He’s a drug cheat, a bully and a liar who abused his best friends to keep a terrible secret, but has Lance Armstrong finally told the truth? The answer – almost certainly – is no. Continue reading »
The late Jimmy Savile was British television royalty. In life he was a DJ, the host of “Top of the Pops”, moving on to front the mega ratings family television program, “Jim’ll Fix It”. At the same time he raised millions of dollars for charity. But in death, the real story of Jimmy Savile’s life is now being told.
It’s the story of a man who can only be described as a sexual predator, who used his position to get close to young children, mainly girls, so he could rape and abuse them. In some cases he did this on the premises of his employer, the BBC. Continue reading »
Timor-Leste, or East Timor, is the smallest and poorest country in Asia. Its only economic hope for the future lies in massive reserves of oil and gas in the Timor Sea. Having fought a bitter battle with Australia over seabed borders and mineral rights it’s now taking on some of the world’s biggest private energy companies, demanding they pay their fair share of tax on the resources they’re extracting. Continue reading »
FOUR CORNERS: UNHOLY SILENCE – Monday 2 July at 8.30pm on ABC1
The Catholic Church says its response to cases of child sex abuse should be compassionate, that abusers should be brought to justice and that concealing the truth is unjust to victims.
But does it follow those principles? Continue reading »
This week on Four Corners – a return to the remarkable story of “WikiLeaks -The Forgotten Man”, Bradley Manning. Continue reading »
Monday 4 June at 8.30pm on ABC1
In the 2010 program “Smugglers’ Paradise” Four Corners exposed the people smugglers operating out of Indonesia. Now reporter Sarah Ferguson tells how those same individuals were involved in the death of 97 people at sea.
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called people smugglers “the scum of the earth”. This program reveals how many of them have made their way to Australia posing as asylum seekers and have persuaded the government to grant them refugee status and residency. Now they ply their lucrative and sometimes lethal trade, whilst living on taxpayers’ money.
What Four Corners discovers is shocking and calls into question the entire refugee assessment process.
How did they get here and how can they operate their criminal network with impunity right under the nose of police and immigration authorities?
MONDAY 28 MAY AT 8.30PM ON ABC1
It’s been described as the boom that keeps on giving – an export bonanza that will help Australia ride through a world-wide economic downturn. Across the country, workers have left their jobs to make big money in the mining industry. In the rush to exploit the country’s natural resources employers have all but set aside the idea of building or expanding communities. Instead they pay big wages to fly-in, fly-out or drive-in, drive-out workers, encouraging them to work long shifts, leaving them with little reason to become part of the local community.
This week, reporter Andrew Fowler looks at the impact of this rush to riches. Taking the cameras into Moranbah, in the heart of Queensland’s Bowen Basin, he visits locals that can’t get medical treatment, the families who say they are frightened to go out on the streets at night because of violence and he finds out why businesses are closing down.
The local businesses that do benefit from the boom are hotels, motels and real estate agents as house prices and rents skyrocket.
Things have become so bad in Moranbah that local residents voted the council out and gave the new mayor a mandate to rehabilitate the town. The question is, what can a local government do in the face of multi-billion dollar developments that are delivering State and Federal governments a massive boom in revenue? Can towns like this be saved?
“Towns are at risk, I think, of losing their identity and I think it’s emblematic of a number of mining towns across Australia. It’s turning from a proud self-contained community into a hotel town.” – Bernard Salt, Demographer
‘Casualties of the Boom’, reported by Andrew Fowler and presented by Kerry O’Brien, goes to air on Monday 28th May at 8.30pm on ABC1. It is replayed on Tuesday 29th May at 11.35pm. It can also be seen on Saturday at 8.00pm on ABC News 24, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
Monday 21 May at 8.30pm on ABC1
Next Monday on Four Corners, ‘Madeleine McCann: The Last Hope’. It was a disappearance that made international headlines and raised tensions between Britain and Portugal. Now comes the story of the new police investigation that some hope might finally explain what really happened to three year old Madeleine. Did she wander off? Was she stolen? If she was taken, was it by an organised child trafficking ring?
