Four Corners

“A Helluva Ride”: Four Corners
Four Corners returns Monday 6 February at 8.30pm on ABC & iview

“A Helluva Ride”: The Trump Revolution Begins

“My best advice for everyone is to strap in…” Former Trump Adviser

Four Corners returns for 2017 with an incisive exploration of how President Donald Trump will wield his power.

“This is a man who defies all tradition and all precedent. He is operating on his own rules, on his own instincts and I think a lot of people are having trouble keeping up.” Former US Assist. Secretary of State

Through interviews with key players in the Trump camp and the Republican Party, the program examines the political earthquake rippling across America.

“It makes a lot of people nervous…I think there’s no question.” Former US Assist. Secretary of State

In his first assignment for Four Corners, reporter Michael Brissenden draws on his experience during his time as the ABC’s Washington correspondent to explain just how revolutionary the presidency of Donald Trump is.

“I first came to Washington as a correspondent just after the inauguration of Barack Obama. America’s first black president took office promising hope and change … But this is the real watershed moment. Donald Trump’s change is disruptive and confrontational.” Michael Brissenden

He talks to those who know Trump well, asking how we should read the President’s actions.

“Donald Trump warned us from the very beginning that he’s gonna break some eggs and that’s you know…that’s what he’s doing.” Former Trump Adviser

And explores what a Trump presidency means for key issues like climate change and foreign policy.

“In our recent history, and perhaps throughout our entire history, we’ve never had a president come into office with such an unpredictable style of communication and with such alarm among our closest allies and friends.” Former National Security Adviser

Trump supporters are still savouring the President’s victory.

“We’ve needed change for a long time. We’re going to get it now. America’s going to be number one again and we’re going to get that change and we’re going to get what we want.” Trump campaign worker

While Trump’s opponents vow to fight him every step of the way in Congress and in the courts.

“If the new administration and the Republican majority in Congress thinks that this is going to be easy for them to pull the rug out from under Americans that have made that progress, they’re sadly mistaken.” Senior Democrat Congresswoman

“A Helluva Ride”, reported by Michael Brissenden and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 6th February at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 7th February at 10.00am and Wednesday 8th at 12.25am. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEDT, ABC iview and at

Swallowing It: How Australians are spending billions on unproven vitamins and supplements

The figures are startling - seven out of every ten Australians take some form of vitamin or supplement. We spend more, out of our own pockets, on complementary medicines than we do on prescription drugs.

“It’s very rare to meet an Australian family that doesn’t have some form of vitamin supplements somewhere in the family.” Australian Medical Association

Spruiked by sporting heroes, acting icons and celebrity chefs, the industry is worth over four billion dollars. But there is little evidence that many of these products actually work.

“The problem we have in Australia is that the system doesn’t encourage research. You get a much more profitable return on investment from putting fifty million dollars into celebrity marketing.” Academic

Many pharmacies have shelves stacked high with vitamins and supplements, prominently displayed at the front of their shops, often sold in tandem with proven pharmaceuticals.

“If they’re after complementary medicines, then I’m happy to provide them.” Chemist

Australians are often choosing these complementary medicines as insurance against a bad diet or to ward off sickness, but the benefits are highly contested.

“We’re a nation living on tea, toast and takeaways. 90 per cent of us are deficient in our essential diets or vegetables and fruit, so of course a multivitamin plays a role.” Industry Spokesperson

“What a lot of Australian families have is very expensive urine.” Australian Medical Association

The spotlight is now being placed on the industry, with the regulator drafting changes to the way these products are sold and a government review examining whether or not pharmacies should stock them.

“We have had passionate community pharmacists decrying their fellow pharmacists for stocking complementary medicines, for stocking vitamins, for stocking homeopathy, for stocking products that have little, if any, medical credence.” Review Panellist

The program investigates how these products are regulated and marketed in Australia and whether the credibility of chemists is threatened by selling them.

“When we look at the most trusted professions, year on year on year, I’m proud to say that at the top are doctors, nurses and pharmacists. So that respect has been hard won. That’s put at risk if they’re being seen to promote treatments that increasingly the average consumer recognises might be a load of rubbish.” Australian Medical Association

Swallowing It, reported by Geoff Thompson and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 13th February at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 14th February at 10.00am and Wednesday 15th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at

Highway to Hell: A report from the frontlines in the battle against Islamic State

“That’s rocket fire. We’re getting very close now to the frontline. There are civilians here, plenty of them, but this is obviously an active combat zone.” Matt Brown

On Monday night Four Corners takes you to the battlefields of Iraq with the ABC’s award winning Middle East correspondent, Matt Brown.

