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Preview: Background Briefing

Background Briefing - Program podcast

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.

Copyright: Copyright 2017, Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

The RSL at War

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 08:05:00 +1000

On the eve of Anzac day the RSL is facing its biggest test yet, as diggers question whether their leaders have their true interests at heart.Australia's oldest veterans organisation is dogged by scandal. (ABC News: Michael Vincent)

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Doctors and suicide: Why does it keep happening?

Sun, 09 Apr 2017 08:05:00 +1000

In the last few months there has been another cluster of young doctors taking their own lives. Critics say the culture of medicine and doctors' own fear of being vulnerable is stopping them asking for help. This story was originally broadcast on Feb 15, 2015A doctor takes a break in a hospital. (Chris Whitehead/Getty images)

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Nightmare build

Sun, 02 Apr 2017 08:05:00 +1000

Buying a new apartment? Defects are driving many owners to court to get their leaks and defects fixed after they discover changes to insurance law means they are no longer covered. It's you versus the builder, so bring your lawyer. Tim Roxburgh investigates.

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Katherine Hospital: Back from the brink

Sun, 26 Mar 2017 08:05:00 +1100

Just five years ago this Northern Territory hospital was facing closure. Its doctors were out of their depth and indigenous patients were leaving the wards in droves. This is the remarkable story of how Katherine Hospital turned its fortunes around and the lessons to be learned.Gaye was diagnosed with tongue cancer and sent to Darwin Hospital for chemotherapy, when she returned to Katherine Hospital medical staff there realised she was deaf. Now she has a hearing aid and can communicate with the doctors and nurses. She couldn't do this at Darwin hospital. (Dr Simon Quilty)

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The schools squeeze: how the apartment boom is overcrowding classrooms

Sun, 19 Mar 2017 08:05:00 +1100

Too many students and not enough classrooms. How did government's get it so wrong? David Lewis investigates.Students sit in a classroom, generic (ABC TV)

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How did Westpac's e-waste end up on the worst dump in the world?

Sun, 12 Mar 2017 08:05:00 +1100

There's a roaring international racket in hazardous e-waste. This is the story of how one of our biggest banks discovered its e-waste dumped on West Africa's notorious Agbogbloshie dump in Ghana. Rebecca Le Tourneau investigates.Young men burning e-waste to extract metals at the Agbobbloshi dump in the Ghanaian capital Accra. (ABC RN: Mike Anane)

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How Centrelink's 'robodebt' ran off the rails

Sun, 05 Mar 2017 08:05:00 +1100

The government's troubled debt recovery system has caused an uproar. Thousands of welfare recipients have been hit with debts which they have no idea how they were calculated. Colin Cosier investigates.Australia's Human Services Minister Alan Tudge speaks during House of Representatives Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (AAP: Lukas Coch)

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No shelter at the showground

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 08:05:00 +1100

An Australian town rises up against homeless people who set up a tent shantytown at the local showground. Bronwyn Adcock reports on a big city problem that's come to Nowra on the NSW south coast.(Bronwyn Adcock/ABC Radio National)

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Up the creek: Less water for the Murray-Darling Basin

Sun, 19 Feb 2017 08:05:00 +1100

The strategy to fix the Murray-Darling hangs in the balance as states and irrigators squabble over returning more water back to the river.Should the river recovery plan be dialled back? (James Hancock: ABC News)

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Surrogacy secrets

Sun, 12 Feb 2017 08:05:00 +1100

As Asian countries crack down on surrogacy, it's booming here in Australia. The rules say a surrogate can't be paid, but desperation is driving some people to flout the law.

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Bullied to death: the short life of Tyrone Unsworth

Sun, 05 Feb 2017 08:05:00 +1100

The 13-year-old Brisbane schoolboy committed suicide after years of being bullied at schools for being different. Did Tyrone Unsworth's school let him down?Tyrone Unsworth loved to dress up. (Supplied: Gypsie-Lee Edwards Kennard)

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Why did my baby die?

