In one of the most ambitious television events in history, SBS will take you to the frontline of the global refugee crisis.
SBS Guide

6 Sep 2018 - 8:55 AM  UPDATED 25 Sep 2018 - 1:47 PM

In SBS’s most ambitious television event to date, Go Back To Where You Came From Live will take the pulse of the evolving global refugee crisis in real time, as a group of Australians embark on a journey to some of the most dangerous places on earth.

Over three nights from October 2 – 4, Australian audiences will follow events live from conflict hotspots and frontlines across multiple continents, witnessing the complexity of mass human migration and its ripple effects in 2018. Journalist Ray Martin and SBS World News’ Janice Petersen will be stationed in the ‘Nerve Centre’ in the studio in Sydney, as the stories unfold through a mix of documentary elements and live crosses to participants on-the-ground. 

The refugee crisis continues to be the world’s greatest humanitarian disaster with 68.5 million* displaced persons worldwide. 

In 2018, Australia’s policies around refugees continue to polarise and the refugee and asylum seeker debate is still one of the most complex and divisive. 

The participants, each with pre-conceived ideas about refugees, will glimpse the reality of life in disputed territories, at border crossings and inside refugee camps. They will get a first-hand experience of the global refugee crisis beyond the headlines, protests and policies, and opinions from all sides of the debate will be challenged.   

The participants about to undertake this journey are a mix of high profile and everyday Australians, each with strong views on how Australia responds to the refugee crisis. They include:   

Meshel Laurie, comedian, radio and TV personality, is an active supporter of asylum seekers. Her Buddhist spiritualism is a motivator for her to give back to communities around the world.     

Peter ‘Spida’ Everitt, ex-AFL player and breakfast radio host who believes refugees should only come in “the right way”, should work and offer something to Australia. Spida thinks African gangs are a problem in Melbourne and worries for the safety of his daughters who live there. 

Gretel Killeen, writer, performer and media personality. Gretel believes Australia’s treatment of refugees is barbaric.

Steve, 41, a former prison guard from Adelaide, an anti-refugee provocateur who thinks Australia’s stop the boats policy is effective. Steven says refugees in Australia are country shoppers, who head to Australia for economic reasons. 

Gareth, 29, a theatre student from Bathurst, with mixed views. While he believes indefinite detention is not humane, says we can’t just open the floodgates and need to protect our borders. 

Dannii, 24, from Townsville, is a young conservative who works at her local church and believes in protecting Australia’s cultural values. She thinks our current policies are spot on and shouldn’t be altered.

SBS will announce more participants and the global locations they will visit in the coming weeks. 

“Using state of the art technology to broadcast from the heart of the global refugee crisis, Go Back to Where You Came From Live is one of the most ambitious television events in Australian broadcasting history,” says Marshall Heald, SBS director of television and online content.  “By taking audiences to the frontlines of this crisis in real time, the latest instalment of SBS’s award-winning series will capture a snapshot of the issue as it develops with a sense of urgency befitting the subject.

“Opinions will be challenged as we witness stories of adversity, resilience and an optimism for a new life from refugees and asylum seekers at home and abroad. Putting this human face on a seemingly unsurmountable problem and encouraging a national conversation is what SBS does best.” 

Go Back to Where You Came From Live is a CJZ production for SBS, with principal production investment from SBS in association with Screen Australia. Financed with the assistance of Create NSW.

“Covering the global refugee experience in a live television event is probably the most difficult project we have attempted,” says CJZ creative director Michael Cordell. “Despite the challenges it’s hard to imagine a more important story to bring to Australian audiences. The immediacy and veracity of live TV will make this incredibly compelling.”

This is the fourth season of CJZ and SBS’s Go Back To Where You Came From; one of the world’s most awarded television formats - winner of two Logie Awards, an AACTA Award, an International Emmy, and two Rose d’Or awards, as well as a UN Peace Award.


'Go Back To Where You Came From Live' airs over three consecutive nights, October 2 – 4, 8.30pm, LIVE on SBS Australia and streaming live at SBS On Demand. 

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