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ABC News 24 12 Noon News -

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Coming up on Catalyst - with summer on our doorstep and
the odd barbecue or bushwalk planned, we thought it timely to revisit our story about the link between
tick bites and meat allergies. And crowd-funding helps save
the endangered swift parrot. Your couple of bucks that you threw
to our random internet campaign has bred baby parrots this year. It's been amazing.

DR JONICA NEWBY: A coastal getaway,
a barbecue - it's the Australian ideal. But imagine if one day you reached
for a steak... ..and ended up in emergency... My blood pressure had dropped,
my tongue was swollen. ..with life-threatening anaphylaxis. You must be joking.
I mean, who's allergic to red meat?

It's called mammalian meat allergy,
or MMA. Unheard of until a few years ago, it's on the rise up and down
the eastern seaboard, with two cases now being diagnosed
a week just in this area. But what's more astonishing
is what causes it. We've now discovered it's triggered
months, even years, earlier by a seemingly unrelated event -
a bite from a tick.

It's an incredible story
of scientific detective work with implications for anyone
who visits the coast... We have the highest prevalence
in the world. ..or ever has to remove a tick. They are surprised when we tell them
that probably the reason is because they've been removing
the ticks incorrectly. The truth is, if you've ever been
bitten by a tick, you may already have a mild version
of MMA and not even realise it.

When Joy and her husband Nick Cowdery bought this idyllic getaway
25 years ago, meat was just part
of living the good life... Veal marsala, osso buco... were ticks. There are a lot of ticks here. I would've been bitten
every time we came here. In hindsight, there were early signs
of mammalian meat allergy, but they were the kind of thing
any of us would probably just ignore. When I looked back, I found that I'd had a number
of gastro-intestinal problems but I'd never, ever put it
down to something like meat. Then, one day, Joy was making
a beef casserole for a friend. So I tasted it to see
whether the meat was cooked.

After just over an hour, I said
to Nick, "I really don't feel well." And with that,
I started to itch all over. Bright red. My tongue was swollen. Very scary and, obviously, it was something that required
immediate medical attention.

A week after her brush with death, she was referred to a specialist
to undergo an allergen test and went home to her husband
with the shock diagnosis. "Guess what?
I'm allergic to red meat." And he said, "You can't be!" And I said, "Well,
that's what the blood test showed." I needed to be convinced finally. So we had an experiment.
"OK, let's try roast lamb tonight." It wasn't the best decision. At about one o'clock in the morning,
I woke up and I was itchy all over. And I just very slowly
started to go red. No more tests after that.

It's not surprising people
have trouble believing in Joy's
tick-induced meat allergy because its discovery is so recent many doctors still
haven't even heard of it.

And the person who made
this astonishing link works here. She's immunologist-cum-allergy-super-
sleuth, Professor Sheryl van Nunen. Hi. How are you? Sheryl was working
on Sydney's North Shore when she started to notice
an unusual cluster of cases, of which Joy's was case number 23. I started seeing people who had
a more unusual form of anaphylaxis, in that they'd wake up
in the middle of the night. Normally with anaphylaxis
you have the allergen - be that peanut,
prawn or penicillin - and then within half an hour, you're usually having
quite a serious reaction. And so it's quite easy to go back
to the probable provoking factor.

But in these midnight cases,
none of the usual suspects - like bedbugs - fit. So she decided to try looking
at their last meals. Joy, did you bring any ingredients
of the food of that meal? Yes, I did.
Good. Dr van Nunen is unusual in that
she does live meal tests, instead of allergens from a bottle. Basically, she pricks the food
and uses that for the skin test. They may be why red meat allergies
in adults had never been picked up before.

And to her amazement, her patients were allergic to
pork, beef, lamb - even venison. And kangaroo and buffalo, and obviously we then realised
that this was all mammalian meat.

But why? What would cause a person
who loved meat suddenly to have such
a violent reaction? And then she spotted it - all her
patients had a history of tick bite. Could it be caused by ticks? I literally
wouldn't believe it myself, but every time there was
a middle-of-the-night anaphylaxis, it would turn out to be
mammalian meat after tick bite. You get up to 20 people or so
and you think, "Oh, good heavens, I've got to
really do something about this. "We've got to somehow bring this
to the attention of my colleagues," because the tick, when you look
at the distribution, is all down the east coast
of Australia and you could see the majority
of our population is exposed by virtue of
where they live or the way they choose to do
their recreation or even work.

But how does a tick cause an allergy
months later to a food like red meat?

To find out, let's go catch some.

What every tick hunter needs - some repellent and
a state-of-the-art tick catcher.

Our tick wrangler is entomologist
Dr Stephen Doggett, who's about to shock me
by busting a long-held belief. I see. So you're on the ground. I always thought that the ticks
were up in the trees. No, in fact that's a great
misconception, it's a real myth. Very rarely ticks climb
more than about 60cm, because it just gets too dry
for them. But once they're on you,
they can actually walk over the body and they can spend some time -
two to three hours - before they find a site to attach.

It's a nice little park this.
I think it's lovely.

And it looks like
our tick trawling has delivered.

So this is the adult stage
of the paralysis tick, the one that's so problematic
for our pets and the one that can actually lead
to the mammalian meat allergy.