Sun, 29 Jan 2017 08:05:00 +1100

Summer series: Six babies are born still every day in Australia. Up to a third of those deaths might be preventable, but experts say fatalistic and outdated attitudes are holding back progress. Hager Cohen investigates.Experts say up to a third of stillbirths are preventable. (ABC RN: Alex McClintock)

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Death in Kalgoorlie

Sun, 22 Jan 2017 08:05:00 +1100

Summer series: The death of a young indigenous boy sparked a town riot at the court house, and the search for answers as to why he died. Sarah Dingle reports.Memorial to teenager Elijah Doughty in Kalgoorlie (ABC: Sarah Dingle)

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Sis, we've got your back

Sun, 11 Dec 2016 08:05:00 +1100

Summer series: The women who spoke out against a protected paedophile in their midst were trolled and threatened by their own community. Their story is extraordinary.Agnes Donovan : "Dootch saw us sitting there with the victim, and then he looked at his family and said 'Did you see all the ass wipes sitting on this side of the courtroom?" Seated with her best friend Veronica Bird (ABC RN/Bronywn Adcock)

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The death of VET FEE HELP

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 08:05:00 +1100

Summer series: It was the student subsidy that was too good to be true. Students were the losers when billions were rorted by cowboys who spotted a government scheme that was just too easy to rip-off.TAFE Victoria faces $100m in cuts (Lateline)

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Insurance industry stuck in 'dark ages', say mental health advocates

Sun, 27 Nov 2016 08:05:00 +1100

Doctor shopping. Delaying vital medical care. Digging into your private records. When it comes to your mental health, are insurers playing fair? Natasha Mitchell investigates.One in five Australians will experience mental illness, and insurers say extending coverage for mental health as they do for broken bones would send them broke. (ABC News: Patrick Williams)

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Why is CSIRO losing its brightest stars?

Sun, 20 Nov 2016 08:05:00 +1100

Some of CSIRO's top women astronomers are quitting due to a dysfunctional workplace that they say protects harassers and punishes them instead. It's not just a loss for Australia's leading science organisation, but an appalling loss to the nation. Hagar Cohen investigates.

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The Joint Strike Fighter

Sun, 13 Nov 2016 08:05:00 +1100

US president-elect Donald Trump is on record saying the JSF is 'not a very good plane'. Reporter Sarah Dingle investigates one of our most expensive and troubled defence acquisitions ever.A Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in February 2013. (Lockheed Martin)

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System black

Sun, 06 Nov 2016 08:05:00 +1100

When a massive storm ripped through South Australia the state went into 'system black'. With the blackout barely hours old it became a political football. David Lewis investigates.(7pm TV News SA)

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Death in Kalgoorlie

Sun, 30 Oct 2016 08:05:00 +1100

When a 14-year-old Indigenous boy was allegedly run over and killed by a 55-year-old white man driving a ute, a WA mining town erupted. Sarah Dingle investigates death and desperation in Kalgoorlie. (Warning: This audio download contains strong language.)Memorial to teenager Elijah Doughty in Kalgoorlie (ABC: Sarah Dingle)

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Murder on the Derwent

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 08:05:00 +1100

It's the murder trial that split Tasmania. But is Sue Neill-Fraser innocent or is she - as the jury found - a calculating, manipulative liar who murdered her husband?The boat at the centre of the murder case, the Four Winds, on the Derwent River. (Supplied)

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The China Syndrome

Sun, 16 Oct 2016 08:05:00 +1100

Is Chinese soft power curtailing academic freedom in our universities? And why are Chinese students afraid of speaking out against the Chinese communist party? Hagar Cohen investigates.China experts are raising concerns about the influence of China's government on Australian university campuses. (Getty: Kokkai Ng)

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The battle over Sydney's heart

Sun, 09 Oct 2016 08:05:00 +1100

The eviction of social housing tenants from Sydney's CBD is nearly complete. Heritage, history and the wellbeing of an ageing population has been traded off to build more social housing elsewhere.Some social housing residents are attempting to stay in Millers Point. (ABC RN: Tiger Webb)

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Betting the farm

Sun, 02 Oct 2016 08:05:00 +1100

It's been a year of wild weather and farmers are asking is climate change biting harder and faster than predicted?Climate change is here, there is no doubt about it, says Tasmanian potato farmer Mark McDougall (ABC RN/Jo Chandler)

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Early inheritance syndrome

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 08:05:00 +1000

Children and carers are trying to get their hands on the assets of elderly and vulnerable people who still have many years of life ahead of them. As David Lewis found out, the perpetrators often get away with it.At any one time, the office of the Public Guardian in Queensland is investigating hundreds of potential cases of financial elder abuse (Getty Images/Maskot)

