I, like doubtless hundreds of thousands of other interested & concerned Australians, have been watching the SBS documentary “Go Back To Where You Came From”.
It’s a confronting exposé not necessarily of the asylum-seeker/refugee issue, but of the ignorance of that issue among pampered, isolationist white-bread Australian mindsets. The selection of the six participants in the three-part social documentary is clearly very pointed towards that protected, isolationist demographic which has never had contact with asylum-seekers or refugees, doesn’t actively seek that contact and prefers that immigration was a subject which didn’t disturb their sheltered lifestyles. It also doesn’t harm viewer ratings to have a few ratbags opening their mouths & showing off their lack of intellect. That’s the impression I get loud & clear from the first two nights viewings at any rate.
This documentary is overt in highlighting the bigoted undercurrent within white, anglo-celtic, ‘christian’ Australia. That demographic survives strongly despite the abolition of the White Australia policy over forty years ago. An earlier SBS doco – “Immigration Nation” – did an excellent job of detailing our disgraceful past in respect to government sponsored racism in judging those who wanted to come and live in this country. This one merely serves to prove that the attitudes espoused by John Winston Howard and his ilk, after having been brought back to the surface of Australian society in 2001, run strong and deep within the collective psyche.
The participants themselves shriek of socio-political ignorance and arrogance.
Roderick Schneider – financial planner and Young Liberal VP. Thinks wearing t-shirts which say ‘Hard Right’ or advertise Tony Abbott entitles him to be overtly ignorant and inappropriately correct at the same time. Lives in abject fear of being considered a ‘leftie’ – a pejorative term without meaning which conservatives like to use when backed into a corner in debate on any subject at any level. Rod Schneider is as articulate and worldly in discussion as Nicholas Sowden. ‘nuff said.
Adam Hartup – a professional lifeguard, if there is such a profession. This is the guy who reckons asylum seeking is a crime and says so in the doco preliminary voice-overs. He’s also the one male who, even after episode #1, seemed to be starting to gain an appreciation for why these ‘criminals’ get onto dangerous boats. He’s just your average dumb bronzed Aussie living the good life and blind to the world’s problems. I dare say he’s not in the least interested in politics, just sun, sand & surf. Can’t blame the guy for that.
Darren Hassan – from his 2010 Australian Democrats bio
“41 and currently resides in Craigmore with his wife and 2 young boys. He grew up between Kapunda, Gawler and Elizabeth, attending Gawler High School. After several years serving in the Australian Army he worked in various Sales and Management roles. Hassan resided in Taiwan for 5 years where he worked in Trading, teaching English and finally ran an Irish Pub. Speaks fluent Chinese and has recently started his own International Import/Wholesale company. He contested the Victorian seat of Batman at the 2007 Federal election.”
Darren comes from immigrant stock. The 19th century Afghan cameleers. Yet he claims he “doesn’t understand” why people get on boats. He won’t talk about the serious issues, especially when confronted by the convenor/host Dr David Corlett and he “thinks many migrants and refugees haven’t integrated well. Darren doesn’t understand why asylum seekers travel through numerous countries before arriving here and suspects they “country shop” for economic benefit.” Now, I’d agree with him that multi-culturalism is an abject failure, but not because immigrants themselves don’t make efforts to integrate. Clearly, his very own forebears did precisely that. This one disturbs me because of his army experience and the excited look in his eyes during the Malaysian Immigration raid he was a part of in last night’s episode. He’s also another pseudo-political aspirant who doesn’t/won’t/can’t address issues that clearly trouble him, but run counter to his set-in-concrete ideals. Darren’s modicum would likely be, ‘if you wiped your bum today, thank a soldier’ or something equally as vacuous.
Gleny Rae – The token ‘leftie’ yet I’ll bet pounds to pennies that none of the other participants has had the balls to tell her. She’s a tough nut, but a solidly grounded common-sense individual. She gets out into the world as an entertainer, relates to people well and clearly takes other’s at face value, as should we all.
Raye Colbey – The provider of the promo headline statement, “It served the bastards right” referring to the Christmas Island boat wreck in December 2010. She’s a baby-boomer, just like me, but unlike me she’s not politically aware or astute. She is a product of her parent’s generational upbringing. White Australia, Post-War Australia, ten-pound pom Australia. My own parents were of the same ilk as are those of my wife. White skin good. Dark skin bad, but Raye is a learner and she brooks no crap from those who genuinely piss her off. She’s great with kids and has 63 years of life’s experiences mellowing her outlook. Her eyes are opening, that much is plainly evident in each episode.
And lastly, the really fresh turd, the champion ratbag, the top-class viewer draw-card in the ‘love-to-hate’ category.
Raquel Moore – her bio from the SBS website says it all:
21, lives in Sydney with her bikie boyfriend and their 12 show Staffordshire terriers. A self-confessed racist, Raquel is highly critical of refugees, especially Africans. She says she’ll never be friends with a refugee.
She lives near Blacktown, describing it as a really "black town". She believes Australia should not accept any refugees: “You don’t know what diseases they’re carrying,” she says. “We need Pauline Hanson. She’s really strong about asylum seekers not coming to Australia.” Raquel left home at 13, moving around between relatives, before moving in with her partner at 16. She is currently unemployed.
Yep, a bikie’s moll with an undoubtedly dysfunctional family up-dragging who seems to believe espousing racism is a rite of passage into that white, anglo-celtic, ‘christian’ Australia she believes should exist exclusively to her design. A genuine precious princess, she absolutely hates being a part of what she clearly volunteered for. Such a shame she has to shit into a hole in the ground while puffing away on her filter-tipped cigarettes, dressed in her designer mid-rift t-shirt & jeans, risking chipping her acrylic nails
& muddying her lovely shoes. Yes, she’s the one to despise, and I surely do.
I hope these documentaries make some small impression on the right-wing bigoted couch potatoes who mirror the Darren Hassan’s, Rod Schneider’s and Raquel Moore’s in our society, but I fear such programs only confirm what social researchers already know, and only wind up preaching to the converted.