“We’ve been told there’s IS in a car and four IS fighters on motor bikes that are supposed to be coming to attack …we’re a bit on edge right now.” Matt Brown

In this gripping film, Matt Brown and cameraman Aaron Hollett, capture the fight to take back the city of Mosul from the IS forces which overran the city two years ago, shocking the world with the speed and the ferocity of their victory.

“Mosul is the biggest battle anywhere on the planet this century.” David Kilcullen, Former Chief Strategist, US State Dept

The filming for this story began in October last year when Iraqi forces, backed by US and Australian air power, began their offensive to reclaim Mosul. Over the course of three journeys to the frontline, Matt and Aaron recorded the experiences of the soldiers fighting to liberate their home towns, and the civilians caught in the crossfire.

“They (IS) would target us and we would lie out on the ground so that bullets would not reach us. Shelling was like rain over our heads.” Mosul refugee

“I feel gutted. I am exhausted. We couldn’t treat her. We tried everything. We don’t have enough medical equipment. We don’t even have emergency assistance, not even ambulances for emergency.” Iraqi doctor

Despite the grief, there are moments of happiness and relief as families are reunited when the IS fighters are pushed back.

“I was running fast just to see (my mother) again. When I saw her it was a great moment. I am very happy and relieved.” Kurdish soldier

After months of fighting, government forces enter the suburbs of Mosul. But the city was far from secure, with the pair coming under fire.

“We’ve been hearing sniper rounds come in overhead - the distinctive crack or zing.” Matt Brown

And in interviews with the former commander of the Multi-National Force in Iraq, General David Petraeus and his then advisor, former Chief Strategist for the State Dept, David Kilcullen, they outline just how hard it will be to truly claim victory against IS.

“The liberation of Mosul from the Islamic State will be a very, very important achievement and a milestone in the battle against the Islamic State. But it will not mark the end of the Islamic State in Iraq or certainly in Syria.” General David Petraeus (Retd).

Highway to Hell, reported by Matt Brown and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 20th February at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 21st February at 10.00am and Wednesday 22nd at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at

Oceans of Plastic: What happens to the plastic we throw away?

Life without plastic is almost unimaginable. It’s become central to the way we live our lives – from everyday items like food packaging and water bottles, to sophisticated high end products. But how many of us know what happens to that plastic when we throw it away?

“We quantified and estimated that 8 million metric tonnes of plastic entered the ocean (in one year).” Environmental Engineer

Scientists say vast amounts of our discarded plastic is ending up in the ocean.

“There’s so much plastic going in and we have no idea where it is.” Oceanographer

Working out where that plastic ends up and what impact it has on our oceans has become a major concern for many marine scientists.

“Submarine pilots know when they are at the bottom of the sea because they see the plastic.” Environmental Scientist

On Monday night, Four Corners brings you this thought provoking story from French filmmaker Vincent Perazio in which he examines the work of these scientists investigating our plastic waste.

Some are undertaking research to see if plastic is making its way into the food chain, others are looking into the impact on marine life and the environment.

“It’s not worth throwing away plastic bags. You should just season them well and eat them directly because they’re going to end up back on your plate in one way or another.” Marine Scientist

“Once there is so much plastic in the seas, there is nothing to eat for the filter feeders, for the fish, for the whales.” Oceanographer

The program asks confronting questions about whether or not we need to change the way we deal with the plastics we throw away.

“It’s not about not using plastic, it’s about using them much more smartly. And what that, in my view, is going to take is rethinking the way we produce, use and dispose of plastics.” Professor of Marine Biology

Oceans of Plastic, by French filmmaker Vincent Perazio and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 27th at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 28th February at 10.00am and Wednesday 1 March at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview.

Join the conversation on Twitter: #4Corners

Crown Confidential: FOUR CORNERS

Crown Confidential: Packer’s Losing Hand

James Packer and his Crown gambling and entertainment empire have bet big, for more than a decade on China, and its VIP gamblers. These high rollers have fuelled Crown’s booming businesses in Asia and Australia.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I have made many, many mistakes in my life, but investing in China is not one of them.” James Packer, March 14, 2013

But one night in October last year, all that was turned on its head.

“They said it felt like they were suspects of a murder investigation or a drug bust. That was just how sudden and forceful the raids were.” Reporter

Fifteen Crown employees and a number of associates were swept into custody in a carefully co-ordinated series of raids across four cities in China.

“If you are referring to the Australian nationals who were detained by Chinese authorities a few days ago on suspicion of gambling activities … gambling is illegal in China.” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson

Crown’s operations had run headlong into China’s biggest ever corruption crackdown, leaving its business model in disarray.

“This was a shot across the bows by the Chinese Government … of Crown, but it was a general warning to everybody else who was thinking about sending people to China to recruit Chinese high rollers to gamble in their casinos.” Former Hong Kong prosecutor

On Monday night Four Corners investigates what went wrong for Crown in China.

