A joint investigation by Four Corners, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald reveals fresh and compelling evidence of covert Beijing-backed political activity taking place in Australia. The investigation has uncovered secret information gathering operations targeting sensitive Australian intelligence analysis. It also reveals how Chinese authorities are stifling dissenting voices by targeting members of the Chinese-Australian community who fail to toe the party line.
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.
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. Four Corners investigates how the Australian born accused killer was able to operate under the radar. The plot was intricately planned, harnessing the tools and the power of the internet, to amplify the terror to a global audience. 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. 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.
How the ruthless ride share giant outwitted regulators and crushed competitors. 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. But Uber's ride to success has been far from smooth. Behind the slick marketing an aggressive corporate culture has been at work. Using sophisticated cyber weaponry, the company has deployed an astonishing array of tools enabling it to dominate the ride-sharing game. Despite its undisputed popularity, Uber has yet to make a profit, and questions are being asked about the financial health of the company. A series of corporate scandals and bruising court battles has put the company under further pressure. 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. While Uber is looking to the future, others are still counting the cost of its arrival.
What has happened to Dubai's Princess Latifa? 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. 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. After fleeing first by car and then jetski, Latifa was dramatically re-captured on a boat in international waters by armed men. In heart stopping interviews, those on-board recount how the events unfolded. 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 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. The program examines how Dubai's ruler has been able to bring pressure to bear based on his country's financial and defence ties.
Four Corners reveals how Australia's highest ranking Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, was brought to justice. With the suppression order lifted on his conviction for sexually abusing two boys, the full story can now be told.
Why are so many women going to prison? Across Australia, 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.
For over five decades this program has been exposing scandals, triggering inquiries, firing debate and confronting taboos. With an international reputation for excellence, this program works to serve the public interest.
Their voices are persuasive, their emails insistent and they have proven to be remarkably successful at conning countless people into handing over their money. 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.
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. "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 pleaded on social media. Within hours #saverahaf lit up social media and set off global headlines. 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. 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. The program shows the tactics used and the pressure applied to try to stop these young women. 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 home.
The final Four Corners for 2018 examines the corporate crisis that engulfed the ABC and brought down both the Managing Director and Chair. Sarah Ferguson speaks with inside players including Michelle Guthrie and Justin Milne.
Fear and race on the streets of Melbourne. For more than two years, the media has been reporting that Melbourne is in the grip of a crimewave, overrun by African street gangs responsible for a wave of violence and theft. Images of brawling Sudanese teens and hooded armed robbers have spread terror and stoked a growing anger towards those "of African appearance". Some residents say they are living in fear, the Sudanese community feels under siege and police are being accused of political correctness and inaction. Amongst the claims and counter claims, Four Corners reporter Sophie McNeill has spent weeks on the ground to get to the truth about "African" crime. With unprecedented access to the police and the state's chief Judge, the program separates perception from reality.
The sophisticated corporate campaign to future-proof the Crown. "What you get now is a very packaged royalty...It is a very professional operation in spin management, media management, media operations." Author For almost two weeks Australia has felt the full force of a royal charm offensive. The visit by the newly minted Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, has been a triumph for the Royal couple and the House of Windsor brand. "I think the marriage...has injected a real shot of adrenaline into people's interest in the Royal Family." Tabloid royal correspondent It's a world away from the scandalous 1990s when the Royal family was embroiled in a rolling series of crises, indiscretions and PR disasters leaving them out of fashion and out of step with the times. Some were even talking about the end of the monarchy itself. "All bets were off with the Royals in the nineties. Spectacular own goals, things that 50 years earlier would have had discreet veils drawn over them: Camillagate, Squidgygate, Tampaxgate, all those terrible, terrible, gruesome little scandals." Author On Monday Four Corners charts how the Royals have rebuilt their reputation and changed the way they manage "The Firm". "From those ashes, a lot of lessons have been learned. There's obviously had to be more deliberate management about how people behave, what they're saying, what they're wearing." Global advertising consultant "It was the Royal family accepting that things needed to change if they were to survive. Survival is the name of the game for the Royal family." Author The program reveals a highly controlled operation with spin doctors and media management at the forefront. "You don't see it but... what we see and read about the Royal family is pretty much controlled by them." Former Private Secretary to the Royal household The Royals are increasingly bypassing traditional media and finding new ways to get their message out by joining the ranks of social media "influencers". Those combined efforts have resulted in one of the most spectacular rebranding exercises in modern times. "In many ways, they've brought innovation. They're brand innovators to the Royal family." Global advertising consultant This new image has helped divert attention away from questions over the funding and financial interests of the Royal household. "We don't know where the money is invested. We don't know where it's spent. We don't know what the income is. We only know what they tell us." Former UK MP As the palace prepares for the next generation to take the throne, Four Corners examines the very corporate campaign to future-proof the Crown.
