Let’s hope it’s better than the episode they did about the Liberal leadership spill a few months ago which was underwhelming
Tonight’s final episode for those interested
Monday 4 February
8:30pm Four Corners Season Return
Escape From Saudi
Monday 4 February at 8:30pm
The women who make it and the ones who don’t.
“My name is Rahaf Mohammed. I’m 18 years old… They have my passport and tomorrow they will force me to go back…Please help me. They will kill me.” Rahaf Al Qunun.
It was a voice of desperation, an urgent SOS to the world. A Saudi teenager, trapped in transit, on the run from her family and the Saudi state, hoping to make it to Australia.
“I planned my escape…I planned it at dawn, paid for my tickets, left in the morning while my family slept and arrived at the airport.” Rahaf Al Qunun.
Within hours #saverahaf lit up social media and set off global headlines.
“There was no going back for Rahaf now…I couldn’t live with myself if this was a real person and I didn’t do what I could to help her.” Author.
Four Corners reporter Sophie McNeill flew to Bangkok, slipped past security and joined Rahaf Al Qunun as the young woman barricaded herself inside the room.
“An official…has just knocked on the door and tried to get Rahaf to leave, she’s refused… they’ve tried all sorts of ways of enticing her out of the room.” Sophie McNeill, reporter.
On Monday Four Corners reveals how the extraordinary events unfolded, using exclusive previously unseen video recorded by both Sophie McNeill and Rahaf herself. The program captures moments of high tension, despair and eventual jubilation when Rahaf is offered asylum in Canada.
Rahaf is one of the lucky ones; not every woman gains her freedom. In this dramatic investigation, Four Corners reveals how Australia has become a hotspot for women attempting to escape the oppressive Saudi regime. Not everyone makes it.
“They beat her. They taped her mouth shut. They bound her arms and legs together, and dragged her onto a plane kicking and screaming, and nobody did anything. This is a grown woman.” Author.
The program shows the tactics used and the pressure applied to try to stop these young women.
“The Saudi state is active in exerting its diplomatic influence to try to interdict them.” Human rights investigator.
Those lucky enough to make it to Australia say they are still at risk. The investigation has uncovered multiple cases of Saudi women here in Australia, living in fear, telling reporter Sophie McNeill of the attempts to intimidate or trick them into returning them home.
“They are trying to reach the girls and speak to them to convince them to return back to Saudi.” Saudi woman in Australia.
Escape from Saudi, reported by Sophie McNeill and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 4th February at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 5th February at 1.00pm and Wednesday 6th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
Sarah Ferguson is leaving the show later this year to move to Beijing, to take up the role of ABC’s China bureau chief.
Anything on Tony Jones and Q&A?
Meet the scammers
Monday 11 February at 8:30pm
The cyber criminals breaking hearts and stealing billions.
“The criminals involved in this are definitely masters of manipulation. This is their job and they’re very good at it, and they’re very proud of being good at it.” Cyber scam expert.
Their voices are persuasive, their emails insistent and they are proven to be remarkably successful at conning countless people into handing over their money.
“When you have an appreciation for how big and sophisticated it is, this machine that’s behind it that’s targeting them, that’s where it sorts of tends to awaken one.” Police officer.
Internet scamming began in the early days of email with appeals from Nigerian ‘princes’ asking for help to regain their missing money. From those amateurish beginnings, the scammers watched, learned and refined their techniques. What started out as a simple scam from West Africa has now morphed into a global enterprise, conning people on an industrial scale.
“West African cybercrime is the biggest threat that we see on the internet today. It eclipses all the other threats that we’ve seen that are financially motivated.” Cyber security investigator.
On Monday Four Corners investigates how these scams operate, uncovering an online marketplace where fake identities and criminal skills are bought and sold.
“They offer Facebook profiles for sale, they offer pictures of uniformed servicemen for sale, they offer the backstory and kind of how you get started.” Retired US army colonel.
Reporter Sean Rubinsztein-Dunlop travelled to Ghana to meet the scammers and watch them at work.
“The best targets are people who are divorced or widowed.” Scammer.