Reporter Marian Wilkinson pieces together the key characters and events in the lead up to the arrests.

“There was a certain arrogance …they wouldn’t touch us because we are, frankly speaking, we are white guys.” Casino consultant

And explores what this means for Crown’s casino business here in Australia, especially the multi-billion dollar Barangaroo project in Sydney, as the bottom falls out of their Chinese high roller market.

“If you’ve been going to Crown and you are phoned up by the local police and questioned on your movements and your past history of travel to Australia, you would be close to borderline suicidal if you were to make another trip to Australia. It’s like putting big ‘X’ across your forehead.” Casino consultant

Crown Confidential, reported by Marian Wilkinson and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 6th March at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 7th March at 10.00am and Wednesday 8th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at

Join the conversation on Twitter: #4Corners

The Price of the American Dream: Four Corners
Airs Monday March 13 at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview

“I never figured I’d be in this kind of situation, for my kids to be in this kind of situation…I’m dumbfounded.”

“Make America Great Again!” was the catchcry that propelled President Donald Trump all the way to The White House. He tapped into the deep sense of unease felt by many Americans, that despite the nation’s economic recovery after the global financial crisis, they have been left behind.

“It’s a struggle every day. How am I gonna make it today? How am I gonna make money to buy food, how am I gonna make money to cook my kids dinner at night?”

On Monday night Four Corners brings you the story of those Americans desperately hoping for change - America’s shrinking middle class who are fast joining the swelling ranks of the working poor.

“Two jobs right now is nothing, like I could probably do 3 jobs if I wanted to, but then I would definitely get no sleep.”

Germania works 18 hours a day at two minimum wage jobs, but no matter how hard she works, it’s not enough. Most of her salary goes on the small motel room she shares with her children and mother-in-law. Her dreams of being a paediatrician have faded.

“You know what, I’ll do the overnight if I’m gonna get paid nine dollars and five cents…just suck it up. It’s like fifty cents more.”

Others chase work across the country. Joe, Chelsie and their three daughters arrived in Seattle hoping to find jobs in the city’s building boom. Instead, they find themselves living in a tent city set up in a church carpark.

“This is my momma’s tent. This is my family and we sleep right there and I sleep on the really bottom.”

They’re joined by others who never believed they could fall so far down the country’s economic ladder.

“To be somebody (who was) in…a top position before here, it can make you realise, did I look down on that person?”

And as companies try to cut costs and move jobs to cheaper areas, many workers are facing an uncertain future for the first time in their working lives.

“It’s not just about wages, it’s not just about benefits. It’s about treating you like you’re a human being. This isn’t a third world country that we live in, this is the United States.”

The Price of the American Dream, from French film-maker Hélène Eckmann, presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 13th March at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 14th March at 10.00am and Wednesday 15th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEDT, and at ABC iview.

Join the conversation: #4Corners

The Age of Consequences: Four Corners
Airs Monday March 20 at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview

The Age of Consequences: The Pentagon insiders with a climate change warning for the world.

On Monday night Four Corners brings you the views of distinguished former members of the US military and senior policy makers who warn that climate change is not only real, it’s a threat to global security.

“I’m here today not only representing my views on security implications of climate change, but on the collective wisdom of 16 admirals and generals.” - Rear Admiral David Titley (Retd), U.S. Navy

They say climate change is impacting on vital resources, migration patterns and conflict zones.

“Climate change is one of the variables that must be considered when thinking about instability in the world.” - Gen. Gordon Sullivan (Retd), Fmr. Chief of Staff, U.S. Army

Rear Admiral David Titley spent 32 years in the US military. He was the US Navy’s chief oceanographer and led the Navy’s Task Force on Climate Change. He argues climate change must be acknowledged.

“Our collective bottom line judgement is that climate change is an accelerating risk to our nation’s future.” - Rear Admiral David Titley (Retd), U.S. Navy

The film analyses the conflict in Syria, the social unrest of the Arab Spring, and the rise of groups like ISIS and how these experts believe climate change is already acting as a catalyst for conflict.

“This is the heart of the problem in many ways. Climate change arrives in a world that has already been destabilised.” - Dr Christian Parenti

Director Jared P Scott explores how water and food shortages, drought, extreme weather and rising sea-levels can act as accelerants of instability.

“We realised that climate change would be a threat multiplier for instability as people become desperate, because they have extreme weather and the seas are rising, and there are floods in one area and droughts in another, fragile states become more unpredictable.” - Sherri Goodman, Frmr. Dept Undersecretary of Defense

These Pentagon insiders say a failure to tackle climate change, conducting ‘business as usual’, would lead to profound consequences.