How a cashed up gun industry has Australia's firearms laws in its sights. "This is the gun industry lobby redux. They're back. And they're ready to spend." Gun law researcher They're the new force in Australian politics - a lobby group funded and directed by major firearms sellers and manufacturers and they're taking aim at Australia's politicians. "We're looking to enter a new era of engagement...We want governments to be held accountable for the decisions they make." Gun industry spokesperson Their campaign represents a newly emboldened firearms industry set on changing Australia's gun laws. "You've got an industry which is prepared to leap in. And they've got a lot of money." Gun law researcher On Monday Four Corners investigates how the gun movement in Australia is reawakening and examines the new tactics they're employing to make their presence felt on the political scene. "The campaign they were running had nothing to do with guns. The idea I think was to inspire people to move their vote to protest vote with minor parties." Campaign manager The industry openly declares it wants to influence how governments are formed and the policies they enact. "We were aiming for a government which couldn't be formed by majority." Gun industry spokesperson Four Corners investigates the industry's political allegiances and how these connections are being used to chip away at gun laws around the country. "There's been a lot of whittling away around the edges, trying to water down the effect of the law, to do anything possible to reduce the effect of the law for the convenience of shooters and the benefit of the arms industry." Gun law researcher Some political allies say that gun ownership is not simply a matter of convenience, it's a national security issue. "I want more firearms sold because I want more firearms, you know? I want more people involved in protecting our country." Politician Those who delivered the national agreement to limit firearms after the Port Arthur massacre say Australians need to sit up and take notice. "There is a muscling up by those making money out of a trade of guns into this country, and we need to watch that very closely." Gun control advocate
A prison on fire, 600 inmates on the loose from their cells, and a band of prison officers desperately trying to contain a full-blown riot, all while footage of the violence is streamed live on social media. The riot, at a major prison in Britain, highlighted problems facing governments around the world, including in Australia: how to manage soaring prison populations driven by law and order debates and public demands for tougher sentencing. Using footage filmed by prisoners themselves in correctional facilities across the UK, the program reveals a system rife with drug use, violence and squalid living conditions.
Four Corners investigates the secret tactics used by global chemical giant Monsanto, to protect its billion-dollar business and its star product, the weed killer, Roundup. When it was launched four decades ago, Roundup was hailed as a miracle product, a revolutionary herbicide that would transform farming and keep home gardeners happy too. And it came with the promise that it was safe. Now a landmark US court case has made headlines worldwide, with a jury declaring Roundup was a substantial factor in causing a school ground keeper's terminal cancer and that the company had failed to warn of the risk posed by the product.
Four Corners brings you a story from the heart of the drought, a portrait of the land and its people, where the lack of rain is biting hard. It's pushing some to breaking point, but many in this proud country community are doing all they can to give others the strength to carry on. The people of Quirindi live and work on rich black soil country that they like to boast is the best in the land. Except when it hasn't rained properly for more than a year. They opened their homes and their lives to reporter Michael Brissenden. Along the way, he encountered characters so large, they could have walked from the pages of Banjo Paterson story. From the thriving hub of the Country Women's Association, to an unexpected local victory on the dusty rugby field, he found people trying to find a sense of purpose and some joy under the relentless sun. Some are finding practical ways to make life that little more bearable with the donation of a haircut or a new pair of jeans. Despite their best efforts, you can sense the quiet desperation sitting just below the surface.
Part Two of the Four Corners special investigation into the failings in aged care details shocking cases of abuse and premature deaths in our nursing homes. Carers and families from across the country have come forward to tell their stories and demand change. Facing concerted efforts to cover up abuse and mistreatment, families are taking matters into their own hands to hold nursing homes to account. Some families have resorted to installing hidden cameras to capture evidence. They say that for too long the industry has been able to avoid rigorous public scrutiny. As this program will clearly show, there is much more to be done if our vulnerable elderly Australians are to be given the care and protection they deserve.
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