Going Back to Go Back

Season 2's Go Back to Where You Came From cast.
Season 2’s Go Back to Where You Came From cast.

This week SBS One announced it will be playing Season 2 of Go Back to Where You Came From in its entirety. Here’s my post from last year about what this series says to their core audience.

I love Go Back to Where to You Came From. It is compelling factual television mixed with good journalism and proves we as voters can debate the vexed issues. But is it creating the change we need?

Go Back is a ratings winner for SBS and so it should. It ticks all the commissioning boxes. But when Malcolm Fraser envisioned a network for multi cultural Australia is this what he saw?

Broadcasting since the mid 80s you would expect the channel’s ambitions to change, but the remit has always stayed the same. It is here to service multi cultural and indigenous Australia. So as I watch another season of Go Back I can’t help but wonder how their core audience feel about what they are watching.

There are refugees amongst us traumatised by their experience of how they got here and how they have been treated since. And for the past few night they have watched us debate on our multicultural channel whether we, from our privileged armchairs should ‘let them in’.

By contrast what we show them is what they live everyday. There are many amongst us who welcome them however those who shout the loudest don’t. And then there are those who, unless they walk in their shoes, just sit on the fence.

Go Back, both last year and this year, contributes to our debate on refugee policy. It gives us a first hand view of what extraordinary lengths people go to for freedom for themselves and for their families. Without doubt it is must see television, however the channel that broadcasts it is preaching to the converted.

They love to watch it because they get to yell at their TV and abuse on twitter the right wing extremists who dominate the debate. However the people who listen to them and believe what they say, sadly are watching The Footy Show or some other similar program on a commercial network.

If we want this series to really change views and really change lives we must demand it be shown on the commercial networks. It must be forced fed to those in Australia who cannot comprehend the fact that seeking asylum is not an illegal act.

Until then, the series impact will be limited and sadly the format is so stayed it will have a limited lifespan too.

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