“It’s a very dangerous thing to decide that there is one and only one line of events heading into the future and one and only one best response for dealing with that.” - Leon Fuerth, Frmr. National Security Adviser, White House '93-'01

The Age of Consequences from PBS International, directed by Jared P Scott and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 20th March at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 21st March at 10.00am and Wednesday 22nd at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEDT and at ABC iview.

Join the conversation: #4Corners


Fighting the System: The mothers and carers battling for justice and protection for their disabled children.

“I brought him into this world, and I love him. I do all I can to help him. I’m 88 soon. I’m still battling.” Jean, mother

On Monday night Four Corners exposes what happens behind closed doors in some taxpayer funded group homes for the disabled and talks to the mothers and carers taking on the system.

“It’s about time for me to tell this.” Maria, mother

These are families who’ve made the tough decision to place their disabled children into care, in the belief it would be the safest place for them. They say their trust has been betrayed.

“I could not sleep knowing my son was in that house… I would park my car at the front of that house … so that if he did need something I’d be there, but the reality is, I couldn’t protect him at that point. I had to get him out.” Anne, mother

This Four Corners investigation shines a light on the mistreatment of these vulnerable people.

“No child deserves to be treated as a dollar figure rather than a human being. They have rights. They deserve respect. We’re entrusted to do what’s right for them. We’re entrusted to advocate for them, and we failed.” Disability worker

These are homes where sexual and physical abuse occurs and perpetrators get away with it, because police and the justice system are unable to cope with the challenges of dealing with witnesses with disabilities.

“The investigating officer said well, ‘We dropped the ball’. I just said, ‘You think?’ They just gave up and said ‘We did. We didn’t do it properly,’ and that was it.” Bev, carer

One industry watchdog expresses his frustration over the failure of the group home operators to end the mistreatment:

“I could give a lengthy explanation but let me put it simply. The practice was unacceptable.” Disability Ombudsman

And despite the billions promised for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and plans for new protections, some warn that families need to stay vigilant.

“Parents should not be trusting service providers and they must do due diligence all the time, because the evidence is that it’s very unsafe and there’s a lot of risk.” Disability Advocate

The mothers and carers who’ve seen their children come to harm are determined to speak out and demand action.

“I’m a fighter. I don’t give up.” Jean

Fighting the System, reported by Linton Besser and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 27th March at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 28th March at 10.00am and Wednesday 29th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at


Airs Monday April 3, 2017

Please Explain: What’s going on inside Pauline Hanson’s One Nation?

“We don’t cheat, we don’t lie, we are upfront with the people.” Pauline Hanson

When Pauline Hanson and her One Nation party stormed back into politics as a major force, it was done on the promise they would be nothing like the “mainstream” political parties they and their supporters loathe.

“We bring a fearlessness. We don’t care what people think…we just speak the facts.” One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts

But on Monday night Four Corners will reveal the brutal backroom politics ripping into Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party.

“If the public knew what went on in the Party I don’t think they’d have anything to do with One Nation” Former candidate

Reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna investigates the party’s inner workings and explores how former supporters have been left disenchanted, asking for Pauline Hanson to “please explain”.

“A political party is supposed to be transparent, democratic, inclusive and the party at the moment is not any of those things.” Former Party Worker

A must-watch investigation.

Please Explain reported by Caro Meldrum-Hanna and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 3rd April at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 4th April at 10.00am and Wednesday 5th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at


Airs Monday 10TH April, 2017

Cracking the Code: What Facebook really knows about you.

“What’s on your mind?”

It’s the friendly Facebook question which lets you share what you’re thinking and what you’ve been up to. It’s also the question that unlocks the details of your life and helps turn your thoughts into Facebook’s profits.

“They are the most successful company arguably in human history at just gathering people’s time and turning that time into money.” Reporter

On Monday night, Four Corners explores the world of Facebook and how your data is being mined to drive the huge success of the social media giant.

“Facebook’s very well aware of our sentiment, our mood…it can put all that data together and start to understand who our ex’s are, who our friends are, who our old friends are, who our new friends are, and that’s how it really works.” Marketing executive

Reporter Peter Greste examines the Facebook business model and shows why your private life is making them billions.

“Facebook has very cleverly figured out how to wrap itself around our lives. It’s the family album. It’s your messaging to your friends. It’s your daily diary. It’s your contact list. It’s all these things wrapped around your life.” Digital privacy expert

The program investigates how Facebook has the ability to track much of your browsing history, even when you’re not logged on, and even if you aren’t a member of the social network at all.

