Four Corners

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###Brexit: The Battle for Britain

Monday 5 September at 8.30pm

“The British people have made a very clear decision.” - David Cameron
On June 23, Britain was rocked by a political earthquake: the nation had voted to leave the European Union. Within hours the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, had resigned, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was facing calls to do the same and the pound was in freefall.

“The sensation was really like … dropping into quicksand and realising that there was nothing and nobody that could actually pull you out of it.” - Craig Oliver, Former Prime Ministerial media adviser
The result left many shocked to the core, but as this film captures, voters had been sending signals for months.

“It’s about time England took England back, you know? They don’t call us Great Britain for nothing, do they?” - British voter

The referendum campaign had become a lightning rod for disenchantment and distrust aimed at the financial and political “elites”.

“Go back to London with all your yuppie friends.” - British voter

In the aftermath of the vote, this film from the BBC charts the tactics and spin employed by both sides of the campaign.

“When Boris announced on that Sunday that he was joining the ‘Leave’ camp I jumped for joy!” - Nigel Farage, Former UK Independence Party leader

“It’s slightly ridiculous that a ‘Leave’ campaign fronted by a combination of Tory toffs and people with well-heeled backgrounds, (is) lecturing everybody else about the establishment and how the elite are riding roughshod over the interests of the country!” - Lord Mandelson, Remain campaigner

Featuring interviews with key players including UK Independence campaigner Nigel Farage, David Cameron’s chief media adviser and the spin doctors from duelling campaign teams, the program explores the deep divisions and fears in Britain that fuelled this political revolution.

“You could talk until the cows came home about the fact that for every pound a migrant might get in terms of money, they pay ten pounds out in taxes, but there was this feeling that there was no control over the country and no control over our future.” - Emily Thornberry, Labour Brexit spokesperson

And asks how Britain will grapple with the tensions so starkly exposed by Brexit.

"The sniffy and patronising way in which Liberal middle class elite in London has just looked at the votes of people in my patch and said, ‘These people are either too stupid, too Northern, too working class, too poor or too old and they didn’t really know what they were voting for’, I just think it’s deeply offensive.” - Andrew Percy, Conservative MP

Brexit: The Battle for Britain, from the BBC, presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 5th September at 8.30pm on ABC & iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 6th September at 10.00am and Wednesday 7th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at


###Rehab Inc

Monday 12 September at 8.30pm

Rehab Inc: The high price parents pay to get their kids off ice.

“What parent is not going to say ‘yes, I’ll sell my house’? ‘I’ll give you my kidney to save my child’s life.’ They’ll do anything.” - Addiction counsellor

Across Australia, there are parents risking everything to rescue their children from ice addiction.

“I’ve knocked on every door, I’ve been everywhere. I’ve chased my daughter for 6 months from house to house to house… I turned their water off, I turned their gas off, I pinched their power fuse. I smashed their windows, I’ve had enough.” - Father

To end this living nightmare, they’ll seize on any chance to get help for their child.

“Why now? Five bullets through the front window and I’ve sh*t myself and that was when I straight away rang mum to say I’m coming home.” - Addict

But that chance of rehabilitation can come at an enormous cost.

“Most families don’t have $30,000 sitting in the bank account just to put their child into a rehab centre. It’s just not feasible.” - Mother

Publicly funded rehabilitation beds are in short supply and have waiting lists running into months. So instead, these families turn to private clinics. And they charge a fortune.

“Most of the people I see who have come through private rehabs have had their superannuation emptied. It’s sort of a soft target.” - Financial counsellor

Parents are risking bankruptcy to get their child a place. They’re encouraged to access their superannuation or to re-mortgage their homes in order to pay out tens of thousands of dollars to ensure their child gets in quickly. And the price is driven by demand, rather than the service provided.

“I think that often people would get the success that they require by simply attending these 12-step fellowships, free of charge, and get the same success rate.” - Addiction specialist
And the lack of regulation is shocking.

“I could start a rehab up tomorrow and hire staff who aren’t suitably qualified and call it a rehab, and charge top dollar. With no questions asked.” - Addiction specialist

Even some private operators concede families risk being ripped off.

“There are way too many rogue operators in this field that can and will take advantage of people paying the money.” - Clinic operator

Rehab Inc, reported by Ben Knight and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 12th September at 8.30pm on ABC & iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 13th September at 10.00am and Wednesday 14th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at


###Backing Bourke

Monday 19 September at 8.30pm

Backing Bourke: An outback town’s bold experiment to save its young people from a life of crime.

It’s the little town that symbolises life in the outback, immortalised by Henry Lawson who declared: “If you know Bourke, you know Australia”.