Five years ago Madeleine McCann disappeared from a family holiday apartment in the Algarve, Portugal. This little girl, who would now be eight, has never been found. Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, are adamant that their daughter was abducted. Portuguese police viewed the parents with suspicion. At the same time British crime experts claim the Portuguese police investigation was compromised by their failure to secure the crime scene and a lack of follow through in tracking down witnesses and suspects.
Early last year Madeleine’s parents persuaded British Prime Minister David Cameron to order a review of the case. This new investigation, by a top unit of the Metropolitan Police, has combed through thousands of documents and cost British taxpayers millions of dollars. Is it now the last chance of discovering what happened? For the first time, the senior UK investigator tells BBC Panorama how he is working collaboratively with Portuguese police and explains why he believes he has the best opportunity yet to help solve the mystery of Madeleine McCann.
Meanwhile, the reopening of this sensational cold case has raised new questions. Why did David Cameron order the investigation? What role did News International have in his decision and are the Portuguese police really co-operating with their British counterparts?
‘Madeleine McCann: the Last Hope’, reported by Richard Bilton and presented by Kerry O’Brien, goes to air on Monday 21st May at 8.30pm on ABC1. It is replayed on Tuesday 22nd May at 11.35pm. It can also be seen on Saturday at 8.00pm on ABC News 24, on ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
MONDAY 14 MAY AT 8.30PM ON ABC1
They’ve been called modern day gladiators and each year football players get bigger, faster and they hit harder. Getting hurt may be part of the game, but this week reporter Quentin McDermott looks at the latest research on head and brain injury. He reveals there is growing evidence that footballers young and old could be suffering long term brain damage.
It’s a story that has implications for anyone who pulls on a football boot, from pros to primary schoolers. A prominent neurosurgeon tells Four Corners he is so concerned about what he’s seeing that when it comes to school children there’s a clear rule:
“I personally would say three significant concussions, three strikes and you’re out.”
Right now in the United States, researchers are doing all they can to understand what happens inside the brain when players make physical contact.
Using new imaging technology it’s possible to examine not just the structure of the brain but to see how its function is changing. Some researchers now believe that a player doesn’t have to sustain repeated concussions to risk permanent brain damage, but that repeated sub-concussive impact affecting the brain can be enough. The research has major implications for young players:
“We found it in a 17 year old football player, an 18 year old, we found it pretty extensive in a 21 year old, so it’s helped people realise that it’s not just a pro-athlete problem, that you’re more vulnerable when you’re young anyway and so we’re clearly giving this disease to children who don’t understand what they’re even getting into.”
So are football administrators taking the issue seriously enough? All three body contact football codes – Rugby League, Rugby Union and Australian Rules Football – say they no longer allow concussed players to finish a game, and severely penalise any player who deliberately causes a head injury. But they are also sceptical about the relevance of the US research to football as it is played here.
“I think that we need to be pretty careful how we interpret the (US research) because their game is completely different, you know? The aim of their game is to actually crash into each other with their heads you know, so potentially players are playing concussed. We don’t have any such thing in our game and we take any head contact very seriously.” Rugby League doctor
Researchers in Australia are lining up to do work that mirrors the investigations being done in the United States, but final agreement with the different football codes and clubs seems some way off.
Until that research is carried out, we won’t know whether the repeated head injuries suffered by some footballers are damaging their health permanently. That means another generation of footballers run the risk of serious injury.
Monday 16 April at 8.30pm on ABC1
When Al Qaeda attacked the United States mainland in September 2001 the US reaction was swift and brutal. Terrorist bases in Afghanistan were targeted and bombed and an invasion by a coalition of forces, including Australia, followed.
In no time at all Al Qaeda fled to Pakistan and the Taliban was overcome. Ten years on the situation looks very different. The Taliban is back, fighting continues, casualties are rising and relations between the Afghan National Army and the coalition are troubled. Continue reading »