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The Politics of Everything

Sep 7, 2021

In current times, with all the challenges of a global pandemic and what that means for us as we navigate work, family, isolation, sickness and sanity (and in lockdown for some of us), the notion of kindness must be an anecdote for some of that which we struggle with.

I am speaking today to Hugh Mackay, a highly regarded social psychologist and researcher, and the bestselling author of 22 books, including eight novels. His latest book, The Kindness Revolution, was published in 2021.

He has had a 60-year career in social research and was also a weekly newspaper columnist for over 25 years. He is currently an honorary professor in the Research School of Psychology at ANU, and a patron of the Asylum Seekers Centre. Among other honorary appointments, he has been deputy chairman of the Australia Council for the Arts, the inaugural chairman of the ACT government’s Community Inclusion Board and an honorary professor at Macquarie, Wollongong and Charles Sturt universities.

Hugh is a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and the Royal Society of NSW. In recognition of his pioneering work in social research, he has been awarded honorary doctorates by Charles Sturt, Macquarie, NSW, Western Sydney and Wollongong universities. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2015.

We talk today about kindness!

In this episode, you can hear from Hugh on:

  1. His new book The Kindness Revolution – how did that book come to be and what can we expect to learn when we read it?
  2. What makes someone kinder? Is it through experiencing it from others and in a non-transactional way or are some of us born kinder naturally?
  3. Food is a popular way to show kindness, with a recent study showing almost four in five (78 per cent) believing that sharing a meal with friends and family is a powerful way to display kindness. Meanwhile two thirds (62 per cent) of Aussies believe that helping our neighbours is something we should do more of. In your observations, do close-knit regional communities vs urban dwellers where we can share an apartment block and not ever know our neighbours?
  4. Are Australians known to be kinder than other countries perhaps?
  5. Take away: What is your final takeaway message for us today on The Politics of Kindness?

To connect with Hugh:


See this Q&A with Hugh on the subject of kindness:

Book: The Kindness Revolution - Hugh Mackay - 9781760879938 - Allen & Unwin - Australia (

Email: Dr. Hugh Mackay | ANU Research School of Psychology