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Open Right

Clem Bastow

Author, Inspirational Speaker, Social Issues

Clem is an Autistic advocate, screenwriter and cultural critic who has relished getting in front of an audience ever since they were sent home from a Year 9 birthday party following a tour de force performance of twenty road safety PSAs. Clem is particularly passionate about Autism advocacy and loves to help debunk myths and misconceptions about Autistic people in the workplace, in education, and in general. With more than two decades’ worth of broadcasting and performance under their belt, Clem has extensive public speaking experience, and their screenwriting and standup comedy skills means that addresses delivered by them don’t tend to result in glazed eyes and rushes for the exit. Their various speaking engagements have covered everything from gender liberation to Autism to cult cinema. Clem is also an experienced host and emcee, having chaired panel discussions and hosted Q&As for a wide variety of events and organisations, including Melbourne International Film Festival, Cinema Nova, AFI/AACTA, Festival Of Dangerous Ideas, Melbourne Writers Festival and Amaze.

Where were you born?

I was born at the old Mercy Maternity Hospital on Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung land in East Melbourne. The nurses brought Mum champagne and balloons because Princess Diana had given birth to Prince William at the same time (though not in the same hospital). My first school was the late, great St Joseph’s in Port Melbourne, before it was knocked down to make way for lifestyle apartments.

What other jobs have you had?

Too many! Though some of my most memorable include working as an entertainment journalism “stringer” in Los Angeles, teaching cosplay and costume fabrication techniques, and my one (1) day working at a comic book shop when I was 17.

What have been the highlights of your career?

As a huge pro wrestling fan, it was a blast to co-write and co-present the 2017 ABC podcast Behind The Belt, a documentary “deep dive” into professional wrestling, alongside my brother Atticus and our “bruther”, the Australian wrestling legend KrackerJak. In 2018 Krackers and I  co-produced the first wrestling death match to be held on Tasmanian soil, Night Massacre, for Dark Mofo. Also the publication of my memoir Late Bloomer was no slouch.

Where have your works been published?

My writing appears regularly in The Guardian, and I have  written extensively for The Saturday Paper, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Big Issue. I have also  contributed chapters to books including Investigating Stranger Things (Palgrave MacMillan, 2021), ReFocus: The Films Of Elaine May (Edinburgh University Press, 2019) and Copyfight (NewSouth Publishing, 2015).

What are you passionate about?

I am obsessed with advocating for better outcomes for Autistic people: in education, in work, in health and mental healthcare, you name it! I’m also very, very, very into popular culture and screen media; I love to talk about movies and TV (and do so regularly for ABC Local and other outlets).

Haven’t I seen you before?

Why yes, I have come second on not one but two ABC gameshows: The Einstein Factor (topic: the life and work of American musical theatre composer Stephen Sondheim) and Hard Quiz (topic: Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra Terrestrial).



Was a wonderful event with a brilliant speaker. People were so engaged in what Clem was saying.

One colleague sent me a text on the way home which read “Maybe we should have more neuro diverse people presenting? One of the best/most engaging presentations I’ve seen”. It was a great morning all!

Gold stars for all. Some practical hints and I loved their attitude to *normal* “Normal is a cycle on a washing machine”

I have also heard several colleagues say they felt ‘seen’ by Clem’s words

—City of Boroondara

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