At the heart of their business is the ‘romance scam’, where criminals, often posing as lovelorn US soldiers, convince their victims to send them money.
“Over the course of the last two years, I’ve reported over 3,000 accounts to Facebook of scammers using my pictures to steal money from women.” Retired US army colonel.
For some, the romance scam is just the start of the nightmare, with victims used to launder money or conned into trafficking drugs, with devastating consequences.
“When they opened it and tested it and told me what it was, I was in complete shock, complete shock.” Drug mule.
And there’s growing evidence that the scammers are not only targeting Australian victims, they’re also setting up operations right here.
Meet the scammers, reported by Sean Rubinsztein-Dunlop, goes to air on Monday 11th February at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 12th February at 1.00pm and Wednesday 13th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
Monday 18 February at 8.30pm
“I’m a hired gun to help either large corporates or governments to get back what is rightfully theirs.” Asset recovery agent.
As China has transformed itself into an economic powerhouse, billions of dollars have been illegally spirited out of the country. A large amount has made its way here to Australia.
“I think it’s been well understood for a number years that Australia has been a target location for hot money… We’ve seen that activity increase exponentially over the last number of years.” Financial crimes investigator.
Chinese authorities want the money back, and they’ve sent a clear message to anyone who has broken their rules - we will find you and your money.
“It seems as if there’s more than enough evidence that at least in jurisdictions like…Australia, the US and America, coercive tactics were used to force people back to China.” Transnational crime expert.
Now China has opened up a new front in its war on those accused of financial crimes. On Monday Four Corners will reveal the new tactics being used by Chinese authorities to take back money they believe has been stashed illegally in Australia.
“The mission is a recovery of funds that have been filtered from China to Australia.” Private investigator.
A new breed of financial bounty hunters is on the case, and their target is Australian real estate.
“There’s what we’re referring to as a cluster of properties… Most of them, or all of them waterfront, luxuriously appointed.” Security consultant.
With exclusive access to these investigators, reporter Mark Willacy sees first hand the extraordinary lengths they are going to.
“We can sell it and return the money back to China. Everyone’s happy…it’s a legal plan. There’s no drama.” Private investigator.
With questions being asked about the legality of their actions and the reach of the Chinese state, it’s a high risk operation.
“I think they have to tread carefully. One of the challenges they’ve got is that they need to walk a very, very narrow line.” Financial crimes investigator.
For the recovery agents themselves, they believe they are onto a financial winner.
“There’s a huge opportunity to develop and exploit this business channel, especially when it comes to Chinese money of dubious origin that has parked itself in Australia.” Asset recovery agent.
Project Dragon, reported by Mark Willacy, goes to air on Monday 18th February at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 19th February at 1.00pm and Wednesday 20th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
Monday 25 February at 8.30pm
“We’re criminalising more women than ever before.” Prisoner rights activist.
“I have been to prison five times… I have been to prison for break and enter, driving while disqualified, driving under the influence of ice and escape police custody.” Bekki.
Bekki has just walked out of prison after serving a six-month jail sentence. The cameras are rolling as she takes her first steps.
“It’s great to be out…I’ve got some underwear, some papers and $50 and that’s it.” Bekki.
She’s part of a fast growing group of criminals sentenced to jail in Australia. Across the nation, there are now more women in prison than ever before. And once they’re out they’re very likely to reoffend and end up back inside.
“I’ve been to prison four times. I was in prison for drug dealing. The hardest thing about staying out of prison is dealing with the isolation, the judgements, the stigma.” Fran.
On Monday Four Corners investigates why so many women are going to jail by meeting three women who know exactly what it’s like.
“Women’s prisons are filled with stories of people like me.” Bekki.
Filmed over three months, Bekki, Fran and Donna give raw and compelling accounts of their lives as they begin again on the outside.
“I need a job and I need a job fast. I am willing to do anything, you know, clean toilets if I have to. I don’t care.” Fran.
Each one must overcome their own demons while convincing the world around them that they are worth another chance.
