are intrigued by the concept then here are a few programs you could start with. I found them to be the most interesting of the lot.

  1. Thursday, 1 October 2009God, Sodomy and the Lash
    Panellists: Christopher Hitchens, author and radical atheist; Father Frank Brennan, Jesuit intellectual and social activist; Waleed Aly, politics lecturer; Sally Warhaft, author and founding editor of The Monthly; and Anne Henderson, biographer and deputy director of The Sydney Institute.
  2. Monday, 27 May 2013Religion, Marriage & Euthanasia
    Panellists: Lawrence Krauss, Theoretical Physicist & Cosmologist; Gene Robinson, America’s First Openly Gay Bishop; Fred Nile, Conservative Morals Campaigner; Amanda Vanstone, Former Howard Government Minister; and Susan Ryan, Age Discrimination Commissioner.
  3. Monday, 1 April 2013Faith & Love
    Panellists: Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane; Dr Mohamad Abdalla, Imam; Venerable Robina Courtin, Buddhist Nun; Josh Thomas, Atheist, Comedian & Actor; and Deborah Conway, Jewish Atheist Singer-Songwriter.

While these are but a fraction of what the show has to offer, they stand up very well to the tag line :

” Adventures in Democracy”

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