Last update: 2013-06-29

Legal highs and lethal lows

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2013-06-29 :: ABC Radio National
Sydney teen Henry Kwan became the public face of a new war on synthetic drugs when his death prompted state and federal bans on a range of compounds known as ‘legal highs.…


Poor fare

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2013-06-22 :: ABC Radio National
The taxi industry is ripe for reform. High fares and the skyrocketing value of taxi plates ensures big returns for the big players—like Cabcharge—but passenger numbers are in decline and drivers' wages have collapsed. What’s needed is an injection of real competition and choice. Wendy Carlisle investigates.…


Against the grain

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2013-06-15 :: ABC Radio National
Australian grain growers say a foreign takeover of the country’s biggest agri-business, GrainCorp, should be stopped, in the national interest. They say they’ll be the losers if US food giant ADM takes control of the storage, movement and sale of grain across several states. Reporter Stan Correy looks at ADM’s chequered history and what the takeover would mean for Australian farmers.…


No advantage

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2013-06-08 :: ABC Radio National
Thousands of asylum seekers are being released from detention into the community but under the federal government’s ‘no advantage’ policy they are not allowed to work and they receive just $30 a day to pay for rent, food and all other expenses. Charities are reporting a huge increase in demand for their services and warn that a new subclass of people is being created. Hagar Cohen investigates.…


Plutonium Mountain

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2013-06-01 :: ABC Radio National
Britain has accumulated the world’s biggest stockpile of civilian plutonium expecting to turn it into a valuable next-generation nuclear fuel. Now it’s being called one of the most embarrassing failures in British industrial history, an enormously expensive and dangerous mountain of waste. Rob Broomby investigates.…


An ill wind

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2013-05-25 :: ABC Radio National
In less than a fortnight, the small community of King Island will vote on whether a crucial part of Australia's clean energy future should proceed to the next stage. But the islanders are sharply divided, after Waubra Foundation CEO Dr Sarah Laurie visited the island making claims that wind turbines harm human health. Sarah Dingle investigates.…


The dogs that ate a sheep industry

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2013-05-18 :: ABC Radio National
Wild dogs are killing the wool industry in Queensland. The dingo fence is useless, poison baiting isn’t working and the law that says land owners must control wild dogs isn’t enforced. Now dog numbers have reached epidemic proportions. Ian Townsend investigates. (This story includes an image some may find disturbing.)…


Lyme: a four letter word

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2013-05-11 :: ABC Radio National
Australian GPs reveal why they are risking their reputations by diagnosing patients with Lyme disease—from Borrelia bacteria that are not even supposed to be in Australia. The treatment, high-dose antibiotics, is alarming health authorities and the nation’s chief medical officer has formed an advisory committee to look into this controversial disease. Di Martin investigates.…


Animal experiments under the microscope

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2013-05-04 :: ABC Radio National
The process of approving the use of animals in scientific experiments is in crisis, with animal welfare and scientific members on key ethics committees at loggerheads. Hagar Cohen investigates.…


A conflict of interest?

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2013-04-27 :: ABC Radio National
When the Liberal National Party swept to power in Queensland it proclaimed the most extensive rules in the country to deal with lobbying and conflicts of interest within its own ranks. The LNP wanted to avoid lobbying scandals that had plagued the Bligh Labor government. So why is the Newman government now caught in its own lobbying controversy? Stan Correy investigates.…


Who's afraid of ASADA?

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2013-04-20 :: ABC Radio National
The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority has cast a net over clubs and players in our two biggest football codes as it probes the use of banned substances. But just how widespread is the use of performance enhancing drugs in professional sport in Australia, and how effective is ASADA at catching high-level drug cheats? David Mark investigates.…


In Thatcher's Britain

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2013-04-13 :: ABC Radio National
As the long term legacy of Thatcherism is being re-interpreted following the death of the Iron Lady, Background Briefing returns to 1980s Britain. In this program, first broadcast in 1989, Nick Franklin and the late Tony Barrell investigate the rise and rise of Margaret Thatcher.  (Originally broadcast 7 May 1989)…


