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Rear Vision

50 EpisodesProduced by ABC RadioWebsite

We tease out the complex history behind those baffling events in the news.

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United States Supreme Court

October 18th, 2020


The selection of a new justice to the United States Supreme Court is frequently controversial and almost always political. It’s a …

The Universal Postal Union

October 11th, 2020


The Universal Postal Union created the global postal territory that has allowed letters and parcels to travel around the world for almost 150 years.

Now challenged by email and private couriers as …

Arab states normalise political relations with Israel

October 4th, 2020


The deal brings to four the number of Arab nations who have normalised diplomatic relations with Israel. It was a triumph for Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and for US President Donald …

The story of Tesla—a computer on wheels

September 27th, 2020


Tesla is now the world’s most successful car company, although it might be more accurate to call it a tech company that makes …

Voting technology and democracy in America

September 20th, 2020


In the upcoming US presidential election voters will cast their ballots in myriad ways, from mail-in-voting to computerised voting machines. And if it’s a close election, there will be court …

Logging Australia's native forests

September 13th, 2020


Regional Forest Agreements were supposed to settle what could be logged and where, but recent court challenges and protests show …

Australian universities in crisis

September 6th, 2020


Australian universities are confronting a firestorm, the loss of foreign students, the layoff of academics, the underpayment of staff and radical changes to domestic university fees.

Why is our …

The failure of aged care in Australia

August 30th, 2020


The COVID pandemic has put the spotlight on aged care homes, already under scrutiny after evidence of neglect and abuse was laid bare in the Royal Commission. Who is responsible and how did it happen?

Cruise ships in the sky—the story of public housing and high-rise towers

August 23rd, 2020


The hard lockdown of nine public housing towers in Melbourne last month raised many questions. When were they built? Why were they only built in Sydney and Melbourne? And why did we think tower …

Threat of extinction—how Australia’s environment law failed

August 16th, 2020


Australia is home to plants and animals found nowhere else on the planet. How did a law designed to protect our rich environmental heritage fail so badly?

How WWII changed Australia

August 9th, 2020


The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 75 years ago, led to the end of WWII in the Pacific. How did that war and the post-war …

Fish fight—why a Brexit deal hinges on who’s casting a net in Britain’s bountiful waters

August 2nd, 2020


Fishing became the lightning rod for Brexit but without a deal, the UK could catch plenty of fish but have nowhere to sell them. …

Voter suppression in the United States of America

July 26th, 2020


For over 200 years the right to vote in the US has been a contested issue, especially for African Americans and other people of …

The religious right—politics and God in the USA

July 19th, 2020


President Donald Trump appears a perhaps unconvincing Christian but the support of religious conservatives is crucial to his re-election in November.

The humble bicycle

July 12th, 2020


As the coronavirus sweeps across the globe, people everywhere are turning to cycling. In cities like London, Milan, Paris, and …

Vaccines - what can the past tell us about the future?

July 5th, 2020


Vaccines are one of the greatest medical advances in modern history but it usually takes decades to develop one that is both safe and effective. Can we beat the clock with Covid-19?

Over policed and under protected: Policing in America

June 28th, 2020


The recent killing of two African American men at the hands of white police has raised questions about policing across the United …

Yoga in the West

June 21st, 2020


Yoga goes back thousands of years in India but as its popularity spread around the world, its practice diversified to incorporate …

Human guinea pigs: Covid19, clinical trials and big business

June 14th, 2020


Would you volunteer to be a human guinea pig in a clinical trial for Covid19 vaccine? Would you be more likely to volunteer, if …

Biowarfare – can it tell us anything about the corona virus?

June 7th, 2020


The US suggestion that the corona virus came from a Chinese lab - although unsupported by any evidence - prompts the story of our …

Self-reliance or dependence - a history of Australian manufacturing

May 31st, 2020


There was a time in the 1960s when Australia manufactured almost everything – washing machines and fridges, footwear and clothes, cars and steel. It was a major part of our GDP and employed almost a …

The evolution of cruising, from luxury trips to today's troubled waters

May 24th, 2020


Cruise holidays were once only for the wealthy. In recent decades they've found a mass market, but how and at what cost?

How epidemics and pandemics have changed history

May 17th, 2020


Human history is usually understood through wars, economic changes, technological development or great leaders. What’s frequently …

Animals, humans and disease

May 10th, 2020


Around two thirds of the infectious illnesses we humans suffer are caused by pathogens we’ve picked up from wild or domestic animals. They’re called zoonotic diseases and these kinds of illnesses go …

Will Joe Biden be the next President of the United States?