“I have been to prison more than 30 times…The hardest thing for me to stay out of prison is being judged for my criminal history.” Donna.
The vast majority of women who land in prison have been physically or sexually abused. Many have turned to drugs, and then a life of crime. Their chances of rehabilitation are made harder as they often struggle to find work, housing and support on the outside.
“No one wants to employ you when there’s 100 other applicants that don’t have criminal records. So why would they want to employ you? Sometimes I feel like I’m just beating my head against a brick wall.” Fran.
The camera captures the highs and lows as they search for accommodation and a job.
“It would be lovely to be able to help her, she’s a person that is in housing need. It’s really sad and you know you want to help everybody [but] you can’t.” Emergency Housing co-ordinator.
Despite their troubled histories, Bekki, Fran and Donna make progress. Their experiences give real insight into how to break the cycle.
“It’s a whole new chapter in my life absolutely. Only good things come from here. I’ve got such a good feeling. I’ve got such a good feeling, there’s hope, it’s given me hope.” Fran.
Criminalising Women, produced by Janine Cohen, goes to air on Monday 25th February at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 26th February at 1.00pm and Wednesday 27th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
Guilty: The conviction of Cardinal Pell
Monday 4 March at 8:30pm
On Monday, Four Corners reveals how Australia’s highest ranking Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, was brought to justice.
“He was a man that was so high up in the hierarchy that you, he believed, he was untouchable.” Former choirboy
The conviction of the Cardinal for sexual offences against two teenage boys was suppressed by the court. Now the story of what happened to them can be told.
“I’m just disgusted. I’m just disgusted in the whole, I’m disgusted in the Catholic Church.” Father
Those central to the case are speaking out for the first time to reporter Louise Milligan.
“It’s let people down. It let my son down.” Father
An unmissable episode of Four Corners.
Guilty - the conviction of Cardinal Pell, reported by Louise Milligan, goes to air on Monday 4th March at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 5thMarch at 1.00pm and Wednesday 6th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and atabc.net.au/4corners.
Victoria’s director of public prosecutions, Kerri Judd QC, has written to as many as 50 individual publishers, editors, broadcasters, reporters and subeditors at the media giants News Corp Australia, Nine Entertainment, the ABC, Crikey and several smaller publications, accusing them of breaching a nationwide suppression order imposed during the case.
Show-cause notices were sent to the journalists in early February saying that they had potentially interfered with the administration of justice and scandalised the court.
The mystery of the missing princess
Monday 11 March at 8.30pm
“Hello, my name is Latifa Al Maktoum… My father is the Prime Minister of UAE and the ruler of Dubai.’” Princess Latifa Al Maktoum
Most Australians had probably never heard of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum till his horse Cross Counter won the Melbourne Cup last year after a two-decade campaign. Now he’s in the headlines again, for a very different reason.
“If you are watching this video, it’s not such a good thing. Either I’m dead or I’m in a very, very, very bad situation.” Princess Latifa
Last year, his daughter, the Princess Latifa, then aged 32, ran away to escape a life of regal confinement in the hyper wealthy financial hub and tourist destination of Dubai. She took the precaution of recording a video, with instructions to release it if anything happened to her.
“They will for sure try to discredit this video and say it’s a lie or it’s an actress or something.” Princess Latifa
After fleeing first by car and then jetski, Latifa was dramatically re-captured on a boat in international waters by armed men.
“They put a gun to my face, they told me ‘close your eyes or I kill you’.” Captain
In heart stopping interviews, those on-board recount how the events unfolded.
“She continued screaming and kicking and trying to get away. And that’s the last time I’ve seen my friend.” Friend
Far from silencing her, Latifa’s capture and forced return to Dubai has focused world attention on the dark side of the gleaming desert metropolis.
“This is a country that has designed itself to be both the glittering diamond for the world, but it’s absolutely one of the most repressing countries in the region.” Human rights researcher
This gripping film from the BBC also investigates the story of Latifa’s sister Shamsa. She too was recaptured after going on the run in Britain.
