SBS doco on asylum seekers ignites Twitter debate

SBS ground-breaking documentary Go Back to Where You Came From didn’t set the ratings world alight, but at 524,000 viewers it was up on the 317,000 it attracted in the same timeslot last week.

Significantly the controversial social experiment lit up Twitter last night. The show was trending #1 in Australia -and globally- last night. #gobacksbs is still #1 along with Raquel, Africans and Raye. No doubt it has triggered more conversations around the country today. The show has already been mentioned in The New York Times.

The show didn’t win its timeslot, that went to a 90 minute Australia’s Got Talent (1.75m), followed by Winners & Losers (1.34m), NCIS (848,000), Sea Patrol (742,000). But it did outrate ABC’s Young Ones (414,000).

AGT also bettered MasterChef / Bondi Vet (1.6m / 1.2m), The Big Bang Theory / RBT (759,000 / 776,000), 7:30 / Foreign Correspondent (607,000 / 505,000), and Into The Mind (209,000).

The Block took a tumble on night two to 1.11m, behind Home and Away‘s (1.15m). ABC News was 927,000 and The 7PM Project was 783,000. But The Block won’t settle into any real groove until the final begin work on the actual properties until next week.

Seven won Tuesday.

Week 26


  1. @John

    Thanks for the link, makes for quite a good read.

    So if they are not Illegal, why does Article 31 talk about not penalising refugee’s for their “Illegal” entry into the country?

    I’d be happy if you can prove me wrong in this document but if this document call’s it an “Illegal Entry” then doesn’t that make them Illegal? That’s not to say that they won’t become Legal Citizens at some stage.


  2. @dan I don’t think Indonesia has signed the refugee convention mentioned previously so would have no rights also has a heavy religious regime so probably more persecution

  3. Sorry guys but why is Australia the only place that they can seek asylum. The last time I looked Indonessia isn’t at war and is a safe place for them to stay. Thousands of Aussies go there for holidays every year, so it can’t be that bad. Maybe it’s the racist attitudes that some aussies have that Australia is the only decent place that people can live. If people are seeking asylum, as you say, then they have just passed through a dozen countries that are considered safe. Some Australians as so full of themselves and maybe a bit naive.

    Again I think this doco is aiming at a very small minority that doesn’t want any people from other countries coming here full stop. Nothing to do with refugees!!

  4. @Tim For your reference

    the question if the people are true refugees or not is different, and this is what the processing/ detention centre aim to do.

  5. @TIM actually Trix is right, if a person is seeking asylum, or refuge, they are not illegal, as Australia signed the UN Refugee Convention recognises that refugees have a lawful right to enter a country for the purposes of seeking asylum, regardless of how they arrive or whetherthey hold valid travel or identity documents.

  6. It seems that some have no choice….have too leave where they are quickly…
    Also…most seemed shocked at what they would be travelling in…..when they arrive at the pickup point…and did not realise how long the journey would be
    Also the fact that the smugglers took all their papers …passports etc….
    Easy to be an arm chair critic….different when you actually live it….

  7. Raquel is possibly the most cringe-inducing person ever seen on Australian TV. Whenever she or Raye spoke we needed the old Chaser gag “This Person Votes”.
    Only SBS would have the guts to make a show like this. Even the ABC would be too scared of being accused of “bias”.

  8. Actually @Trix, to legally enter Australia you need relevent documentation proving who you are and your current country of residence + relevant visa’s. If you don’t have this, you are entering the country illegally.

    If the process to become a resident was made more accessable or easier then we may see less Illegal entries.

  9. I loved the girl from western Sydney, we need a good old full on racist to stir the pot. I liked how the six individuals asked questions which reflected what most of us want the answers to. I agree, these ‘boat people’ shouldn’t be referred to as illegal immigrants – but it was interesting the Iranian guy kept referring to himself as a ‘illegal immigrant’ – which I thought was odd.

    Bravo SBS.

  10. KAK spoke with Raye & Gleny this morning too – in between an infomercials – and this is great news because regardless of GBTWYCF’s flaws (i could nitpick) it has provoked a conversation that has a more humanitarian flavour. although raye and Raquel have attracted hte most bile because of their vulgar behaviour, I am more keen to see how the men handle it – so far, their comments betray a profound lack of language skills, which is perhaps typical of the Aussie male, but hopefully the repeated phrase ‘this is a wake up call’ is just their (inadaquate) way of saying ‘I am a totally uninformed person who fails to have any historical understanding of the international system within which I live as a privileged white male scab; and maybe just maybe i now have a glimpse of the terrible inhumanities that my Howard-era nationalistic fervour has veiled from me ‘. we wait and see.

  11. Sunrise had to of the people from the program on this morning, might help the numbers but I don’t know if that matters to SBS.

    I found it very interesting highlighting some of the facts that have been over looked by many. I still don’t think they should come here illegally. But maybe we could allow more in?

  12. @Dan, you need only be watching the program, read tweets or even posts that occasionally pop up here to accept that programs like GBTWYCF need to be made. And please, can we stop referring to asylum seekers who arrive by boat as ‘illegal immigrants’. They’re not. They’re people seeking asylum, or refuge, therefore they’re refugees.

  13. I think this is a stupid idea and show in general. I don’t know anybody that has a problem with real refugees, so I don’t know what this is trying to achieve.

    People are confusing the topic of illegal immigrants coming on boats, with refugees. The government aren’t trying to stop refugees coming to this country, we actually have increased our intake. They are just trying to stop an illegal & dangerous trade. Some families in Australia are paying big money to put family members lives in danger by paying their way to board leaky boats.

    Anybody who agrees with this trade should feel guitly when these poor people end up drowning in the ocean.

  14. I wish they hadn’t felt the need to look like a poor man’s version of Amazing Race to get their undoubtedly important message across but it was decent TV, though I suspect a lot of people watched just so they could feel better about themselves and their own stance on things (if the tweets about the girl from western sydney were anything to go by). Hope it gets a few people to think about their own beliefs anyway.

  15. I think it says something about us when TT beats a program like this.
    What mesmerising and thought provoking TV Go Back To Where You Came From is.
    Something of all of us in those people methinks.

  16. Best TV this year- I thought it was fantastic. I watched it with a group of people which led to very interesting discussion on the topic. Hope the rest of Oz does the same!

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