“Even if you close your account, even if you log out of all of your services, the way that they’re set up, with their sharing buttons, they’re still going to be able to build a profile for you. It’s very difficult to opt out of Facebook’s reach.” IT security consultant

And shows how the methods used to deliver targeted advertising also drives what ‘news’ appears in your Facebook feed, and why you are unlikely to see anything that challenges your world view. This feedback loop is fuelling the rise and power of “fake news”.

“We’re seeing news that’s tailored ever more tightly towards those kinds of things that people will click on, and will share, rather than things that perhaps are necessarily good for them.” Media analyst

With more than 16 million Australian Facebook accounts, joining more than a billion other users, Four Corners investigates how much we are giving up to be part of the social network.

“If somebody was going to build a dossier on me based on what Facebook knows about me, what would it look like? I should be able to know that so that I can make informed decisions at how I’m going to use the platform.” Internet privacy advocate

Cracking the Code, reported by Peter Greste and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 10th April at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 11th April at 10.00am and Wednesday 12th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at

Airs Monday 24 April
Syria’s Disappeared: The Case Against Assad

The images of Syrian men, women and children killed in a chemical gas attack in April appalled the world, and led the United States to unleash an air strike on the Syrian regime. But as shocking as the use of these weapons is, it was just the latest act of brutality rained down on the citizens of Syria by the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

“Too many people have been physically abused, too many people have been psychologically abused, too many people have died in detention of unnatural causes to say that there’s anything else but a widespread and indeed systematic practice of abuse.” War Crimes Investigator

Now, international pressure is rising for Assad and his regime to be held to account for years of atrocities. In a secret location in Europe, war crimes investigators have been building a criminal case against the Syrian regime.

“We’re trying to lay the foundations for a prosecution along the Nuremberg lines, where prosecutors can lead with heavy, heavy irrefutable documentary material.” War Crimes Investigator

Using a cache of more than 600-thousand smuggled documents, investigators have been piecing together evidence of what has happened to the thousands of Syrians who have been killed, tortured or “disappeared” at the hands of the Assad government.

“We didn’t set out to build a case against President Assad or any other individual, we went where the documents took us.” War Crimes Investigator

Investigators have amassed a vast trove of evidence, including thousands of photographs smuggled out by a regime defector.

“They were actually numbering, indexing, photographing, building files on the people they tortured to death in total violation of international law, of their own laws, and were keeping meticulous records of it.” Former US Ambassador

The investigators have also interviewed hundreds of people whose names appear on arrest lists and interrogation notes, along with survivors, former prisoners and family members of Assad’s victims, who say they want the perpetrators brought before a court.

“I will not rest until I take them to court and get justice. Justice for me and my friends who they killed. Even if it costs me my life. I will pursue them and I will bring them to justice no matter what.” Former Prisoner

Now, the war crimes investigators believe they have the evidence needed.

“We’re talking about the security services, we’re talking about state security, we’re talking about military security, we’re talking about Air Force Intelligence, within the chain of command, official forces… This is the clearest case that I’ve ever seen.” Former US Ambassador

This powerful film shines a light on the barbarism of the Syrian regime at a time when the future of President Assad is being argued over by the world’s most powerful nations.

The film’s directors Sara Afshar & Nicola Cutcher are available for interview from the UK. Pre-recorded interviews are possible.

The Case Against Assad, a Channel 4 film directed by Sara Afshar & Nicola Cutcher and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 24th April at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 25th April at 10.00am and Wednesday 26th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at

Join the conversation on Twitter: #4Corners

After the Game: Four Corners
Airs Monday May 1 at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview

After the Game: Elite athletes blow the whistle on the high price paid for sporting glory.

“You literally go from the very peak of your career, being the best at something, to dirt.” Former Olympian & Commonwealth Gold Medallist

On Monday night, Australian sporting champions reveal their struggles to restart their lives after their elite sporting careers have ended.

“It’s a cut-throat industry, professional sports…A lot of people forget we’re still human beings.” Former Essendon AFL Player

Their accounts are raw, deeply personal and in some cases, shocking.

“I felt like I was a failure again. That I couldn’t achieve anything. I couldn’t do basic things.” Former Test Cricket Player

One elite swimmer tells of how she went from being ranked number one in the world to queuing for the dole.

“I applied for pretty much every job under the sun. I applied for packing shelves in shopping centres and the comment is: ‘oh what do you need a job for?’” Former Olympian & Commonwealth Gold Medallist

A world class superstar reveals their fight to overcome a dependence on prescription drugs used to numb the pain caused by injury.

“Having to get off everything was really, really, really hard.” Former Elite Athlete

One former cricket star explains how he went from living the dream life to his current job as a road surfacer.

“There’s no system set up in place to take care of players that have career-ending injuries. It’s short and sharp – ‘see you later, thanks for coming’.” Former Cricket Player

All describe the mental anguish they’ve been through as they grappled with finding a place in the real world.