“Kidnap is a major offence, and it’s not every day that an allegation involving a head of state lands on a police officer’s desk.” British Detective Police Inspector
The program examines how Dubai’s ruler has been able to bring pressure to bear based on his country’s financial and defence ties.
“They have so much political leverage, they have been so clever in their public relations campaign, in developing an image of their city and of their country. They know they can get away with disappearing her.” Human rights activist
The mystery of the missing princess, from the BBC, goes to air on Monday 11th March at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 12th March at 1.00pm and Wednesday 13th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
The Uber Story
Monday 18 March at 8.30pm
How the ruthless ride share giant outwitted regulators and crushed competitors.
“I think of it as the digital equivalent of that ‘greed is good’ mentality - the Gordon Gekko mentality, but in a digital space, which is, ‘We will do this. We can do this, and no one’s going to stop us’.” Digital economy analyst
Uber is one of the most recognisable brands in the world. It’s embedded itself in our language and revolutionised the way we think about transport. Since emerging nine years ago on the streets of San Francisco, the edgy digital disruptor has upended an entire industry business model and made ride sharing cool. And Australians love it.
“In Australia, we now have some of the most progressive ride-sharing laws globally… Nearly 4 million Australians use Uber on a regular basis.” Uber Australia MD
But Uber’s ride to success has been far from smooth. Behind the slick marketing an aggressive corporate culture has been at work.
“I’ve heard it described as kind of a modern wild west approach, where if there’s a market there to be taken, we’re just going to take it. Just try and stop us.” Digital economy analyst
On Monday Four Corners investigates how Uber has been outfoxing regulators and outmuscling its competitors in Australia and around the world.
“Uber is a very significant technological company, but some of its technology is not about providing better services to the community.” Taxi industry leader
Using sophisticated cyber weaponry, the company has deployed an astonishing array of tools enabling it to dominate the ride-sharing game.
“(The) ThreatOps team inside of Uber was pretty much made up of a bunch of ex CIA, FBI type guys who would travel around the world, spending millions of dollars… Spy type stuff that is kind of crazy to go on at a tech company.” Technology reporter
Despite its undisputed popularity, Uber has yet to make a profit, and questions are being asked about the financial health of the company.
“To turn around four, four and half billion dollars of losses into steady growing profits would be one of the greatest corporate turnarounds of an operating company in history.” Transport analyst
A series of corporate scandals and bruising court battles has put the company under further pressure.
“We made mistakes. I’ll acknowledge that and at the same time, I think it’s important how you recover from those mistakes and how you grow.” Uber senior executive
Uber is banking on selling a vision, way beyond ride sharing, to secure its future. Four Corners has been given access to the company’s global tech hub where engineers are working on everything from electric scooters to flying taxis, with several Australian cities on the shortlist for Uber Air.
“By providing unlimited access to the sky the Uber mega skyport becomes a destination that reclaims more than just time.” Uber advertisement
While Uber is looking to the future, others are still counting the cost of its arrival.
“It’s a real threat to the future of restaurants, full stop.” Uber Eats supplier
The Uber Story, reported by Sean Nicholls, goes to air on Monday 18th March at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 19th March at 1.00pm and Wednesday 20th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
Under the Radar
Monday 25 March at 8:30pm
The Christchurch massacre and the rise of right-wing extremism.
“Grafton is a monochrome, traditional, beautiful little country town. We now have… the distinction of having given the world a gentleman who’s turned out to be Australia’s worst mass murderer.” Grafton resident.
The terror attack in the New Zealand city of Christchurch appalled the world. The indiscriminate shooting of 50 Muslim worshippers during Friday prayers was calculated to spread fear and a message of right-wing terror.
“My feeling is that he chose New Zealand because it was a soft target in terms of security and perhaps, he chose it to illustrate that even a relatively tolerant quiet society on the very edge of the world was not immune to terrorism.” Far-right extremism researcher.
On Monday, Four Corners investigates how the Australian born accused killer was able to operate under the radar.
“They go to these forums where they can talk about this stuff safely. No-one knows who they are… They can talk about that far right violent extremism there, where they can talk about hating and, and killing.” Former right-wing extremist.