And here's how. Just look at
these enormous mouthparts.

Ticks feed on blood, so when they attach,
they insert these under your skin and inject you
with a local anaesthetic, which is why you don't feel it
at first. The trouble is, at that point
they're also injecting you with part of the blood of
whatever animal they fed on before.

And that blood, if it came
from any mammal other than humans, contains a small sugar
called alpha-gal.

Other mammals have it. We don't.

Alpha-gal is two galactose, or two
sugar molecules, stuck together. And it forms part of every mammal except humans, great apes
and Old World monkeys.

What's extra strange about alpha-gal
is that it's a carbohydrate. Normally, things that cause serious
allergies are all proteins.

But being processed by the tick makes this harmless sugar
seem like something else. What I wondered was
whether the tick bite could actually switch the human
to being pro-allergy, and that's what we think
is probably happening.

So the tick bites a mammal
and picks up alpha-gal. Now, once inside the tick, the alpha-gal binds
to a tick protein to form a complex. When the tick then bites me, it's this complex that's injected
straight into my bloodstream. Now, normally my immune system
would just ignore the alpha-gal and attack the tick protein, but this time,
they're coming in together and my immune system suddenly goes, "Oh, that's tough, that alpha-gal,
that's dangerous too."

Our immune system has now
been trained to react to alpha-gal and it's found in all red meats.

An immune system attack on the wrong
target is what we call an allergy.

A massive attack that threatens
our whole system, that's what we call anaphylaxis.

So how common is it? Oh, we have the highest prevalence
in the world. Other places where they consider it
to be quite prevalent are 10 times less. And that probably is due to the fact that our ticks are very efficient
at promoting the problem.

A thousand cases of MMA
have now been diagnosed up and down the east coast -
basically, wherever ticks are common, which means moist, coastal bush areas
stretching up to 100km inland.

Hotspots are
around Sydney and also Noosa. But now doctors are becoming
more aware of it, we are starting to see cases
in Victoria.

More importantly, there are no doubt
thousands of people with low-grade MMA
who don't know it yet. That's because,
as was Joy's case early on, it just manifests
as occasional nausea or diarrhoea, easily mistaken for a gastro bug. Well, if you do have intermittent
gastroenteritis, you know, if you think you had a funny meal
every so often, then it might be worth your while
taking meat out of the diet and see if those symptoms disappear. And then you should put it back in and see if those symptoms reappear
again. And then do that
a sufficient number of times until you're convinced that
that was the cause.

But it's not just meat allergy
you have to worry about. A growing number of people are becoming allergic
to the tick bite itself. And it's so severe, they end up here.

Believe it or not, acute life-threatening anaphylaxis
to a tick bite is now 25 times as common around here
as a severe reaction to a bee sting, and it's a medical emergency. So, it can happen within seconds
or minutes of a tick being removed. 75% of people with tick anaphylaxis
have a grade 3 or grade 4 reaction. Grade 3 is, "We can do great things
for you with adrenaline and oxygen." Grade 4 is,
"We hope your will's up to date "and we'll have a crack at it." So, these are very serious
anaphylaxis that are occurring.

Unlike meat allergy,
where alpha-gal is involved, this tick allergy is a reaction
to a protein from the tick saliva itself, which is why it comes on
so quickly and severely. Just pop your arm out for me. And interestingly, the people
who have the meat allergy are a different group
to the tick-allergic. People have had bites for 20 years and then, all of a sudden this year, they'll come in
with an anaphylactic reaction. Bit surprising to them, I imagine. Are people shocked
when you explain what it is? They are and also shocked
when we tell them that probably the reason is because they've been removing
the ticks incorrectly all that time. So are you saying
that tick anaphylaxis could be prevented altogether if
we just remove ticks the right way? Yeah, so if you squeeze the tick, then that causes the allergen
to enter the bloodstream, which causes
the anaphylactic reaction. If you remove the tick correctly
without squeezing it, then you don't have those problems. Unfortunately, most of us
instinctively do the wrong thing. So you have a tick.
How should you remove it? Here's my tick. Now this is what most of us will do - we'll either scratch it off or
reach for the household tweezers. Now this is precisely the worst thing
you can do.

As you remove the tick,
you squeeze it and all its contents
go straight into your bloodstream. What they need to know is household
tweezers are tick squeezers. So what should you do? Well, you should go to the chemist
and buy a spray containing ether. So something like Wart Off,
or Medi Freeze Skin Tag Remover.

Place the nozzle conveniently
over the tick and spray.

Feels cold. Freeze the tick, and wait about
10 minutes for the tick to die. Once it's dead,
you can just brush it off. "Freeze it, don't squeeze it,"
would be our advice. So that will kill the adults. But what about the tiny ticks,
the little larvae or nymphs? Now, these are
my little larval ticks, and for these, I'm gonna use a cream
containing permethrin. Now, this is basically the same kind
of cream as you get for scabies. Just rub that in.

The ticks will all die and soon
you'll be able to just rub them off. We dab them. Don't grab them.

Meanwhile, back at the lab... Bloody hell! I've got a tick!

This is not deliberate
and it's really itching.

