Four Corners

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f42d4e71f30>


Trashed: The dirty truth about your rubbish

Monday 7 August at 8.30pm

“I’m speaking out and blowing the whistle.” Industry Insider.

On Monday night Four Corners investigates the big business of rubbish and where it ends up.

“There’ll be an uproar when communities or residents know.” Waste company manager.

Taking out the bins is a weekly ritual but establishing what happens next is far from transparent.

“It’s a licence to print money. The people in the street have got no idea. No idea at all.” Community activist.

In interviews with insiders, reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna exposes the hidden practices occurring in several areas of the waste industry.

The program reveals how the lucrative trade in our rubbish has attracted unscrupulous operators who are gaming the system and making a fortune in the process.

“The rogue element have continued to fly under the radar and the good part of the industry have had to pay the penalty for that.” Industry insider.

Four Corners’ cameras have captured eye-opening footage of the flourishing trade in our rubbish.

“We need to lift the lid on the waste industry and show people what is actually happening.” Community activist.

Senior members of the industry say they’re taking a big risk by speaking out but believe the need for reform is too great to remain silent.

Trashed, reported by Caro Meldrum-Hanna and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 7th August at 8.30pm on ABC and ABC iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 8th August at 10.00am and Wednesday 9th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at


Caro Meldrum-Hanna is one hell of a journalist. Brilliant reporter and investigator.

Puts shows like A Current Affair to shame.

One of the few ‘journalists’ left in this country.


Has ABC lifted its game with HD programming? It looked like both Four Corners and Media Watch were in HD tonight…


I think both programs have been in HD since the start of the year.


Betting on the house

Monday 21 August 2017

Betting on the house: Australia’s real estate obsession driving us to the brink

“I think it’s a powder keg.” Investment consultant

The statistics are startling. Australians are carrying more personal debt than ever before. For every one dollar earned, on average, Australians have nearly two dollars of debt. We hold the dubious position of having the second highest level of household debt in the world. Much of this stems from our obsession with buying real estate.

The statistics are startling. Australians are carrying more personal debt than ever before. For every one dollar earned, on average, Australians have nearly two dollars of debt. We hold the dubious position of having the second highest level of household debt in the world. Much of this stems from our obsession with buying real estate.

“Housing has never been rational. In Australia, it’s probably more akin to a religion or a cult so it’s all about faith. You’re either a believer in property or you’re not.” Former banker

On Monday, Four Corners investigates the forces driving our debt fuelled housing boom and the risks it poses for the nation.

“I’ve been studying the market here for a good number of years and I have never seen this perfect storm of issues coming together.” Financial analyst

The program draws together key experts to map the danger zones in the housing market and will reveal the Australian suburbs currently experiencing the highest levels of mortgage stress.

“It’s the nightmare that you live with all the time. You wake up in the morning and you think, ‘How much longer will we be living here?’ Constantly.” Mortgage holder

Experts are warning that a wave of home owners and property investors will be unable to cope if there’s an increase in interest rates or a change in their personal circumstances.

“You’re effectively toast if you lose your job or the main breadwinner does. That’s the point of fragility that we’re at now.” Investment consultant

Regulators have been tightening the screws on lending requirements but there are concerns it’s too little too late.

“All bubbles really depend on loose credit, that’s one of the things that’s really fuelled the Australian housing market. Anyone with a pulse could essentially get a mortgage.” Economist and investment fund adviser

The program investigates the lending practices that have driven the boom in residential lending, and asks, 10 years on from the global financial crisis, if the banks are prepared for a potential crash landing.

“If there’s a shock to the economy, that potentially leads to a rise in sensitivity to the banking sector. The banks could in fact experience higher losses because households are more indebted.” Ratings agency analyst

Betting on the house, reported by Michael Brissenden and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 21st August at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 22nd August at 10.00am and Wednesday 23rd at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at



Monday 4 September 2017

Combustible: The dangerous legacy of failed regulation in the building industry

“You shouldn’t have a combustible product on the outside of a building of this type, so how has this been allowed to happen?” Fire officer

Across Australia, governments, councils and the building industry are grappling with a problem so large, it almost defies belief.

“It’s unquantifiable…” Senior Fire Officer

Residential buildings, hospitals, shopping centres and commercial buildings, have been built with flammable aluminium cladding, posing a potentially serious fire risk.

