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ABC News 24 Australia Wide -

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Hello and welcome to Australia Wide.
I'm Laetitia Lemke. On the show this week -
shaking things up... What does Australia look like when
we have much higher unemployment because of disruptive technologies? If we're going to solve big problems
using technology, why don't we position ourselves
in Western Australia as experts in that domain? (GUNSHOT) ..the boom in guns. We're seeing arsenals
accumulated in urban areas. We're seeing it in different parts
of Australia.

..and when the price
becomes too high. A lot of people seem to think that
what they got hooked on was their losing
as much as their winning. When you lose, you get a little rush
of dopamine and say, "It's OK, don't worry about the fact
you've just lost 5,000 bucks," and you kind of get hooked on that.

First though,
every day around the country, thousands of policemen and women
are on the job serving the community. But they pay a higher price than most
in the course of their daily duties. Their exposure
to repeated trauma and distress leaves them particularly vulnerable
to mental health issues and suicide risk. Now some Queensland police officers have decided to share
that personal toll with Australia Wide, and they've told reporter Josh Bavas what changes they want to see
inside the force. (SIREN WAILS)
(FAINT RADIO POLICE CHATTER)

I saw dust in front of me, and the dust was settling, and I realised that something
had happened there.

JOSH BAVAS: Sergeant Glen Thomas
was nearly finished his shift when a horrific tragedy unfolded
in front of him. As I looked over, the main vehicle that looked like
it had been crushed, I could see there were three people
in there and there was no movement. An elderly couple and
their female friend would die - the victims of the decision
to turn into oncoming traffic on the outskirts of Toowoomba
late last year. It was a mess. There was personal
property all over the road that had been thrown from the car. Um...skid marks... There was petrol everywhere. It was the most confronting scene
he'd faced in a 15-year career, and he's still shaken by it. I don't want to think
about the next time that happens. Um...you think,
"Yeah, I got through that one, "let's hope another one
doesn't occur." 'Cause, yeah, I mean, all those
things are going to take a toll. These are people who get up
every day to protect us, to save our lives. And every day mostly are exposed to
incredibly traumatic events. They are witness to death, they are witness to people dying. What the rest of the community sees
on the news, police and emergency workers
see firsthand. REPORTER: All eight were
children aged between about 18 months
and 15 years, at least some of them
had been stabbed. REPORTER: ..before they rush in
to end a stand-off that paralysed the heart of the city
during the lunchtime rush. REPORTER: A pregnant woman,
her father and son were found dead in the family home
on the outskirts of Toowoomba.

The people that come in the front
door to join our organisation are human. They come with the same hopes
and aspirations as everybody else, but also the same vulnerabilities. These are not superhuman people.

The exact toll on their
mental health isn't clear, but first responders are
over-represented when it comes to suicide. From 2000 to 2012, across the country, 110 took their own lives, 62 were police. We, like the broader community, are losing people and have lost,
even in the last year, we've lost at least
three members to suicide. A lot of men and women
suffer in silence, and unfortunately
then develop PTSD and other kinds
of mental health issues or indeed experience
suicidal thought because they just can't get rid
of the images and the experiences
that they've been subjected to. (GUNSHOTS)
(SCREAMING)

I've turned, I've looked,
it's a man. Pointed at my face
is a .22-calibre rifle. Senior Sergeant Daryl Green
and two colleagues were gunned down as they sat
in a police car in suburban Brisbane in May 2000. Police communications
reported the shooting.