OK, let's get the Wart Off out,

It's sizzling. I guess I wait for it to die now. DR STEPHEN DOGGETT: Solid frozen. And to my surprise. the itch
went away completely in an hour. This new method really works.

As for Joy, she's not taking
any chances these days.

JOY: This is
my tick protection gear. Um, I spray my body with Rid
to begin with, then I spray my clothes
with Permoxin.

And then I'm ready to garden. And while Joy may no longer
be able to eat red meat, she can at least
still drink red wine. Not all is lost. No. So, cheers
to this beautiful place. Cheers. Thank you.

And for the latest advice
on tick bite first aid, visit the Catalyst website.

MARK HORSTMAN: It's a good thing that conservation biologist
Dejan Stojanovic has a head for heights. MAN: For me, when you're at the top
of an enormous forest giant, and you can see the ocean
on one side and snow-capped mountains
on the other, and you have curious swift parrots
perched two metres away, wondering,
"What are you doing at my nest?" I would never take an office job.

Dejan studies swift parrots because less
than 2,000 are left in the wild. Two years ago,
he was shocked to discover their population is
being decimated by sugar gliders.

Back in 2015,
we brought you the amazing story of the world's fastest parrot,
the swift parrot, and how it's being eaten out of house
and home by a bizarre predator. 12 months later,
we return to Tasmania to find out what's changed for this
endangered species to survive.

This is a good news story. Thanks to generous donations, Dejan and his team have installed
hundreds of nesting boxes in areas free from sugar gliders.

Your couple of bucks that you threw
to our random internet campaign has literally bred baby parrots
this year. It's been amazing.

Each summer,
every swift parrot in the world flies to Tasmania
from the Australian mainland.

The birds are looking for
a safe hollow to lay their eggs and raise chicks.

Magnificent trees like this Tasmanian
bluegum are absolutely vital to the many animals that
use its hollows to nest and breed.

But it takes at least 150 years
for these hollows to form, and that's the problem - there's just
not enough of these old trees left. So, parrots have two very distinct
habitat requirements. They're related,
but they're separate. They need enough food, but they need
also enough nesting sites. And they can't breed in any decent
numbers unless there's enough food, but no-one can breed
unless there's hollows. So, having those two quite separate
resources overlap in space and time is critical.

When they breed, swift parrots feed only on flowering bluegums
and blackgums, but these trees don't flower
every year. Dejan and fellow researcher Matt Webb have studied the flowering
patterns long enough to be able to predict where the birds
will go each year. Over the last decade, they've been
monitoring 1,000 different sites across the entire
south-east of Tasmania.

One of the really important things
that come out of that work, and the modelling that we've done, is that it's only a small fraction of the breeding range that's actually available each year, and it's due to
these flowering patterns.

They also keep a record of
each hollow used for nesting.

But industrial logging, land
clearing, and firewood collection all take their toll
on this scarce housing stock.

This bushland near Hobart was home
to 50 swift parrot nests until a wildfire toppled
many of the old trees.

Nearly two thirds of the hollows
were lost within six months of the wildfire. So, a really big spike in collapse
of both the hollows and the trees that supported them. How many generations do you think
would have lived in this hollow? Well, it's hard to say, but I can say that over the decade
that we've included this hollow in our monitoring program, we've had swift parrots
nest here twice, and musk lorikeets, tree martins,
green rosellas, owlet-nightjars, probably sugar gliders as well.

Unfortunately, its life is over now.

On top of habitat loss
and a shortage of hollows, the parrots also have
a surprising predator.

Dejan discovered that sugar gliders devour not only the eggs
and the chicks, but the nesting females as well.

We now, over five years
of researching this phenomenon, have quantified
that approximately half of the adult female swift parrots
get eaten every year, and this level of predation
is just so severe that the swift parrot population
can't tolerate it. He found a strong correlation
between predation rates and loss of old-growth forest. So, in places where old-growth
has been reduced to as little as 20% of the available
forest cover in an area, predation by gliders can reach 100%, which means every bird dead,
every nest failed.

Sugar gliders were introduced to
Tasmania more than a century ago. While they're now common
throughout the state, the good news for swift parrots is that they haven't made it to
the surrounding islands, like here at Bruny.

Swift parrots that nest
on the islands, on average, have extremely high success rates - in excess of 99% of the birds that
nest on Bruny Island do really well.

Which led to an ambitious plan -
why not provide extra hollows in safe places with no sugar gliders
and lots of food, to give swifties a chance
to build up their numbers?

They designed a nesting box based on the average dimensions
of a swift parrot nest. This is, like, actually so similar
to a real swift parrot nest that it's amazing. That'll be great.
Except for being square. It's wicked. (LAUGHS)

A crowd-funding campaign
raised enough money to build hundreds of them. Their campaign attracted support from some of Australia's leading
cartoonists, like Jon Kudelka. MAN: As a political cartoonist who deals with politics
most of the time, it's incredibly heart-warming to see
people given a chance to help and to trust that
that help will be followed through, and then to actually put their money
where their mouth is.

When we last saw Dejan in 2015,
he was putting up the first nest box. Since then,
there's been plenty of hard work hauling boxes up trees. We've been able to say, "OK, "we think that the flowering's going
to happen on North Bruny Island." And using that information
from our monitoring, we've pre-empted
the arrival of the parrots and spent the winter putting up
over 300 nest boxes for the birds in the hot spot
of food availability.

