45:39 | News and current affairs
image/svg+xml

Four Corners

Children on the Frontline  |  ABC

Children on the Frontline, one family's extraordinary story of life in the rubble of Syria and their escape to a new life, told through the eyes of four children. "We're here and, at any moment, the army could attack us." Helen, 10 In the Syrian city of Aleppo, 10 year old Helen and her siblings live and play in the ruins of their city as war rages around them. "The other day a bomb exploded inside the warehouse down in the garden." Farah, 7 Along with their mother, the children have chosen to stay in the city as their father commands a group of rebels fighting against the Assad regime. "They want to stay with their dad. I tried leaving with them for two months and I suffered a lot with them because they wanted their dad." Hala, mother The camera captures life for these children, as they wait in fear at the sound of incoming artillery, how they keep up with their schoolwork, and pick their way through the shattered apartment blocks to fill in time. "Take them inside because of the firing. Come on!" Abu Ali, father Filmed over three years by award winning director Marcel Mettelsiefen, this family's story dramatically documents the price being paid by Syrians as the war continues. "Daesh (ISIS), the ugliest word I have ever heard in my life. These people have stolen our entire lives." Hala As ISIS enters the war, life becomes intolerable and their mother makes the tough decision to leave Syria, and join the millions of refugees fleeing the country. "How do you spell Germany?" Farah The film chronicles their journey to safety and their grief for what they've left behind. "I took a piece of my heart and put it on the door of our house for him, for daddy." Sara

42:14 | News and current affairs
image/svg+xml

Four Corners

Milked Dry  |  ABC

Milked Dry: The awful price being paid by Australian dairy farmers for the milk we drink. "We're locked in to produce milk for three years to this company that has shat in our face." Dairy Farmer They're the farmers who get up at five in the morning, day in, day out, to provide milk for the dairy products we eat and drink every day. "You wake up and you just rack your brain about how you're going to save some money to survive." Dairy Farmer The shock decision by Australia's biggest dairy company, Murray Goulburn, to cut the price of milk paid to farmers has left many trapped in a nightmare of debt and despair. "The very minute that we got the letter that said that's what the price is going to be, we decided, no, we can't keep going like this, that we would finish up." Dairy Farmer Four Corners visits the farms where it's costing farmers more to make the milk than they can get for selling it. The situation has become so desperate that some farmers are selling off their prized cows for slaughter, others are walking off their farms for good. "They're telling us to take a pay cut, why don't they take a pay cut?" Dairy Farmer Many of these farmers were already angry after the company locked them in to supply $1 supermarket milk. "It sent the message to farmers that we produced was worth less than water and that did an incredible amount of damage to our self-worth and more importantly to the worth of milk." Dairy Farmer

44:16 | News and current affairs
image/svg+xml

Four Corners

The Deputy and the Dark Horse  |  ABC

He's one of the best known politicians in the country with a gift for publicity and a unique way with words. In political parlance, he has "cut through" - so much so, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott praised him as the best "retail politician" in the country. He's the member for New England, Barnaby Joyce. Just five short months ago he fulfilled a lifelong ambition when he was anointed leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister. In country politics, it doesn't get any bigger and better. But it could all come crashing down. "He will need an unbelievably strong primary vote in his own right. If he doesn't get it, the way the preference gaming goes on these days, he could lose it." Former National Party Strategist With only two weeks to go in the Federal Election campaign, Barnaby Joyce is fighting to hang on to his seat. The man getting in his way is the Independent, Tony Windsor. He's been a thorn in the side of the National Party for 25 years and he's come out of retirement for one more crack at winning the seat. And he's in with a real chance. "This seat is winnable. It is winnable. I have absolutely no doubt about that. No-one has it won yet." Tony Windsor Four Corners has spent weeks behind the scenes, on the campaign trail, with both men as they've crisscrossed the electorate in one of the most hotly anticipated contests of the election campaign. "The only way you can do it at a time like this, is work flat out. And that's what I'm doing." Barnaby Joyce It's a very personal contest and the antipathy between both men is clear. And it's a contest that's dividing the electorate and even families.

43:30 | News and current affairs
image/svg+xml

Four Corners

Ripped Off  |  ABC

How taxpayers money is being squandered, leaving remote communities feeling exploited and betrayed. There are weasels out there that just know what to look for and can infiltrate." Indigenous CEO They're amongst the most disadvantaged people in Australia. The residents of our remote communities who battle chronic unemployment, terrible health problems and third world living conditions. It's why billions of dollars in taxpayers money has been poured into Indigenous programs aimed at "closing the gap". So it's extraordinary to think anyone would want to exploit such vulnerable people. "How could you do that to us? We trusted you, we had faith in you. I just feel real sad, not ashamed, but sad that this guy could just come in and blind us." Community Board Member On Monday night Four Corners exposes how millions of dollars have been ripped out of remote communities, leaving a trail of broken promises, unfinished work and a burning sense of betrayal. "We bust arse to try and improve the lives of Aboriginal people and you know there's this despicable act going on, it was just absolutely gutting." Indigenous CEO In some cases, communities have been the victims of out and out fraud: "(We) were taken in by someone that was extraordinarily clever ...It's hard to describe somebody who would use people like that for some scheme for their own ends." Former Community CEO In others, it's a case of sheer incompetence: "I just cry out when I see people living in poverty, in destitute situations. And yet they've got Aboriginal corporations that have multimillions of dollars there that's supposed to be there for their own benefit, and it's not reaching the ground and helping them." Indigenous Leader Reporter Linton Besser goes on a 4000km journey to some of Australia's most remote communities and finds evidence scattered all around, from abandoned constructions sites and dilapidated buildings, to state of the art facilities, locked up - because there's no money left to run them. He investigates who's to blame: "Linton Besser from Four Corners. I'd just like to ask you some questions..." And finds communities determined to speak out and demand action: "It's taxpayers money and we're saying taxpayers money is being wasted here, surely that's government business, to come and work with us to sort it out." Community Elder

