Reality TV meets documentary in this three-part television event on SBS during Refugee Week.
Perfectly positioned to premiere during Refugee Week, Go Back To Where You Came From is a world first -- documenting the experiences of six ordinary Australians who have agreed to challenge their preconceived opinions about refugees and asylum seekers by travelling the reverse path that many have taken to reach Australia.
A varied group with varied views, the participants include financial planner Roderick, lifeguard Adam, part-time schoolteacher and singer Gleny, importer/exporter Darren, and Raye, who lives opposite the Inverbrackie Detention Centre in the Adelaide Hills.
But perhaps the most confronting is Raquel, an unemployed 21-year-old from Western Sydney, who describes the nearby suburb of Blacktown as "a really 'black town'". A self-confessed racist, she is against Australia accepting 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."
Without cash, cards, phones and passports, the unsuspecting group will board a leaky refugee boat in Darwin, which will be the beginning of a 25-day journey through some of the most harrowing areas of the world. They will be "rescued" from the middle of the ocean before experiencing first-hand Malaysian immigration raids, a Kenyan refugee camp, slums in Jordan, and finally arriving in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq, protected by UN peacekeepers and the US military.
We are told that ultimately some will change their opinions after the ordeal, but none of them are unaffected by what they go through.
Screened over three consecutive nights, Go Back To Where You Came From is being supported with interviews and talkback specials across several SBS radio programs (in 16 different languages), as well as an interactive website.
Through www.sbs.com.au/shows/goback/, users can take the fact tester quiz entitled "Boat People are Queue Jumpers - Where do you stand?", which asks questions about refugees in Australia and how our current practises compare with the rest of the world.
There is also an interactive simulation game, Asylum: Exit Australia, which allows you to go through different processes that mimic an asylum seeker's journey. Could you survive?
And from June 22, interactive school resources will be available on the SBS website that will enable students and teachers to interact with the series' content, such as clips, classroom activities and curriculum applications.
This series is relevant to everyone, and promises to be compelling viewing. Don't miss it.
Go Back To Where You Came From premieres 8:30pm Tuesday, June 21 on SBS ONE.