This is box...I think
it's 106 on this hill, and there's 200, at least,
in this patch.

A female is preparing to
nest in this one. Over time, we're going to get
more of these boxes used, but so far, of about
50 or so nest boxes checked, we've got nearly 20 of them
occupied. It's amazing.

In addition,
a small army of volunteer arborists from the Victorian Tree Industry

..use their talent with chainsaws to carve more than 50 new hollows
in trees. The parrots seem to like the results, perhaps because the new hollows match
what they're searching for. We had swift parrots
moving into cut hollows within three and a half days. It was amazing. They were done
on the Saturday afternoon and they were in there
by Wednesday morning. It was pretty remarkable.

This is the first carved hollow
on this hill, and it has eggs. It's amazing.

Population modelling by Dejan's team found the species could be
extinct in just 16 years. That led to its listing
as critically endangered. Any extra birds in the population
extend that extinction date. It's chicks. One, two, three, four. In a natural hollow, he finds
the first hatchlings for the season. Most of my job is walking
around finding dead parrot nests, and so it's quite a pleasant thing to be able to look at these
nestlings and know that their fate is not going to be determined
by sugar gliders, it's going to be determined
by the amazing conditions that are available this year
for these birds. By doing things
like deploying nest boxes on glider-free Bruny Island and enabling more birds to have the
chance to breed in a safe place, we're buying some time
for the swift parrot population until we can figure out
how we're going to manage the sugar glider problem
on the Tasmanian mainland. The lethal possum trap
he trialled last year didn't work. Now, the idea is to test a natural
hollow that's glider-proof - a light-activated mechanism
that shuts the door at night might keep the eggs and chicks
safe from nocturnal gliders.

But even here on Bruny, on an island
free of possum predators, and elsewhere
on the Tasmanian mainland, swift parrot habitat
is still available for logging. None of the threatening processes
that affect swift parrots have abated at all. And we've known about these
processes for over 20 years.

This is a significant proportion of the global population
of swift parrots. I mean, this is
a critically endangered species. And literally every
individual counts when you get to the low numbers
that we have for swift parrots. So, to know
that in a year like this, these birds are all going to make it and they'll end up returning to
breed in other years, it's great. I mean, this is exactly
the kind of boost the swift parrot population needs. JON: Well, it's turned out
magnificently, as we've seen. It's great to have a problem in the
world that can actually be solved.

(LAUGHS) Do you know, it's really
good luck to be pooed on by a bird? It's a bumper breeding season
on Bruny Island. All of the existing natural
hollows are occupied, and starting to produce chicks. Eggs are being laid in the new
hollows carved by arborists.

And now, for the first time anywhere, baby swift parrots are hatching
in the nest boxes as well. Build it and they will come. I had an inkling that if
we gave them more nesting habitat, that it would get used. But really,
until you try, you don't know. And it's just such a relief
that the money that we've spent and the public support
that's been given to this project can be kind of rewarded
in such a real way. Seeing eggs and nestlings in
these boxes is just phenomenal.

Catalyst, the Anthropocene - have we entered
a new geological epoch? It's the most astonishing event
certainly in human history. Almost a parallel with the arrival
of life on earth. Captions by Ericsson Access Services

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Hello there,
and thank you for joining me in the middle of
football finals month, as we consider the interplay between
sport and community values. Collingwood Football Club president
Eddie McGuire is often in the headlines
for all the wrong reasons. But there is a lesser-known side
to McGuire, who champions a number of
social causes in Melbourne. One of these is Magpie Nest. It's a housing program
that Collingwood runs alongside the Salvation Army. Now, as an avid Swans supporter,
I was keen to meet Eddie, and we spoke just before
the recent controversy over remarks made about
sports journalist Caroline Wilson. So, I then went back to try to make sense
of this contradictory character.

Eddie McGuire's passion
for the Collingwood Football Club goes back a long way - to the very first time
his dad took him to a Magpies game. The whole sense of excitement
gripped me and I was holding
onto my dad's hand, and it was when I walked inside
and got into position and the team ran onto the ground, and suddenly the whole place
just enveloped me. Lifted my heart out of my chest,
almost, and that's the moment
I felt like I belonged. This was it. # Side by side, we stick together # To uphold the Magpies name... # Some people might have...
And that was the beginning of... ..the organ going in the cathedral.
This was my cathedral. Yes. So it was a bit of a religion.
It was, yeah, it was. But it was a religious experience
in feeling part of the community. # For the good old Collingwood. # Welcome to Victoria Park.
Yeah! That's right. You're a Sydney Swans supporter.
Don't faint, OK? I'll hold you up. (LAUGHS) It's a bit worrying. It's
a bit worrying. I'll cope - just.

Eddie's commitment to the Pies took him from being a fan
to president of the club in 1998.

Who wants to be a millionaire? At the same time, he was managing his
meteoric rise from humble journalist to highly-paid TV and radio host... What a big week it's been in footy. ..including a short stint
as CEO of Channel Nine. Mate, very good.
You reckon he's back? I hope so, mate. We'll find out. While juggling his two careers,
the man known as Eddie Everywhere pulled the club out of financial
and on-field difficulties to create one of the most successful
football clubs in Australia. And it's a goal! In recent years, the club's also
stepped up its charity work.