But this famous bush town has one of the worst crime rates in Australia.
“If you went to any prison or juvenile justice centre in this state, you’ll find one of our families there.” - Phil, Tribal Elder

With startling rates of domestic violence, assault and property crime, too many of Bourke’s residents end up in jail.

Fed up with losing their young to prison, the Indigenous people of Bourke have decided to take a risk on a bold experiment to try and turn their town around.
“I just certainly felt that I had something to offer and to contribute to ensure that particularly young people don’t make the same mistakes.” - Alistair, Community Leader

It’s based on a groundbreaking American approach called Justice Reinvestment that tries to prevent crime through simple targeted programs.

“It’s really about spending more on communities and less on prisons, so it involves working out ways that you can shift resources out of the prison system.” - Sarah, Just Reinvest

It’s been so successful that in places like Texas, the state has actually been closing prisons down.
But can this same idea work in outback Australia?

“We want to have (the) opportunity to say well all right, here is another way to do it… let us have a go at it.” - Phil, Tribal Elder

Backed by wealthy philanthropists, not government, the community is putting the theory to the test with practical ideas, like offering free driving lessons. It’s diverting people from jail time as driving without a license is a chronic problem in the outback.

“It’s in everyone’s interests to keep kids out of institutions and get them back on track. That’s ultimately what we’re all here for…” - Police Officer

And it’s also trying to change attitudes, prompting the men of Bourke to take a long hard look at themselves and stand up as leaders.

“I’ve had my ups and downs and I’ve done things I regret. But I need to be accountable for my own actions and the challenges I have as a man.” - Steve

Two months after the landmark Four Corners program Australia’s Shame exposed the scandalous treatment of juvenile offenders, Backing Bourke provides a glimmer of hope for communities around Australia that are struggling to break the cycle of youth crime.

“The work that’s being carried out in Bourke…it’s becoming a catalyst for the rest of the nation.” - Alistair, Community Leader

Backing Bourke, reported by Geoff Thompson and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 19th September at 8.30pm on ABC & iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 20th September at 10.00am and Wednesday 21st at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at


###Frat Boys

Monday 26 September at 8.30pm

Frat Boys: Inside America’s fraternities.

“We are by far the most fun people you will ever meet…We have more connections, we have more friends, we have more fun than anyone else.” - Ben

They’re the elite clubs inside America’s universities.

“It’s an investment in yourself, to get an experience you really can’t get anywhere else in the world.” - Ben
They describe themselves as the breeding ground for leadership, with many corporate titans and former US presidents held up as fraternity men. They’re also where testosterone, alcohol and campus life come together in a potent mix.

“Getting girls .It’s probably like the number one thing on their priority list. Sometimes it’s numbers with guys for sure. They go ‘oh how many girls have you had sex with?’” - Jen

And their exploits have become the stuff of movie legend.

“It’s just like an attraction, people come and be like ‘oh my god it’s a stripper pole’ and then come in and have fun.” - Nick

Normally notoriously media shy and protective of their secret rituals, one fraternity agreed to let the cameras in.
“What our goals this week is to really you know, break these guys down… This is something that is strictly within our brotherhood.” - Tim

This film, from the BBC, follows weeks of ‘pledging’ where a group of college kids undergo initiation rituals in the hope of making it as a ‘brother’.

“Pledging is a period before you’re a brother, it’s a kind of a test run to see if the organisation’s actually right for you, you follow the process and then you earn your place in the organisation.” - Jordan

But for all the talk of brotherhoods and loyalty, this culture of secrecy and initiation can be dangerous.
“I want justice because you know, what they did to me was awful.” - Terence

“I woke up in this bed with no clothes on and I had no idea where I was and I was so scared.” - Marissa
And with investigations and lawsuits underway across America over allegations of rape, assault and even death, there are calls for more to be done to reign in frat boy culture.

“For years in this country Americans have been denied the truth about how dangerous fraternities are to young people and families. Most everything in here is filled with files of fraternity death.” - Lawyer

Frat Boys, from the BBC and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 26th September at 8.30pm on ABC & iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 27th September at 10.00am and Wednesday 28th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday October 1st at 8.00pm AEST and at ABC iview.


###China Rising

Monday 3 October at 8.30pm

China Rising: The challenges for Australia as China and the US struggle for supremacy in Asia.

On Monday night, reporter Peter Greste joins Four Corners for a special report on the rise of China and its escalating contest with the United States in the Asia Pacific region.