The plot was intricately planned, harnessing the tools and the power of the internet, to amplify the terror to a global audience.
“He’s made it clear by his own recording that he was driven by hatred of Muslims and by racist ideas, and he identifies as a white supremacist, although he may not be able to spell those words, but they’re the kind of cultural values that he’s tied himself.” Grafton resident.
The attack brought to light the violent and disturbing right-wing extremist movement that is flourishing on the internet and finding a home in both New Zealand and Australia.
“I guess people don’t realise, there’s all these far-right groups out there.” Former right-wing extremist.
The program investigates whether authorities have been so focused on Islamic extremism that they’ve failed to grasp another deadly threat, the rise of far-right white supremacists.
“I’m aware that intelligence agencies have been monitoring these groups, but my concern is that what they’ve done is that they’ve tended to focus on Islamic terrorism at the expense of really paying enough attention to the extreme right.” Extremist researcher.
Under the radar, reported by Sean Rubinsztein-Dunlop, goes to air on Monday 25th March at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 26th March at 1.00pm and Wednesday 27th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
Climate of Change
Monday 1 April at 8:30pm
The struggle to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate change policy has been one of the most divisive issues in modern Australian political history. It has brought down governments and toppled political leaders.
At times the debate has become so polarised that the average Australian could be forgiven for tuning out.
With a Federal election looming, Four Corners brings the debate back to what is actually happening in the nation right now.
So much focus has been placed on energy policy, electricity prices and the role of coal, but this is only one part of the picture.
Four Corners walks you through key areas of everyday life and industrial production which fuel our carbon emissions - from the cars we drive, the animals we breed to gas we export.
The program investigates whether Australia is on track to deliver on the targets the nation has pledged to fulfil, and what effect the policies of successive governments have had on our emissions.
With activists on both sides of the debate pushing to make the Federal poll a climate election, this is a must watch Four Corners.
Climate of Change, reported by Stephanie March, goes to air on Monday 1st April at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 2nd April at 1.00pm and Wednesday 3rd at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
Monday 8 April at 8:30 pm
New evidence of China’s covert political influence campaign in Australia.
“We’ve had multiple briefings at the top-secret level from ASIO and other agencies that foreign interference is being conducted in Australia at an unprecedented level.” Federal Intelligence and Security Committee member.
In 2017, Four Corners, in a joint investigation with The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, revealed the lengths the Chinese Communist Party was going to, to influence Australia’s politicians. In response, the federal government passed new laws to ban foreign interference.
“Political systems and parties just took what they could for as long as they could get away with it.” Former prime ministerial adviser.
Now, in a new investigation, the joint reporting team can reveal fresh and compelling evidence of covert Beijing-backed political activity taking place in Australia.
“Chinese foreign policy is now following a much more assertive and, in some cases, aggressive approach.” China analyst.
The investigation has uncovered secret information gathering operations targeting sensitive Australian intelligence analysis. And despite the new laws, there is evidence that Australian politicians have not listened to the warnings issued by Australia’s own intelligence agencies.
“The Chinese Communist Party has sought to use all sorts of vehicles to have non-transparent mechanisms, means of influencing the politics in Australia and elsewhere.” Former prime ministerial adviser.
Politicians are not the only ones receiving Beijing’s attention. The investigation will reveal how Chinese authorities are stifling dissenting voices by targeting members of the Chinese-Australian community who fail to toe the party line.
“There is always a red line that everyone is actually quite afraid of crossing…because of repercussions from the Chinese consulate or the Chinese government.” Newspaper publisher.
Interference, reported by Nick McKenzie, goes to air on Monday 8th April at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 9th April at 1.00pm and Wednesday 10th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
Orphans of ISIS
Monday 15 April at 8.30pm
A grandmother’s desperate journey to rescue her children and bring them home.
“Just because their last name is Sharrouf, [it] doesn’t mean they are monsters.” Karen Nettleton.
On Monday Four Corners exclusively brings you the story of the Sharrouf children and their grandmother’s epic fight to find them and bring them home to Australia.
