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Introducing this week's Newsmaker: Chris Uhlmann

In recent years, Chris Uhlmann has become known as much for his commentary on the big issues as his journalism. He talks a lot about values - what it means to be Australian, what it means to live in the West, and his concerns about the threats to our way of life.

The prelude to the discussion about those big themes and the framework he uses to think about these things is to know that Chris studied theology when he started his adult life in a Catholic seminary and went onto a string of dead-end jobs. So I really wanted to understand how his experiences as a young man guided the leading journalist (who started as a copy kid at the Canberra Times at 29yo…) he became.

In recent times, Chris hasn’t been afraid of holding the powerful to account. He has questioned our politicians and officials over Australia’s pandemic response. He has voiced concerns about China's rise. He has even gone ‘viral’ internationally for his commentary on Donald Trump's leadership. It’s been a lot…

On top of that, he’s been to Ukraine to produce a documentary about Ukraine during the war called Forged in Fire to better understand ”the spirit of the Ukrainian people to rise up against Russia”.

As I expected, this chat demonstrates that he is a big thinker. He is interested in what makes people and our nation tick. He talks a lot about the threats to our way of life, and I ask him specifically why he decided to take part in that documentary. He explains he thinks the Russia/Ukraine war is a fight for freedom more broadly, and that affects us all.

Chris is in a phase of his life and career where he is - in his words - “unashamedly working on things where I've got a fairly strong view about stuff.” Regardless of whether you agree with him, I found our chat to be thoughtful and informative.

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