Why don't refugees Go Back?

In October 2018 eight Australians with conflicting views on asylum seekers went back to where those refugees came from. What they saw in Syria, South Sudan and Turkey challenged the assumptions they held about people who seek refuge in Australia, the conditions they left behind and what they might return to. The result was Go Back to Where You Came From Live: a combination of live crosses to some of the world's most dangerous places and profiles of the people who made it out.

See how politician Jacqui Lambie and lawyer Marina cope in the middle of war-torn Syria. Follow comedian Meshel Laurie and radio host Spida Everitt as they visit refugee camps in South Sudan. Watch as writer Gretel Killeen and youth worker Steve trace the journeys of people escaping conflict. And consider the questions student Gareth and conservative Dannii ask themselves as they see how Australia processes asylum seekers. Join them on a journey of intercultural and ethical understanding of war.

The Pacific Solution

The Pacific Solution

Watch a short history of Australia's refugee policies since 2001 and Operation Sovereign Borders' attempts to stop asylum seekers who arrive by boat.

Refugees in border cities

Refugees in border cities

Gretel and Steve visit Antakya, Turkey, to learn what impact the influx of Syrian refugees has had on local residents.

Marina under fire

Marina under fire

Marina and Jacqui reflect on being attacked by an ISIS sleeper cell in Raqqa, Syria, and what it might feel like for locals.

Mine spotting in Syria

Mine spotting in Syria

Marina and Jacqui take part in a exercise to detect improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in a bombed out building in Syria.

Homes destroyed in Raqqa

Homes destroyed in Raqqa

Marina and Jacqui meet a Raqqa resident, who describes how ISIS evicted him from his home, which was later destroyed by coalition forces.

Impact of landmines in Syria

Impact of landmines in Syria

Marina and Jacqui meet a boy who lost his legs to an ISIS landmine in Raqqa, Syria, and see him walk on prosthetic legs.

Aid air drop in South Sudan

Aid air drop in South Sudan

Meshel and Spida witness an air drop of food over a village near the capital of South Sudan, Juba.

Bentiu maternity clinic

Bentiu maternity clinic

Meshel and Spida visit a maternity ward of a hospital in Bentiu refugee camp and learn how the mothers cope.

People smuggler negotiation

People smuggler negotiation

Gretel and Steve meet a refugee in Turkey who negotiates with a people smuggler over the phone to get his family out of Syria.

Fatal journey funding regrets

Fatal journey funding regrets

Tima Kurdi, the aunt of three-year-old Alan Kurdi — the boy who drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach Greece — reveals her guilt over funding the family's flight from Syria.

Manus Island conditions

Manus Island conditions

Dannii and Gareth meet Amir Taghinia, an Iranian refugee who was resettled in Canada after five years on Manus Island, who shares footage of the conditions in the processing centre.

Clip title

African family reunited

A family of Burundian and Congolese asylum seekers, who stayed in a Kenyan refugee camp escaping war in their home countries, are reunited in Wodonga.

Syrian Civil War

What started as part of the 2011 Arab Spring protests against President Bashar al-Assad quickly turned to a multi-sided conflict between government and opposition forces, ISIS, and the international backers of all parties. Eleven million people have since been displaced making it the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. Nearly half of those people are living as refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Germany. The rest are living as displaced persons in the war-torn country.

South Sudanese Civil War

The world's third largest refugee population consists of 4 million South Sudanese displaced by civil war. More than half of those people fled to neighbouring countries, such as Uganda and Sudan, while other survive as internally displaced persons. The war was triggered by an alleged coup attempt in 2013, two years after the land-locked African country became the world's newest nation. Ethnic conflict, rebel in-fighting and famine have further complicated the war and resulting humanitarian crisis.

Curriculum links

Go Back Live helps put the global movement of refugees in context. Senior students may consider these stories in light of the legal frameworks by which people seek asylum (ACHMH211) and the way migration shapes Australia amid its international obligations (ACDSEH147). Upper primary students, with their teachers, might evaluate the different viewpoints of the show's participants (ACHASSI127) while considering reasons people migrate to Australia (ACHASSK136).

Episode 1

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 3
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