“Australia sits at the intersection of these two great powers. The problem for us is the historical forces driving each of them are far greater than anything we can possibly control, so we need to find out how those forces might play out.” - Peter Greste

In interviews with key players from the world of diplomacy and strategic affairs, the program explores how Australia is trying to balance two competing interests.

“This is the first time in our history where our biggest trading partner is a strategic rival of our principal ally, so this introduces a whole level of complexity into our strategic situation we’ve never known as a country before.” - Strategic Analyst

Greste and a Four Corners team travelled to the South China Sea to investigate the rising tensions caused by China’s rapid military expansion.

“The assertion of military power in the past decade, the building of nuclear submarines and now at least two new aircraft carriers, I think (is) devoted to this goal of at least minimising American influence in the Asia Pacific region.” - Sinologist

As the standoff intensifies, the program examines the growing pressure on Australia to take sides.
“We count on Australian mates being there when serious issues are at stake.” - Retired US Admiral

China Rising, reported by Peter Greste and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 3rd October at 8.30pm on ABC & iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 4th October at 10.00am and Wednesday 5th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEDT, ABC iview and at


###For Better or Worse

Monday 10 October at 8.30pm

For Better or Worse: How the personal has become political in the fight over same sex marriage.

On the eve of the Labor vote which will determine whether the same sex marriage plebiscite goes ahead, Four Corners investigates the politics at work behind the debate.

“Now is that time. It may not come again if this opportunity is missed.” - Senior Liberal

When the Abbott-led Coalition Government emerged from a marathon party room meeting last year to announce there would be a public vote on the legalisation of same sex marriage, it sparked a passionate debate. Some were suspicious.

“It was dreamed up to slow down the move to marriage equality.” - Labor Shadow Minister

Since then, politicians of every political stripe have been deliberating over the legalisation of same sex marriage and the means by which that decision should be made. Four Corners has been charting the strategy employed by each side.
“We’re trying to raise as much money as we can. This is a big fight.” - Activist

Our team has been given behind the scenes access to many of the key players in this debate as they make their case.
“We’ve met quite a few members in the last couple of days… and we can definitely detect a change of the tide.” - Activist

Four Corners talks to them about the tactics they are employing:
“It was, I suppose a little bit provocative, ‘You don’t mess with marriage.’ But that was the title that was chosen.” - Church leader

And asks how much of the discussion is about conviction and how much is about the art of politics.

“Malcolm Turnbull introducing a bill on his one-year anniversary, a bill that is Tony Abbott’s policy, that he doesn’t believe in. That says everything.” - Labor Shadow Minister

For Better or Worse, reported by Quentin McDermott and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 10th October at 8.30pm on ABC & iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 11th October at 10.00am and Wednesday 12th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEDT, ABC iview and at



Monday 24 October at 8.30pm

Copwatchers: The activists using cameras to fight back against police brutality in the US.

“We want to deter police abuse…If our cameras are out there, it’s going to help present it, so they know there is extra eyes on them. These cameras are bad cop repellents.” - Dennis, Copwatcher

In New York City, a controversial group of citizen activists patrol the streets, capturing police officers on camera as they work.

“I got this on film. He does not consent to a search. So guess what’s going to happen when you get to court (with) this video? Bye bye!” - Kim, Copwatcher

They’re part of a US wide movement taking on police departments following a succession of deaths of black men and boys at the hands of police.

“The officer had his knee on Eric’s neck like this. And basically holding him down, trying to restrain him while other officers was twisting his arm.” - Ramsey, Copwatcher

In the age of smart phones and social media, many of these deaths have been captured on camera. One of the first was Eric Garner. The confronting footage of his death, as he was held down in a chokehold by a group of officers, captured the nation’s attention. Garner’s dying pleas of “I can’t breathe” became the catchcry of protestors demanding justice.

“My main goal is to put pressure on cops. Once they see a camera in somebody’s hand … or a phone in somebody’s hand, they will think twice.” - Ramsey, Copwatcher

On Monday night Four Corners brings you the story of these “Copwatchers” as they roam the streets of New York, listening in to the police radio, then race to film the arrests and the behaviour of the NYPD.

“I know I come across as very aggressive and very militant and I am. And I am unapologetic about it because…day to day I see police harass people.” - Kim, Copwatcher

In this raw, fast moving film, the copwatchers engage in tense exchanges with the police. Sometimes they are arrested.

Despite their provocative approach, they have support from some unlikely quarters.

“I think everybody who owns a camera now, everyone who owns a cell phone, should be a part of copwatch…every time you see something going on you should take the picture.” - Retired NYPD officer

Copwatchers, from the BBC and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 24th October at 8.30pm on ABC & iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 25th October at 10am and Wednesday 26th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8pm AEDT, ABC iview and at


###Big Fish

Monday 31 October at 8.30pm

Four Corners investigates the business of salmon farming.

