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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


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?


How epidemics and pandemics have changed history

Human history is usually understood through wars, economic changes, technological development or great leaders. What’s frequently overlooked is the role of infectious disease epidemics and pandemics. But as the COVID-19 virus has reminded us, disease can change us in ways we could never imagine.


Animals, humans and disease

Around two thirds of the infectious illnesses we humans suffer are caused by pathogens we’ve picked up from wild or domestic animals. They’re called zoonotic diseases and these kinds of illnesses go back thousands of years.


Will Joe Biden be the next President of the United States?

Joe Biden has emerged as the Democratic nominee for the United States Presidential race in November. But he’s run twice before and both times been defeated soundly. Why did he win this time and how did he gain the support of African American voters?


In a fix - how match fixing became sport’s biggest threat

Find out how match fixing works. It's ubiquitous and now recognised as the biggest threat to sport integrity.


What happened to the NBN, Australia's 'information superhighway'?

The NBN was supposed to provide all Australian homes with reliable, super-fast internet connections. As many of us adjust to living and working from home, connected with our jobs, friends and family online, has it lived up to its promise?


SARS, Ebola and now Covid-19 - world health and the role of the W.H.O.

For over 60 years the World Health Organisation has been the pre-eminent international health organisation but questions have been asked about its response to several infectious diseases. This is the story of the WHO, its strengths and its failings. Episode first aired 1 March 2015


SARS and MERS - what did the earlier epidemics teach us?

Singapore and South Korea – partly because of their experience with previous corona virus outbreaks – have managed this pandemic without locking people in their homes or shutting down their economies. How did they do it?


1929 Revisited

After a month of almost unprecedented drama on global financial markets due to the spread of the Coronavirus, Rear Vision revisits the 1920s and the events that led to the stock market crash of 1929.


The Black Death - the plague that never went away

In the fourteenth century, the plague killed about half the population of Europe and Asia, making it one of the most devastating pandemics in human history - and it's a disease that persists to this day.


Benjamin Netanyahu - Hero or Villain?

On the 17th March Benjamin Netanyahu, the current Prime Minister of Israel will appear in court, charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Despite the charges his party won the most seats in the recent election. So why is he so popular and what does it tell us about Israel politics?


How China's wet markets and wild animal trade created an epidemic

With coronavirus most likely having jumped from animals to humans at a wet market in China, here’s what you need to know about China’s wet markets and why wild meats are so popular with Chinese consumers.


Secular India and the rise of Hindu Nationalism

Last week as President Donald Trump was visit to India - the national capital New Delhi erupting in communal violence. It’s a critical time in Indian politics – as the country debates notions of citizenship and the Modi Government’s commitment to the idea of secularism. India was established as a religiously neutral state in 1947 - all religions were to be treated equally. But over the past 30 years Hindu Nationalists have challenged that notion of secularism – especially since election of...


Ireland - ready for change

Shifting political dynamics have given new life to the question of the reunification of the Republic in the south with Northern Ireland, the six counties that remain part of the United Kingdom.


Greek Tragedy or Farce: The life and career of Rudy Giuliani

At the heart of the recent US impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump was Trump’s personal lawyer and former Mayor of New York - Rudy Giuliani. Officially Giuliani has no role in the Trump administration yet, he seems to wield considerable political influence. So, who is Rudy Giuliani, how should we understand his relationship with President Donald Trump and how and why did he become involved in the Ukraine?


Ghosn has flown - the rise and fall of an auto industry mogul

In December, one of the car industry’s most powerful figures fled from Japan where he was awaiting trial, apparently hidden in a musical equipment box. Who is Carlos Ghosn?


The story of fire in the Australian landscape

Most Australians have been impacted by bush fires this summer. 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?


E-cigarettes - is there value in vaping?

E-cigarettes first appeared as a healthier alternative to smoking, maybe even a way to quit, but they soon escaped the medical framework and have become a public health nightmare in the US. Yet some health experts still see virtue in vaping.


The anti-vaccination movement

Why do some parents choose not to vaccinate their children, despite the safety and success of vaccines?


How history can help shape the debate about an Indigenous voice to Parliament

In the Uluru Statement from the Heart, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are calling for an Indigenous Voice to parliament. While they haven’t set out how that would work there are models we can look back on. Ever since the referendum of 1967 federal governments have attempted and failed to set up administrative organisations to give Indigenous communities a say in their own affairs. As we once again debate how we acknowledge Australia’s first people, what if anything can we learn from...