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.
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.
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.
A family fights for justice after the brutal death of a young woman. "What would happen if that was your daughter?" Family Friend The body of a young woman lies on the beach. Two panic stricken men try to work out what to do. One makes a call to '000', the other goes and flags down help. "He said there was a girl on the beach and they needed help to resuss her and that she'd drowned in the surf." Witness But as people began arriving on the scene it became clear the men had serious questions to answer. The young woman had died of horrendous internal injuries. "I remember making it quite clear at the time, words to the effect of, 'something's dodgy'." Witness Five years on, what happened on that beach haunts everyone involved. "I just I miss her so much and all I want is justice done." Mother Despite a thorough police investigation and a scathing Coronial Inquest recommending charges be laid, no one has ever faced court. "They tried to explain why they weren't going to be charging these fellas." Family Friend In this searing story, Gold Walkley award-winning reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna follows the trail of evidence: "This is a horrific case and the details are spelled out very thoroughly in the Coronial report and the Prosecutor's response is incomprehensible in the face of all of this evidence." Academic And finds a family that won't give up: "I've got a lot of fight in me... I don't care how, how I do it, but I'm just going to go on and go until there's justice done." Mother
Home Truths: What happened to the Great Australian Dream? On the eve of the Federal Budget, Four Corners reports on the white hot issues of housing affordability and negative gearing and the generation left wondering if they will ever own their own home. “We will start it at 1.1 million dollars ladies and gentlemen.” - Auctioneer A house with a million dollar price tag used to be confined to the super wealthy suburbs in Australia’s biggest cities. Today, properties with that sort of asking price are commonplace, even in the urban fringes, with little infrastructure and lengthy commute times. In Melbourne, the median house price is $700 thousand dollars, around 10 times the average wage. In Sydney, there are suburbs more expensive than Manhattan. It’s why the IMF declared Australia one of the most expensive cities in the world to buy property in. This week reporter Ben Knight explores the housing crisis locking younger people out of home ownership and the negatively geared world of investors building their nest eggs. “It’s only money!” - Auctioneer He meets investors like Wayne and Karen who’ve created a multi-million dollar property portfolio from their dining room table. “We saw them on the internet, we actually borrowed 105% using the equity we had in our house to fund that.” - Wayne & Karen And the agents spruiking the investor-led property gold rush. “Why are people looking at negative gearing? Because it’s generous. It's a wonderful opportunity for people to become involved in property investment. It's a gift.” - Real Estate Adviser With negative gearing and affordable housing shaping up as key issues in the forthcoming election, we look at the politics at work behind the major parties’ policies. “Labor’s reckless changes will reduce property values. They’ll devalue every home, every property in Australia.” - Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The Coalition is banking on leaving negative gearing policy exactly the way it is. While the Labor Party is hoping its plan to wind it back will attract those first home buyers who feel locked out by the high price of property. “We’re not looking to buy an investment property. We want a house we can live in.” - Jules, house hunter But some economists are warning that there are property bubbles in our major cities, which could wreak havoc on our economy. “According to pretty much any housing market indicator you want to look at, house prices in Australia are significantly over valued.” - Investment Fund Manager And there is worrying evidence of fraudulent loan applications which could leave banks and consumers dangerously exposed. “They’re lending to homebuyers that have no ability to be able to pay off their loan and they’re basically depending on the property market to continue to rise at a consistent rate.” - Economist While for some first home buyers, a housing crash is just what they are hoping for. “Are we all done...?” - Auctioneer Home Truths, reported by Ben Knight and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday May 2 at 8.30pm AEST. It is replayed on Tuesday May 3 at 10.00am and Wednesday May 4 at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners. Join the conversation: #4Corners
The Australian Government contract to provide healthcare to detainees has already cost taxpayers more than a billion dollars, but doctors say the medical care provided offshore in Manus Island is dangerously inadequate. "I can think of very few times in recent history where doctors have been so united about a particular issue." Former Government Adviser On Four Corners some of Australia's most senior doctors and medical staff with experience in the offshore detention system are speaking out. They say the Border Force Act could see them risk two years in jail for disclosing information about Australia's asylum seeker detention system. "There is a lot of anxiety about that piece of legislation and how it applies to doctors." Senior Doctor Despite this, the doctors have chosen to talk. "The doctors have been appalled at attempts to silence them." Doctor Their story centres on the case of a Manus Island detainee, Hamid Khazaei, who died following a bacterial infection in 2014. "I feel like to prevent further harm there are some details that I can offer to the story of what happened." Doctor What started as a skin infection poisoned his body, leaving him brain dead. "I think that if he had this exact infection and the same conditions in all other ways and he was in Australia at the time, he's unlikely to have died." Former Government Adviser The details of his rapid decline and the treatment he received are shocking. Doctors involved in his care are speaking publicly for the first time, giving a rare inside account of the medical treatment available in our offshore detention centres: "I feel like I've actually weighed the ethics of the case quite heavily for the last eighteen months and now I believe that there actually is a clear benefit for people to understand how the system works and the reason why what happened, happened." Doctor