“I’d never thought I’d be in this situation ever. I mean trying to get children out of Syria. I’m just a grandma from the suburbs.” Karen Nettleton.
If there was one family that represented the alarming tide of Australians flocking to the black flag of Islamic State, it was the Sharroufs. The children of the notorious jihadist Khaled Sharrouf were taken to the self-declared caliphate in 2014. The world learned of them after their father published pictures of his eldest son holding the severed head of an IS prisoner, sending shockwaves around the world.
“This image… is really one of the most disturbing, stomach-turning, grotesque photographs ever displayed - of a seven-year-old child holding a severed head up with pride and with the support and encouragement of a parent.” Then US Secretary of State, John Kerry.
For five years their grandmother, Karen Nettleton, has been trying to reach the children and bring them home.
“She is not going to give up. She once said ‘Don’t underestimate this nanna’. And sure as day follows night, no matter how depressed and upset she is, she picks herself up.” Robert Van Aalst, lawyer.
She has mounted several rescue missions, with each one ending in failure. Now, in Syria, she’s making a last-ditch effort to save them from a squalid refugee camp.
“I just hope today is the day I get them. If not, I will try again tomorrow and the next day because I’m not going home without them.” Karen Nettleton.
Reporter Dylan Welch and producer Suzanne Dredge have documented the family’s experience for four years, travelling with the children’s grandmother as she tries to convince the authorities in Syria and Australia to release the family into her care and allow them to return home.
“Are my children a risk to Australia? Absolutely not, absolutely not. No way.”
What happened to this family over the years they lived in the IS caliphate has remained untold. Now on Four Corners, you will see and hear their story.
Orphans of ISIS, reported by Dylan Welch, goes to air on Monday 15th April at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 16th April at 1.00pm and Wednesday 17th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
Monday 29 April at 8.30pm
The controversial police technique putting innocent people behind bars.
“When I finally realised what had happened in that interrogation room, it was like an ‘Oh my God’ moment.” Former homicide detective
The idea that anyone would willingly confess to a crime they didn’t commit sounds unbelievable, particularly when the punishment may be life in prison or even the death penalty.
“They get to a breaking point where they decide that it is in their best interest to confess.” Professor of Psychology
But a series of high-profile cases across America has revealed a slew of wrongful convictions based on false confessions and placed the spotlight on a widely used police interrogation technique designed to make people confess.
“Anybody who’s been the victim of a high-pressure sales tactic knows what this feels like. Anybody who says that they would never ever confess to a crime that they didn’t do, they haven’t been under this sort of pressure.” Former homicide detective
The technique sees police officers wage psychological war on suspects through a nine step interrogation process.
“If you let him talk, he’ll say the words, ‘I didn’t do it.’ And the more often a person says they didn’t do it, the more difficult it becomes for us to get a confession.” Interrogation training video.
Wrongful conviction investigators say the process is a travesty of justice.
“It is not based on any science whatsoever. It is just based on their own observations. The real science says its baloney, it doesn’t work. And, when they have done experiments with it, they pretty much show that the accuracy is like flipping a coin. It’s 50/50.” Former homicide detective
One man, who spent almost his entire adult life in jail for a murder he didn’t commit, tells of how he was convinced to confess to a shocking crime.
“I was just ready to do whatever they wanted me to do. Whatever you want me to sign, I’m signing so, in my mind, once I got an attorney, he would be able to do what’s necessary to show that I was innocent, and I didn’t commit this crime.” Former prisoner
Another, locked up for two decades, say no amount of compensation can match what he has been through.
“They could have offered me 100 million dollars. Would it give me comfort? Yes…but that doesn’t give me my years back.” Former prisoner.
The families who fought to free them say they were badly let down by law enforcement.
“They took an oath to help, to save lives and fight for people. And they did not do that, not in my son’s case. They were comfortable. They were satisfied that they had a man, and that’s all they really wanted, was a body. So, they took my son, for 21 years and 12 days.”
Lawyers warn that wrongful convictions will continue to occur without changes to the justice system.