Don't drink the water

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2013-03-30 :: ABC Radio National
A third of Tasmania’s town water systems don’t meet national drinking water standards and residents in several towns have to queue at a communal tap. Why has the ‘clean, green’ state got such a problem with contaminated water? Ian Townsend investigates.…


Casualties in the supermarket war

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2013-03-23 :: ABC Radio National
As the competition watchdog looks into new allegations of the abuse of market power by Coles and Woolworths, food suppliers speak out about what they say is predatory behaviour, even blackmailing by the ‘big two’. Hagar Cohen investigates.…


Taming the sharks

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2013-03-09 :: ABC Radio National
Millions are spent each year on shark attack prevention measures that don’t work. In Western Australia, the tagging program could be used to kill protected sharks unnecessarily, and create a dangerous, false sense of security for swimmers. James Woodford investigates.…


Dangerous diesel

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2013-03-02 :: ABC Radio National
Australia’s diesel-reliant industries are on notice following the World Health Organisation’s emphatic conclusion that diesel exhaust is a cause of lung cancer. But as Stan Correy discovers, the Department of Mines in the boom state of WA has just closed a program that monitored the long-term health of miners.…


Soil carbon conundrum

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2013-02-23 :: ABC Radio National
There’s been a breakthrough with soil carbon trading that could get rural Australia sequestering carbon in the ground and earning credits for it. Soil carbon holds the remarkable promise of dealing with two national crises at the same time—climate change and our extensively degraded soils.  But it’s deeply politicised, and the science is not clear. Di Martin reports.  …


Toxic mine water

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2013-02-16 :: ABC Radio National
The Dee River in Queensland is being killed by toxic water from an old gold mine. Mount Morgan is one of thousands of abandoned and unregulated mine sites, many of which are leaking contaminated ‘legacy water’ into river catchments. Ian Townsend investigates.…


The NSW (Labor) disease

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2013-02-09 :: ABC Radio National
Factional self interest and extraordinary claims of corruption in NSW have severely damaged the Labor ‘brand’ and threaten to undermine the Gillard government’s re-election chances. Hagar Cohen investigates the latest attempt to salvage the NSW branch. …


Highway 1: The black ribbon of death

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2013-02-02 :: ABC Radio National
The lifeblood of hundreds of east coast towns, Highway 1 is also the nation’s longest cemetery with hundreds killed on the road as promised upgrades are continually delayed. James Woodford drove from far north Queensland to southern NSW, charting life, death and broken promises along the way.…


The quick and the dead

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2013-01-26 :: ABC Radio National
For years the greyhound industry has accepted the routine killing of injured and failed racing dogs. A leading official reveals thousands are killed each year in NSW alone, and says the practice is out of step with community values. Timothy McDonald investigates the often brief life of a racing dog. (Originally broadcast on 11 November 2012)…


Blood, sweat and tears in the cage

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2013-01-19 :: ABC Radio National
Punch, kick, knee, elbow, choke, stomp, almost anything goes in a cage fight. It’s brutal, it’s legal, it’s popular and it’s a public safety time-bomb without adequate regulation.…


Dischord: music school in turmoil

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2013-01-12 :: ABC Radio National
One of Australia’s top music schools is in upheaval. Worsening debt and a very public fight over the direction of teaching has plunged the ANU School of Music into uncertainty and acrimony. Half the teaching staff will go. For some this is a battle between good and evil. For others it is an inevitable cultural shift, away from traditional classical music. Reporter: Di Martin. (Originally broadcast on 17th June 2012)…


Flight of the drones

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2013-01-05 :: ABC Radio National
Unmanned aerial vehicles have spread from war zones to toy shops. Now anyone can use a drone to point a camera into your private spaces and privacy laws can’t stop them. James Woodford investigates. (Originally broadcast on 16 September 2012)…


Fatal shore: the deaths of three teenage surf lifesavers

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2012-12-29 :: ABC Radio National
Matthew Barclay, Saxon Bird and Robert Gatenby all died while competing at national surf championship events on the Gold Coast. Their deaths occurred in different years but at the same beach, and all in heavy surf conditions. Were their deaths preventable? Did Surf Life Saving Australia fail in its duty of care? There’s grief, anger and calls for a Royal Commission. Reporter: Wendy Carlisle  (This program originally went to air on the 13th May 2012.)…