“The perception in my mind was everything will be downhill from here. I’ve just reached the pinnacle. This is my lifelong dream. So is everything else from here downhill?” Olympic Gold Medallist

Former Wallaby Dan Vickerman took his own life in February, devastating those around him. In moving interviews his former teammates reflect on the challenges of life after sport and the painful soul searching they’ve been through in the months since his death.

These elite athletes are urging sporting bodies to do more to prepare sports men and women for life after their careers have ended.

“Athletes are competing for maybe ten years, if they’re lucky. Ten years out of an 80 year life. At the moment, that ten years, for a lot of people, it’s destroying the rest of their lives. It’s destroying the next sixty.” Former Olympian

After the Game, reported by Louise Milligan and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday May 1 at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview. It is replayed on Tuesday May 2 at 10.00am and Wednesday May 11 at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at

Power Failure: Four Corners

Airs Monday May 8 at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview

Power Failure: Why Australia is being left in the dark.

“It is remarkable how much we have stuffed up energy policy in this country.” Mining lobbyist

On Monday night Four Corners investigates how a nation as rich as Australia is in coal, gas, sunshine and wind, has found itself in the middle of an energy crisis.

“We’ve had a catastrophic failure of national policy making.” Industry Lobbyist

For a decade, the politicisation of energy policy has divided the major political parties and brought down their leaders.

“We’ve had a series of disasters, bad political decisions to end up where we are.” Energy Analyst

The result is an uncertain energy future and soaring power bills.

“We’ll pay about $750,000 this financial year, and next financial year we’re looking at about a $1.2 million gas bill…It’s an uncontrolled and sudden shock to our business.” Manufacturer

On the eve of the Federal Budget, the program charts how short term politics has repeatedly overridden the national interest.

“Blind Freddie could have seen this coming. Only those who are neglectful or deceitful or didn’t want to face this problem, wouldn’t have known this was coming.” Industry Lobbyist

Four Corners has travelled across the nation to see how the lack of affordable and reliable power is driving some businesses to the wall, others are going offshore.

“We’re the lucky country but at the moment it seems that we’re giving away most or all of our competitive advantages.” Manufacturer

And with experts forecasting that winter will bring even higher power bills as well as blackouts next summer, there are calls to end the politicking and for real action to be taken.

“Everyone keeps blaming everyone else and I would love as a consumer of electricity, I’d love both sides of government to come out and just find a solution.” Business Owner

Power Failure, reported by Michael Brissenden and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 8th May at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 9th May at 10am and Wednesday 10th at 11pm. It can also be seen on the ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at

The Lindt Cafe Siege: Four Corners
A Four Corners special two-part investigation by Sarah Ferguson airing Monday May 22 & 29 at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview

The Lindt Cafe Siege: A Four Corners special two-part investigation

On Monday May 22 Four Corners will present the first episode in a two-part special investigation into the Lindt Cafe siege.

Sarah Ferguson talks exclusively with the families of Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson about their experience on the day and their devastation, anger and frustrations in the aftermath of the siege.

Surviving hostages recount their terrifying ordeal as they waited, hour after hour, for the police to arrive.

The program examines how authorities over several years failed to comprehend the risk posed by hostage taker Man Haron Monis.

Part two of the investigation will take you inside the Lindt Cafe and the police operation on the day, and bring you a forensic examination of how the disaster unfolded.

This special investigation exposes what went wrong and questions whether Australia is prepared for another terror attack.

The NSW Coroner will deliver his findings on the siege on Wednesday May 24.

Part One of The Lindt Cafe Siege, reported and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 22nd May at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 23rd May at 10.00am and Wednesday 24th at 11pm. It can also be seen on the ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at

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Airs Monday 5TH June 2017

Power and Influence: The hard edge of China’s soft power

“They want to influence Australia. They want a stronger presence in Australia.”

It’s a tale of secrets, power and intimidation.

“ASIO are really quite alive and alert to these issues…of Australian national security.”

China is our most important trading partner, making a strong relationship vital to Australia’s national interest. But there are growing concerns about covert Chinese actions taking place on Australian soil.

“Every government has an interest in promoting itself abroad to extending its soft power, I guess what’s different about China is the way in which its run through these clandestine operations.”

Five months in the making, this joint Four Corners/Fairfax Media investigation uncovers how China’s Communist Party is secretly infiltrating Australia.

The investigation tracks the activities of Beijing-backed organisations and the efforts made to intimidate opponents of the Chinese Communist party.

“The way the Chinese Government operates is effectively to control and silence dissent.”

And investigates the influence of individuals who have access to political and business leaders.