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The body in the freezer

Sun, 18 Sep 2016 08:05:00 +1000

In 1979 an Adelaide lawyer was shot and his body stuffed in a freezer with frozen food. His boyfriend was found guilty. Now he's appealing that and now suggests the killing was linked to the infamous 'family murders'.An artist's interpretation of crime scene photos in the police report for Derrance Stevenson's murder. (ABC RN: Paul McClintock)

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No love lost in the Greens

Sun, 11 Sep 2016 08:05:00 +1000

You might not know it, but the Greens have a right wing. Mind you, they deny it. Inside the split in the Greens.Jane Oakley, Michael Osborne, Lee Rhiannon and John Kaye. (ABC News: Dan Cox)

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Why did my baby die?

Sun, 04 Sep 2016 08:05:00 +1000

Six babies are born still every day in Australia. Up to a third of those deaths might be preventable, but experts say fatalistic and outdated attitudes are holding back progress. Hager Cohen investigates.Experts say up to a third of stillbirths are preventable. (ABC RN: Alex McClintock)

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Battle of the brewery

Sun, 28 Aug 2016 08:05:00 +1000

How do three casuals in Perth get to decide on a wages deal at the CUB brewery in Melbourne?Union member wears a 'Bitter Victorians' jumper in support of striking workers from Carlton and United Breweries. (ABC RN/Jeremy Story Carter)

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The Brexit factor: Why one in four voters abandoned the major parties

Sun, 21 Aug 2016 08:05:00 +1000

Disenchanted and feeling left behind one in four voters deserted the old parties. Reporter David Lewis investigates the Brexit factorRay Harvey voted for Pauline Hanson, despite his Chinese wife Sholitze's opposition to her. (ABC RN/David Lewis)

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The brutal politics of a virus that won't go away

Sun, 14 Aug 2016 08:05:00 +1000

Putin's war on drugs is fuelling an AIDS crisis, while in Uganda HIV+ people are being criminalised. Natasha Mitchell reports.Protestor at a march through the Durban CBD, 18 July, 2016 to coincide with the 21st International AIDS Conference (International AIDS Society/Rogan Ward)

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Black Saturday's long shadow

Sun, 07 Aug 2016 08:05:00 +1000

Seven and a half years after the deadly Black Saturday bushfires, the ordeal is still not over for many. An historic half billion dollar class action settlement has still not been paid out. Rachel Carbonell investigatesA burnt-out bed and breakfast, destroyed in the Black Saturday bushfire in 2009. (Jeremy Story Carter)

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Banks on trial

Sun, 31 Jul 2016 08:05:00 +1000

Three of Australia’s biggest banks stand accused of manipulating a key part of the wiring behind our financial system. As Mario Christodoulou found out, the unfolding court battle is providing a glimpse inside a sometimes-seedy world of high salaries, bad behaviour, champagne and lap dancing.The facade of a ANZ bank branch (ABC RN/Fiona Pepper)

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An inside job

Sun, 24 Jul 2016 08:05:00 +1000

Migrants and asylum seekers attempting to enter the UK sometimes use boats, but more often hide themselves in cars and trucks. To the frustration of UK authorities, it’s often British people smugglers who offer to take people across the border.(Gards / Getty Images)

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Selling the stem cell promise

Sun, 17 Jul 2016 08:05:00 +1000

Clinics across the country are offering stem cell therapy for everything from Alzheimer's to arthritis, but some patients are coming to harm, with little evidence to support the procedures they're undergoing. Ann Arnold reports.(Edward Olive / Getty Images)

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The Extra Mile

Sun, 10 Jul 2016 08:05:00 +1000

As the number of Aboriginal kids in out-of-home care skyrockets, Victoria's child protection system has failed to reconnect many of these children with their culture, families and communities. Bridget Brennan investigates.There’s been a 70 per cent rise in the number of Aboriginal children removed from their families in Victoria over the past three years. (VACCA / Deon Van Den Berg)

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The price of milk

Sun, 26 Jun 2016 08:05:00 +1000

Thousands of dairy farmers have been hit with huge debts after Murray Goulburn misread the market and blew up the milk price. David Lewis investigates how it all went so sourGippsland dairy farmer Ron Paynter says there should be a more transparent and robust way of setting milk prices