You’ll find it in your supermarket fridge, on sushi trains, and in fish shops all over Australia. Salmon is Australia’s favourite fresh seafood and we consume tens of thousands of tonnes of it a year.

This fish is not caught in the wild, it’s grown and farmed in the waters around Tasmania and is a booming industry.
“Our eggs here are just starting to hatch…we have about 19,000 of these in every tray.” - Company spokesperson
But there’s a lot consumers don’t know about the making of farmed salmon.

“If a consumer were to see a salmon fillet that was a pale grey or a white, chances are they wouldn’t buy it.” - Lawyer
Producing salmon is big business and the industry is reaping big profits with plans to turn it into a billion dollar industry within 15 years.

“I would say that salmon farming is clean and green though it’s not a term that I’d like to use. I would say that it’s a responsibly farmed product and I think we do it in an environmentally responsible way.” - Company spokesperson
Reputation is important and industry players promote their businesses as being open and transparent.

“I grew up just here in this area, I’ve spent my entire life in these waterways and I can’t help but personalise it when people say that we’re damaging this environment here.” - Company CEO

But those assurances are being put to the test with controversial plans by the biggest salmon company, Tassal, to expand into a new area, causing strong divisions in the community.

“Really divided. For jobs. And for what fish farms do. And you know, they’re a mess, they’re a dead set mess.” - Resident
“We’re getting a world class industry…Why wouldn’t you want it?” - Local business owner

Those community divisions have brought attention and our unwelcome scrutiny.

“Four Corners doesn’t come down unless the community is concerned, I get that…I would be happier if we just slid under your radar and you hadn’t been here, but you’re here.” - Company CEO

Big Fish, a groundbreaking investigation by Caro Meldrum-Hanna and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 31st October at 8.30pm on ABC & iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 1st November at 10.00am and Wednesday 2nd at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEDT, ABC iview and at


Final Four Corners for 2016 is Monday 21 November


###Crossroads Afghanistan

Monday 7 November at 8.30pm

Crossroads Afghanistan: A heart stopping journey through the Taliban badlands.

“Numerous convoys have been attacked on this road and you can sense the tension building, even in our own driver.” - Jamie Doran, film-maker

The highway to northern Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous roads in the world, cutting through territory controlled by the Taliban and Islamic State.

It’s a risky place at the best of times, let alone if you’re a western filmmaker travelling with a member of Afghanistan’s most famous political family.

“The small narrow valley, these very tall mountains, it’s just a perfect place for guerrilla warfare. Insurgents can attack us at any point…they’ll be hiding in the villages, they’ll be hiding in the mountains.” - Zubair Massoud, Strategic Adviser

Zubair Massoud, advisor to the Afghan National Security Council, is increasingly spoken of as a future leader of Afghanistan. That makes him a high value Taliban target. Despite advice from his security team, he makes the perilous journey to Kunduz to see the deteriorating security situation for himself. He takes award-winning filmmaker Jamie Doran with him.

“Snipers’ bullets are just whizzing over our heads at the moment and these guys are now trying to react to that.” - Jamie Doran filmmaker

This often heart stopping film follows their journey as they travel deeper and deeper into enemy territory, their security detail fighting its way through ambushes and firefights.

“They fired an RPG right in front of us, 10 metres from here!” - Zubair Massoud

The dangers faced on this trip highlight the disintegrating situation in Afghanistan and Zubair Massoud warns that the country may be running out of time.

“If we can bring security by the end of this year, I see a bright future in this country. But if not, if we cannot bring security by the end of this year, I see a very dark future.”

CROSSROADS AFGHANISTAN, from filmmaker Jamie Doran for Clover Films, and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 7th November at 8.30pm on ABC & iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 8th November at 10.00am and Wednesday 9th at 11.00pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEDT and ABC iview.


###Broken Homes

Monday 14 November at 8.30pm

Broken Homes: On the frontline of Australia’s child protection crisis.

“I walked in there and I just thought ‘wow’. I didn’t even know kids lived like this. I just couldn’t believe this was happening in Australia.” - Child Protection Worker

These are Australia’s most vulnerable kids, betrayed and neglected, not only by their parents but by the system designed to protect them.