He was shot twice, one bullet shattering his teeth and lodging under this tongue. The offender took his own life
after a few days on the run. Daryl Green and his colleagues
survived, but the ordeal weighed heavily
in the years that followed. It's like being in a car
going 300km/h and slamming the brakes on. It's just that sudden,
overwhelming impact. And that was a...
I knew it was bad, I just didn't know
how bad psychologically it was going to be for me. He still suffers
from post-traumatic stress disorder, but continues in the service and now speaks to other police
around the country. He's even produced a video
to provide an insight into his recovery. It needs to be recognised
so it can be treated. And the sooner it's detected,
the better the outcomes. And that's slowly filtering through
the emergency services. We're dealing
with decades of cultures in first-responder industries
and agencies of, "Suck it up, sweetheart." You know, very male-dominated
workplaces where traditionally
showing signs of weakness has not been the right thing
to do for your career or indeed what you're trained to do. But Assistant Commissioner
Brian Codd says that's changing. I don't want us to be experts
in funerals. I don't want us to be experts in the critical incident responses that have negative impacts. What I'd much rather do is us
invest our energy in understanding
that this is part of our job and putting in preventative measures
to build up our resilience so that the negative consequences
aren't catastrophic. Queensland Police is spearheading
a campaign to break down the stigma. On this convoy from Brisbane
to Melbourne, officers including Daryl Green
will share their stories with other first responders
and the military. We're chipping away at all levels
in our organisation and I've got tremendous buy-in
from our executive leadership team about the importance of focusing
on a safe and healthy workplace. Last year, Queensland Police opened
an anonymous counselling service for officers to get help. And Victoria's Police Commissioner
recently promised to overhaul that State's approach. Part of that culture has been - you will cope, you'll suck it up,
you'll get on with the job. But from hereon,
we've got to change that culture. But nationwide,
there's a lack of knowledge about what happens to police
after they leave their jobs. Beyondblue is about to launch
a nationwide survey to find out. For the first time,
we will be able to share data with first-responder agencies
and indeed the community so that, you know,
decisions can be made, policies can be developed,
programs can be developed, and we really have a sense
of a benchmark that we can measure progress
against. For those on the thin blue line, there's solace
in knowing backup's there. I'll be out with my family
having a meal at a cafe, and the phone will ring. And when the phone rings, you just
don't know what it's going to be. You cringe, you answer the phone,
you take that call, and then you start to process it - who is around that's going
to be able to help you - and then you go out and deal
with the job the best you can.

Josh Bavas in Brisbane. The way many of us catch taxis,
book hotel rooms and rent videos has changed markedly
over recent years. The rise of disruptive technologies
has transformed many industries. And in Western Australia
in particular, the start-up community
has been booming as entrepreneurs find new ways to overcome the downturn
in the mining boom. Nic Perpitch takes a look.

NIC PERPITCH: While
the economic slowdown in the west has forced some companies
to dramatically cut back their innovation departments, in tech hubs like these
dotted across Perth, the whole focus is on coming up with
bright new ideas to either sell to the market
or to challenge its very structure. This is our device.
This is what we're doing. Some of the most recognisable brands
in the world have done just that, using what's termed
'disruptive technology'. Through technological advances
and new business models, they've transformed existing markets
or created new ones often replacing
established industry leaders. Those on the leading edge
in Western Australia also have high ambitions. Technology is disrupting
massive industries and you can gain
technological skills way earlier on in your career, so you don't have to be middle-aged
to be the top of your field anymore. You can actually be a 20-year-old. One start-up has nothing less than an overhaul of democracy
in its sights. We're trying to fix
where everyone else has failed to bring electronic voting
to the mass population.

The way the team at veri.vote
sees it, the current system is broken
and needs replacing. In 2013, a ballot box
fell off the back of the truck and we had a $20 million recount and the taxpayer
had to pay for that. So, instead of that, what happens is you put your vote
into an electronic system and it is put onto the block chain, where it stays until
the end of time. They're in a race
against developers in the US to create the world's first
fully transparent, secure and anonymous
electronic voting system. They have already held discussions
with the WA Electoral Commission, explaining their system is based on
the same blockchain technology that underpins Bitcoin - a database that creates
an indelible record of information, such as voting results. Anyone can look inside without
compromising anonymity of voters just to make sure the whole election
system is happening properly. So effectively anyone in the world
can act as a scrutineer rather than elected officials
from different political parties who have a vested interest
in the outcome of an election. Perth's start-up community has developed quickly
over the last few years. Tech hubs have emerged for young entrepreneurs
to work together and share new ideas. And it's here at Spacecubed
in the middle of the city that some of the most successful
businesses have started.

And not surprisingly, it's the resources industry
that's the focus for many of these
disruptive technology start-ups in Western Australia.