As Europe reels from the deadly terror attacks in Brussels and Paris, this week's Four Corners takes you inside the secret Islamic State network responsible. This report, from the BBC's Panorama program, traces the network through its key players: the mastermind, the recruiter and the terror operatives. "Each spy gets 50,000 Euros ...to mount an attack in Europe." Captured Terrorist The origins of the network go back to Syria in 2014, when Belgian jihadis fighting for Islamic State made plans to send a terror cell into Europe. "A new external command force has been set up within IS to transport terror onto the streets of Europe, using special forces style tactics." Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol This seemingly innocuous message signalled the arrival of the first handpicked IS operatives arriving in Europe with instructions to carry out an attack: "The children have arrived. Thanks be to god. Two, they are home." Terror Mastermind, Abaaoud. With access to intelligence documents and interrogation transcripts, the program pieces together how the network supplies weapons and how they plan and execute their attacks. "He said, 'imagine a rock concert in a European country; if we arm you would you be ready to shoot in a crowd?'" Captured Terrorist And details how the network has been able to outwit the intelligence agencies hunting them. "My name and picture were all over the news, yet I was able to stay in their homeland, plan operations against them and leave safely." Terror Mastermind, Abaaoud This is a chilling, forensic account of IS's operations in Europe. "It's likely and probable that things like that will happen again and I fear that in the West, and Belgium included, we will have to live for the coming years with the threat of that kind of terrorism." Alain Winants, Former Head Belgian State Security Service
Four Corners charts the rise and fall of the mercurial Clive Palmer, examining how he made his money, friends and bitter enemies along the way.
Marian Wilkinson investigates the shadowy world of secret international finance and tax avoidance. This Four Corners investigation will reveal how the rich and powerful exploit the system.
Murder and Money in Malaysia. Linton Besser investigates the scandal engulfing Malaysia's Prime Minister. It's a story of intrigue, corruption and multiple murders, stretching from the streets of Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur, to Switzerland, France and the US as well as Hong Kong and Singapore, all the way to Australia's doorstep.
The big game and big bucks in Africa's trophy hunting industry. They're the big game animals that symbolise Africa - lions, rhinos and elephants. And they're top of the list for the big game hunters with deep pockets who travel to Africa to hunt and kill.
Money for Nothing: How corporate greed and deception cost AMP its trusted place in Australian life AMP was once a trusted blue chip Australian company but its reputation is now in tatters following evidence before the Financial Services Royal Commission that it charged customers fees for no service and repeatedly lied about it to the corporate regulator. On Monday Four Corners investigates how AMP ripped off its customers and details the extraordinary measures it took to conceal its actions. In a revealing interview a former financial planner gives an insider’s account of the tactics used by AMP to cheat customers out of their own money. The former planner also blows the whistle on the company practice of pressuring financial planners to sell in house AMP products even if it meant a client would be financially worse off. AMP began selling life insurance in 1849. Four Corners examines how an iconic company with a trusted place in Australian life could have such a spectacular fall from grace. “I would never have thought that any of that sort of thing would have been going on in such an institution that has been around for so many years and has been trusted by the shareholders and by the public at large.” AMP Shareholder
Three months ago a horror mudslide swept through the towns and villages in the Gualaxo River Valley in Brazil, destroying homes, businesses and taking the lives of 19 people. A tailings dam, holding back more than 50 million cubic metres of mining waste collapsed, unleashing a wave of mud several metres high. Who is paying the price for BHP's mine disaster in Brazil?
Exploring America's gun culture, where kids learn to shoot and their classrooms are designed to be bulletproof. In this fascinating journey across the United States we meet parents, teachers and gun advocates who argue vehemently that guns are not the problem.
Inside the dance party drug scene. Young Australians, speak candidly about taking so-called "party drugs" and they're more common than you would guess. Australians are the highest users of ecstasy and its main chemical component MDMA, per capita, in the world. With billions spent on enforcing anti-drug laws, some of Australia's most eminent medical, legal and policing minds are speaking out and saying the "war on drugs" is failing.
What's behind the rise in shark attacks and is there anything we can do to stop them? On the beaches around Ballina, on the north coast of NSW, that fear is palpable. With nine attacks, one of them fatal, in the last 12 months, people are asking why and demanding action. Four Corners investigates why these sudden spikes occur.
Sarah Ferguson presents an investigation into the criminal networks that are threatening the integrity of sport, amidst the uproar over the match fixing revelations in tennis, Linton Besser reports. (Return) #4Corners.
It was the random act of violence that authorities had been warning of and it left the nation crying out for answers. How could a 15-year-old school boy become a killer?
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