“Even if they’re not receiving any kind of direction, they would feel some sense of obligation, or indeed make the right impression on the powers that be in China, to demonstrate that they’re being good members of the party, that they’re pursuing the party’s interests.”

The findings will be released in a series of stories through Fairfax Media and ABC platforms, reported by Fairfax’s Nick McKenzie and the ABC’s Chris Uhlmann, culminating in the Four Corners broadcast on Monday night, detailing the full revelations.

Power and Influence, reported by Nick McKenzie and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 5th June at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 6th June at 10.00am and Wednesday 7th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at

Breaking the Brotherhood: Four Corners
Airs Monday June 12 at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview

Breaking the Brotherhood: The brave few who blew the whistle on Australia’s most corrupt police force.

“‘Break his camera and break his mouth too!’ was the order.” Chris Masters ‘The Moonlight State’ (1987)

It was Queensland, the year was 1987, and the State’s police force was riddled with corruption. The brotherhood of crooked cops who gave the green light to illegal gambling and prostitution believed they were untouchable.

“The level and systemic nature of it, reaching to all levels, including the highest political levels, was truly a shock to me.” Leading Criminal Investigator

There was a conspiracy of silence, from within the Queensland Government and all the way up to the highest levels of the force. The nature and the extent of the corruption sickened the honest cops, who operated in a world where they could trust no-one.

“There were times that I actually feared for my life and for the life of my family. It was clear to me that we had institutionalised corruption taking place.” Undercover Operative

A small band of brave crime fighters, and their families, took the enormous risk to trust a journalist with the State’s darkest secrets. The result was ‘The Moonlight State’, perhaps the most explosive true story ever told on Australian television.

“There is another side to the Sunshine State. Despite some wholesome attempts to pretend otherwise, the Queensland Government has not managed to stop the devil at the border. In the Sunshine State, sex is a great little earner.” Chris Masters ‘The Moonlight State’ (1987)

Chris Masters’ landmark report prompted one of the most important anti-corruption investigations in Australian history, the Fitzgerald Inquiry, which led to the jailing of the Queensland Police Commissioner.

But the whole story of how the whistle was blown has never fully been told. Now the key players who put their trust in Chris Masters have come forward to tell their story, on camera, for the first time.

“I’m sitting there with my wife at home, because I knew when it was going to air, and I’m watching it. And I had this silly grin on my face, but it was also teary because we actually made it, we survived. The story got to air.” Whistleblower

“I believe that fate brought (us) together and that something had to be done.” Undercover Operative

The program also reveals the shocking lengths corrupt police went to, to try to silence the whistleblowers, and reporter Chris Masters

“My son had been walking home from school and a car had pulled up beside him and told him that his father was going to be killed.” Undercover Police Officer

“Things got very scary, and a very powerful syndicate of organised criminals and corrupt police realised that they had an illicit empire to protect and they started to play nasty.” Chris Masters

Thirty years on from ‘The Moonlight State’, leading law enforcement figures warn that every police force today must remember the lessons of those dark days so they can never be repeated.

Breaking the Brotherhood, reported by Mark Willacy and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 12th June at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 13th June at 10.00am and Wednesday 14th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at

Airs Monday 19TH June 2017

Rise of the Trolls: The dark side of the internet.

“They do it because they want to get a reaction. They want to see me lash out and it all feeds into this sick and twisted entertainment value to them.” Blogger

The digital revolution has transformed our world. Never in human history have we been more connected to each other in ways that would have seemed unimaginable only a decade ago. But with the rise of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and a smartphone in virtually every pocket, the internet bullies known as trolls are only ever a click, tap or swipe away.

“We want to make them cry. We love to make them cry.” Troll

Instead of bringing people together, trolls use the internet to target those they disagree with by provoking, harassing and threatening them.

“It may be that the internet has unleashed a kind of dark demon, within millions of people out there in the general public.” Psychiatrist

On Monday night Four Corners takes you into the dark side of the internet to explore the rise of cyber trolls.

“They send things to my home. It terrifies me to think what they could do, if they wanted to, knowing exactly where I live, knowing where my children go to school.” Blogger

Many trolls go to great lengths to try and hide their identity and as the program explores, psychiatrists believe this is helping to propel the appalling behaviour.

“Anonymity seems to be a very important factor on the internet, in that it seems to make people less inhibited about doing nasty things.” Psychiatrist

One self-proclaimed hard core troll outlines the trolling landscape and boasts about his extensive conquests, all while hiding behind a cloak of anonymity.

“I’ve been associated with all kinds of organised trolling groups…The Internet presented something that was never available to us before.” Troll

And some of the trolls are not who you’d expect.

“The trolls and the really dangerous people that I attract are, themselves, mothers and have small children at home.” Blogger

We meet Britain’s most notorious troll, jailed for sending threatening tweets, and a campaigner in Canada as he goes on trial after a confrontation on Twitter.