May 3rd, 2020


Joe Biden has emerged as the Democratic nominee for the United States Presidential race in November. But he’s run twice before and both times been defeated soundly. Why did he win this time and how …

In a fix - how match fixing became sport’s biggest threat

April 26th, 2020


Find out how match fixing works. It's ubiquitous and now recognised as the biggest threat to sport integrity.

What happened to the NBN, Australia's 'information superhighway'?

April 19th, 2020


The NBN was supposed to provide all Australian homes with reliable, super-fast internet connections. As many of us adjust to living and working from home, connected with our jobs, friends and family …

SARS, Ebola and now Covid-19 - world health and the role of the W.H.O.

April 12th, 2020


For over 60 years the World Health Organisation has been the pre-eminent international health organisation but questions have been asked about its response to several infectious diseases. This is the …

SARS and MERS - what did the earlier epidemics teach us?

April 5th, 2020


Singapore and South Korea – partly because of their experience with previous corona virus outbreaks – have managed this pandemic without locking people in their homes or shutting down their …

1929 Revisited

March 29th, 2020


After a month of almost unprecedented drama on global financial markets due to the spread of the Coronavirus, Rear Vision revisits the 1920s and the events that led to the stock market crash of 1929.

The Black Death - the plague that never went away

March 22nd, 2020


In the fourteenth century, the plague killed about half the population of Europe and Asia, making it one of the most devastating …

Benjamin Netanyahu - Hero or Villain?

March 15th, 2020


On the 17th March Benjamin Netanyahu, the current Prime Minister of Israel will appear in court, charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Despite the charges his party won the most seats in …

How China's wet markets and wild animal trade created an epidemic

March 8th, 2020


With coronavirus most likely having jumped from animals to humans at a wet market in China, here’s what you need to know about …

Secular India and the rise of Hindu Nationalism

March 1st, 2020


Last week as President Donald Trump was visit to India - the national capital New Delhi erupting in communal violence. It’s a …

Ireland - ready for change

February 23rd, 2020


Shifting political dynamics have given new life to the question of the reunification of the Republic in the south with Northern …

Greek Tragedy or Farce: The life and career of Rudy Giuliani

February 16th, 2020


At the heart of the recent US impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump was Trump’s personal lawyer and former Mayor of …

Ghosn has flown - the rise and fall of an auto industry mogul

February 9th, 2020


In December, one of the car industry’s most powerful figures fled from Japan where he was awaiting trial, apparently hidden in a …

The story of fire in the Australian landscape

February 2nd, 2020


Most Australians have been impacted by bush fires this summer. But fires are not new - we live in a country that has been shaped …

E-cigarettes - is there value in vaping?

January 26th, 2020


E-cigarettes first appeared as a healthier alternative to smoking, maybe even a way to quit, but they soon escaped the medical framework and have become a public health nightmare in the US. Yet some …

The anti-vaccination movement

January 19th, 2020


Why do some parents choose not to vaccinate their children, despite the safety and success of vaccines?

How history can help shape the debate about an Indigenous voice to Parliament

January 12th, 2020


In the Uluru Statement from the Heart, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are calling for an Indigenous Voice to parliament. …

The art market

January 5th, 2020


Who decides what a painting is worth? The history of the art market and how it works.

Kashmir in lockdown: The story behind Pakistan and India's ongoing battle for control over Kashmir

December 29th, 2019


Earlier this year the Indian parliament has revoked Article 370 of the India Constitution — which had guaranteed some form of …

Understanding assassination

December 22nd, 2019


Assassination has a very long history yet each one is as singular as the life taken. Do they change the course of history, as …

Nancy Pelosi the most powerful woman in US politics

December 15th, 2019


Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House of Representative, and  the most powerful woman in the United States. For the past two years …

How to get there—the rise of satellite navigation

December 8th, 2019


GPS—where did this handy and incredibly accurate system come from and how did it become so thoroughly integrated into our lives?

Is water recycling the answer to our current drought?

December 1st, 2019


Parts of Australia are in the grip of one of the worst droughts in decades and water security is a key issue. While Sydney is about to go onto level 2 water restrictions, some towns like Cobar, …

A destructive mine and a civil war—Bougainville's path to an independence vote

November 24th, 2019


The desire for independence is driving politics in places as far flung as Catalonia, Scotland and New Caledonia. Will the people …

Protests in Lebanon: Is this the end of their religion-based political system?

November 17th, 2019


For over a month Lebanon’s streets have been brought to a standstill by protesters. The demonstrators are demanding a complete …

The making and breaking of the Berlin Wall

November 10th, 2019


On the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, hear the whole story—why was it built, how did affect the lives of …

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