Lead poisoning: a silent epidemic

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2012-12-22 :: ABC Radio National
There’s growing evidence that lead poisoning shaves IQ points in children and has an insidious effect on behaviour. While experts debate safe exposure, a boom in home renovations could increase the risks. The suburbs of Queensland flooded earlier this year are lead-dust hot spots but residents haven’t been warned. Reporter: Ian Townsend (Originally broadcast on the 6 May 2012)…


From cattle to carbon

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2012-12-15 :: ABC Radio National
Once a cattle empire, Henbury Station in Central Australia is now a multi-million dollar, carbon farming experiment. But with the cattle gone the neighbours are angry, and while the government says restoring land can be a good business, the future of this taxpayer assisted project is in doubt. Caddie Brain and Di Martin investigate the shift from cattle to carbon.…


The missing emissions

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2012-12-08 :: ABC Radio National
The claim that coal seam gas is 70% cleaner than coal is coming under renewed scrutiny as more science comes in. The government is now reviewing the situation, but in the meantime investors are getting the jitters over the real carbon exposure.  So why hasn’t the government insisted on better science? Reporter: Wendy Carlisle.…


Undercover: tales of betrayal

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2012-11-24 :: ABC Radio National
Undercover cop Mark Kennedy was unmasked by his activist girlfriend after years infiltrating environmental groups in Britain and Europe. Now other women are suing British police claiming they were tricked into long standing relationships with undercover officers. How far should undercover police officers go to gather intelligence? Jane Deith investigates.…


The parrot smugglers

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2012-11-17 :: ABC Radio National
Australia has some of the strongest laws in the world to tackle wildlife crime, yet the trade in native and exotic birds continues virtually unchecked. Two high profile attempts to prosecute the smugglers have failed. Why? Hagar Cohen investigates.…


The quick and the dead

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2012-11-10 :: ABC Radio National
For years the greyhound industry has accepted the routine killing of injured and failed racing dogs. A leading official reveals thousands are killed each year in NSW alone, and says the practice is out of step with community values. Timothy McDonald investigates the often brief life of a racing dog.…


Taser cops facing criminal charges

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2012-11-03 :: ABC Radio National
Brazilian student Roberto Laudisio Curti died after being chased, pinned down and tasered repeatedly by NSW police officers. The police say the use of force was reasonable but evidence at the inquest into his death said it was ‘unreasonable’, ‘excessive’ and an ‘act of thuggery’. Did the police shoot first and ask questions later? Wendy Carlisle investigates.…


An excessive use of force?

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2012-11-03 :: ABC Radio National
Brazilian student Roberto Laudisio Curti died after being chased, pinned down and tasered repeatedly by NSW police officers. The police say the use of force was reasonable but evidence at the inquest into his death said it was ‘unreasonable’, ‘excessive’ and an ‘act of thuggery’. Did the police shoot first and ask questions later? Wendy Carlisle investigates.…


Where there's smoke

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2012-10-27 :: ABC Radio National
A fatal fire in a Sydney high rise apartment building has exposed widespread failures in fire safety compliance. For residents of Australia’s tallest apartment building it is a burning issue. Stan Correy investigates.…


For their eyes only

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2012-10-20 :: ABC Radio National
ASIO and law enforcement agencies say technology is undermining their capabilities. They want new powers, including access to two years of our phone and internet data. Is the intrusion justified? Di Martin investigates.…


PNG land scandal

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2012-10-13 :: ABC Radio National
Logging companies in PNG are using special agricultural leases to clear vast tracts of rainforest timber, on the promise of roads and economic development for remote villages. Jemima Garrett investigates.…


Back to Bali

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2012-10-06 :: ABC Radio National
Bali bombing survivor Peter Hughes makes an emotional journey back to the scene of the blasts. On the tenth anniversary he asks, how safe is Bali today and what has happened to the Balinese victims?…