Why do it?
What's the drive for Collingwood? I mean, I've got to ask.
What does Collingwood get out of it? For us, in 2016, why? Because to be perfectly honest,
we're a professional football club and regarded as the biggest
sporting club in Australia, but we're a community club. So, we decided when...
at the turn of the century, that our club had lost its way. We were on the wrong side
of racial vilification. We really stood for nothing.
We were a bit pumped up. We were a bit like the Wizard of Oz
with this big voice but really a bit squeaky, really,
behind the scenes. So when we had no money, we decided that this was gonna be
one of the pillars of our club - that philanthropy
and looking after our supporters was going to be central
to what we're all about. We had a bad season last year
with injury, missed the finals, and at our AGM, when we spoke
about what we do with the homeless, we got a standing ovation
from our supporters.

Collingwood Football Club has a proud
Catholic, working-class heritage. In times of high unemployment,
the club supported the community by opening soup kitchens
and giving free tickets to workers.

We were formed because it was
the biggest slum in Australia. Collingwood
was the depths of depravity for underclass working people. The football club
was established in 1892 to give them something
in their lives. And straightaway, we had one
of the biggest crowds at our games. Within four years,
we'd won the premiership. So, we were seen
as "you have to have them." They probably didn't want us,
the silvertail clubs, and that's where we are now,
you know, 124 years later. They still don't like us,
I don't think, but they have to have us,
in a lot of ways. Oh, we like to have
a bit of a chip on our shoulder.

Born in Australia, Eddie was the son
of Irish and Scottish migrants. He grew up in working-class
Broadmeadows in Melbourne's north. I won the Tattslotto of life. I had two unbelievable parents, and along the way,
I had some fantastic teachers.

One year to the day from my dad
stepping on the boat in Southampton, they moved into their own home
in Broadmeadows. This was unheard of. So for them, they really believed it
to be the lucky country, and they just drilled it into us. "You've got the chance.
Away you go."

You didn't have a lot of money,
though, did you? No, we didn't. We didn't have money,
and it was always tight. When the factories were laying off, it was a horrible time
in the whole community.

Eddie went to the local Catholic
school and played footy every day. Even as a young boy,
he was ambitious, with a competitive streak that saw him thrive
on the football field.

You know, I remember going up
to an under-11s pie night, St Dominic's, Broadmeadows, and an old-fashioned,
hot-gospelling football coach by the name of Alan Killigrew. That bloke's pushing in your back,
you gotta prop yourself and cop it. And I had this burning desire
as a 9-year-old that, you know, I wanted to get
going, and he got up and he said, "Whatever you do in life,
be the best at it. "You won't always succeed,
but if you try your hardest..." This was just music to my ears,
and we all jumped up, and thought,
"How good's this?"

Winning is important for Collingwood,
but it's not everything.

Christmas lunch for the homeless
has become a club tradition, and the McGuire family
volunteers to help every year.

It's become
our family Christmas Day. And actually it gives you
so much meaning, and we take so much from it. Don't think that we're doing this
out of the goodness of our heart. We take so much out of that day. It is the whole spirt of Christmas. They don't have to barrack
for Collingwood, by the way. But they come down...
You sure? Well, we sing the song.
(LAUGHS) It's the second hymn of the day,
the second carol. (CHUCKLES) O Come All Ye Faithful, followed
by Good Old Collingwood Forever.

REPORTER: For seven years,
they've missed the finals. This year,
God will be on their side. We had a wonderful ceremony,
a blessing of the scarves. We had the rabbi,
the Protestant, the Catholic, the Salvation Army, the Muslim -
we had them all lined up and they're all doing
whatever their blessing was, and everyone was
holding up their scarf. We'll do anything for a win
at Collingwood! (LAUGHS) We'll pray to anyone.
It was just good fun. Bob Maguire, the legendary...
Yes, Father Bob. He's a Collingwood
paid-up member. He was my chaplain at school,
believe it or not. Was he really?
Yeah. That explains a lot. (LAUGHS)
It does. It does. He was hugely influential. And, these things,
they do - they spill in. Yes, it is a sectarian football club but it has so much, hopefully, of the goodness of religious
experience that comes through - whether it's the fervour,
whether it's the dedication, whether it's sticking through
hard times side by side - and I'd like to think that that's
what the Collingwood spirit is. Eddie met Salvation Army
Major Brendan Nottle at a charity game in 1999. For years, Brendan's led a team of
dedicated staff and volunteers to help those in need. A Collingwood supporter, Brendan went
on to become the team's chaplain. I think the role of the chaplain
is to keep it real for footballers. I think in my mind, it's to be a
positive presence around the club, and I think it morphed into
an opportunity for me to actually connect the work
that we do with homeless people and the football club. So we have quite a few footballers get involved
in the life of our work here. Some of the ones who'd been
a bit naughty, we said, "Well, you better go and spend
a little bit of time with Brendan "out on the soup kitchens
of a night-time." We get these kids - six months ago they couldn't get
a date at the social, next minute
they're playing for Collingwood and they're walking into nightclubs
and being given a drink card know,
it's on for young and old. We've all seen it. The money comes and money goes, and kids' lives, you know,
can go off the track. But those who actually
keep their head on their shoulders can go on to great things.