(HORN HONKS) During a downturn, we like to think
it's just filled with opportunity because the focus is no longer
throwing money at what has been established
or principle. It's now figuring out ways
to do things smarter. Technology that might otherwise
be feared as disruptive is being embraced to help resource companies cut costs
and find solutions to problems. If we're going to solve big problems
using technology, why don't we position ourselves
in Western Australia as experts in that domain. So it's really about honing in, focusing on what we're good at
over here and developing the right people
and talent to do it. It was at a hackathon in 2014 that industry leaders
came to the tech community asking for a solution
to the problem of large rocks blocking crushers on mine sites. Newton Labs came up with
the winning idea of using sensors
to detect large rocks as they were placed into trucks. We as a group
thought outside the box and thought, "Hang on,
you could use vibration analysis "to actually detect it
on the back of trucks." And for the sake of
the actual event, we got a Tonka toy and an iPhone and threw some garden rocks
in the back in front of all the judges. And now they are working on a device that calculates how big
the rock fragments will be before they are even blasted. More broadly, resource companies
are trying to get on the front foot of the technological revolution, internally disrupting
their own companies. Woodside is using cognitive computing to allow staff to access
its huge banks of data and ask the system questions. It's a Siri for grown-ups,
if you want, in that... So that they're already
seeing results. Similar technology is also being used to transform
the financial services sector, cutting out the middlemen,
like stockbrokers, and creating new opportunities. In the financial technology
perspective, we can essentially trade shares
with other parties, without, again, having a bank
or a stockbroker or a settlement agent in between. So the idea of this ability
to conduct business without third parties
is potentially disruptive, especially if you happen to be
one of the third parties. And that's why banks at the moment,
in particular, are looking as much into
this technology as the start-up community.

That's the premise of this company
Simply Wall St that came out of Perth, is something that looks at
your stock portfolios, your interest in yield versus growth and what kinds of industry segments
you want to mix your portfolio into and makes recommendations
on that basis. That's a really interesting
challenge. I think that we have... The future governments are going to
have to think about these things - what does Australia look like when we have
much higher unemployment because of disruptive technologies? I think that, at this stage,
we're not really sure.

MATTHEW: Generally speaking,
you'll see when software platforms
come into play, it's not the thinking side
of the business which suffers, it's the side where you have
a very repetitive, dull job, and if you can upskill people and get them to do
the more interesting work, then very often these technologies
can be for the better.

Nic Perpitch in Perth. There's something of a boom going on
in the nation's capital, with the number of registered guns
rapidly approaching 20,000. Gun clubs say
they're seeing extraordinary interest in the sport of shooting,
and they can barely meet demand. But gun control advocates say
they're alarmed by the trend which they say is a sign that Australia's gun culture
is beginning to shift. Tom Lowrey reports. TOM LOWREY: Tanya Skinner
is an extraordinary young shooter. (GUNSHOT POPS) In just her mid-teens,
she's claimed national titles, and is one of the best female
clay-target shooters in the country.