Saving the masthead

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2012-09-29 :: ABC Radio National
Denial, division and disbelief; key players tell reporter Hagar Cohen what was happening inside Fairfax as the internet ate its newspaper business.…


The church, the clubs and their pokies

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2012-09-22 :: ABC Radio National
The Catholic church and Catholic clubs are at odds over gambling reforms. The church backs them but the clubs oppose them, insisting they don’t profit from problem gamblers. Wendy Carlisle investigates the ‘Catholic casinos’.…


Flight of the drones

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2012-09-15 :: ABC Radio National
Unmanned aerial vehicles have spread from war zones to toy shops. Now anyone can use a drone to point a camera into your private spaces and privacy laws can’t stop them. James Woodford investigates.…


Attack of the algorithms

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2012-09-08 :: ABC Radio National
A hacked AP Twitter account claiming two bombs had gone off in the White House wiped out US136 billion from the NY stock exchange. How did this happen? Stan Correy looked at the dangers of high frequency trading in his 2012 program.…


Attack of the algorithms

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2012-09-08 :: ABC Radio National
Robot traders are dominating stock markets using high speed computer algorithms. Human traders and government regulators can’t keep up, and markets could be one programming glitch away from the next big crash. Stan Correy investigates.…


The big binge

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2012-08-25 :: ABC Radio National
More pubs and more bars, open for more hours, more extreme binge drinking, more extreme violence and more hospital admissions! What is being done to stem the alcohol tide?…


A deadly wait

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2012-08-18 :: ABC Radio National
Heroin addicts wanting to kick the habit have been thwarted by insufferably long waiting lists to join methadone programs…and in Newcastle lives may already have been lost. Brendan King investigates.…


The super trawler

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2012-08-11 :: ABC Radio National
Tasmania’s fishers are up in arms over the arrival of a Dutch super trawler, the FV Margiris. These boats are blamed around the world for overfishing and Tasmania’s anglers are convinced the super trawler will deplete local populations of fish and in doing so drive away the prized blue-fin tuna. Australia’s fishing regulator says the quota is based on sound science, and they say they’ll be able to effectively police the catch. So who’s right?  Reporter: Wendy Carlisle…


A fair share of the boom

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2012-08-04 :: ABC Radio National
Mineral rich nations are demanding more from the mining companies digging up their resources, and Australia with its mineral resources tax is at the forefront of this trend, known as resource nationalism. The big mining companies don’t like it -- they’re calling it resource nationalisation and they’re fighting it. Reporter: Stan Correy.…


The law firm, the clients and their legal fees

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2012-07-21 :: ABC Radio National
The inside story of a law firm’s rise and spectacular fall. Keddies was one of the country’s top personal injury law firms until it was found to have grossly overcharged many of its clients. Those angry clients are suing Keddies former partners for millions and one of the partners has spoken for the first time, to Background Briefing, about what happened. Reporter: Hagar Cohen…


A long line to nowhere

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2012-07-14 :: ABC Radio National
The tuna in the Coral Sea could have saved a fishing fleet from extinction. But those tuna will be off limits in the new marine park and the fishers will have to choose – to take their boats and leave, or leave their boats and take compensation.…


Construction industry collapses

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2012-07-07 :: ABC Radio National
A spate of construction industry failures has put thousands of sub-contracting businesses at risk and stopped urgent public infrastructure projects. Two state governments are caught up in the collapses and are under pressure to bail them out and rescue the small sub-contractors. But that would set a costly precedent for major building projects across the country involving public-private-partnerships. Reporter: Stan Correy.…


Libya's power vacuum

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2012-06-30 :: ABC Radio National
The defeat of Gaddafi brought the destruction of corrupt institutions but the power vacuum left by old cronies is being filled by new militias. Armed groups with NATO support helped remove the former dictator and they now threaten to undermine moves to democracy. Many Libyans fear a new era of corruption. The country’s vast oil wealth—and how it is distributed—will be critical in determining political and economic stability. Reporter: Reese Erlich.…