The Salvation Army runs the
Hamodava Cafe in central Melbourne. Here, homeless people are offered
food and other practical support.

Brodie is one of the Collingwood
players who volunteers his time.

Cool. I'm out. You know, I came out to this space and, to be honest, you know, it is
quite a confronting environment and I thought, you know, "What can I do
to turn this situation "that I've initially perceived
as, you know, a punishment "into a positive?" And worked really hard
with the guys here and, yeah, turned this wall
into a nice mural for, you know,
people to come and enjoy.

Well, it says "dare to dream," so that's just the way that
I like to live my life, you know? I never would have thought
10 years ago that I'd be playing AFL football, and it's just an example
of, you know, the endless possibilities
that life may have. And there's some people here
doing it tough, and it's about, you know,
keeping your chin up and, you know, you never know
what's around the corner.

The players' view of the world
actually gets broadened because rather than
living in this bubble that they can sometimes
get caught up in, all of a sudden,
their hamstring injuries or, you know,
difficulties with a sponsor all get put into perspective.

How you going, guys? In 2012, Brendan became aware
of the increasing numbers of women who were made homeless
as a result of domestic violence. He shared his concerns with Eddie. We saw a young mum come in here
really distressed, and she had an 8-year-old daughter
with her. And the mother had escaped a really horrific
domestic violence situation, and all she wanted to do
was make her daughter safe, and she went to a friend and said,
"I have no idea where to go," and so the friend said,
"Look, if you go to a rooming house, "you don't need rental history. "You just turn up
and pay your rent." So she did that,
and then she found out that the man in the room next door had been released from prison
on child sex offence charges. And so this poor woman was
terrified about what was going on, and she came in here
completely distressed. We all had tears in our eyes.
We all cried on the day. Brendan got up
and we looked at each other. "Well, OK. This is where
we think we should go."

Collingwood Football Club partnered
with the Salvation Army to create a residential program
in suburban homes. They called it Magpie Nest. We open the Magpie Nest! I thought I had a really good name.
I come up with Bed Or Dead. Very dramatic, and I thought, "Collingwood
will definitely go for this." And they said, "That is
the worst name we've ever heard." So they came back with Magpie Nest. So, I think it's a really good name, because it actually illustrates very
clearly what we're trying to do. So, it's not just a bed. It's actually putting
all of the supports around people that they've often missed out on. I remember when we first opened up, we had this young woman who
had slept rough for three years, and she slept on the floor of her
bedroom for the first three months - like Crocodile Dundee, you know, in that famous scene
where he's in New York. He's sleeping on the floor.
She was doing this. And I'll never forget walking in and she had a stuffed teddy bear
on the bed, and you go, "Oh, isn't that nice?" And I looked under the bed,
and she had a baseball bat. And this was this young woman
who just wanted some safety, wanted security, wanted to be loved, wanted to be the person
she wanted to be, and, at the same time,
she was still living the fear of what she'd been through
for God knows how many years. The program's now at 35 houses.
We have 120 people in that program. They've got access to a lawyer,
an addictions worker and case workers to help them
work through their issues and really start to
rebuild their lives. To be able to be inside and not
out on the streets is just great. To start with,
I was actually living up in Mildura, but I had an accident and fell down
some stairs and damaged my back, and then the hospital wanted me
to come back every two weeks. So it was, "Oh,
I'll have to stay down here." I was on my own and I'd never been
on my own in the streets and, you know,
it was very, very scary and...didn't know what to...
what to do. And I just thought,
"The Salvation Army," you know? "I'll go and see about them," and, yeah, so that's how
I actually got in here. So how are you going now that
you've settled into the house? Yeah, things are really,
really good. I'm getting a lot more healthy
and...yeah, it's been really great. Well, I can cook and eat now! So, we're out at one of the houses
today just doing a visit. We just pop in
and see how everyone's doing, have a chat with them, get to know
how things are going for them and see if we can help them out with the next step
that they're taking. Yeah, the house is a great feeling.
It's very safe. That's a really, really, you know,
good thing about it is the doors lock behind you. About once a fortnight,
they come around just to see
how we're all getting along, if there's anything we need. It makes you feel good.
Makes you feel human, you know? They've really brought me
out of my shell and now I'd like to, yeah, do maybe a course or something
on counselling. And, who knows, maybe in the future,
I'll be, yeah, helping other people.

I think this is a very,
very interesting partnership that's taken place - Collingwood Football Club
and the Salvation Army. Who would have thought? I think one of the things
that Magpie Nest shows me is that when you let sporting clubs
think beyond themselves as just being a sporting team and they start to recognise
that with their influence and with their networks
and contacts, they can actually bring about
significant social change.

It's a win all around. For Collingwood,
it adds value to their brand, helping to attract sponsors
and supporters.

