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Background Briefing - ABC RN

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Prescription killer: Australia's imminent fentanyl epidemic
New exclusive figures show alarming numbers of Australians are dying from fentanyl overdoses at increasing rate.
Proxy war: The outsiders campaigning for the major parties
This election campaign has involved more than political candidates and parties on the hustings. We’ve seen grassroots community groups, political activist organisations and social media players getting involved too. But, just how influential are they? And is there enough scrutiny on them? Katherine Gregory investigates.
Carers who kill
Almost one person with a disability is killed by their carer every three months in Australia. For the first time, Background Briefing has calculated this number by reviewing years of court documents and media reports. When a person with disabilities is killed, the burden of caring is often cited as a reason for the killing and may lead to lighter sentences. Reporter Sarah Dingle investigates bias in the courtroom and asks the question: Does excusing carers who kill lead to a contagion effect?
Esteemed Australian scientist at the centre of a sexual harassment investigation
Sexual harassment allegations against one of Australia’s most esteemed statisticians are forcing the country's science organisations to confront the issue, head on. The science community has been quietly grappling with the issue, but until now it’s remained out of the spotlight. Hagar Cohen reveals details of the investigation into Professor Terry Speed.
Fentanyl: A national emergency (part 1)
Alarming numbers of Australians are dying from fentanyl overdoses at increasing rates and undercover recordings show just how easy it is to get it. A NSW coronial inquest into the deaths of six people has just found double the amount of people die from prescription opioids than they do from heroin. In the first of a two part investigation, reporter Hagar Cohen revisits a story first broadcast last year, she speaks to people whose lives have been torn apart by fentanyl abuse.
Sexual harassment in the police force
Each year, NSW Police officers lodge around 200 harassment complaints against their own colleagues. About a quarter of those are for sex-based harassment. But for many victims, speaking out can be just as bad as the abuse itself. Alex Mann investigates the efforts by NSW Police to stamp out sexual harassment in the workplace and the experience of officers who try to report it to their superiors.
South Sudan: a failure to act
When local and international aid workers came under attack in South Sudan's capital, why did UN peacekeepers just over a kilometre away fail to respond?
Machetes, migrants, and misinformation: why Africans are copping the blame for Melbourne crime wave
Should young migrants be deported if they commit a criminal offence? A new federal inquiry is considering just this, and in the frame are Sudanese youth accused of home invasions and car jackings in Melbourne. David Lewis investigates .
Critical failure: the preventable deaths that keep happening in hospitals
How a series of blunders and the death of an 18-year-old girl have fed a wave of anger over the treatment of suicidal patients in hospitals. Tim Roxburgh investigates.
Nowhere to go
A radical move to privatise government group homes for people with disability is underway in NSW ahead of the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. David Lewis investigates.
Insurance industry stuck in 'dark ages', say mental health advocates
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.
Bullied to death: the short life of Tyrone Unsworth
The 13-year-old Brisbane schoolboy committed suicide after years of being bullied at schools for being different. David Lewis investigates did his school let him down?
Katherine Hospital
Repeat: How Katherine Hospital turned its fortunes around and the lessons to be learned.
Fentanyl: A national emergency (part 2)
Paramedics across Australia are stealing lethal opioids to cope with workplace trauma. Freedom of Information documents reveal nearly 100 investigations into the misappropriation of addictive drugs by ambulance workers since 2010. In this co-production with the 730 program, reporter Hagar Cohen asks why paramedics have stolen fentanyl for personal use. A warning, this episode deals extensively with suicide. It might not be suitable for everyone and if it brings up any issues at all for you please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Burning down the house
We now have our seventh prime minister in 10 years. What the hell is going on? This week, Background Briefing brings you a three-part special on the Liberal Party's leadership crisis. We witness the downfall of Malcolm Turnbull, speak to the conservative insurgents who challenged a sitting PM, and look at the consequences for our nation. (Language warning: This program contains profanity.)
Russia, If You're Listening: Paul Manafort On Trial
Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort is the subject of the first trial of the Mueller investigation, which is underway in Alexandria, Virginia. Despite the fact that his charges have nothing to do with the Trump campaign, there is intense scrutiny on it, and speculation about whether it will lead to Manafort turning on Donald Trump, or receiving a Presidential pardon. But what is Manafort on trial for? And what shenanigans has he been up to while he's been in custody? Find out in this episode of Russia, If You're Listening.
Fiji silenced part 2: Controlling the message
First-hand accounts and leaked documents reveal the extent of the Fijian government’s control over the media and public service, and why freedom of the press is at an all-time low. Hagar Cohen reports.
Drug justice: The Duterte solution
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs has seen hundreds of thousands imprisoned and many killed. Ginny Stein reports.
More than a fight
On New Year's Eve, 1983, the driver of a train passing through Kempsey in NSW made a grim discovery. The body of Lewis "Buddy" Kelly was strewn across the tracks. Police said the 16-year-old's death was an accident, but his family suspects foul play. The case is one of three eerily similar mysteries. Is there a pattern here? Allan Clarke investigates.
International crime figures look to Australia to launder money
International experts are warning that Australia is one of the most attractive destinations to launder money through real estate. Criminals from all over the world are looking at mansions in the suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney to park their cash. Reporter Connie Agius investigates the gaps in our money laundering laws and why they haven't been closed.
This meth we're in
Jacki Whittaker thought one of the bedrooms in her Melbourne rental home smelt like "cat piss". But the real culprit was something far more sinister. The previous tenants had been cooking methamphetamine in the bathroom resulting in significant contamination. Jacki and her two adult children were told by a testing company they must leave immediately because it wasn’t safe to stay in the house. But no one really knows how many of us are actually at risk from meth residues because even scientists haven’t even worked it out. In this episode, Hagar Cohen investigates how some operators in an unregulated meth testing industry are scamming the public and profiting from our fear.
Under The Hammer
Some paintings by contemporary Australian artists are worth millions of dollars. But what if what you see isn't always what you get? There are claims the art market is plagued with questionable works by Brett Whiteley, Howard Arkley, Charles Blackman and more. Hagar Cohen exposes question marks over three expensive artworks... and traces their origin back to one group of high-profile dealers in Melbourne's art market.
The death of Jeremy Hu
An alleyway brawl that left a Melbourne schoolboy dead, has raised questions about who’s responsible for keeping international students safe in Australia. Year 12 student Jeremy Hu, was repeatedly kicked and stomped on, and he later died of his injuries. None of his friends called an ambulance that night, and instead of taking him to the hospital, they checked him into a hotel. Reporter Jane Lee takes a hard look at the $30 billion international education industry and follows the murder trial in the aftermath of Jeremy Hu's death. A warning you'll hear some strong language and descriptions of violence. This is a repeat of a program that aired in March 2018.
Flight of fancy
When he rediscovered the elusive night parrot in 2013, John Young became a hero in the bird world. But his reputation is now in tatters after the veracity of his latest fieldwork was criticised by a panel of experts. Did the charismatic naturalist fake evidence of the green and yellow feathered creature? Ann Jones investigates a scandal that threatens to undermine conservation efforts.
From bias to brutality: How Australia is failing minority groups
They’ve been spat on, punched in the face, and told to go back to where they came from. Minority groups in Australia insist hate crimes are on the rise since the Christchurch massacre. There have been thousands of reports of property damage as well as verbal and physical abuse arising from racial discrimination. So why have so few people been convicted? Hagar Cohen investigates.
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Podcast Details
Mar 26th, 2016
Latest Episode
Oct 5th, 2019
Release Period
No. of Episodes
Avg. Episode Length
39 minutes

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