Boarding house of horrors

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2012-06-23 :: ABC Radio National
A doctor who treated residents at a rundown Sydney boarding house where six mentally ill residents died has been suspended, leaving authorities scrambling for replacement services.…


Dischord: music school in turmoil

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2012-06-16 :: ABC Radio National
One of Australia’s top music schools is in upheaval. Worsening debt and a very public fight over the direction of teaching has plunged the ANU School of Music into uncertainty and acrimony. Half the teaching staff will go. For some this is a battle between good and evil. For others it is an inevitable cultural shift, away from traditional classical music. Reporter: Di Martin.…


Stem cell tourism

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2012-06-09 :: ABC Radio National
Many stem cell therapies are illegal in Australia but that doesn't stop people travelling the world and spending small fortunes on these untested treatments.…


'We're stopped because we're African'

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2012-06-02 :: ABC Radio National
There’s rising tension between African migrant communities and police in Victoria. The police say high rates of violent crime justify their stop and search methods. But young Africans accuse Victoria Police of racial profiling and brutality and there’s a mounting caseload of complaints against police, including a class action in the Federal Court. Reporter: Hagar Cohen.…


Life and death on the frontline

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2012-05-26 :: ABC Radio National
It’s become who I am. If I didn’t do it anymore, I’d feel myself diminished. Why, despite the risks, do journalists choose to work in conflict zones? Is it safer to be a print or broadcast journalist? The latest technology allows reports to be sent immediately but it hasn’t made it easier to get the story. Despite advances, today’s wars are still ‘fought out in a kind of medieval darkness.’ Reporter: John Simpson.…


Residents vs McDonald's

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2012-05-19 :: ABC Radio National
A group of residents in Adelaide have opened a new front against the fast food giant. They’re trying to stop a McDonald’s restaurant opening opposite a school, arguing it will raise childhood obesity rates in the area. This may be the first time an urban planning court in Australia has looked beyond traffic, noise, litter and crime concerns, to consider the food environment. Reporter: Stan Correy. Update: The Environment, Resources and Development Court of South Australia has upheld the appeal of the residents against the development of a McDonald's restaurant on Woodville Rd, Adelaide. The judgement can be read here.…


Residents vs McDonald's

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2012-05-19 :: ABC Radio National
A group of residents in Adelaide have opened a new front against the fast food giant. They’re trying to stop a McDonald’s restaurant opening opposite a school, arguing it will raise childhood obesity rates in the area. This may be the first time an urban planning court in Australia has looked beyond traffic, noise, litter and crime concerns, to consider the food environment. Reporter: Stan Correy. Update: The Environment, Resources and Development Court of South Australia has upheld the appeal of the residents against the development of a McDonald's restaurant on Woodville Rd, Adelaide. The judgement can be read here.…


Fatal shore: the deaths of three teenage surf lifesavers

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2012-05-12 :: ABC Radio National
Matthew Barclay, Saxon Bird and Robert Gatenby all died while competing at national surf championship events on the Gold Coast. Their deaths occurred in different years but at the same beach, and all in heavy surf conditions. Were their deaths preventable? Did Surf Life Saving Australia fail in its duty of care? There’s grief, anger and calls for a Royal Commission. Reporter: Wendy Carlisle …


Lead poisoning: a silent epidemic

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2012-05-05 :: ABC Radio National
There’s growing evidence that lead poisoning shaves IQ points in children and has an insidious effect on behaviour. While experts debate safe exposure, a boom in home renovations could increase the risks. The recently flooded suburbs of Queensland are lead-dust hot spots but residents haven’t been warned. Reporter: Ian Townsend…


Blood, sweat and tears in the cage

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2012-04-28 :: ABC Radio National
Punch, kick, knee, elbow, choke, stomp, almost anything goes in a cage fight. It’s brutal, it’s legal, it’s popular and it’s a public safety time-bomb without adequate regulation. Reporter: Hagar Cohen…


Cage fighting and the rise of the UFC

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2012-04-21 :: ABC Radio National
It began as a brutal no-holds-barred experiment and is now a multi-billion dollar fight industry. Cage fighting, or Mixed Martial Arts, is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, and especially in Australia. The sport’s main promoter says it’s part of our DNA and fighters will do anything to step into the cage. Reporter Hagar Cohen.…


Clive's world

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2012-04-14 :: ABC Radio National
He’s a billionaire mining magnate, a real estate developer, football club saviour, a medical philanthropist, a professor, a political combatant and, officially, a National Living Treasure. How does he do it? Background Briefing investigates the big world and the big claims of Clive Palmer. Reporter: Stan Correy …


Energy efficiency: Not in Australia mate!