42:59 | News and current affairs
image/svg+xml

Four Corners

The Baby Business  |  ABC

Are women being sold false hope by the IVF industry? "All our savings go to IVF...Then you get that negative pregnancy result. There's another $6,000 gone." Grace Grace is one of the tens of thousands of Australian women who have put their faith in fertility treatments to help conceive a much longed for baby. "Sometimes I feel like I'm a fraud of a woman. I look like one, but my body just isn't doing what I want it to do, which is to fall pregnant and have a child." Grace At 42, she's been through six unsuccessful rounds of IVF. The physical, emotional and financial toll is huge. "One of the hardest things is knowing when to get off the bus, like knowing when to stop, because I think there's that 'what if it's this next time', one more time?" Grace Julia too, had dreams of becoming a mother, undergoing 8 rounds of fertility treatment. "I had this longing to have a child ...I was hopeful that I would be one of the lucky ones." Julia And while she willingly put her body in the hands of fertility specialists, she struggled to get a clear answer on just what her chances of having a baby actually were. "It's regrettable that I got the more optimistic answer. I would've just preferred a more accurate answer." Julia This week's Four Corners looks at the booming business of fertility, where the industry pulls in more than half a billion dollars in revenue, and asks whether clinics are giving women clear, unambiguous advice about their chances of giving birth. "I think with the commercialisation of IVF that's occurring, there's a pressure in every single clinic to use IVF more and IVF brings in more money for a clinic." Fertility Doctor Many fertility specialists say it's up to individual women to decide how much treatment they can take. "Embryos are like mud. You keep putting embryos on the wall of the uterus, eventually one will stick." Fertility Doctor But as this program shows, there are concerns, even from industry insiders, that some women undergoing IVF don't actually need it. Others warn against the practice of upselling - where women are sold expensive and unproven treatments that one doctor says is akin to snake oil. And disturbingly, they also have concerns about the potential harm fertility treatments could be causing for women - including potential links to cancer.

42:08 | News and current affairs
image/svg+xml

Four Corners

Money and Influence  |  ABC

The shadowy world of political donations. Quentin McDermott reports. Money and Influence: the shadowy world of political donations. "We have a system where giving money can influence outcomes and that's a soft form of corruption." As we head into the third week of the election campaign, Four Corners investigates just how transparent the political parties really are when it comes to revealing who their donors are and what is expected in return. "What's at stake is simply the quality of our democracy and the ability of people to have faith in their political institutions." It's a world that operates far from public view with a patchwork of donation laws around the country. A variety of methods are used to keep the identities of donors secret, leaving voters hard pressed to find out just who is funding whom. "Those sort of enterprises are very useful to people because they enable money to be channelled into political interests without full disclosure and in circumstances where the public can't clearly see that there may be an outcome by virtue of those donations." Reporter Quentin McDermott, talks to influential figures operating in this world, who speak candidly about their experiences. "I've spent a significant part of my life raising money in this way...(It) will always be a serious accident waiting to happen." Fundraiser "I think we were fairly standard in terms of organisations that were seeking to curry favour with our political masters...I think it was fairly plain that that bought access." Donor "I don't think he gave out of the goodness of his heart, that's for certain." Politician And in an exclusive interview with Four Corners, the regulator withholding more than $4 million dollars of funding destined for the Liberal party breaks his silence.

44:00 | News and current affairs
image/svg+xml

Four Corners

Supplements and Safety  |  ABC

The hidden dangers of vitamins and health supplements. "We love the notion of a magic pill. It's something that makes it all better." Dr Paul Offitt, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia It's the multi-billion dollar industry selling health supplements and vitamins - over the counter pills and capsules bought in enormous numbers by consumers. "I really want to say, 'Show me the data. Show me the evidence.'" Dr Joann Manson, Brigham and Women's Hospital But do they do you any good? "You can sell something without any evidence that it's safe or effective." Dr Pieter Cohen, Harvard Medical School Should you take vitamin D pills? What about vitamin E, multi-vitamins and fish oil? "There is no compelling evidence that taking fish oils protects against the first heart attack, or a second heart attack. And so people who are advised to do that, or are doing it, are wasting their time and their money." Dr Andrew Grey, University of Auckland In this joint investigation from the New York Times and the PBS Frontline program, the report asks leading clinicians and researchers for their assessment of these products and whether the claimed health benefits can be proven. "The crazy thing about the dietary supplement world is there are none of those studies, and the studies that are done say the stuff doesn't work!" Dan Hurley, Author, 'Natural Causes' And some of these supplements and vitamins may actually be doing you harm. "You actually can increase your risk of cancer, increase your risk of heart disease. I think few people know the risks they're taking." Dr Paul Offitt, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia The program raises troubling questions about the quality and safety of vitamins and dietary supplements.

Save to playlist