“There is a culture of unaccountability. And, police officers know that they can engage in misconduct that has nothing to do with solving a crime and everything to do with pointing the finger at, perhaps, the easiest person to point the finger at. And, there will be no consequence. And so, it happens over, and over, and over in the United States.” Lawyer
The Interrogation, a film by Laurent Richard for Premiere Lignes, goes to air on Monday 29th April at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 30th April at 1.00pm and Wednesday 1st May at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
Monday 6 May at 8.30pm
The universities making billions out of foreign students.
“In terms of attracting international students, universities will do whatever they need to do…they are the cash cows. There is no doubt about it.” Academic
Across Australia the university business is booming. Higher education institutions that only a few years ago were cash strapped are now flush with billions of dollars brought in from fee paying international students.
“Australia is one of the most successful international educators, particularly in its universities, in the world.” University Vice Chancellor
But there are growing concerns about the consequences of the overseas student boom.
“The course that I was teaching was part of the master’s course, and I just felt that these people weren’t up to it, and the university didn’t care.” Academic
On Monday, Four Corners investigates how Australia’s higher education system is being undermined by a growing reliance on foreign fee-paying students.
“I’m not against international students. In fact, I’m for international students, but I have concerns about how we’re dealing with it.” Academic
Academics and students are speaking out to reveal a picture, across the nation, of compromised academic standards.
“Many students seemed to be unable to understand instructions or understand the material that was put in front of them.” Academic
“I would do my best to make sure that the team would understand the topic each week, and then I would get them to send to me what they had written, and I would try and rephrase it into more readable English.” Student
Domestic students aren’t the only ones feeling frustrated. Some international students, who have often sacrificed everything to be here, are not getting the education they have been promised.
“For a great many international students, their entire family’s financial future is invested in succeeding in their education. And when they’re under pressure, failure is just not an option for them.” Union leader
Teaching staff say that universities are risking their reputations by taking on students who are not capable of advanced levels of learning.
“Admitting students who don’t have the right qualifications, or right prerequisites, or correct language capabilities is setting them up for failure. This is just not what a university should do. That’s not what education is about.” Academic
Insiders warn that with international student numbers continuing to grow, the problem needs to be tackled urgently.
“I think it’s a train wreck. I think it’s, it’s coming and it’s coming hard and the incoming government’s going to have to deal with (it).” Private education consultant
Cash Cows, reported by Elise Worthington, goes to air on Monday 6th May at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 7th May at 1.00pm and Wednesday 8th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
Inside the Watch House
Monday 13 May at 8.30pm
Kids behind bars.
“This is a concrete pen, designed to hold adults in an acute and dangerous state… what are we doing to children who are being held (here)?” Children’s advocate
It’s almost three years since Four Corners exposed shocking revelations of mistreatment in the Northern Territory’s Don Dale youth detention centre in Australia’s Shame, sparking a Royal Commission.
Now the program is set to reveal a new child detention crisis in another part of Australia, where children as young as 10 have been held alongside adult criminals in maximum security facilities.
“The most dangerous people in Australia go in those watch houses. They’re in there for murder. There’s paedophiles.” Human rights advocate
With exclusive access, the program goes behind the locked cell doors to reveal how young people, most of whom have not yet been convicted of a crime, are being held, sometimes for weeks at a time.
“Seeing kids peeping out of the cell doors, out of the little cell hatches that they put the food on… and they’ll just say…‘Miss, tell them that I want to talk to mum’.” Child protection monitor
These facilities can be tough and terrifying places for hardened adult offenders, let alone children.
“We’ve had young people in the watch house that have tried to commit suicide.” Senior police officer
The pressure of managing these children is taking its toll on everyone involved.
“I’ve been informed that some police officers last only two hours in the watch house environment. It is highly traumatic.” Children’s advocate
Those at the coal face of this crisis say it’s time to speak out.
“This is a failure on the part of the government to meet the most basic protections of young people.” Anti-Discrimination Commissioner
Inside the Watch House, reported by Mark Willacy, goes to air on Monday 13th May at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 14th May at 1.00pm and Wednesday 15th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.