“They’re told, ‘you’re in resi because nobody wants you, we can’t find a home for you, we can’t find a foster family for you.’ I couldn’t imagine being told, ‘you’re so bad that we can’t place you anywhere, this is where you have to live now.’” - Child Protection Worker

They’re known as ‘resi kids’ after the group homes they live in, run by private operators and charities. Some were taken into care as babies, others after years of abuse. They’re often difficult to manage but desperately in need of help.

In this searing Four Corners investigation, we reveal that rather than protecting and nurturing these children, some private operators are treating them as badly as the families they escaped.

“What I can’t wrap my head around is why children are removed because they’re neglected only to end up being a teenager in a resi house still neglected.” - Child Protection Worker

It’s prompted some in the child protection system to brand their treatment a national failure and call for the entire resi care system to be shut down.

“Everybody who might watch Four Corners has to understand that they are our children. We have a responsibility to them.” - Former Children’s Commissioner

This investigation, nearly three months in the making, continues online in a special digital feature with further revelations of systemic failings, which will be published on ABC News Digital ( at 8.30pm AEDT on Monday November 14.

The digital feature will be published on ABC News Digital ( at 8.30pm AEDT.

A replay of the program will take place on Tuesday November 16 at 10.00am and Wednesday November 17 at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday November 19 at 8.00pm AEDT, ABC iview and at


###A Sense of Self

Monday 21 November at 8.30pm

A Sense of Self: Award winning reporter, Liz Jackson, tells the hardest story of all.

“You’re not the person you were before and you feel more vulnerable. And more open to people’s judgement. And pity. I don’t want pity and I don’t want judgement.”

On Monday night, Four Corners brings you the powerful story of one of its own, veteran reporter Liz Jackson, as she comes to terms with a devastating illness.

“This is a very hard story for me to tell because it involves exposing my current condition to a public audience”

For nearly 20 years, Liz Jackson reported from the frontlines of war and politics for Four Corners, winning nine Walkley awards for excellence in journalism, including the Gold Walkley in 2006 as well as three Logie Awards.

But after she left the program in 2013, her health collapsed. She was losing her physical strength and her ability to write, and was suffering from crippling panic attacks.

“I’d looked forward to getting fit and healthy and seeing more of my friends. But it proved to be the opposite.”
Liz was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

“I got a second opinion but I wasn’t happy. It was Parkinson’s again, so I got a third opinion. I remember the doctor said to me ‘I just want to tell you this Liz. I’m 99.9% sure you have Parkinson’s.’ And that seemed a very definitive answer, so that was that.”

Despite a barrage of medication, Liz continued to deteriorate.

“We’ve been seeing all these highly qualified people for a very long time. We’ve been sort of doing exactly what they’ve suggested in terms of treatment and nothing is working.” Martin Butler, Liz’s partner
So with unflinching honesty, Liz Jackson has turned the camera on herself.

“What I’ve relied on throughout my career and throughout my life, is my capacity to think straight. And it’s the fear of losing my sense of intelligence and responsiveness and losing a sense of who you are.”

She brings her fierce intellect and penetrating questioning to try and understand her illness – interrogating her doctors and comparing experiences with fellow patients.

“I fear I’ll lose control. I hate that.”

This moving film is a collaboration between Liz, her partner Martin Butler and his colleague Bentley Dean, both highly acclaimed film makers.

“These are really devastatingly traumatic times for her, but she’s got the courage, the strength to show it like it is, you’ve got to tell it like it is.” Martin Butler

This 55-minute special program, made in partnership with the ABC, Contact Films, Screen Australia and Film Victoria will also be available on ABC iview along with a selection of Liz Jackson’s most memorable films.

A Sense of Self, reported by Liz Jackson for Contact Films, presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 21st November at 8.30pm on ABC & iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 22nd November at 10.00am and Wednesday 23rd at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEDT, ABC iview and at


###A Helluva Ride

Four Corners returns Monday 6 February at 8.30pm

“A Helluva Ride”: The Trump Revolution Begins

“My best advice for everyone is to strap in…” Former Trump Adviser

Four Corners returns for 2017 with an incisive exploration of how President Donald Trump will wield his power.

“This is a man who defies all tradition and all precedent. He is operating on his own rules, on his own instincts and I think a lot of people are having trouble keeping up.” Former US Assist. Secretary of State

Through interviews with key players in the Trump camp and the Republican Party, the program examines the political earthquake rippling across America.

“It makes a lot of people nervous…I think there’s no question.” Former US Assist. Secretary of State

In his first assignment for Four Corners, reporter Michael Brissenden draws on his experience during his time as the ABC’s Washington correspondent to explain just how revolutionary the presidency of Donald Trump is.

