What’s At Stake?

Our team has unique expertise in media, public affairs, politics and communications – and on What’s At Stake – we put that knowledge to good use.

On each episode, the Banksia team brings a strategic communications lens to the stories you find on the front page of your morning paper, and talks to the movers and shakers that are breaking and making those stories.

You can expect to hear interviews with prominent figures, explainers on key policies, and analysis from our team about whichever current event that you have just seen leading the six o’clock news – letting you know, What’s At Stake?

You can subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts, or access it via our inbuilt player below.

Latest episodes

Grid Unlocked: What's At Stake with Australia's Renewable Energy Transition

15 March, 2024 | 34:45 min

The clean energy transition is currently one of Australia’s biggest economic challenges.

To properly understand the task at hand, we must consider and review the entire energy supply chain; from raw materials through to power infrastructure, workforce, transportation, and end consumers.

Our latest episode of “What’s At Stake?” takes a look inside the matrix of Australia’s energy system, known in many circles as “the grid”.

Our guest is Mervin KallHead of Grid at OX2 Australia.

OX2 is a renewable energy industry pioneer who are active in the global marketplace across several energy technologies. In the episode, Mervin leverages his and OX2’s experience across different countries trying to transition to help us unpack Australia’s current challenges.

Guests: Mervin Kall, Head of Grid at OX2 Australia

Clean Up On Channel 2 - What's At Stake When Agreeing To Media Interviews?

15 March, 2024 | 34:45 min

It’s the stuff of media advisor nightmares… You receive a call from the producer of a renowned investigative journalism team requesting an interview with the CEO. Enter the double-edged sword. Perform well, and this is a golden opportunity to provide context and information to your stakeholders. Perform poorly and it’s a PR disaster in waiting.

The recent Four Corners episode exploring Australia’s supermarket duopoly provided us with such a case study.

Coles CEO, Leah Weckert was calm and collected, answering the queries she was aware of, and taking new information on notice. Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci was not – and it culminated in his resignation in the same week.

On this episode of What’s At Stake? The team at Banksia Strategic Partners breakdown the ‘xs & os’ of media interviews as well as their opportunities, risks, and possible outcomes.


James Fitzpatrick, Director
Matilda Finn, Communications Associate

Can gas be good? Banksia Explains... Renewable Gas with Mike Davis

2 June, 2023 | 33 min

On this episode of Banksia Explains, we are exploring the potential of renewable gas in Australia’s decarbonisation journey.

What role could renewable gases like biomethane play in the transition? What kind of misconceptions are there around renewable gas and how can we change the narrative?

Acting Associate, Matilda Finn and Senior Associate, James Fitzpatrick are joined by special guest, Mike Davis, the Managing Director of Optimal Renewable Gas.

Mike has over 15 years of experience in the energy sector and has held several senior technical and commercial roles with APA, ATCO Australia and Jemena where he was responsible for developing and commercialising underground gas storage, gas transmission and expansion, gas-fired power generation, green hydrogen production and blending into the gas grid.

Guest: Mike Davis, Managing Director @ Optimal Renewable Gas

The right time to start thinking about your next budget submission is now! Banksia Explains... Federal Budget

17 May, 2023 | 27 min

Treasurer Jim Chalmers unveiled a federal budget that he says strikes a “considered and methodical balance” between tackling inflation and supporting struggling Australians.

In so doing, Federal Labor have kicked-off what you might dub “Budget Season” across the nation. And while the federal budget forecasted a modest surplus for the first time in 15 years, the state and territory budgets are likely to be less generous. Across Australia, the decisions that governments make in their budgets clearly signpost each administration’s appetite for different projects.

On this episode of Banksia Explains… Communications Specialist Gordon Hunter Meredith is joined by Acting Associate Matilda Finn and Founder and Director of Banksia, Steve Michelson to explore the key takeaways from the federal budget and how organisations should approach budget submissions for the upcoming financial year.

The Mainland is Red! But what will eight Labor governments mean for your organisation? Banksia Explains... NSW Election Analysis

14 April, 2023 | 40 min

On March 25th, NSW voters faced a choice between reinstating the incumbent coalition government, promising to keep their state moving, for a fourth term, or commencing a fresh start with a new look Labor team eager to end their 12-year stint on opposition benches.

An election that was predicted to be the tightest in over a decade, was instead called a Labor victory just hours after polls closed, registering another resounding defeat for the Liberal-National Coalition.