I'm a bit of a minority.
There are a few girls who shoot. You know, you go to a national event and you might get 70 girls there. But overall there are a lot less
females doing it than males. There's no denying shooting
is a sport on the rise in the ACT. At the Majura Park Gun Club,
Wednesday is open night and business is booming. It is a good feeling.
It's hard to describe, to be honest. A bit of empowerment, I suppose, but it's a nice feeling
when the target... When you hit what you're aiming for. The number of registered firearms
in the ACT is approaching 20,000. I actually, honestly thought
it would have been a lot more. Those purchasing a firearm
for recreational purposes must be members of a gun club. And that rule has prompted what Canberra's
Sporting Shooters Association says is a period of extraordinary growth. Memberships have been increasing
at roughly 10% a year, and now stand at just under 4,000. We run safety courses each month, and we're running anywhere from
30 to 40 people through a month to get a firearms license. But not everyone is thrilled
by the growth in gun ownership. We're seeing arsenals accumulated
in urban areas, and it's a problem that's not
just confined to Canberra - we're seeing it
in different parts of Australia. The fear is that
legal, registered firearms could fall into the wrong hands. They're targets for thieves, and the number of guns
stolen in Australia is in the order of
about 1,800 to 2,000 each year. Large numbers of guns in urban homes
is a target for thieves - and that's what we're seeing, is people wheeling out gun safes
with 10, 12 or 14 guns in them. The issue with firearms is that some may be stolen
during a burglary. And once they're stolen
from the lawful owner, who's doing the right thing, they then get out into
obviously the criminal network. They then become illegal firearms. Gun crime is a real concern
for ACT Police. Offences involving a firearm have held at a little over one a week
in recent years, reaching 70 in 2015. Armed robberies involving a firearm
went from one in 2014 to 15 in 2015. But police say
that's not necessarily indicative of an increase in illegal firearms. Those armed robberies can be linked, and it can be a single firearm
being used in a series of robberies. But of course,
any gun crime is of concern to any policing jurisdiction. It's a sore point
among many gun owners - their sport, and their passion,
being linked to gun crime. Many argue their weekend trips into
the bush, or afternoons at the range, couldn't be further from
the violent crime worrying police. But some lawmakers argue
it's a necessary link to draw. Former ACT Police Minister
Gary Humphries was one of the architects of the biggest reforms
to Australian gun ownership laws in the wake of
the Port Arthur massacre. Unfortunately
it wasn't possible then, nor is it possible now, to separate the majority
who lawfully use their guns from those who unlawfully
would use their guns in certain circumstances
to commit crimes. He argues maintaining
firm restrictions on licensed, regulated firearms is critical to ensuring
community safety. The evidence of these last 20 years
is quite clearly that restricting access to guns
has made a difference, has made our community safer, Has reduced accidental
and deliberate violent use of guns. The primary concern of many lawmakers
and gun control advocates is firearm theft, but criminologist Jason Payne
questions how great an issue that is. It's not a problem.
It doesn't seem to be very frequent. There doesn't seem to be
a large number of firearms - registered firearms, that is - that are stolen
for the purposes of transitioning, or should I say, subsequently transitioned
into the illicit market. He also questions
any perceived relationship between more legal firearms
and increases in gun crime. To suggest that somehow an increase
in the use of firearms for recreational purposes
would somehow translate to an increase in the rate at which
firearms are used illegally is, I think, a bit of a stretch
in this particular case. And on that,
ACT Police tentatively agree. The increase...

I don't think it is a major concern of registered firearms.

The concern would be the increase - if there is an increase -
in illegal firearms. And that's very hard to quantify, and you're only going to
speculate on that because it depends on
the circumstances. Shooters, meanwhile, say the only way to change
their sport's image is to get more people involved. A lot of people
don't see how it's a sport, they don't see
the competitive side of it. And I think it'd be really good
to get more young people into it, because we're the future
of the sport, and I think that we need more of us. A target that may not be
so easy to hit. (GUNSHOTS POP)

Tom Lowrey in Canberra. Australians have always loved sport
and having a bet, and we're doing both more and more. Gambling sponsorship in our major
sporting codes has become entrenched. A new film is exploring the fine line between recreational betting
and problem gambling through the story of a sporting
legend who's hit rock bottom. Nick Grimm has his story.

NICK GRIMM: It's Sunday night
at a suburban cinema in Sydney and a private screening of a new
Australian film is getting underway. The movie centres
on a Rugby League great, a legend of the game. But as this audience will discover, this is no Cinderella story,
no easy feel-good fare. Everyone's saying that.
I'm like, "No. "No, BK's a stand-up guy.
He wouldn't do a thing like that. "No way!
No way he'd do a thing like that. "He's got all the money
in the world. "You know, why would he
throw a game?" So I go against the smart money. I got against the smart money,
right, because I trusted you. And what happened? I lost the lot.

Broke is the tale
of what's left behind after the full-time whistle
has blown, the crowds have gone home, and a champion player
has nothing to fall back on except the need to keep on winning.