“I first came to Washington as a correspondent just after the inauguration of Barack Obama. America’s first black president took office promising hope and change … But this is the real watershed moment. Donald Trump’s change is disruptive and confrontational.” Michael Brissenden

He talks to those who know Trump well, asking how we should read the President’s actions.

“Donald Trump warned us from the very beginning that he’s gonna break some eggs and that’s you know…that’s what he’s doing.” Former Trump Adviser

And explores what a Trump presidency means for key issues like climate change and foreign policy.

“In our recent history, and perhaps throughout our entire history, we’ve never had a president come into office with such an unpredictable style of communication and with such alarm among our closest allies and friends.” Former National Security Adviser

Trump supporters are still savouring the President’s victory.

“We’ve needed change for a long time. We’re going to get it now. America’s going to be number one again and we’re going to get that change and we’re going to get what we want.” Trump campaign worker

While Trump’s opponents vow to fight him every step of the way in Congress and in the courts.

“If the new administration and the Republican majority in Congress thinks that this is going to be easy for them to pull the rug out from under Americans that have made that progress, they’re sadly mistaken.” Senior Democrat Congresswoman

“A Helluva Ride”, reported by Michael Brissenden and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 6th February at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 7th February at 10.00am and Wednesday 8th at 12.25am. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEDT, ABC iview and at


###Swallowing It

Monday 13 February at 8.30pm

Swallowing It: How Australians are spending billions on unproven vitamins and supplements

The figures are startling - seven out of every ten Australians take some form of vitamin or supplement. We spend more, out of our own pockets, on complementary medicines than we do on prescription drugs.

“It’s very rare to meet an Australian family that doesn’t have some form of vitamin supplements somewhere in the family.” Australian Medical Association

Spruiked by sporting heroes, acting icons and celebrity chefs, the industry is worth over four billion dollars. But there is little evidence that many of these products actually work.

“The problem we have in Australia is that the system doesn’t encourage research. You get a much more profitable return on investment from putting fifty million dollars into celebrity marketing.” Academic

Many pharmacies have shelves stacked high with vitamins and supplements, prominently displayed at the front of their shops, often sold in tandem with proven pharmaceuticals.

“If they’re after complementary medicines, then I’m happy to provide them.” Chemist

Australians are often choosing these complementary medicines as insurance against a bad diet or to ward off sickness, but the benefits are highly contested.

“We’re a nation living on tea, toast and takeaways. 90 per cent of us are deficient in our essential diets or vegetables and fruit, so of course a multivitamin plays a role.” Industry Spokesperson

“What a lot of Australian families have is very expensive urine.” Australian Medical Association

The spotlight is now being placed on the industry, with the regulator drafting changes to the way these products are sold and a government review examining whether or not pharmacies should stock them.

“We have had passionate community pharmacists decrying their fellow pharmacists for stocking complementary medicines, for stocking vitamins, for stocking homeopathy, for stocking products that have little, if any, medical credence.” Review Panellist

The program investigates how these products are regulated and marketed in Australia and whether the credibility of chemists is threatened by selling them.

“When we look at the most trusted professions, year on year on year, I’m proud to say that at the top are doctors, nurses and pharmacists. So that respect has been hard won. That’s put at risk if they’re being seen to promote treatments that increasingly the average consumer recognises might be a load of rubbish.” Australian Medical Association

Swallowing It, reported by Geoff Thompson and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 13th February at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 14th February at 10.00am and Wednesday 15th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at


###Highway to Hell

Monday 20 February at 8.30pm

Highway to Hell: A report from the frontlines in the battle against Islamic State

“That’s rocket fire. We’re getting very close now to the frontline. There are civilians here, plenty of them, but this is obviously an active combat zone.” Matt Brown

On Monday night Four Corners takes you to the battlefields of Iraq with the ABC’s award winning Middle East correspondent, Matt Brown.

“We’ve been told there’s IS in a car and four IS fighters on motor bikes that are supposed to be coming to attack …we’re a bit on edge right now.” Matt Brown

In this gripping film, Matt Brown and cameraman Aaron Hollett, capture the fight to take back the city of Mosul from the IS forces which overran the city two years ago, shocking the world with the speed and the ferocity of their victory.

“Mosul is the biggest battle anywhere on the planet this century.” David Kilcullen, Former Chief Strategist, US State Dept

The filming for this story began in October last year when Iraqi forces, backed by US and Australian air power, began their offensive to reclaim Mosul. Over the course of three journeys to the frontline, Matt and Aaron recorded the experiences of the soldiers fighting to liberate their home towns, and the civilians caught in the crossfire.