While no “Teal Wave” or “Greens Slide” eventuated, the result in NSW reflects the trend seen federally, with Minns’ Labor to form a minority government with an extended crossbench. And in turn, for the first time in 15 years, Labor will hold power in all states and territories on mainland Australia.

Today on Banksia Explains, we are joined by Associate Jeremy Phillip-Yelland and Communications Specialist Matilda Finn to analyse what this state election result means for NSW and Australia.

We also explore what we expect the next four years under Premier Minns’ will look like and how your organisation can capitalise on the fresh opportunities that a new government brings.

"You still need to turn the lights on when it's dark" - Banksia Explains... A just renewable energy transition

21 March, 2023 | 26 min

What will Australia’s renewable energy transition involve? How will we get there? Who will it affect? How do we ensure industries and workers are not left behind? Who’s leading the charge in Australia? And the billion-dollar question, who’s footing the bill?

On this episode of Banksia Explains… we are discussing Australia’s transition to renewable energy and to do so, we are joined by Patricia Boyce, the founder of Seed Advisory and board member for the Centre for New Energy Technologies.

This episode was made in partnership with the Energy Leadership Summit and Expo.

Banksia Explains... Sorry is the hardest word... Public Apologies 101

27 February, 2023 | 34 min

Politicians, business owners, media professionals and sporting organisations. According to social scientists Karen Cerulo of Rutgers University and Janet Ruane of Montclair State University , who published the preeminent study of public apologies, “Apologies of the Rich and Famous”, these are the four professions who are most likely to have to offer public apologies. And so, chances are if you’re listening to this podcast at some stage in 2023, you will need to advise on, draft or offer a public apology.

On this episode of Banksia Explains… we explore the good, bad and avoidant of public apologies.
Host: Gordon Hunter Meredith
Panel: Elyse Gatt, Senior Associate, Banksia Strategic Partners & James Fitzpatrick, Senior Associate, Banksia Strategic Partners.

Banksia Explains... Money, Power & Politics... Sport has always been more than a game

13 January, 2023 | 30 min

Since the restart of the international sporting calendar, spectators’ appetites for global sporting events have only been matched by countries’ and companies’ desires for soft power gains.

The term “sportswashing” may have been coined in 2018, but the practice of hosting or sponsoring sporting events for political gain has been around since the advent of sport itself.

While the Beijing Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup in Qatar headlined 2022’s most controversial sportwashing accusations, back home in Australia, many of our national sporting codes also faced their own crises.

In this episode of Banksia Explains, we explore the notion of sportswashing and how it affects all of sports’ stakeholders.

GuestDr Sam Duncan, Adjunct Research Fellow for the Sport Innovation Research Group at Swinburne University of Technology.

Banksia Explains... Victoria votes, Labor wins & Dan's (still) the man... but what does it mean for the next four years?

02 December, 2022 | 39 min

In the aftermath of another mini “Dan-slide” victory, the focus has shifted to the hastily rebuilding Liberal party with little to no attention being given to what the continuation of the status-quo might mean for Victoria and Victorians in the next four years.

Today on Banksia Explains, we’re joined by Associate Jeremy Phillips-Yelland and Communication Specialist Matilda Finn to read the post-election tea leaves and explore what this election result and Labor’s “Positive Plan” might mean for the future of Victoria.

Banksia Explains... Crisis Communications During A Cyber-Attack

23 November, 2022 | 33 min

Now that it’s no longer a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ your organisation will experience a cyberattack, how should you respond and communicate in the heat of the moment? What will your customers, shareholders, or partners be expecting from you?

The challenge can appear daunting but in this episode of Banksia Explains, we are joined by Banksia Senior Associate James Fitzpatrick who walks us through the tried and tested crisis communication models that can help guide your response and protect your reputation.

Banksia Explains... 2022 Federal Budget

8 November, 2022 | 24 min

Just seven months after former Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivered his budget in March, Treasurer Jim Chalmers delivered the first of two Federal Budgets that the Labor Government will deliver this financial year.

On this episode of Banksia Explains, Communications Specialists Matilda Finn and Gordon Hunter Meredith are joined by Banksia’s Founder and Director Steve Michelson for a comprehensive look at where Labor’s priorities lie, whether they are following through on their election commitments, and how they plan to manage Australia’s volatile economic forecasts. Before looking ahead to what we might expect to see in May 2023’s budget.

Banksia Explains... Addiction Treatment, Prevention and Harm Reduction with Dr Erin Lalor

11 October, 2022 | 27 min

As one of the world’s most misunderstood health issues, it’s long overdue that we rethink how we view addiction.