Come on, go, Trav! Go, Pies! You know, for grown businesspeople
and adults, the pursuit of watching young men
run round chasing a footy, while it gets us
going on a Saturday, if that's the driving aspect of it,
it's a bit naff, really. It has to be in the community. And we've actually sat at
this very board table in the past and board members saying, "Are we spending too much time,
money and energy over here "on things that maybe, you know,
aren't core..." Social welfare, sort of thing?
"..aren't core business?" And what do you say?
We say, "Yeah, we are. "And we wouldn't be here without it, "because that's what this club
is about." But you couldn't be wooden spooners
and doing that, could you? Well, we were. I know you were, for a while,
when you came in. Yeah. But, I mean, you've got to have
a modicum of success... Oh, you've got to have the success.
Of course you. ..on the field.
And that drives everything. It's... Everything
drives everything, you know? The success on the field
makes everybody feel better, you get more sponsors,
you can do better things.


When we stand up after a loss
and we look at each other and go, "Well, at least tonight "120 people are sleeping
in a Collingwood home, "a Magpie Nest home,
rather than under a tree." Then you drive home
and you go, "Well, it' know,
it was worthwhile. "Even though we got beaten
by Carlton, it's worthwhile. "Even though the Sydney Swans
are stealing all our money, "it's worthwhile." (LAUGHS)
(LAUGHS) But that's where it is.
That's the broader picture. You know, in some ways,
you sound almost like the old version of the Irish Catholic
priest who's out there. Probably is.
Do you ever think about that? I do sometimes laugh to myself that it's the parish of Collingwood
that I'm presiding over rather than
the Collingwood Football Club.

Far from a saintly figure
and very much in the public eye, Eddie continues
to create controversy. His comments on Adam Goodes in 2013
caused a media storm. REPORTER: A king-sized episode
of foot-in-mouth. Discussing a promotional stunt
for the King Kong musical, Eddie McGuire said this
on his radio show. Get Adam Goodes down for it,
do you reckon? The backlash was swift. Last Friday, a 13-year-old Magpies
supporter was ejected from the MCG after calling
the Swans player an ape. The Collingwood president
was praised for his response and apology
after the match, but today, he was apologising
on his own behalf. Look, I've got to ask you,
then - I mean, how did you live with yourself
in the midst of all that? Believe it or not...
and this is not an excuse, but I was absolutely
on heavy-duty painkillers. I was on crutches, and
I shouldn't have been at work. You know, in a lot of ways, it... I was hoping to be a
community leader and stand by Adam, and this just momentary loss of... know, mental capability,
if you like, and it fell out, and... Because it seemed like casual racism. It did, yeah,
which was exactly the opposite of... That you weren't even thinking,
therefore you said what was really in your heart.
No, no. I wasn't thinking, because I was thinking of something
completely different. What was in my mind
was that back in the '70s, that's what would have happened
in this situation, you know, on the TV variety shows. They would have come out in a... an ape suit
with a Swans jumper on it and everyone would have laughed. It was...I was making that point
that, "Haven't we moved on?" Did I make it properly? No.
I completely botched it up. But I can at least sit here
knowing that, in my heart of hearts, that I meant the exact opposite, and that I couldn't have apologised
any more, and I sincerely apologised. And a lot of people don't know me,
so they go, "Oh, yeah - rich, white idiot,
you know? Football boofhead." Alright, you have to cop that.
Well, that is what people do say. Well, they do, but, you know,
what can you do about that? You can can only
live your life, and at know,
as we all know, there'll be a time of reckoning, and you'd like to think
that people would say, "OK, well, let's look beyond that."

A few months ago,
Eddie and his siblings decided to donate the family home
in Broadmeadows, the house they grew up in, to the Magpie Nest program. NOTTLE: I remember speaking
to Eddie about it and he said, "It's not a posh house but it's
a house that has a lot of luck." It sends this powerful message to the people
that will end up in their house that somebody that is extremely
well known right across the nation is actually concerned about them.

With all of this, frankly,
charity work that you're doing, do you think it's sort of giving you
a different attitude to faith? Is it reinvigorating it?

Look, I think, like every Catholic
boy of my age, and probably older, at some stage when vocations
came around, you had to think... And, boy, did I think quickly on the benefits of not becoming
a priest or a brother. (LAUGHS) As I think everyone did
at that stage. I got as far as altar boy
and that was it, and bailed. And, look, you know,
like everybody at the moment, unless you question just what
the role of the Catholic Church is in your world
and in your heart and... You know, my brother Frank
was the deputy chairman of the investigation into the... Sexual abuse. ..sexual abuse in the Victorian
parliament, and obviously, you know, living and seeing everything going
on, and it just breaks your heart. Can I ask you a private question?
And you don't have to answer me. Do you pray?

(SIGHS) Do I pray? I know...I still know
all the prayers off by heart. I could start Mass for you now and get to the end of it
without too much worry. And the way Bob Maguire
used to say it, I could do it in 10 minutes
for you as well. (LAUGHS)
He used to whip right through. But his belief was always,
at school, was that you'd never
keep a kid in at Mass when he could be out
playing football. And I subscribe to that theory. I think you do
in a different way these days. Um...I probably as a kid
prayed for, you know, the things that probably arrived,
in a lot of ways, or you prayed for your mum's health
and things like that, and it was more of a cry of despair,
I think, as a young kid. Now, you reflect on how lucky
you've been, and the things... What's being asked of you.
And...yeah. You know, I really do believe
in that what... know, what the nuns said about, "To whom much has been given,
much is expected." I really believe
if you've been given the good cards, you've got to play them well. And...maybe that justifies in me
some of the extravagance of my life, that I do make good money,
I live in a beautiful house, I have a wonderful family, so maybe that's trying
to square the ledger up. (CHUCKLES) I don't know. Maybe try and get that camel through
the eye of the needle after all. Thanks, Eddie, very much indeed.
Thanks, Geraldine.

