May 25, 2012
SBS has today revealed the line-up for its second series of the hit documentary Go Back To Where You Came From, with former Howard defence minister Peter Reith confirmed to join five other well-known Australians for the reality show.
Reith is best remembered for his role in the ‘children overboard’ controversy in 2001, when the federal government claimed asylum seekers had thrown their children into the sea.
He famously released pictures purporting to back up the claims. A senate inquiry later found the claims had no basis, while Reith has continually defended his actions.
So while we know where Reith will be coming from when he ‘goes back’, what about the rest of SBS’s boatload of reverse refugees?
The former shock jock has made a living whipping up outrage at Sydney’s 2UE, with the plight of asylum seekers (or “illegal Centrelink seekers” as he has called them) often falling into his crosshairs. He was one of many to complain about the government paying for family members of those who died in the Christmas Island boat tragedy to attend their funerals.
Smith also doesn’t like asylum seeker advocates, referring to them as vultures, and calls detainees who self-harm “malingerers”. He has also attacked a “luxury” hotel where asylum seekers were being held in Brisbane:
“Foxtel, internet, maids, all the washing done all that sort of thing, there is no chance in this country if you’re in strife to get up and say ‘actually I wouldn’t mind a bit of asylum thank you…'”
The hard-rocking Rose Tattoo frontman joined the National Party last year with an eye at pushing for a seat at the next federal election. He’s an anti-carbon tax campaigner, but also has his own strong views about immigration and multiculturalism.
“It’s not ill-conceived to look at certain people and question when they come out here what they bring with them,” he told The Daily Telegraph in 2007.
“We have strict quarantine laws and it should be the same when it comes to cultures that do not want to integrate. We should be very careful about where certain Muslims come from and what they believe. If you come here, you should behave yourself – it’s as simple as that.”
The former Melbourne Age columnist is renowned for her outspoken left-wing political views, particularly on religion, and has been an advocate for Australia increasing its asylum seeker intake.
She regularly takes to Twitter to vent about the government’s immigration policies and the media’s coverage of asylum seekers, and has appeared on ABC TV’s Q&A to argue her case.
“If the asylum seekers were French people on boats trying to get into Australia no one would be complaining. Fuck Off We’re Racist,” is just a sample of one of Dev’s tweets (there are plenty more if you’re game).
Asher resigned last year as Commonwealth ombudsman after it was revealed he had scripted questions about immigration detention for Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young to ask him at Senate estimates. He was just 14 months into a five-year contract.
During his time as ombudsman Asher released a number of reports which were critical of the federal government’s immigration detention policies. After his resignation he attacked the government for its “shameful” policies which were “repeatedly in breach of its own immigration detention values.”
“It’s just a tragedy that it’s been so slow and grudging and a Government that seems to be just so riven by fear exhibiting a form of moral cowardice where individuals were not prepared to speak out in favour of Australia’s formal policy for fear of either electoral or media backlash,” he told ABC Radio.
The former lads mag centrefold and soapie actress is an advocate for animal rights, posing near-naked in a series of campaigns for PETA. As well as crusading against fur, elephant cruelty and bull-riding, the Celebrity Big Brother star has demanded KFC clean up its act.
“As the head of KFC in Australia, you have the power [to] improve the way that chickens are treated, and I hope you will take action to do so,” the vegetarian once wrote to former KFC boss Albert Baladi. “Take it from me: No “chick” wants to be treated like a piece of meat.”