“As soon as I saw that on television that night, straight away I knew it was a cladding fire.” Cladding supplier

It took the catastrophic Grenfell Tower fire in London, which claimed at least 80 lives, to set off alarm bells here, but as Four Corners will reveal, the danger posed by this cladding should not have come as a surprise.

“You can’t tell me that if this product, by all reports, has been used widely in the industry for 10 to 30 years, that major suppliers … didn’t know where this product was going to end up.” Fire officer

On Monday, Four Corners investigates why huge amounts of this aluminium cladding has been installed on so many of our buildings, and whether a desire to cut costs won out over caution.

“We have, if you will, a builder, a certifier and a fire engineer who are incentivized to reduce cost.” Fire Engineer

Insiders say there has been a colossal failure of regulation and oversight.

“There’s people out there that would have absolutely no idea what they’re doing and they’re installing it incorrectly, and they’re the people we compete against every day.” Builder

With access to the tests now under way on suspect aluminium cladding, we reveal the enormity of the problem facing authorities and ask who will pay to remove and replace it.

“Everyone has someone else to point the finger at. The product of deregulation and self accreditation, this process of abrogation of responsibility is that no one is responsible.” Federal politician

Combustible, reported by Debbie Whitmont and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 4th September at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 5th September at 10.00am and Wednesday 6th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at


Last night’s episode of 4 Corners has caused a real stir here in Queensland.

The GC Council Mayor has barred the ABC from press conferences explicitly, as of today. Nine, Seven and other outlets attended.

The GC mayor apparently had a “cordial” relationship with the ABC prior to the documentary, but three weeks ago found out about 4 Corners’ investigation. The Mayor was invited to talk on the program but turned it down. Invitations to press conferences suddenly started “going missing” for the ABC’s Gold Coast bureau around the same time, culminating in today’s ban.

Disgusting conduct by the Mayor. Sir Joh lives on…




Sarah nailed this one. She is a great interviewer.


What’s wrong with the NBN?

Monday 23 October at 8.30pm

From the start, Australia’s National Broadband Network was billed as a game changer that would future proof the nation by delivering super fast internet services.

Almost a decade on from those promises, there’s a growing number of angry residential customers and small businesses who are bitterly disappointed with the NBN.

“I am a very, very frustrated NBN customer… What I’ve got is a trench running halfway up the driveway and a piece of PVC pipe with a rope running through it - and that’s all.” Customer

On Monday night, as the NBN reaches a milestone, passing the half-way point in its rollout, Four Corners investigates the problems fuelling this dissatisfaction.

“Nobody knows what anybody else is doing. The retail service providers don’t know what NBN Co is doing, I don’t know what either of them are doing, and NBN Co don’t seem to know what they themselves have done.” Software developer

For many Australians, the NBN has turned out to be a lottery. Not all customers are receiving the same connections. And in some regional areas there is a stark digital divide, between those with high-speed fibre to the premises, and neighbours stuck with old copper connections who worry they’re becoming digital second class citizens.

“On the left hand side as we’re driving down this street, those houses can have access to fibre to the node. On the right hand side, they’re fibre to the premises, so this is the digital divide.” Former Mayor

We examine what’s driving the decision making about the rollout, and investigate
why some customers are being short-changed on expensive data plans that fail to deliver what they promise."

“We definitely feel like we’re being ripped off.” Customer

As critics warn that Australia will soon be a decade behind its near neighbour New Zealand in the digital transformation, reporter Geoff Thompson visits New Zealand’s ‘Gigatown’, Dunedin, to look at how superfast broadband is transforming the way they do business. Back in Australia, the government insists the NBN is going to plan and will be steadily upgraded.

“The NBN will be fit for purpose. It will support the needs that Australians have. But no network, no technology, is ever set in stone. There are always upgrades.” Communications Minister

In interviews with the Communications Minister and the current and former heads of NBN Co. we examine whether a decade of politicking has compromised the ability of the NBN to deliver for all Australians.

“I just feel incredibly disappointed that an opportunity to build a first class network that would set Australia up for the future was squandered, and squandered for the wrong reasons.” Former NBN executive

What’s wrong with the NBN? Reported by Geoff Thompson and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 23rd October at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 24th October at 1.00pm and Wednesday 25th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at


Inside the tax havens of the rich and powerful.