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The price of politics

Sun, 19 Jun 2016 08:05:00 +1000

For the first time, Australia's top ASX companies are given a score for how open they are their political spending. Di Martin reports our biggest corporations fall well below international best practice.A new report reveals Australian companies aren't very transparent about their political activities (Getty Images)

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Sis we've got your back

Sun, 12 Jun 2016 08:05:00 +1000

When Indigenous leader Roy 'Dootch' Kennedy was finally jailed for his sex crimes, the women who stood up for his victim were pilloried and harassed. Bronwyn Adcock investigates.Agnes Donovan : "Dootch saw us sitting there with the victim, and then he looked at his family and said 'Did you see all the ass wipes sitting on this side of the courtroom?" Seated with her best friend Veronica Bird (ABC RN/Bronywn Adcock)

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Taken to the cleaners

Sun, 05 Jun 2016 08:05:00 +1000

The exploitation of vulnerable workers goes far beyond the 7-Eleven scandal. There's a huge labour black market in cleaning and hospitality ripping off international students. Ann Arnold follows the trail of international students just trying to get paid.A study has found sixty percent of international students are being ripped off by their employers (Getty images)

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The inconvenient scientists

Sun, 29 May 2016 08:05:00 +1000

A third of the CSIRO's climate scientists have been sacked. It's part of a radical change in direction at Australia's premier science organisation. Will this leave Australia vulnerable to climate change? Paddy Manning investigates. (Warning: This audio download contains strong language that may be offensive to some listeners)What will happen to climate science in Australia in the wake of funding cuts to the CSIRO? (Getty Images)

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Is the fertility industry misleading women?

Sun, 22 May 2016 08:05:00 +1000

Freezing your eggs is a hot topic for women in their thirties, and more of them are doing it. But is the IVF industry giving women false hope about their real chances of having a baby? Hagar Cohen investigates.(7pm TV News TAS)

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A licence to pollute: Mount Isa mines

Sun, 15 May 2016 08:05:00 +1000

Mount Isa Mines is one Australia's top polluters. Now families are starting to sue for the health impacts on their children.Smoke stacks from the mine define the landscape in Mount Isa, north west Queensland. (Supplied: Ben MacRae)

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Silencing public servants

Sun, 08 May 2016 08:05:00 +1000

The Fair Work Commission has ruled that Centrelink's decision to sack an employee for anonymous posts critical of the department on a discussion group was a "gross intrusion on the private lives of public servants". The Department is now appealing. What a public servant is free to say is now being fought in the courts.The free speech of public servants is being tested in the courts (Getty Images)

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Manildra money: did a big political donor buy favourable legislation?

Sun, 01 May 2016 08:05:00 +1000

What's the link between NSW's ethanol in fuel laws and political donations?Manildra ethanol, starch and glucose plant at Nowra (Sarina Locke)

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Crack a baby's back

Sun, 24 Apr 2016 08:05:00 +1000

Chiropractors are manipulating the spines of newborns to treat colic. The practice has caused an almighty uproar in the professionChiropractic therapy is a modern reinvention of the ancient art of spinal manipulation. In recent times, this practice has become steeped in controversy. (ABC TV)

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Ebola with wings: the TB crisis on our doorstop

Sun, 17 Apr 2016 08:05:00 +1000

A deadly new strain of tuberculosis is incubating on the small PNG island of Daru, 10 kilometres off the top of northern Australia. Experts are calling it 'Ebola with wings'.The TB outbreak on Daru has world experts warning they are seeing 'ebola with wings' (Jo Chandler)

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The education free-for-all

Sun, 10 Apr 2016 08:05:00 +1000

The VET FEE HELP scheme has descended into chaos. Enrolment forms were being flogged on Gumtree. The Turnbull government will have to write off billions in bad debt.The scandal-plagued VET FEE-HELP scheme funds courses through loans to students. (

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Queer, young and homeless

Sun, 03 Apr 2016 08:05:00 +1000

Why does being young and queer make you more at risk of being homeless? David Lewis investigates why home is not a safe place to be.Queer youth are at higher risk of becoming homeless (Getty Images)

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The trouble with quad bikes

Sun, 27 Mar 2016 08:05:00 +1100

Quad bikes are more popular than ever, but a disturbing number of fatalities has manufacturers under fire for making bikes that safety experts say are inherently unsafe.An Australian dairy farmer using a quad bike to herd cows. (Getty Images)

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