Rear Vision-logo

Rear Vision

ABC (Australia)

We tease out the complex history behind those baffling events in the news.

We tease out the complex history behind those baffling events in the news.


Melbourne, Australia




We tease out the complex history behind those baffling events in the news.




Rear Vision GPO Box 9994 Sydney 2001 (02) 8333 5311


Palestinian politics under occupation

This week Palestinians should have been voting in their first election for 15 years, but the election was cancelled and now they are again involved in a battle with Israel. Why? The complexities of Palestinian politics are defined by the Oslo Accords and the Israeli occupation.


Space junk—how did orbital debris become such a huge headache?

It’s unlikely that any of us will be hit by space junk here on earth but collisions in space are a real threat to the satellite systems we all take for granted. How did space become so polluted and what is being done to manage orbital debris?


Edward and Harry—the men who left the royal family

Prince Harry’s decision to renounce his royal role was not the first time a member of the British monarchy decided to opt out. Almost a century ago, King Edward VIII gave up the crown to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcée. These two decisions, several generations apart, engulfed the monarchy in turmoil and sent the media into meltdown. What do these two stories tell us about the British monarchy?


The Suez Canal—ambition, colonial greed, revolution and the ditch that reshaped global trade.

The Suez Canal is one of the world’s most vital trade routes. It’s the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe and about 12% of global trade passes through it each year. But the Canal is situated in one of the most volatile regions in the world and its history has been defined by that geography.


The Irish border—why is it there and what's it actually like?

The Irish border—running along five hundred kilometres of rural land—is a paradox. Both visible and invisible, it’s vital to peace in Ireland.


Myanmar’s military—why are they killing their own people?

One of the most secretive organisations on the planet, Myanmar’s military has ruled the country with an iron fist for over 50 years. Its brief experiment of sharing power with Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy ended with a brutal coup in February. What brings a military to the point of killing its own citizens? The answer lies in part in the intersection of colonialism and capitalism in Myanmar in the later part of the 20th century.


The political swamp—poisonous for women

The recent accounts of bullying, sexual harassment and worse from women who work in federal politics would come as no surprise to anyone who lived through Julia Gillard’s time as Australia’s one and only woman prime minister. Why is it like this and are there countries where women participate more fully - and safely - in politics?


How the death of local news is destroying democracy.

For a couple of hundred years rural and urban communities relied on their local paper for the news that mattered to them. Now those papers are shutting down readers are turning to sites like Facebook for information. But that has troubling consequences for democracy.


The struggle for work—why are the unemployed expected to live below the poverty line?

At the end of the month the COVID supplement to the dole ends, leaving thousands of Australians facing bleak choices: underemployment—or no job at all.


Could the farmers blockade defeat India's powerful Prime Minister Modi?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, set out to deregulate the county's traditional agricultural markets. But he faced an unexpected backlash from many of his most devoted supporters - farmers and agricultural workers. For months these farmers have besieged New Delhi resulting in a political standoff. Could these protests signal the end of one of India's most powerful Prime Ministers, Modi?


The world's first vaccine and the disease it eradicated

It was the only human infectious disease we've ever managed to wipe out. Smallpox, a disease of fluid-filled blisters, was frequently fatal. It was defeated by the world's first vaccine. Are there any lessons for COVID?


Franklin Delano Roosevelt's first 100 days

The first 100 days of any US presidency are critical, so what can President Biden learn from Franklin Delano Roosevelt? FDR led the United States through the depression and in his first 100 days he steered 16 major pieces of legislation through Congress and convinced the American public that they could both trust and rely on the government. How did FDR achieve this legislative feat and could the Biden administration replicate it?


China—the economic miracle

When Mao died in 1976, China was unable to feed its people, cut off from the rest of the world. How did it become today's economic giant?


The week that changed the world—President Nixon's visit to China in 1972 and his meeting with Chairman Mao

Since the rise to power of Xi Jinping in 2013, governments across the globe are having to learn how deal with an assertive and powerful China determined to put its stamp on international affairs. Over the next two weeks we’ll trace the diplomatic and economic transformation of China, beginning in 1972 with the meeting between US President Nixon and Chairman Mao.


Nancy Pelosi: The most powerful woman in US politics

Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House of Representative and third in line to the President of the United States. For over ten years she has been the most powerful woman in US politics. And over the past four years the key political opposition to President Trump. So, who is Nancy Pelosi and how has this almost 80-year-old woman been able to give Donald Trump a run for his money?


Joe Biden's history of presidential nomination

Joe Biden has just become the 46 President of the United States. Twice before he ran for the Democrat presidential nomination twice and both times been defeated soundly. Born in 1942 he has spent most of his working life in the US Senate, except for the eight years as Vice President in the Obama administration. What does his record in the Senator, and his previous attempts at the presidency tell us about what kind of a President he might make?


Yoga in the West

Yoga goes back thousands of years in India but as its popularity spread around the world, its practice diversified to incorporate everything from yoga with goats to naked yoga.


The humble bicycle

As the coronavirus sweeps across the globe, people everywhere are turning to cycling. In cities like London, Milan, Paris, and Toronto, authorities are turning roads into cycleways. Could the humble bicycle become the major form of transport in the post-Covid-19 world?


The evolution of cruising, from luxury trips to today's troubled waters

Cruise holidays were once only for the wealthy. In recent decades they've found a mass market, but how and at what cost?


The story of fire in the Australian landscape

This time last year fires raged from Queensland, down the NSW coast to Victoria, and across parts of Western Australia and South Australia. But fires are not new - we live in a country that has been shaped by fire and in a landscape populated by vegetation dependent on fire. What if anything can we learn from this history that might help us face the increasing fire risks today?