Monday 6 November

A Four Corners exclusive: Inside the tax havens of the rich and powerful.

“You’re talking about the biggest corporations in the world. They hide their money and move their money around the world so that they pay less tax.”

On Monday Four Corners will take you inside the secretive world of tax havens where corporations and the wealthy operate far from public view.

“We’re seeing things that people never thought would see the light of day.”

In an investigation that spans the globe, Four Corners will reveal the lengths some of the world’s most powerful business figures and global corporations are going to, to avoid paying tax.

“In the tax world, the line between law and illegality is always fuzzy.”

As tax authorities in Australia and across the globe try to claw back money from the big multinationals, reporter Marian Wilkinson will show how a web of offshore operators help organise elaborate international tax avoidance schemes.

“I think the public has a right to know what we’re going to reveal.”

Inside the tax havens of the rich and powerful, reported by Marian Wilkinson and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 6th November at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 7th November at 1.00pm and Wednesday 8th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at


Turns out the ABC was one of more than 100 media outlets around the world (Fairfax included) involved in the investigation into the Paradise Papers, the largest leak of documents in history which has exposed the tax secrets of a host of large multinational companies, the subject of tonight’s episode. When I heard the report on radio this morning I was shocked to hear that the Queen and U2 singer Bono were both alleged to have foreign investments.


Malcolm in a muddle

Monday 13 November at 8.30pm

In the week the same sex marriage survey results will be announced, Four Corners will take you into the battle for control raging inside the Liberal Party.

As reporter Michael Brissenden will show, whatever the results of the postal survey, the politicking will be far from over.

“If you don’t want to be prepared to be part of the team, get out!” Former Liberal Premier

When Malcom Turnbull took the leadership of the Liberal Party he promised to do things differently, end the slogans and act decisively. But for the last two years he’s been unable to stamp his authority on his government.

“Malcolm Turnbull has a difficulty, as every leader does in keeping us all together and ultimately history will tell as to how successful he has been in that.” Former Cabinet Minister

The Prime Minister has been held back by the conservative forces in the party, stoked by the man he deposed, Tony Abbott.

“Their ideological beliefs are stronger for them than their desire to provide good government.” Liberal historian

Divisive debates inside the party over same sex marriage, energy policy and climate change have become proxy wars for the bitter internal battle underway.

“2017 is a pretty exciting time to be a conservative activist in this country.” Social conservative activist

Social conservative activists are feeling energised and more confident by the day and as Four Corners will show, they’re playing a long game to take over the direction of the party, branch by branch.

“We’re trying to give the power to the membership. So if you want to call that a power grab I’ll wear that any day of the week.” Social conservative activist

These activists warn that if they’re unsuccessful in taking control of the party, they’ll take their votes elsewhere.

“I believe Cory Bernardi could be the Australian Ronald Reagan.” Social conservative activist

In what will become a momentous week in Australian politics, Four Corners examines the Liberal Party’s identity crisis and what it means for Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership.

“At some stage, even he must realise, as I think the rank and file of the party have realised, that this sort of division is unacceptable.” Former Liberal Premier

Malcolm in a muddle, reported by Michael Brissenden and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 13th November at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 14th November at 1.00pm and Wednesday 15th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC iview and at


The Murphy Scandal

Monday 20 November at 8.30pm

Unlocking the secrets that brought down a High Court judge.

“Lionel Murphy was a figure of enormous controversy. He was a visionary (but) Lionel played fast and loose.” Political commentator

Justice Lionel Murphy was one of the most senior political and legal figures in Australia. He was also at the centre of one of the most extraordinary scandals in our nation’s history.

“He sat at the apex of the Australian system of government, at the apex of the Australian constitution. He sat on the High Court.” Political reporter

During the 1980s, he was engulfed in a wave of allegations, from claims he was caught on tape during an illegal police bugging operation ending with criminal charges of perverting the course of justice and an inquiry into whether he should be removed from the High Court.

Australia had never seen a scandal like it and it electrified the nation.

“He loved the exercise of power. He thrived on the exercise of power, but the exercise of power always involves unsavoury activity to a certain extent or other.” Political commentator

Now this sensational chapter in Australia’s history has been reopened with the release of documents kept secret for 30 years.