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2012-04-07 :: ABC Radio National
In forty years Australia’s energy efficiency record has barely improved.  We’re a land of air con, power hungry industry, and fuel guzzling cars.  But electricity is no longer cheap, and we have to deal with carbon emissions.  Energy savings could deal with both.  Yet the message has been swept away by the political storm over a carbon price.  Reporter: Di Martin…


Energy efficiency: how does your house rate?

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2012-03-31 :: ABC Radio National
Want to avoid big power bills in your next home? The federal government wants all homes for sale or rent to have an energy efficiency rating. We already rate new homes, and the system is weeding out some power guzzling designs. But there are major flaws as well. Some super efficient designs don’t rate—and some six star homes are still substandard. So how do you find an energy efficient home?  Reporter: Di Martin …


The dark side of the boom

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2012-03-24 :: ABC Radio National
In the 1970s, Joh Bjelke-Petersen told mining companies to build towns or they wouldn't be able to dig out the black gold. That's why towns like Moranbah were built. Forty years later, Moranbah has morphed into a big miners camp. House prices have gone through the roof, businesses are collapsing and families are leaving. Now even Labor voters are reminiscing about Joh. Reporter, Wendy Carlisle.…


Bosnia's forgotten victims

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2012-03-17 :: ABC Radio National
With ex Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic about to face a war crimes trial in The Hague, one former British commander, Bob Stewart, returns to the scenes of atrocities he witnessed in Bosnia and talks to the victims who’ve been left behind. Bob Stewart’s journey is emotional and it reveals how people are struggling with the daily reality of living beside neighbours who 20 years ago were bitter enemies.…


Political micro-targeting

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2012-03-10 :: ABC Radio National
Political parties constantly narrow their campaigns to focus on key marginal seats, and they have to do it more cheaply and efficiently. It’s becoming harder to convince wary voters and the parties are looking for more direct approaches. Electronic ‘micro-targeting’ is the new frontier.…


A sinking feeling in the Torres Strait

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2012-03-03 :: ABC Radio National
On six Torres Strait islands, tidal flooding is washing away everything from building foundations to ancestral graves. Mosquitoes are thriving, with a serious malaria outbreak on one island. The state and federal governments are reluctant to invest in seawalls for protection and residents say they won’t leave.…


Range anxiety and the future of the car industry

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2012-02-25 :: ABC Radio National
How far and how fast can electric cars go? That’s what most buyers want to know as the big car-makers talk up battery power and zero emissions. Meanwhile in the US and Australia public debate about the future of the car industry is caught in the old politics of subsidies and jobs.…


Fighting fire with fire

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2012-02-18 :: ABC Radio National
There is fierce scientific debate over whether the policy of annual prescribed burning in Victoria will reduce the risk of another Black Saturday that took so many lives in February 2009.…


Orica: how not to deal with a toxic leak

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2012-02-11 :: ABC Radio National
A chemical spill at the Orica plant near Newcastle in NSW put the company in the spotlight and raised serious questions about its safety procedures and what it told the neighbouring residents. The Orica leak also highlights major health and safety issues around hazardous industries located on the doorstep of residential suburbs like Stockton, and whether there are adequate laws in place.…


2011-11-27 Riding the sports betting boom

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2011-11-26 Length: 48m 28s
Freedom to advertise and the rise of the mobile app has led to a tripling of sports betting in Australia. The winning odds are now front and centre in the coverage of major sports and you can bet on all kinds of `exotic´ options. So what are the odds on a…