REPORTER: Eddie McGuire
sort of says sorry for joking about drowning
a female football journalist. A month after our interview,
Eddie was in the headlines again. REPORTER: It was during
the Ice Bucket Challenge, raising money
for motor neurone disease, that McGuire joked
with football figures about journalist Caroline Wilson
taking part.


It was just days after
she'd written a column critical of McGuire's role
at Collingwood. The media personality
has made an apology of sorts. Are you sorry for those comments?

I'm sorry about...I'm sorry that that was the way
it was certainly perceived.

I had to go back and talk to him
and try to get some answers.

Now, since I last saw you, you've been in quite a bit of trouble
with the Caroline Wilson controversy. I wonder what it's left you
thinking about you. Um...

..look, it's always hard
in these situations, because I think, hopefully, over
the course of our conversations, you've realised what I'm about
in this sphere. I mean, we do this - we changed the focus of Magpie Nest
to victims of domestic violence over the last couple of years,
because we've seen it. You can say, "Oh, me, oh, my," and, you know, "It was a joke
and nothing was intended," and that was the case,
but ultimately, when two women a week
are being murdered in Australia, language does become important. And, yeah, it was a joke and it was nothing...certainly
nothing intentional, there was nothing aimed at women, but it could be perceived as that,
and it was felt like that, so it doesn't matter. So what we are now to learn
is that there are...there is... ..we've taken an evolutionary step
in language. So, we do that
and we...we go on from there. I apologised and... And have you apologised to her
personally? Oh, totally. Yeah, absolutely. I think it was Caroline Wilson
herself said, "The trouble with Eddie is that
he...he reverts to the personal "when he's a bit...when he's a bit
under attack." And maybe you do that with men too. Well, look... (CHUCKLES) Caroline and I have had
a long and interesting history. We're all in the rough and tumble
of football journalism. That's the cut and thrust
of journalism and commentary in this town
in football. This was her saying that she felt
maybe it was time for you to think about succession planning
at Collingwood. Yeah, but Caroline,
she's written that for 10 years, so that's not an issue. But the point is,
everybody in journalism... You know what journalists are like. They're the most thin-skinned
people in the world. What I said, and I'll quote it,
was, "Who would be next in? "Why don't we get Caroline Wilson? "I'll pay 10 grand to see her
go in the water. Make it 20. "And if she stays under, 50." Stupid. "If she stays under." No, that was it.
You know what it is? "Go jump in the lake,"
is basically what it was. But the context
of that conversation, when the others jumped in,
then it became bullying, I believe. OK? So...
Well, that's what she says. She says there's a boys' club and it's sort of, like,
the boys egg each other on, and women really don't like that. Yeah, I know. But that's what
I'm saying. So we go, "Right, OK." In that context, they go, "Right,
OK. Yeah, there's a point there." I might say... If I'd had a couple... 'Cause you've had a couple of goes
around the block in this. I might say to myself, "Hey,
it's time. You're judging it wrongly. "You're getting it wrong.
Public tone - very important." Yeah. Has it not gone through your head
that it's time to go? No. Of course not.
Well, it might have. You know what I mean?
It could legitimately have... You might have
just thought to yourself, "I'm getting it wrong and I don't
even know I'm getting it wrong." Look, I've been doing this caper
for 30-odd years. When you're on air all the time, and I've got a microphone
in front of me, you know, for hours every day, you know, I reckon I've got... This was...I think this was the one
I got wrong. The Goodes one
was a complete mistake. And you know what? The only way you learn
is from learning from your mistakes.

Melbourne was recently voted
World's Most Livable City, but a recent survey shows
that over the last two years, there's been a 60% increase in the
number of people sleeping rough. The Magpie Nest program
is under increasing pressure to deliver more support. Are Eddie's media gaffes
damaging these efforts? Do you think any of this controversy
affects your Magpie Nest work? Well, it probably doesn't help. But having said that, it seems to be
back to business as usual. I hope people see what we do
as being something that's sincere - that we actually are on the ground,
getting our hands dirty and making a difference, you know? We understand the situation with
domestic violence very, very well. It was the last thing on my mind
when I made that joke as I was jumping into an ice bath
in front of 60,000 people. I wasn't thinking anything at all
like that. But I can tell you,
the next time I will be.

AFL has come a long way since I started supporting it
as a 12-year-old in Perth.

With recent Indigenous
and multicultural initiatives and the launch of the women's league, professional clubs
are breaking new ground.

When sport and charity come together, the benefits off the field just might
be bigger than the game itself. But for now, as we head
into the finals...go Swannies!

Captions by Ericsson Access Services Copyright Australian Broadcasting

This program is not captioned.