“They (IS) would target us and we would lie out on the ground so that bullets would not reach us. Shelling was like rain over our heads.” Mosul refugee

“I feel gutted. I am exhausted. We couldn’t treat her. We tried everything. We don’t have enough medical equipment. We don’t even have emergency assistance, not even ambulances for emergency.” Iraqi doctor

Despite the grief, there are moments of happiness and relief as families are reunited when the IS fighters are pushed back.

“I was running fast just to see (my mother) again. When I saw her it was a great moment. I am very happy and relieved.” Kurdish soldier

After months of fighting, government forces enter the suburbs of Mosul. But the city was far from secure, with the pair coming under fire.

“We’ve been hearing sniper rounds come in overhead - the distinctive crack or zing.” Matt Brown

And in interviews with the former commander of the Multi-National Force in Iraq, General David Petraeus and his then advisor, former Chief Strategist for the State Dept, David Kilcullen, they outline just how hard it will be to truly claim victory against IS.

“The liberation of Mosul from the Islamic State will be a very, very important achievement and a milestone in the battle against the Islamic State. But it will not mark the end of the Islamic State in Iraq or certainly in Syria.” General David Petraeus (Retd).

Highway to Hell, reported by Matt Brown and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 20th February at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 21st February at 10.00am and Wednesday 22nd at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at


###Oceans of Plastic

Monday 27 February at 8.30pm

Oceans of Plastic: What happens to the plastic we throw away?

Life without plastic is almost unimaginable. It’s become central to the way we live our lives – from everyday items like food packaging and water bottles, to sophisticated high end products. But how many of us know what happens to that plastic when we throw it away?

“We quantified and estimated that 8 million metric tonnes of plastic entered the ocean (in one year).” Environmental Engineer

Scientists say vast amounts of our discarded plastic is ending up in the ocean.

“There’s so much plastic going in and we have no idea where it is.” Oceanographer

Working out where that plastic ends up and what impact it has on our oceans has become a major concern for many marine scientists.

“Submarine pilots know when they are at the bottom of the sea because they see the plastic.” Environmental Scientist

On Monday night, Four Corners brings you this thought provoking story from French filmmaker Vincent Perazio in which he examines the work of these scientists investigating our plastic waste.

Some are undertaking research to see if plastic is making its way into the food chain, others are looking into the impact on marine life and the environment.

“It’s not worth throwing away plastic bags. You should just season them well and eat them directly because they’re going to end up back on your plate in one way or another.” Marine Scientist

“Once there is so much plastic in the seas, there is nothing to eat for the filter feeders, for the fish, for the whales.” Oceanographer

The program asks confronting questions about whether or not we need to change the way we deal with the plastics we throw away.

“It’s not about not using plastic, it’s about using them much more smartly. And what that, in my view, is going to take is rethinking the way we produce, use and dispose of plastics.” Professor of Marine Biology

Oceans of Plastic, by French filmmaker Vincent Perazio and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 27th at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 28th February at 10.00am and Wednesday 1 March at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview.


###Crown Confidential

Crown Confidential: Packer’s Losing Hand

James Packer and his Crown gambling and entertainment empire have bet big, for more than a decade on China, and its VIP gamblers. These high rollers have fuelled Crown’s booming businesses in Asia and Australia.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I have made many, many mistakes in my life, but investing in China is not one of them.” James Packer, March 14, 2013

But one night in October last year, all that was turned on its head.

“They said it felt like they were suspects of a murder investigation or a drug bust. That was just how sudden and forceful the raids were.” Reporter

Fifteen Crown employees and a number of associates were swept into custody in a carefully co-ordinated series of raids across four cities in China.

“If you are referring to the Australian nationals who were detained by Chinese authorities a few days ago on suspicion of gambling activities … gambling is illegal in China.” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson

Crown’s operations had run headlong into China’s biggest ever corruption crackdown, leaving its business model in disarray.

“This was a shot across the bows by the Chinese Government … of Crown, but it was a general warning to everybody else who was thinking about sending people to China to recruit Chinese high rollers to gamble in their casinos.” Former Hong Kong prosecutor

On Monday night Four Corners investigates what went wrong for Crown in China.

Reporter Marian Wilkinson pieces together the key characters and events in the lead up to the arrests.

“There was a certain arrogance …they wouldn’t touch us because we are, frankly speaking, we are white guys.” Casino consultant

And explores what this means for Crown’s casino business here in Australia, especially the multi-billion dollar Barangaroo project in Sydney, as the bottom falls out of their Chinese high roller market.