(POKER MACHINE BLEEPS MUSICALLY) Of all the dumb things I've done,
and there's been a lot of them, this is number one (BLEEP) dumb. Even dumber than being banned
for life for match-fixing? Christ, that was pretty damn dumb. There's a scene before they arrive
at the Gamblers Anonymous meeting, so he's nervous, and you see this superstar
for the first time really just scared and vulnerable. I never got nervous before a game,
alright. I had 100% confidence in my ability, but this is a different
playing field, mate - I got nothing. You're just the same
as everyone else in there. That's what I'm afraid of. STEVE LE MARQUAND:
A lot of people seemed to think that that what they got hooked on
was the losing as much as the winning, that there's a train of thought
that when you lose, you get a little rush of dopamine
to say, "It's OK. "Don't worry about the fact
you just lost 5,000 bucks." And you kind of get hooked on that, on the losing
as much as the winning. And that was something I really
struggled to get my head around. Let's go, Ben.
Yeah, give us a sec. I just got the feature.
Alright, one. Let's go. Now, Ben.
Yeah, hang on, give us a moment. And it comes as
the real world of rugby league has been producing its own drama, with the Manly Sea Eagles vigorously
denying match-fixing allegations. REPORTER: Joe Kelly
says the match-fixing accusations are taking a toll. At the moment, this proud,
successful and community-based club is really hurting. I thought, "Here's a story that
I could make on a small budget." But also something
that hopefully could resonate and have a real social message about an issue that is
not going away any time soon.

Writer and director Heath Davis
has based the film on a variety of individuals
he's known who have fallen foul
of the gambling demon. But he was also driven
to write the script after witnessing the emergence
in recent years of the sports betting phenomenon and seeing the impact it's been
having on footy fans around him, old and young. And it was almost... Yeah, it was scary, actually,
just seeing kids not just being able to talk about
a game as a spectacle, but talk about the game in terms of
odds and outcomes and margins.

Actor Steve Le Marquand didn't have
to look far for inspiration for his role playing
a gambling addict.

STEVE: There's so many guys from
the NRL who've been through this, so many people from the world
at large with gambling problems. It was quite intense. But that intensity
has earned the film the thumbs up from many of those who work with
problem gamblers. Every issue that
a problem gambler experiences was covered in the movie, ranging from desperation,
depression, homelessness - just about - financial crisis,
relationship crisis, and even the thoughts of suicide. Oi! MAN: I could really identify with
how low he got. Gambling made me
a very dishonest person, a very deceitful person.

Tovia Alefosio was
a young rugby player in New Zealand when he first began laying bets on pretty much any sport
he could get odds. It wasn't long before he was spending
all his money feeding his addiction. There's nothing worse than being
where I've been because of gambling and because of what I do now, I can walk proud and answer my phone and walk the streets
without having to hide. WOMAN: Every time he was triggered
or we had an argument or he was in a bit of a bad place, that's what he'd use as his release
or his outlet, so he'd go out and gamble. And it got to the point where it
just got too bad and unmanageable. He gambled
a really large sum of money, and I just thought,
"I can't live like this anymore, "It's going to ruin my life." It was when his partner Tully
finally walked out that Tovia accepted that
he needed to reach out for help.

So, Tully, do you find
that there's an improvement too? Well, things are much happier
at home. Well, for Tovia and Tully,
their lives have changed from being worried, concerned,
feeling they were powerless. Now they've got a future. Yeah... But happy endings
are few and far between where problem gambling is concerned, and on that front,
Broke doesn't pull any punches. Why did you do it?
Why did you chuck it all away? Dunno. And people are...getting moved by it and, really,
it's impacting on people, which is sort of...
Fantastic. Yeah, which is the most satisfying
thing out of all of it so far. In so many movies set against
the backdrop of elite sport, the hero triumphs
despite impossible odds. Broke is not one of those films. It's certainly not
a Hollywood ending, but I like to think
that gets people thinking, anyway.

And a film doing what it can to show
those touched by problem gambling, how to beat the odds,
and win against the addiction. Don't give up on me.

Don't give up on me.

Don't give up on yourself
and we won't.

Nick Grimm in Sydney. I hope you've enjoyed
this week's show. You can catch any of our stories
again on iview or on our website. And we look forward to you
joining us again next week for Australia Wide. Captions by Ericsson Access Services Copyright Australian
Broadcasting Corporation

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