“If you’re hurt, if the truth hurts you, it’s not my problem, because I’m just telling the truth.” Canadian Activist

The prosecution of trolls raises uncomfortable questions about how far our commitment to freedom of expression goes. Activists are warning of an Orwellian future of thought police.

“Trolling is a free speech issue and if you aren’t free to hate someone then you’re not free… If we are serious about freedom of speech, then we have to allow people to say hateful, obnoxious, racist, sexist things.” Magazine Editor

RISE OF THE TROLLS, from Canadian film-maker John Baltrusaitis and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 19th June at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 20th June at 10.00am and Wednesday 21st at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, and on ABC iview.

Airs Monday 24 July

“People are profiteering…It’s the biggest water grab in Australia’s history.” Grazier

In Australia’s most important river system, the water is so precious, it could be liquid gold.

“People want to get water in their hands because if you get water in your hands that’s big money.” Grazier

Stretching from Queensland to South Australia, billions of dollars in taxpayer’s money has been poured into rescuing the rivers and streams of the Murray-Darling Basin to save it from environmental collapse. But nearly five years on from a landmark agreement to restore the river, something is wrong.

“People are beyond angry. I think they’re dismayed. People are very distressed.” Former Murray-Darling Basin Authority official

Along the river system many are saying despite all the promises, water is disappearing from the river.

“We don’t know where that water’s going, and we don’t know what’s happening to that water. It just seems bizarre, and particularly when there are so many major players that are potentially exploiting the system.” Ecologist

On Monday night Four Corners will reveal how the plan to rescue the Murray-Darling Basin river system is being undermined.

“We put up with droughts for hundreds of years. That’s just life living here, but that’s not what happened.” Grazier
Reporter Linton Besser investigates where the money, and the water is going.

“A lot of people take it for granted, like flushing the toilet…I just hope that people with the most money aren’t the people that are getting all the say.” Mayor

He finds communities divided.

“I think for anyone that lives on a river, they know the argument about the people upstream are always the greedy buggers taking all the water, and the people downstream are the people - that you might seek to ignore - who are wasting water. I don’t say that.” Irrigator Lobbyist

With many wondering how they will survive.

“What’s going to happen to the rest of us who are trying to just have a shower, brush our teeth and let our sheep and cattle have a drink of water when you’re standing on the riverbank and all you can see is a puddle of water, but you know that people upstream have huge amounts of water?” Grazier

And questions whether the billions in tax payer’s money has been well spent.

“We all hoped because of the state of the Murray-Darling Basin that the basin plan would essentially take this patient, which was essentially in the intensive care unit, out of the intensive care unit and be able to make it walk again. But essentially the basin plan is not working the way it was meant to work.” Ecologist

Pumped, reported by Linton Besser and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 24th July at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 25th July at 10.00am and Wednesday 26th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at

ABC Australia

Airs Monday 28TH August 2017

Blood Business: the lucrative international trade in blood and plasma.

Giving blood is a simple and selfless act that saves lives. For many, it’s a way of giving back to the community, expecting nothing in return. In Australia, blood donors receive a drink, a biscuit and heartfelt thanks.

Overseas, it’s a different story.

“It’s work. I’m providing a product. You know, I’m like a cow. I’m giving milk.” Plasma donor

In other countries, blood has become a lucrative commodity fuelling a global trade worth billions of dollars.

“Healthcare is the perfect money-making industry. Our willingness to pay for available therapies basically, especially for our loved ones knows no bounds.” WHO spokesperson

Plasma, the vital blood component used by pharmaceutical companies to create expensive therapeutic drugs, is like liquid gold.

“This is America. Everything is a big corporation out here. Without money nothing moves.” Plasma donor

Plasma donation centres operate across America, where they pay, or “compensate” those who provide their blood. Many of these centres operate in the poorest neighbourhoods, where would-be “donors” queue to provide their blood and receive their payment.

“First it was this kind of extra money thing, just to get a little money on the side to help me with bills and stuff. And then I became a regular.” Plasma donor

For some, their blood has become a vital source of income.

“This is a plasma blood bank card, It’s almost like a regular Visa card. They put the money on your card immediately after you get done.” Plasma donor

This joint Swiss/French film investigates the impact of the plasma trade and the toll it’s taking on those giving up their blood for money.

“Tap this arm, real good. Let’s give them what they want so we go what we want.” Plasma donor

Blood Business, from Point Productions reported by Marie Maurisse & François Pilet and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 28th August at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 29th August at 10.00am and Wednesday 30th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at

Combustible: FOUR CORNERS
Airs Monday 4th September 2017

ABC Australia

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