The 9 Best Podcasts for Getting Up to Speed Before the Upcoming Federal Election


If you’re just about done with the non-stop disasters and looming catastrophes on the horizon, we’ve got bad news for you as there’s about to be another one: the federal election.

To be fair, while this is likely to be a very overwhelming time, it’s also possibly a chance to avoid further disasters by swapping out the people in charge — this claim comes with no guarantees, however.

If you’re feeling just not up to the challenge of the next few months of political inundation, don’t worry. Getting up to speed on all the latest issues and how each policy change and piece of legislation is going to affect you is a full-time job and not one that many of us have time for.

Thankfully, in the most informed era of human history, there are ways to shortcut that learning and podcasting are one of them.

There’s a tonne of great informative political podcasts out there and not all of them are as dry as they sound. Politics affects all of us so it’s worth knowing who you’re voting for and why.

From the short, simple explainers to the longer in-depth conversations, here’s what you should be listening to if you want to get up to speed before the big vote.

Left Right Out

Left Right Out is a brand new Spotify-exclusive designed specifically to get you informed before the big election. It’s hosted by journalists and authors Elfy Scott and Justine Landis-Handley and is geared towards those who have no idea what’s going on.

Each episode tackles a topic submitted by listeners such as ‘which party is best for women?’ and ‘why aren’t the Greens more popular?’ in a chatty, informative way that makes it feel like you’re not actually learning.

The Briefing 

Hosted by some of the nation’s most talented and respected journalists, The Briefing is a commuter essential. Led by Tom Tilley, with co-hosts Annika Smethurst, Jan Fran and Jamila Rizvi, the show covers the day’s news before digging into a daily news topic.

While it’s not completely politics focussed, it does give you a good understanding of what’s going on each day, usually with reference to the political and personal implications of big policy changes and key political trends.

Australian Politics

For something a little meatier, try Australian Politics from The Guardian. Katharine Murphy, Guardian Australia’s political editor gets into a weekly-ish discussion with members of Guardian Australia’s political team to examine what’s currently going on in Australian politics.

The podcast is definitely a heavier one, ranging from half an hour to an hour or so in length, and not always the easiest to follow if you’re a bit of a newcomer. Still, it’s great for getting a bit more context and detail on the week’s happenings.

Democracy Sausage

One of Australia’s top political journalists, now a professor at Australian National Univerity, Mark Kenny takes a weekly look at politics and public affairs in Democracy Sausage. It features with expert analysis and discussion from researchers at ANU and beyond and at roughly 40 minutes per ep it’s not too overwhelming in detail.

You get headlines and news updates plus analysis from experts which you can easily parrot at your next drinks party to sound exceedingly clever.

New Politics

This one’s a little bit more of a chat about current Australian political events but it’s a great one for getting a bit of analysis – if you can keep up. Hosts Eddy Jokovich and David Lewis are old hats and have been writing about politics for years so their approach is somewhat jaded in a comforting kind of way – the latest fear isn’t so bad when it’s being spoken about by people who have seen it all before.

Their shows are about an hour and are released weekly but they’re not for the faint-hearted.

The Party Room

ABC’s The Party Room is another weekly politics explainer, just very… ABC. Aiming to “help you understand the issues affecting your world,” the podcast is hosted by ABC Radio journalists Fran Kelly and Patricia Karvelas who give weekly updates on what’s been going on in politics.

It’s pretty news-focused and speaks with ABC political journalists on what they’ve been covering so, again, it’s a little bit ‘hit-the-ground-running’ and might not be the best introductory listen but for anyone who wants to keep up with the news, this is a great one.

Auspol Snackpod

A nice little breather in what can be a fairly overwhelming environment, Auspol Snackpod describes itself as “bite-sized chunks of australian news and politics, with a side of crispy memes.” The show is hosted by “two of Australia’s foremost political nobodies,” Noon and Zac (who keep their identities pretty low-key).

It’s an easy and enjoyable listen that definitely sounds like it was recorded in a share house living room and with the same level of banter and dumb jokes that you would expect as such. Still, it’s a good way to get your news with a bit of a giggle and not the usual aftertaste of crushing dispair.

Politics With Michelle Grattan

Michelle Grattan is the cheif politician correspondent at The Conversation, the publication that is exclusively written by experts. Her podcast is, as you might expect, a fairly expert take on what’s been happening in the past week, giving insights into the machinations of Parliament and the movements of legislation in conversation with various political commentators.

The podcast also includes “Word from The Hill” which discusses the news with The Conversation authors. These are shorter bites, good for keeping up quickly with what’s happening and a good balance to the lengthier 25-minute Politics episodes.


Last but definitely not least we have 7AM from Schwartz Media, hosted by the calming voice of Ruby Jones. This is another news-wrap podcast of about 20 minutes except they buck the trend by going deep on a relevant topic before reading the day’s headlines.

Not all of their topics are strictly political, though many are, and they’re explained in a conversational format that makes them easy to understand. Definitely one to add to your rotation.

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