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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


Slavery in the suburbs: Migrant women abused for dowry

It’s domestic violence with the added threat of deportation. In many South Asian cultures, the bride’s family often pays the groom. But sometimes the demands for dowry don’t stop with the wedding. Migrant women in Australia speak to Sarah Dingle for the first time about falling unwittingly into abusive relationships.


Breaking point (Part 2)

The federal government says it's been "quietly" removing children from Nauru "in accordance with our policies", but lawyers in Australia tell a different story. They've been fighting the Department of Home Affairs in the Federal Court to secure the evacuation of sick kids on the island. In part two of our special investigation, Olivia Rousset is given exclusive access to the solicitors working tirelessly on behalf of refugees, asylum seekers, and their families.


Two years of Trump

He promised to ''drain the swamp'' in Washington, but has Donald Trump kept his word? The upcoming midterm elections are shaping up as a referendum on his presidency so far. Reporter James Bennett travelled to Virginia to investigate whether the businessman and reality TV star can maintain support from working class Americans, who abandoned the Democrats in 2016.


Breaking point (Part 1)

Has the federal government been ignoring a mental health crisis among child refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru? Background Briefing has obtained dozens of questionnaires that provide a snapshot of how kids on the island were faring between 2015 and 2017. A prominent psychiatrist says the results would have been given to senior immigration department bureaucrats yet requests for medical evacuations were repeatedly denied. Olivia Rousset investigates.


Seeds of doubt

Across the country, there have been more than 100 reports of needles found inside strawberries picked and packed for public consumption. The contamination scandal brought an industry to its knees and police are no closer to the truth. It's a mystery ripe for investigation. Hagar Cohen reports.


Haircuts and hate

In this episode, Alex Mann investigates how Australia's alt-right movement is covertly influencing mainstream politics. He tracks operatives from a secretive fight club in Sydney to the moment one member was elected to the NSW executive of the Young Nationals. He also confronts the men involved and asks what is their vision for Australia, and how far are they willing to go to achieve it?


More than a fight

On New Year's Eve, 1983, the driver of a train passing through Kempsey in NSW made a grim discovery. The body of Lewis "Buddy" Kelly was strewn across the tracks. Police said the 16-year-old's death was an accident, but his family suspects foul play. The case is one of three eerily similar mysteries. Is there a pattern here? Allan Clarke investigates.


Update: The talented Mr Daly

It was a $20 million investment scheme that saw the retirement savings of more than 100 investors used as a piggy bank for company directors who borrowed funds to cover cash flow problems and even a divorce settlement. This week, Mario Christodoulou updates his investigation after sighting internal documents suggesting the firm behind the scheme was lying to regulators and associating with "undesirables".


The clinic of last resort

They're legal in most states, subject to conditions, so why are women so often denied late surgical abortions? In this episode, Hagar Cohen goes inside the only private clinic in the country where pregnancies can be terminated between 20 and 24 weeks.


Burning down the house

We now have our seventh prime minister in 10 years. What the hell is going on? This week, Background Briefing brings you a three-part special on the Liberal Party's leadership crisis. We witness the downfall of Malcolm Turnbull, speak to the conservative insurgents who challenged a sitting PM, and look at the consequences for our nation. (Language warning: This program contains profanity.)


The talented Mr Daly

Peter Daly projects confidence and success. He wears gold rings, gold cufflinks, and a gold watch. The market, he says, is his backyard and he knows it "damn well". But the 59-year-old is actually in a world of trouble. The corporate watchdog, ASIC, accuses his network of companies of mismanaging funds, misleading investors, and breaching the Corporations Act. Against the advice of his public relations team, Mr Daly agreed to an interview with Background Briefing. Reporter Mario...


Notes on a scandal

Jaimie Byrne was supposed to be checked by nurses every 15 to 30 minutes while he was sleeping at Coffs Harbour Hospital in NSW on July 5, 2014. But the 42-year-old was found dead inside the mental health unit the next morning, leaving his wife and seven children desperate for answers. A joint investigation by Background Briefing and 7.30 has uncovered a series of critical failures by the Mid North Coast Local Health District. It has also found staff on duty at the time were responsible for...


Russia, If You're Listening: Paul Manafort On Trial

Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort is the subject of the first trial of the Mueller investigation, which is underway in Alexandria, Virginia. Despite the fact that his charges have nothing to do with the Trump campaign, there is intense scrutiny on it, and speculation about whether it will lead to Manafort turning on Donald Trump, or receiving a Presidential pardon. But what is Manafort on trial for? And what shenanigans has he been up to while he's been in custody? Find out in this...


Not fare

After a spate of recent suicides, taxi licence holders and their families are warning of the mounting human toll of deregulating their industry. Since the arrival of Uber and other ride-sharing apps, a once lucrative investment has plummeted in value. Who is to blame? Alex Mann investigates.


Rough justice

The shocking rape of a two-year-old girl in the Northern Territory this February exposed a child protection system in crisis. Some caseworkers say the threshold for removing a child from their family is too high and that authorities should intervene earlier. But a relative of the toddler is sceptical, arguing the solution is to tackle the underlying causes of violence in the community. Jane Bardon investigates.


They're still victims

There is an ethical dilemma confronting the national redress scheme for survivors of child sexual abuse. Should applicants who have themselves committed serious crimes receive financial assistance? The federal, state, and territory governments believe anyone who has spent five or more years in jail should be subjected to a special assessment process. But critics argue that childhood trauma often sets victims on a dangerous path. Samantha Donovan investigates.


When the dust settles

Asbestos continues to kill more people than car accidents every year in Australia. Once seen as a wondrous building material it remains in millions of homes in neighbourhoods around the country. Reporter Mario Christodoulou investigates Australia’s asbestos legacy and talks to the next generation of unwitting victims.


The drugs don't work

Thousands of patients may have been put at risk of exposure to tampered drugs by the Queensland Ambulance Service. One 74-year-old grandmother from Brisbane, Barbara Cook, believes paramedics unwittingly gave her a contaminated IV injection. She also believes that she contracted a life-threatening bacterial infection as a result. With secret recordings, leaked documents and whistle-blower testimony Hagar Cohen uncovers how the service botched an investigation into one of its biggest-ever...


Remembering Liz Jackson

Last week, Australian journalism lost one of its greats. Liz Jackson, who won multiple Walkley awards, is perhaps best known for her work at Four Corners, but she cut her teeth in investigative journalism here at Background Briefing. In 1992, Liz travelled to Somalia to document the violence severely hampering aid efforts and costing hundreds of lives daily. In this podcast special, you’ll hear what made Liz always so great at her job: her fearless questioning, her beautifully precise...


Carers who kill

Almost one person with a disability is killed by their carer every three months in Australia. For the first time, Background Briefing has calculated this number by reviewing years of court documents and media reports. When a person with disabilities is killed, the burden of caring is often cited as a reason for the killing and may lead to lighter sentences. Reporter Sarah Dingle investigates bias in the courtroom and asks the question: Does excusing carers who kill lead to a contagion effect?