Sis­ters go back to where opin­ions came from

Herald Sun - Switched On - - ON THE COUCH - ANNA BRAIN TV WRITER

They had the same up­bring­ing, but Ade­laide sis­ters Jodi, 33, and Re­nee, 29, some­how formed op­po­site views on the sub­ject of asy­lum seek­ers.

Re­nee, on the other hand, works for an or­gan­i­sa­tion that as­sists refugees, in par­tic­u­lar mi­nors who have ar­rived by boat. She knew that tak­ing part in SBS’s Go Back To Where You Came From with her sis­ter would test their re­la­tion­ship.

“She of­ten made com­ments and held opin­ions, which I con­sid­ered racist,” Re­nee says.

Dur­ing the experiment, the sis­ters live with for­mer “boat peo­ple” in Aus­tralia, ex­pe­ri­ence life on a boat that is turned back at sea, and re­trace their hosts jour­ney through the Thai jun­gle where hu­man traf­fick­ing is rife.

Jodi says that as a “stub­born per­son”, she didn’t ex­pect to change her long-held views. “The news and word on the street led me to be­lieve my opin­ions were valid, and (like) the ma­jor­ity of Aus­tralians,” she says. “(But) you can­not be im­mersed in such hor­rific sit­u­a­tions, see what we saw and meet the peo­ple we did, with­out feel­ing em­pa­thy and com­pas­sion.”

Re­nee held high hopes that her sis­ter’s views would change.

“Jodi and I had our mo­ments dur­ing the trip, but that was as ex­pected,” Re­nee says.

“Jodi was be­ing pushed to her lim­its, with her views be­ing chal­lenged con­stantly. I don’t

“I did leave a piece of my heart” JODI EX­PE­RI­ENCES

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