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Background Briefing

ABC (Australia)

Background Briefing is investigative journalism at its finest, exploring the issues of the day and examining society in a lively on-the-road documentary style.

Background Briefing is investigative journalism at its finest, exploring the issues of the day and examining society in a lively on-the-road documentary style.
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Melbourne, VIC


Background Briefing is investigative journalism at its finest, exploring the issues of the day and examining society in a lively on-the-road documentary style.




Background Briefing ABC Radio National GPO Box 9994 Sydney 2001 (02) 8333 1385


Fentanyl: A national emergency (part 1)

Alarming numbers of Australians are dying from fentanyl overdoses at increasing rates and undercover recordings show just how easy it is to get it. A NSW coronial inquest into the deaths of six people has just found double the amount of people die from prescription opioids than they do from heroin. In the first of a two part investigation, reporter Hagar Cohen revisits a story first broadcast last year, she speaks to people whose lives have been torn apart by fentanyl abuse.


Best laid plans update: The Senate votes

The Australian Senate passed an amendment to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan this week. This means that remaining water recovery, more than 600 billion litres, for the environment will not go ahead. Reporter Sarah Dingle and executive producer Alice Brennan cover this and other developments since our investigation went to air.


Best laid plans (Part 2)

The Federal Senate is due to vote on major changes to the Murray Darling Basin Plan– if it passes, it will effectively end further water recovery for the environment in the river system. The Basin States claim we can stop water recovery now, because they have 36 engineering projects throughout the Basin which can achieve similar outcomes. But critics hotly dispute that. In part two of our investigation into the Murray Darling Basin Plan, reporter Sarah Dingle reveals the politicking going...


Best laid plans (Part 1)

Australia is halfway into the most expensive environmental program ever mounted—the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. We've spent more than $8 billion trying to ensure the future of this crucial river system, but the plan is at risk of failing. Over two episodes, reporter Sarah Dingle investigates serious allegations that the money spent has been for very little environmental gain.


Is that a steroid in my supplement? (Part 2)

More Australians use sports supplements than almost any other country – but do we know what’s in them? triple j reporter James Purtill and Alex Mann investigate the killer contaminants fuelling Australia’s body beautiful obsession. The team talks to supplement importers who are selling banned ‘synthetic steroids,' off the shelf.


Is that a steroid in my supplement? (Part 1)

Organised criminals and heavy steroid users are importing raw powders to manufacture the drugs in their own backyard. Our two part program shows that while police trumpet their successes through rising arrest figures, users and dealers say it’s never been easier to get steroids in Australia. Reporter Alex Mann investigates this murky world of steroid supply and finds a fascinating web of fake identities, encrypted messaging apps and dodgy backyard chemistry.


Churches for sale

Background Briefing investigates the stretched finances of the Anglican Church. The Newcastle Diocese is struggling to find the money to pay victims of child sexual abuse so it is using money raised from selling churches to foot the bill. Reporter David Lewis travels to a small coastal community where residents are fighting to protect their place of worship.


Esteemed Australian scientist at the centre of a sexual harassment investigation

Sexual harassment allegations against one of Australia’s most esteemed statisticians are forcing the country's science organisations to confront the issue, head on. The science community has been quietly grappling with the issue, but until now it’s remained out of the spotlight. Hagar Cohen reveals details of the investigation into Professor Terry Speed.


The death of Jeremy Hu

An alleyway brawl that left a Melbourne schoolboy dead, has raised questions about who’s responsible for keeping international students safe in Australia. Year 12 student Jeremy Hu, was repeatedly kicked and stomped on, and he later died of his injuries. None of his friends called an ambulance that night, and instead of taking him to the hospital, they checked him into a hotel. Reporter Jane Lee takes a hard look at the $30 billion international education industry and follows the murder...


The anatomy of a scam

Binary option scams are one of the biggest financial scams in the world right now and Australians are targets. Scammers use flashy websites to trick victims into thinking they're trading on financial markets. But it's all a charade aimed at encouraging people to hand over their money. Reporter Mario Chistodoulou speaks to a former scammer and Australian victims who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Introducing ... The Signal

ABC has a new daily podcast. It’s called The Signal, and it's here to sort the news from the noise. To get a new episode of The Signal every morning, search for it where ever you get your podcasts, and hit subscribe.


Could Tara Costigan's murder have been prevented?

Three years ago Marcus Rappel murdered 28-year-old Tara Costigan with an axe. The murder continues to confront our definition of domestic violence because despite a pattern of verbal aggressions, Rappel had never previously physically abused Costigan, the mother of his child. Canberra journalists Elizabeth Byrne and Susan McDonald investigate how health professionals, and law enforcement could have prevented the death, were they equipped with the right information at the right time. Family...


International crime figures parking money in Australian real estate

International experts are warning that Australia is one of the most attractive destinations to launder money through real estate. Criminals from all over the world are looking at mansions in the suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney to park their cash. Reporter Connie Agius investigates the gaps in our money laundering laws and why they haven't been closed.


Sexual harassment in the police force

Each year, NSW Police officers lodge around 200 harassment complaints against their own colleagues. About a quarter of those are for sex-based harassment. But for many victims, speaking out can be just as bad as the abuse itself. Alex Mann investigates the efforts by NSW Police to stamp out sexual harassment in the workplace and the experience of officers who try to report it to their superiors.


The forgotten cancers

They're responsible for half of all cancer-related deaths in Australia, but receive only a small amount of research funding. As a result, rare and less common cancers have incredibly low survival rates. Reporter David Lewis follows one woman's desperate search for a treatment that might allow her to extend her life.


Ear Hustle: Left Behind

How do inmates with profoundly long sentences cope with their realities, and maintain a sense of hope and well-being as the years pass?


Introducing Ear Hustle

How do you make a podcast inside prison? Ear Hustle's Nigel Poor talks risky stories, Australian listeners and toilet humour.


The Base: Pine Gap's role in US Warfighting

Summer series: Top-secret documents exclusively obtained by Background Briefing reveal the extent to which Australia is assisting the United States military in conflicts worldwide. Peter Cronau reports.


No place for paedophiles

Summer series: Prisons and aged care providers are sounding the alarm over the growing number of elderly convicted sex offenders and other serious criminals, and the lack of appropriate aged care facilities to take care of them their twilight years. Alex Mann reports.


Fire ant threat: Mismanagement of Australia’s eradication effort

Whistleblowers accuse the agency in charge of the largest pest eradication effort in Australia’s history of mismanagement.


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