2011-11-13 Guns are back

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2011-11-12 Length: 48m 28s
Gun clubs report lots of new members, hunting is cool, and handguns are gangland chic. The hundreds of thousands of guns destroyed in buybacks since Port Arthur have been more than replaced by new ones. But guns are highly political and the national syste…


2011-11-06 Qantas and the ghost of Workchoices

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2011-11-05 Length: 48m 28s
Qantas has opened a new industrial relations battlefront. The Labor government´s Fair Work laws are being put to the test but there are bigger political implications for the Opposition, which is split over whether to re-embrace Workchoices, the IR policy …


2011-10-30 Casualties in the war on people smuggling

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2011-10-29 Length: 48m 28s
The Australian government wants to smash the people smugglers´ business model and courts around the country are now dealing with hundreds of the accused. But how many of them are just children from Indonesian fishing villages whose families think they´re …


2011-10-23 Controlling people

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2011-10-22 Length: 48m 42s
Is the world´s population out of control? There will be 7 billion people this year and 9 billion by 2050. With demographers, environmentalists and others fearing unsustainable pressure on resources, historian Matthew Connelly goes to India to examine past…


2011-10-16 A noble cause

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2011-10-15 Length: 48m 28s
Producing new medicines to extend lives and reduce suffering is a noble cause. The marketing of those drugs is often ignoble, with the wining and dining of doctors and the use of specialists to spruik the company line. A former industry insider gives a un…


2011-09-25 The mobile payments push

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2011-09-24 Length: 48m 28s
Get ready for the next big app attack, urging you to chop up your credit cards and use your mobile phone. You won´t have to go to a shop, just point the phone at a handily-placed barcode, and you´ve paid! It´s not a phone, it´s a `smart wallet´, and your …


2011-09-18 Don't trust the web

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2011-09-17 Length: 48m 28s
The internet is awash with misinformation, manipulated identities, fake reviews, and dishonest comments. Politicians use astroturfing. So do businesses and marketing firms. Beware—it's infecting everyone. Reporter Hagar Cohen TRANSCRIPT: Hagar Cohe…


2011-09-11 Money for empties

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2011-09-10 Length: 48m 28s
Container deposit schemes operate in many parts of the world, in SA, and soon in the NT. Why will some firms go to great lengths to prevent them? Politicians often fear the financial and strategic might of big business - even when it's about who picks u…


2011-09-04 Nowhere to live

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2011-09-03 Length: 48m 28s
Rents are rising even in country towns, and more people are forced into caravan parks, the back rooms of old pubs - or the river bank - even with young children. It can happen to anyone. It will get worse. Various attempts to create more places for peo…


2011-08-28 Soccer and technology

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2011-08-27 Length: 48m 28s
Soccer is the biggest sport in the world and an enormous business. Millions can be lost through a wrong call made by a person with a whistle. Why won´t FIFA allow the technology now common in other sports? The controversy is raging over line ball technolo…


2011-08-28 Soccer and technology - UPDATED

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2011-08-27 Length: 48m 58s
Soccer is the biggest sport in the world and an enormous business. Millions can be lost through a wrong call made by a person with a whistle. Why won´t FIFA allow the technology now common in other sports? The controversy is raging over line ball technolo…


2011-08-21 Amos Oz on fanaticism

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2011-08-20 Length: 48m 28s
Renowned Israeli writer, poet, activist, and historian Amos Oz talks about the most urgent topic of our time—fanatics on all sides of politics and religion. If the UN agrees to recognise Palestine he hopes Israel will be the first to embrace the …


2011-08-14 Auditing the auditors

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2011-08-13 Length: 48m 28s
Where does the buck stop when big banks and corporations, even nations collapse. Who signs off on the books? The auditors or the directors of the board? And who should tell investors when there´s something shifty going on? Who are the auditors answerable…


2011-08-07 Murderous Mexico

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2011-08-06 Length: 48m 28s
In the first five months of this year, an astonishing 18,500 Mexicans have been murdered - with very few convictions. In the last five years 66 journalists have been murdered. Mexico is a failed state with corruption, no rule of law, and spin and lies a…