One in four Australians will struggle with alcohol or drug-related harm in their lifetime, yet many will wait years, even decades, to get the help they need because of stigma, a lack of available resources, or structural failings of the current healthcare system.

On this episode of Banksia Explains, Senior Associate Aisling Acton is joined by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s CEO Dr Erin Lalor, a recognised leader in the health policy and not-for-profit sectors with over 20 years of experience as a clinician, researcher, advocate and leader.

Aisling and Erin discuss how society’s view of alcohol and drugs is changing, how the ADF’s philosophy of increased knowledge and accessible information is helping change behaviours around substance use, and how we can improve the symbiotic relationship between prevention and treatment programs.

Banksia Explains... The Tasmanian AFL Club Licence Bid

21 September, 2022 | 41 min

The slow-burn narrative of 2022 in AFL circles was whether Tasmania would be presented with the opportunity to host the 19th club in the Australian Football League.

With the bid formally presented to the AFL commission and club presidents on Monday 19th September, Senior Communications Specialist Gordon Hunter Meredith is joined by Senior Associate James Fitzpatrick and Associate Sabrine Navarro to analyse what we know of the bid so far and to explore how Banksia would approach the various strategic communication and engagement plan needs of the major stakeholders involved in this important decision for the country’s biggest professional sporting organisation.

Banksia Explains... Takeaways from the Jobs & Skills Summit

9 September, 2022 | 13 min

On this episode of Banksia Explains… we’re speaking to Banksia’s Special Adviser and former Deputy Secretary of the Department of Immigration, Abul Rizvi, about the key takeaways from the Federal Government’s Jobs and Skills Summit held in Canberra last week.

H2 in 2022 - The Commercial Potentials of H2

29 August, 2022 | 17 min

We’ve covered plenty of ground so far in this mini-series, but we’re yet to discuss hydrogen in space.

For Episode 9 of our Hydrogen Mini-Series, we’re joined by Chris Dolman, a Business Development Manager for Clean Hydrogen at BOC South Pacific.

As one of Australia’s leading gas suppliers, BOC has a key role to play in the development of the hydrogen industry. As Chris explains, a social license will be a vital part of a thriving sector. And that growth could go even further than expected by shaking up the space tech game.

H2 in 2022 - A National Approach

10 June, 2022 | 20min

Within this episode, we’re going to get a perspective from inside the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, and another from the CSIRO.
Our first guest, Patrick Hartley, is the leader of the CSIRO’s Hydrogen Industry Mission, and our second guest, James Hetherington, heads up the department’s Hydrogen Strategy Team.
Patrick and James joined us to discuss what their respective organisations are doing to turn Australia into a hydrogen superpower, and whether the hydrogen future really will be as good as promised.

H2 in 2022 - Guarantee of Origin Scheme

20 May, 2022 | 15min

Throughout our hydrogen mini-series so far, the idea of a Guarantee of Origin Scheme has been mentioned over and over again. Today, we’re going to find out why.
Our guest on this episode is Cameron Mathie from the Clean Energy Regulator. As a Manager for Future Carbon Markets, Cameron is chiefly involved in the design of Australia’s Hydrogen Guarantee of Origin Scheme.
We were lucky to sit down with him to discuss how the scheme might look, the trials that are underway, and what a successful scheme will achieve.
Finally, thanks to our partner, the Australian Hydrogen Forum, for making this series possible.

H2 in 2022 - A wholistic energy transition

17 May, 2022 | 25min

So far on Banksia’s hydrogen mini-series, we’ve covered production, commercialisation, and the future of renewable gas in your home and on this episode, we discuss hydrogen in a much broader context.
The global search for renewable fuels is of course, driven by a need to lower carbon emissions. That need means that every part of the energy sector must transition. Hydrogen, then, is one piece in a very big puzzle.
Our guest, Jim Snow, is an Executive Director of Oakley Greenwood, a firm that, among other things, models different renewable energy scenarios. Jim will discuss some of the key questions we’ve been discussing surrounding the future of H2, but most importantly, he’ll help you to understand where hydrogen best fits in the broader energy mix.

H2 in 2022 - Commercialising Hydrogen

21 April, 2022 | 28min

Welcome to the latest episode of our mini-series on Australia’s hydrogen future, produced in collaboration with the Australian Hydrogen Forum.
On this episode, you’re going to hear from Alex McIntosh from ARENA, and Justin Nash from BP.
A key question they are pondering is: what can be done to make hydrogen commercially viable?
Where is investment needed to scale up production? Should hydrogen production, or hydrogen demand, come first? And how is government working with industry to promote the hydrogen economy?