“These papers open a Pandora’s Box on the sleazy and murky world of Australian politics 30 and 40 years ago. They’ve been under lock and key all that period of time.” Political reporter

On Monday, Four Corners takes you into the heart of this story with powerful first hand accounts from many of the key players in this astonishing saga. Some are speaking publicly for the first time in 30 years.

“He then said to me, ‘And now, what about my little mate?’ Just like that.” Former chief magistrate

Some reveal material that has never been seen before.

“All the pages of it were stapled up with old bits of paper, coloured paper, so I tore off lots of these paper and I started reading.” Judge’s wife

Many paid a high price for their involvement.

“Life was not easy at the time, and in restaurants he was called ‘a dog’ and people shouted at him.” Judge’s wife
The scandal bitterly divided those who knew Murphy.

“People either loved him or hated him and maybe both reactions were exaggerated.” Academic

Today, the Murphy allegations are provoking as much passion and controversy as they did three decades ago.

“I wish that the stuff was not out. I wish that none of it had ever happened. I wish that this programme wasn’t being prepared.” Former Attorney General

The Murphy Scandal, reported by Debbie Whitmont and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 20th November at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 21st November at 1.00pm and Wednesday 22nd at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at


University of Canberra student Ping Lu is suing the ABC and Fairfax in the Victorian Supreme Court, seeking damages, cost and interest, relating to a June 5 episode of Four Corners on Chinese Communist Party’s influence in Australia. She alleged in a statement of claim that the program selectively edited the original interview to make her look like a spy for the Chinese government.


Four Corners gains four new members

ABC investigative flagship Four Corners will add four outstanding journalists to its award-winning team in 2018: reporters Louise Milligan, Sophie McNeill and Sean Nicholls and producer Lesley Robinson.

Louise Milligan has broken a succession of major stories while a reporter on 7.30, including the allegations of sexual abuse against Cardinal George Pell. Her book Cardinal recently won a Walkley Award and the Sir Owen Dixon NSW Law Reporter of the Year Award. She has reported two stories for Four Corners this year, “Inside the Greens” and “After the Game”.

Sophie McNeill is one of Australia’s finest foreign correspondents and video journalists, and is currently based in Jerusalem as a Middle East Correspondent. Her outstanding journalism has earned her many accolades, including three Walkley Awards.

Sean Nicholls has earned a reputation as a top-class political reporter and investigative journalist during his career at Fairfax Media, where he rose through the ranks to become State Political Editor on The Sydney Morning Herald, a role he held from 2010.

Lesley Robinson is one of the ABC’s most experienced current affairs producers, honing her skills as a first-rate journalist and storyteller during 17 years at 7.30.

Four Corners Executive Producer Sally Neighbour said: “The addition of these outstanding journalists will further cement Four Corners’ position as the standard bearer of the finest investigative journalism.”

The newcomers join a stellar team that also includes reporters Sarah Ferguson, Caro Meldrum-Hanna, Michael Brissenden, Linton Besser and Debbie Whitmont.

Four Corners returns on 5 February 2018.


The Monday gang is back

Monday 5 February
8:00pm Australian Story
8:30pm Four Corners
9:15pm Media Watch
9:35pm Q&A



Monday 5 February at 8.30pm

The Billion Dollar Bust: Inside the undercover sting to catch the world’s most wanted money launderer.
“I always kind of liken him to a James Bond villain. He…was a bad dude in the money laundering business.” US DEA Agent

He’s the financial mastermind who laundered money for the world’s most dangerous terrorists and criminals. An underworld banker, washing billions of dollars of dirty money. His operations stretched across the globe, helping everyone from Mexican drug cartels to bikie gangs hide their criminal profits. He also operated right here in Australia.

“There’s no doubt hundreds of millions was going from Australia through that network. And there’s also no doubt that worldwide that network was also responsible for billions of dollars of money laundering.” NSW Police Officer

Wanted around the world, he evaded capture for decades until an unprecedented international police operation, initiated by Australia, set out to take him down.

“Here we are putting on the table a major threat, and a major target. Working with another international agency, then putting together a strategy and then coordinating this. Yes, it put the Agency, it put Australia on the map.” Australian law enforcement chief

With exclusive access, Four Corners takes you inside this extraordinary international covert operation.