“If you’ve been going to Crown and you are phoned up by the local police and questioned on your movements and your past history of travel to Australia, you would be close to borderline suicidal if you were to make another trip to Australia. It’s like putting big ‘X’ across your forehead.” Casino consultant

Crown Confidential, reported by Marian Wilkinson and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 6 March at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 7 March at 10.00am and Wednesday 8th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at


Now that sounds like an awesome episode. Will be watching.


###The Price of the American Dream

Monday 13 March at 8.30pm

“I never figured I’d be in this kind of situation, for my kids to be in this kind of situation…I’m dumbfounded.”

“Make America Great Again!” was the catchcry that propelled President Donald Trump all the way to The White House. He tapped into the deep sense of unease felt by many Americans, that despite the nation’s economic recovery after the global financial crisis, they have been left behind.

“It’s a struggle every day. How am I gonna make it today? How am I gonna make money to buy food, how am I gonna make money to cook my kids dinner at night?”

On Monday night Four Corners brings you the story of those Americans desperately hoping for change - America’s shrinking middle class who are fast joining the swelling ranks of the working poor.

“Two jobs right now is nothing, like I could probably do 3 jobs if I wanted to, but then I would definitely get no sleep.”

Germania works 18 hours a day at two minimum wage jobs, but no matter how hard she works, it’s not enough. Most of her salary goes on the small motel room she shares with her children and mother-in-law. Her dreams of being a paediatrician have faded.

“You know what, I’ll do the overnight if I’m gonna get paid nine dollars and five cents…just suck it up. It’s like fifty cents more.”

Others chase work across the country. Joe, Chelsie and their three daughters arrived in Seattle hoping to find jobs in the city’s building boom. Instead, they find themselves living in a tent city set up in a church carpark.

“This is my momma’s tent. This is my family and we sleep right there and I sleep on the really bottom.”

They’re joined by others who never believed they could fall so far down the country’s economic ladder.

“To be somebody (who was) in…a top position before here, it can make you realise, did I look down on that person?”

And as companies try to cut costs and move jobs to cheaper areas, many workers are facing an uncertain future for the first time in their working lives.

“It’s not just about wages, it’s not just about benefits. It’s about treating you like you’re a human being. This isn’t a third world country that we live in, this is the United States.”

The Price of the American Dream, from French film-maker Hélène Eckmann, presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 13th March at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 14th March at 10.00am and Wednesday 15th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEDT, and at ABC iview.


###The Age of Consequences

Monday 20 March 20 8.30pm on ABC

The Age of Consequences: The Pentagon insiders with a climate change warning for the world.

“We are not your traditional environmentalists.” - Gen. Gordon Sullivan (Retd), Fmr. Chief of Staff, U.S. Army

On Monday night Four Corners brings you the views of distinguished former members of the US military and senior policy makers who warn that climate change is not only real, it’s a threat to global security.

“I’m here today not only representing my views on security implications of climate change, but on the collective wisdom of 16 admirals and generals.” - Rear Admiral David Titley (Retd), U.S. Navy

They say climate change is impacting on vital resources, migration patterns and conflict zones.

“Climate change is one of the variables that must be considered when thinking about instability in the world.” - Gen. Gordon Sullivan (Retd), Fmr. Chief of Staff, U.S. Army

Rear Admiral David Titley spent 32 years in the US military. He was the US Navy’s chief oceanographer and led the Navy’s Task Force on Climate Change. He argues climate change must be acknowledged.

“Our collective bottom line judgement is that climate change is an accelerating risk to our nation’s future.” - Rear Admiral David Titley (Retd), U.S. Navy

The film analyses the conflict in Syria, the social unrest of the Arab Spring, and the rise of groups like ISIS and how these experts believe climate change is already acting as a catalyst for conflict.

“This is the heart of the problem in many ways. Climate change arrives in a world that has already been destabilised.” - Dr Christian Parenti

Director Jared P Scott explores how water and food shortages, drought, extreme weather and rising sea-levels can act as accelerants of instability.

“We realised that climate change would be a threat multiplier for instability as people become desperate, because they have extreme weather and the seas are rising, and there are floods in one area and droughts in another, fragile states become more unpredictable.” - Sherri Goodman, Frmr. Dept Undersecretary of Defense

These Pentagon insiders say a failure to tackle climate change, conducting ‘business as usual’, would lead to profound consequences.

“It’s a very dangerous thing to decide that there is one and only one line of events heading into the future and one and only one best response for dealing with that.” - Leon Fuerth, Frmr. National Security Adviser, White House '93-'01

The Age of Consequences from PBS International, directed by Jared P Scott and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 20th March at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 21st March at 10.00am and Wednesday 22nd at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEDT and at ABC iview.