H2 in 2022 - Hydrogen in the home... but how?

6 April, 2022 | 18min

Welcome to the third episode of our mini-series on Australia’s hydrogen future!
We’re tackling the main issues and questions on Australia’s hydrogen future, and now it’s time to talk about hydrogen in the home. The Australian Gas Infrastructure Group has set a bold vision to decarbonise their networks around Australia by 2040. So, how will they do it?
On this episode, AGIG CEO Craig de Laine will lay out the plan for you, from the blending projects that are already underway, to the steps required to scale up.

H2 in 2022 - Production 101

4 April, 2022 | 29min

In this episode, Banksia Senior Associates James Fitzpatrick and Elyse Gatt caught up with political and industry leaders to discuss what’s next for the hydrogen economy.
We’re taking you through some of the technologies that can help us to produce more H2 at a lower cost, something that will be vital to scale-up the entire sector.
Talk of electrolysis and methane pyrolysis can seem a little overwhelming. Thankfully, you’ll be hearing from Roger Knight, the Managing Director of Energys, and Chris Dunks, the managing director of Synergen Met.

H2 in 2022 - What questions are being addressed at the Australian Hydrogen Forum?

29 March, 2022 | 37min

Welcome to the first episode of our mini-series on Australia’s hydrogen future!
In collaboration with the Australian Hydrogen Forum in Sydney, Banksia Senior Associates James Fitzpatrick and Elyse Gatt caught up with political and industry leaders to discuss what’s next for the hydrogen economy.
In this episode, you will to hear the voices of the Honourable Lily d’Ambrosio, Victoria’s Energy Minister; the Honourable Mick de Brenni, Queensland’s Minister for Hydrogen; Jordan McCollum, National Policy Manager for the Australian Pipes and Gas Association; and Kobad Bhavnagri, the Head of Strategy for Bloomberg NEF.

What's At Stake? The Winter Olympics & Diplomatic Boycotts

21 February, 2022 | 20min

The Winter Olympics in Beijing have finished, and one of the lead headlines was that several nations opted not to send any government representatives, mostly in protest of alleged human rights abuses by the Chinese Government against the Uyghur population in Western China’s Xinjiang region.
The International Olympic Committee has always maintained its political neutrality however the Olympics have often been used to make political statements, such as the boycotting of the Moscow Olympics in 1980 during the height of the Cold War.
This week on Banksia Explains… we explore the diplomatic boycotts and whether they are likely to achieve anything.

The 'Novax' Saga with Dr Abul Rizvi

25 January, 2022 | 36min

In a time where people are hungry for more binge-worthy TV dramas, the sport of Tennis has provided in spades, offering a legal drama that not even Netflix could script.
World No.1 tennis player, Novak Djokovic was deported from Australia on the opening day of the first Grand Slam event of 2022, the Australian Open. And while the tennis tournament rolls on, questions around immigration laws, proper governance, international relations, the role of celebrity and the long term effects of the COVID-19 crisis rumble away in its wake.
In this episode of Banksia Explains… we will explore the “Novax Saga” in three parts. First, we will explore the process that led to Djokovic’s deportation, then we will analyse – from a strategic communications viewpoint – the performance of each of the major stakeholders and finally predict the fall out from such a major international political event.

Banksia Explains... 2021

22 December, 2021 | 24min

Banksia Strategic Partners along with clients, family and friends meet to celebrate the year that was and amongst the festive season cheer, people were invited to reflect on their biggest learnings from 2021 and forecast what’s ahead in 2022.

We need to look at systems, not just vehicles - Banksia Explains... AI, Liveable Cities & Micromobility

18 December, 2021 | 37min

This week, we’re very lucky to be joined by one of the world’s most creative minds to discuss all things artificial intelligence, and big, city-reshaping tech.
Assaf Biderman has a big CV. He is the CEO and co-founder of transportation robotics company Superpedestrian, a client of ours. And he is a founding member and Associate Director of the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
On this episode, we pick Assaf’s brain about the ways A.I. is already being used (hint: it’s way more than you might think) and quiz him about how A.I. can work for the public good, and how new technology can unlock more liveable cities right across the globe.

Local campaigns need to have local solutions - Banksia Explains... Grassroots Campaigns

04 November, 2021 | 21min

The Banksia team has been watching the Northcote Public Golf Course saga unfold, and today, we’re using it as a case study to explore public relations strategies, how opposing sides can compromise on hyperlocal issues, and what makes a successful grassroots campaign.