“We were posing as drug traffickers and we had money to be laundered.” US DEA agent

Australian law enforcement officers and their international counterparts reveal how they set the nerve-wracking trap to reel the money man in.

“I was confident in the undercover, I was confident in the case agents and the group. However, there’s a level of anxiety when you’re managing it all, that it’s got to go, and there was a lot of sleepless nights over a few months.” US DEA Agent

The finale of the sting was like a scene from a Hollywood thriller.

“I can’t believe this is really happening, this is a pretty amazing moment.” US DEA Agent

The high stakes undercover law enforcement investigation shows the sheer scale of trans-national crime in an age of globalisation and how much the underworld relies on criminal financiers.

“Money laundering is the backbone of organised crime. Money laundering is designed to hide proceeds of crime, and the techniques that are used are vast.” NSW Police officer

The Billion Dollar Bust, reported by Linton Besser and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 5th February at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 6th February at 1.00pm and Wednesday 7th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEDT, ABC iview and at



Monday 12 February at 8.30pm

Behind Closed Doors: The domestic workers treated like slaves in Australia.

“It looked beautiful from the outside, but what was happening to me inside was a very bad situation.” Escaped worker

They are the hidden workforce kept behind closed doors. Domestic workers, in Australia, living in slave like conditions and made to work around the clock.

“It’s incredible to think that in the heart of Australia, that these sort of 19th century practices are taking place.” Lawyer

Their employers stand accused of using their wealth, power and privilege to exploit these workers.

“She couldn’t risk falling asleep, yet she was so tired from being up since 5 o’clock in the morning.” Husband

“He did everything for them, he was their house servant. He washed and cooked and cleaned. He did the gardening. …He was there, basically, as a man-servant.” Lawyer

Alone and often without any money, these domestic workers say they found themselves trapped.

“I was like a prisoner. I was like in a prison cell, like in a box or in a room. All you see is the four corners of it every day. I cannot even open a window.” Escaped worker

Their only way out is to escape.

“In the dead of night…I drove the car in, I loaded it up, and got her out of there.” Husband

This powerful Four Corners reveals disturbing cases of extreme overwork and underpayment and explains why those responsible are getting away with it.

“This is not a one-off case and it’s not some sort of fantastic story. It’s happening now… in Australia.” Lawyer

Behind Closed Doors, reported by Louise Milligan and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 12th February at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 13th February at 1.00pm and Wednesday 14th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEDT, ABC iview and at


City of Ghosts

Monday 19 February at 8.30pm


“That really was surreal…being in a house where so many notorious things happened.” Reporter, Matt Brown.

For four long years Islamic State ruled its “caliphate” from its capital, the city of Raqqa. IS propaganda painted it as a pure paradise and extremists travelled from around the globe to join the terror group. From the outside, there were only glimpses of what life was really like.

Now the city is giving up its secrets.

“Driving into Raqqa, there’s an eerie calm and breathtaking destruction as far as the eye can see.” Reporter, Matt Brown.

On Four Corners Middle East correspondent Matt Brown goes on an intense journey into the city freed from Islamic State dictatorship.

“Every day there’s explosions. You can hear from civilians going home, trying to reclaim their house, trying to pick up the pieces of what’s left of their house.” Anti-IS fighter

Everywhere there are reminders of the regime’s brutality.

“They had large plasma TVs so that children would watch punishments, death and executions. That was mandatory.” Raqqa resident

Emerging from the rubble, the survivors talk about the risks they took to defy Islamic State.

“Education under IS rule was forbidden…I secretly sent my younger children to a private teacher. We were afraid of course, very afraid. I just wanted them to learn how to read and write.” Father

In the ruins lies evidence of the desperate attempts IS fighters took to disguise themselves as the city fell.

“That’s IS beard hair. When they lost…they shaved their beards so no one would recognise them.” Anti-IS fighter

In this city of ghosts, reporter Matt Brown goes in search of the foreign fighters who streamed into the area and makes a gripping discovery.

“Using the co-ordinates, I track our path as we close in.” reporter, Matt Brown.

City of Ghosts, reported by Matt Brown and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 19th February at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 20th February at 1.00pm and Wednesday 22nd at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEDT, ABC iview and at