The Department of Home Affairs has a podcast called Fearlessly Australian, which is funded under its work around countering violent extremism. Its target audience is young Australian men and for the amount of listeners it gets (or more to the point, doesn’t get), it costs a pretty penny.
This article has been updated since it was first published to reflect current information, including that provided by the Department of Home Affairs. The headline has also been amended.
The podcast is part of Home Affairs’ bunch of programs designed to counter violent extremism. With a kitty of $8 million, the department runs Living Safe Together, aimed protect communities against all forms of violent extremism, Rapt!, a platform celebrating the many ways Muslim Australians contribute to society and its culture, Fearlessly Australian and a few other initiatives.
Fearlessly Australian is targeted at young Australian men. The podcast’s host is Danny Green (an Australian boxing legend). Although it forms part of the department’s work to counter violent extremism, Fearlessly Australian is described as talking to “incredible Aussie blokes about what makes us Australian, from finding the courage to get up when we’ve been knocked down, to looking out for those around us”.
The podcast has been allocated $1.3 million of the $8 million kitty and to date, Home Affairs has spent $938,000 of those funds.
The podcast has three episodes so far and Home Affairs expects a fourth will be produced. The department also has the option to continue the series.
This information was revealed during Senate Estimates last week when Labor Senator Kristina Keneally asked what the breakdown of each episode was.
Senator Keneally: I don’t mean to be crude—I haven’t produced a podcast—but $300,000 an episode, is that what we’re tracking?
Dr Richard Johnson, Home Affairs First Assistant Secretary, Social Cohesion: No, that is not the way the funding gets broken down. We use it across staffing, online analytical capability, plus the contractor who produces the content, plus the individuals who are involved in it.
After this article was published, Home Affairs reached out to clarify that this characterisation from Estimates was misinterpreted. The spokesperson said the claim that the cost per episode is ‘around $300,000’ was not correct. Gizmodo Australia understands the cost is more around the $40,000 mark for each episode – which yes, is substantially less than $300,000.
During Estimates it was also said that as at 21 October, the podcast had 549 listens, but the spokesperson further added: “Since the Fearlessly Australian online platform launched on 20 September 2021, the content has already been viewed or listened to over 55,000 times”. They didn’t clarify the breakdown but it’s worth noting the Fearlessly Australian platform includes a podcast and videocast series, as well as additional content on the website and social media channels (Instagram, Facebook and YouTube).
“This shows it has been an effective communication platform to support Australia’s social cohesion and we look forward to further growing its audience over time,” Home Affairs told Gizmodo Australia.