The media plays a part... Jen Hewett Explains COVID Recovery

06 October, 2021 | 30min

This week, Banksia’s Jack Banister and Shannon Gill are joined by Jen Hewett, the Australian Financial Review’s National Affairs Columnist.
Jen has followed the pandemic since March 2020, and we’ll chat to her about how our leaders have responded to it and communicated during it, and how the media have covered these leaders and their messages.

"We need to have a goal" - Paul Guerra Explains COVID Recovery

23 September, 2021 | 37min

The pandemic is once again the force that is driving most of the stories on the front pages, and there’s plenty at stake for politicians, businesses, and citizens alike.
In this mini-series of Banksia Explains… we’re exploring the different factors in the COVID recovery process.
Today’s guest is Dr Paul Guerra. He is the CEO of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Victoria’s peak business group, a role he took over in February 2020.
Today’s conversation centres around one key premise: what does business expect from government through the pandemic?

"We need to have conversations and humanity" - Dr Andrés Noé Explains COVID Recovery

18 September, 2021 | 42min

The pandemic is once again the force that is driving most of the stories on the front pages, and there’s plenty at stake for politicians, businesses, and citizens alike.
In this mini-series of Banksia Explains… we’re exploring the different factors in the COVID recovery process.
Today’s guest is Dr Andrés Noé. He’s a medical doctor, a Rhodes scholar and one of the clinicians involved with the development and trialing of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
As well as vast experiences working on malaria and malaria vaccines, Noé has also spent a decade focused on the health and wellbeing of children and adolescents. He has now developed high-level COVID-19 expertise via various projects, and led contact tracing teams in the UK. He is currently working at The Royal Melbourne Hospital.

What's At Stake? A COVID and Communications Round Table

10 September, 2021 | 30min

The pandemic is once again the force that is driving most of the stories on the front pages, and there’s plenty at stake for politicians, businesses, and celebrities alike.
This week, Banksia’s Senior Associates, James Fitzpatrick and Shannon Gill, join me to dissect the major stories.
What can businesses do to encourage their employees and customers to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?
Why did the public take exception to Scott Morrison’s Father’s Day trip to Sydney to see his family?
And if they had their moments over again, what would Nadia Bartel and Guy Sebastian do differently?

Winning all around! What business and organisations can learn from the Paralympic Movement - Don Elgin Explains Tokyo 2020

24 August, 2021 | 38min

Don Elgin competed at three Paralympics in Athletics and won four medals. He is an amputee, having been born without the lower half of his left leg. He is now the Head of Wallara Online and remains connected to our Paralympic team via StarAmp Global, a management company he founded to support amputee athletes.
Don joins us to talk about what the Paralympic movement has meant to his life, the messaging around disability, and how the moment in the media spotlight the Paralympics will have over the next few weeks can communicate messages far beyond sport.

"This is your one shot every four years" - Lucy Benjamin Explains Tokyo 2020

10 August, 2021 | 34min

The Tokyo Olympics marks the end of, this time around, a 5-year cycle for athletes that will result in a well-earned mental and physical break. But the same applies for those that work with the athletes, including communications professionals.
Lucy Benjamin has worked across the globe in several sports, but most recently, she’s been Australian rowing’s communications and government relations manager.
Lucy is finishing up at Rowing Australia at the end of the Games, so, in this episode of Banksia Explains, we talk to Lucy about how the Olympics function from a comms perspective.

"You can't be what you can't see" - Nova Peris Explains Tokyo 2020

02 August, 2021 | 31min

One of the stories of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games has been the strength of the First Nation’s athletes representing Australia.
Basketballer Patrick Mills carried the flag; the Matildas posed for a photo with the Aboriginal flag before their first game; and the team uniforms are adorned with Indigenous designs.


30 July, 2021 | 23min

The long-overdue 2020 Olympics kicked off on Wednesday, July 21 when Australia was resoundingly thumped by their Japanese hosts on a softball diamond in Fukushima. These Olympics come after months of anything-but-softball from the IOC, which has forged ahead despite repeated outbreaks of COVID-19 globally, and in the host city, Tokyo.


28 July, 2021 | 2min

Banksia Strategic Partners is excited to be launching our new podcast, Banksia Explains… Our team comes from a diverse array of backgrounds, and has vast experience in a range of sectors, including the media, communications, legal affairs, politics and policy. On the show, we’ll be taking a strategic communications lens to the stories you’ll find on the front page of your morning paper and talking to the movers and shakers that are breaking and making those stories.

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