2011-07-31 50/50 parenting

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2011-07-30 Length: 48m 28s
Legislation before the Senate now may take some of the heat out of tragic confusion over shared, or 'equal time parenting', and the role of violence in Family Law decision making. Research shows children of high conflict families, forced into equal time, …


2011-07-24 Water bugs

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2011-07-23 Length: 48m 58s
Every year more than 200 people in Queensland get very sick with a nasty, little understood, hard-to-treat type of bacteria. Other states report none. Why? Our water supply is now so complex, things are overlooked. Reporter, Ian Townsend. TRANSCRIPT: Ian…


2011-07-17 The Lord Monckton roadshow

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2011-07-16 Length: 48m 28s
The Scottish peer Lord Monckton has been raising hell against the carbon tax in barnstorming rallies and public meetings around the country. But just who is Lord Monckton and who are the forces behind him? Chief amongst them a mysterious group called th…


2011-07-17 The Lord Monckton roadshow - UPDATED

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2011-07-16 Length: 48m 28s
The Scottish peer Lord Monckton has been raising hell against the carbon tax in barnstorming rallies and public meetings around the country. But just who is Lord Monckton and who are the forces behind him? Chief amongst them a mysterious group called th…


2011-07-17 The Lord Monckton roadshow - UPDATED

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2011-07-16 Length: 48m 28s
The Scottish peer Lord Monckton has been raising hell against the carbon tax in barnstorming rallies and public meetings around the country. But just who is Lord Monckton and who are the forces behind him? Chief amongst them a mysterious group called th…


2011-07-10 Bullying at work

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2011-07-09 Length: 48m 58s
It´s tricky territory. No one agrees on one definition, and what is bullying to one person is normal behaviour to another. But who investigates bullying, and is that process working? First-hand accounts from people who believe the system let them down. Re…


2011-07-03 Ghosts of Vietnam

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2011-07-02 Length: 49m 9s
There are 300,000 Vietnamese still missing in action and their souls haunt the living. Real or metaphorical, these ghosts are disrupting society. Some American veterans calm their own souls by helping to find and properly bury these war dead. BBC World…


2011-06-26 Digital convergence, connection and confusion

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2011-06-25 Length: 48m 28s
It´s coming fast, the digital hub where i-pads talk to mobile phones, computers talk to TVs, TVs have hundreds of apps, and you can choose and change with your magical remote wand. But, big but, who is in charge of customer service for all these devices…


2011-06-19 The knight of Newcastle

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2011-06-18 Length: 48m 58s
Nathan Tinkler is a billionaire and the richest man in Australia under 40. He loves fast horses, fast cars, the Newcastle Knights, and big business deals. He´s held in awe and trepidation - but he won't talk to BB. Nor will most people who know him. So wh…


2010-11-21 Old law, new ways

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2010-11-20 Length: 48m 59s
Alcohol, gunja, payback killings and a refusal to go bush - Aboriginal elders in Central Australia are watching the erosion of their traditions and authority. Can customary laws deal with today's problems? Reporter, Chris Bullock. Photo: Michael Coggan P…


2010-11-14 Making violence men's business

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2010-11-13 Length: 49m 0s
In Central Australia traditional payback law is corrupted, leading to grog fuelled killings. Suicide has become a payback issue too. For the first time Indigenous men are trying to stop these escalating cycles of violence. Reporter: Chris Bullock TRAN…


2010-11-07 Abortion on trial in Queensland

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2010-11-06 Length: 48m 28s
The bizarre case of young couple Tegan Leach and Sergei Brennan, who faced jail for procuring an illegal abortion using RU486, ended with the jury returning a resounding 'not guilty'. Now no-one knows what the l9th century abortion law means -- not the…


2010-10-31 Why is James Murdoch so angry?

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2010-10-30 Length: 48m 28s
The stars have not been in alignment for the Murdoch empire: a phone hacking scandal threatens its influence in British politics, people won't pay for online content, the pirates have the best digital maps, and the British Library wants to give informatio…


About this podcast:

Background Briefing - Program podcast

Radio National's agenda-setting current affairs radio documentary program.

Background Briefing - Program podcast