Background Briefing
Background Briefing
ABC Radio
Background Briefing is daring narrative journalism: Australian investigations with impact. Our award-winning reporters forensically uncover the hidden stories at the heart of the country’s biggest issues.
Buyer Wanted - Mothballed Oil Rig
Did you know you're the lucky operator of a rusty oil rig floating in the Timor Sea? You, along with 25-odd-million others, that is. This week, reporter Alex Mann investigates why Australian taxpayers are forking out four million dollars a week for this facility, some 550km off the coast of Darwin.
Dec 5
34 min
The billion-dollar sports industry that can't keep up with the cheats
It's got audiences bigger than the Superbowl. Its star players earn more for a single tournament than the winner of the Australian Open. Mario Christodoulou investigates how esports became such a success with the match-fixers too.
Nov 28
35 min
450 days trapped on a cargo ship
Ronbert has sailed into bustling ports all over the world. But he can't get home or even set foot on dry land. Geoff Thompson investigates how the closure of borders has left 400,000 seafarers stuck on ships and what can be done to save them.
Nov 21
39 min
How contact tracers confront lies on the COVID frontline
They helped stamp out coronavirus by relying on human intelligence. But as Rachael Brown discovered, there was a weakness in the system. Sometimes people can't be trusted.
Nov 14
40 min
Introducing: Thin Black Line
On a spring afternoon in Brisbane's Musgrave Park, 18-year-old traditional dancer and amateur boxer Daniel Yock is drinking with his mates. But when a police van arrives, the mood suddenly changes, triggering a dramatic chain of events. Presented by Allan Clarke, Thin Black Line is a deep dive into what happened that day — according to the one eyewitness who saw it all unfold, speaking publicly for the first time in almost three decades.
Nov 7
7 min
The Ponzi scheme that preyed on faith
Bhavesh was in trouble. His wife had just suffered three heart attacks and he couldn't afford treatment. So he turned to trusted members of his spiritual community for help. But as reporter Meghna Bali discovers, Bhavesh soon started getting death threats instead, and he found himself at the wrong end of one of Australia's biggest cryptocurrency Ponzi schemes.
Oct 31
37 min
Welcome to Tent City, the underside of WA's coronavirus success story
The thin walls of Neville Riley’s makeshift tent do little to block the constant sound of passing cars and trains. And if he was living in a different city when COVID-19 hit Australia, chances are Neville would have been given emergency accommodation months ago. This week, Alex Mann investigates whether a historic opportunity to address homelessness in Western Australia has been lost.
Oct 24
33 min
A horrific playground incident: how one school failed its students
Kimberly's sunny, athletic and inquisitive about everything. But for years she harboured terrible secrets about what happened to her. This week, Janine Fitzpatrick investigates why her school failed to heed credible warnings that she was in danger.
Oct 17
39 min
Are these two scholars really a threat to Australia's security?
One's a former translator for Bob Hawke, the other loves Henry Lawson's poetry. So when Professor Chen Hong and Li Jianjun got caught up in a police investigation into foreign influence, many of their colleagues expressed surprise. This week, Hagar Cohen investigates why ASIO declared them to be a potential risk to Australia.
Oct 10
38 min
How banks help criminals get rich: Part 2
The FINCEN Files have revealed how Australian businesses are involved suspicious transactions worth billions of dollars. This week, Mario Christodoulou follows the money trail home to downtown Sydney and investigates why the system designed to stop it often fails.
Oct 3
36 min
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