Three Minute Squiz With… Sabra Lane

Sabra Lane is the host of ABC Radio’s premier current affairs program, AM. Before that she was 7.30’s political correspondent. Lane has held a number of high profile jobs in the media, including senior roles at Ten, Seven and the ABC. And she was recently elected the second ever female president of the National Press Club, such is the esteem her colleagues hold her in. An excellent charcoal drawer and keen bushwalker, she’s definitely someone you’d want at your dream dinner party. We’re thrilled to welcome Sabra Lane to the Three Minute Squiz.

How and where do you Squiz?
At my work desk PC, usually after early AM.

Where were you born?

What was the first album you ever owned?
ABBA, Arrival.

What’s your go-to karaoke song?
I can’t sing and I hate Karaoke.

What’s your guilty TV-watching secret?
Used to be Outlander, but it’s a bit too weird now. (And I don’t have much time for TV.)

Name four people – living or dead – you’d kill to sit down to dinner with.
Georgia O’Keeffe, Tim Winton, Jo Nesb and my mum.

Read any good book/seen any fab movies lately?
The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley. I loved this. Elizabeth Gould spent her life drawing birds but her expertise and artistry was over-shadowed by her husband’s fame, the ornithologist and artist John Gould. This is the imagined life of Elizabeth, based around notes, letters and diaries.

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri what a performance by Frances McDormand.

What skill or talent do you not have but wish you did?
Ski. Even after living in Norway for a year, I can’t ski I am hopeless.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Cool bananas.”

What’s your worst and best habit?

What qualities do you most value in a friend?
The ability to listen, laugh, be honest and offer advice.

You’re a skilled life drawer (don’t deny it, we’ve seen your work). And you’re also a keen bushwalker. What draws you to art and nature?
You know the old adage about all work and no play? Six years ago, I realised I’d become a workaholic. As part of that epiphany,I picked up charcoal sticks again to revive other interests outside work. I joined the Canberra Art Workshop to enforce a discipline to regularly draw, the group I’m with meets twice a month, I try to join them for that (sometimes I fail miserably) and I also scribble at home when I can. When you’re in ‘the zone’ drawing a portrait or nude, time seems to fly by. And the more you practice, the better you become.

And when it comes to mental decompression after a full-on week, nothing beats a good hike. A long walk involving a close encounter with a scrub-wren or spotting soaring Wedgetail Eagles while tramping along a bush-track is the best way to purge the stress. Sometimes there’s the added bonus of no mobile phone reception! Hiking is a great way to keep fit, and I’m also in training for a 35-day long (800km)Camino through Spain later this year.

You host ABC Radio’s AM program. We could talk to you for hours about sleep strategies. But what’s the hardest and best part of hosting Australia’s premier current affairs program on the radio?
Yes, we could talk for hours about sleep.The pure bliss of an uninterrupted, long-night of continuous, restorative deep-sleep. That’s what I am for, andI’ll keep trying! The hardest thing? Feeling the full-bottle on any subject matter I tackle. The best part the job is being part of an ace Radio Current Affairs team and top-notch political bureau. We are a privileged position of being able to question the nation’s decision-makers and political leaders about what they’re doing and why -and it’s a vital responsibility on behalf of our listeners to keep them to account.

And congrats on your election as the National Press Club’s second ever female president. Any plans you’d like to share?
Thank you. It’s a huge honour and responsibility but I’m also surrounded by a fantastic, supportive board. I’d like to see more influential female speakers at the club, and will do all I can to make that happen.

As an up-close observer of politics over the last decade do you think it’s worse now than it was or are we all a bit exhausted?
It’s in our faces more often, because of the digital transformation of our lives.The pace has picked up, old-timers tell me that changed with the Kevin-07 era, it seems politicians are now in permanent campaign-mode. Politics has become more fractured, with voters turning off the major parties and seeking out alternatives in frustration. And key players within the parties have been more reactionary to public opinion, the revolving door of Prime Ministers is evidence of that. Add to that the phenomenon of some MPs saying outrageous stuff to get a headline or a run in the news. I think people in the ‘sensible, sane centre’ are over that, and they’re over the inability of parliaments to make progress on big policies or work together to make it happen. Australia might be returning to a trend though in ‘unstable politics’, right after federation politics was quite fractious too. We forget Australia enjoyed two long-term Federal Governments in recent history, the Hawke/Keating and Howard governments. Some days I yearn for (boring) stable government.

What’s your no-fail dinner party recipe/favourite meal at your favourite place?
Ainsley Harriott’s recipe for Lemon Garlic Chicken with Coriander. It is delicious, and a fail-safe recipe.

What would you say is the most currently overlooked news story we should know about?
The 100,000 elderly people on a waiting list to get appropriate in-home care.

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.