HARDtalk hits the road

Stephen Sackur will front a series of Australian specials focusing on mining, immigration and climate change.

Following his one on one interviews with some prominent Aussies, BBC’s Stephen Sackur will now front a series of locally-produced Australian specials focusing on mining, immigration and climate change.

The three ‘HARDtalk on the road’ episodes blend reporting and interviewing.

The Mining Industry
HARDtalk examines Australia’s extraordinary resources boom. Thanks to China’s insatiable demand for coal, iron ore and other commodities, the Australian economy has avoided many of the economic woes of the west and continues to grow. Chinese companies are developing vast new mines across Australia, working with a new generation of ‘Aussie oligarchs’ who control the mining rights and stand to make billions of dollars. HARDtalk quizzes mining magnate Clive Palmer – already one of Australia’s wealthiest men – about the sustainability of this boom, and Stephen Sackur goes on the road to meet Aboriginal leaders concerned that thousands of years of indigenous heritage is being lost as the big dig continues. What is the cost of Australia turning itself into China’s quarry of choice?

Australia is a country built by immigrants, so why does the issue of immigration divide and antagonise many 21st century Australians? HARDtalk examines the reality behind the fears of a new wave of boat people trying to enter the country by sea. Every year a few thousand unauthorised immigrants make it into Australia where they face prolonged detention. But is it right to lock up children as well as adults; and is the argument over the so-called boat people a symptom of a wider breakdown of Australia’s long running consensus on ‘multiculturalism’? HARDtalk goes on the road talking to refugees, asylum seekers, rightwing populists, and the immigration minister Chris Bowen. When it comes to immigration and race, how deep do Australia’s divisions go?

Climate & Environment
Australia has been experiencing an extraordinary series of extreme weather events – including cyclones, floods, drought and fire. Are these weather-borne catastrophes becoming more frequent and more intense as a result of climate change? HARDtalk goes on the road, travelling from flood-ravaged Queensland to drought-ridden Western Australia to find answers. Is the world’s highest per capita greenhouse gas emitter prepared to change its economy and way of life to meet the climate challenge? HARDtalk talks to Australia’s leading environmental campaigner and newly-appointed climate commission chief Tim Flannery.

HARDtalk on the road’ premieres on BBC World News from Monday 11 to Wednesday 13 April 2011 at 1:30pm, 6:30pm and 6:30am.

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