Decisive moments at the point of entry
Border Security — Australia’s Frontline 7.30pm, Seven
THE last time I returned to Australia from overseas, it was about 6am, four or five long- haul flights had arrived simultaneously, and the logjam at the baggage check queues was endless.
After a while I wearily pulled out a book, balanced it on my trolley and started to read. Within minutes, a Customs officer appeared from nowhere and waved me through to the wide open world outside.
Is it possible to play roulette and win?
OK, for the record, I wasn’t carrying any contraband, so although I felt oddly victorious at the time, I hardly cheated the house.
Dammit, chalk up another victory for the folks at border control.
We Aussies place quite a bit of trust in our nurses, pilots, Anzacs and, I presume, our Customs officers.
And Border Security ( which, let’s face it, can hardly nail people who do beat the system) is like a half- hour advertisement for our seemingly unflappable servicemen and women, with a liberal dose of Big Brother thrown in: will our offenders be kicked out or locked up?
The only other reason I can think of why 1.8 million people tune in to the show every week is that secretly every one of us wants to be the person who decides whom to question and whom to let through.
In this episode, a passenger arriving from The Philippines has paid more than a month’s salary to visit Sydney for a few days, after recent overnight trips to Hong Kong and China. Under cross- examination, he confesses to a burning desire to see the Harbour Tower.
‘‘ You’re making this up as you go
Customs along,’’ says Customs officer Greg.
Time to dig deeper. Or better still, frisk him.
This is family- hour detective work without the pond scum and swearwords of life on the streets: all the digging can be done from the sanitised environment of the airport and the mail room.
Tonight’s episode isn’t outstanding, but it’s worth watching, if only to watch the theatrical performance of this week’s upset passenger who carries on like a pork chop over a matter that really does not matter all that much, at least to any reasonable person sitting in the comfort of their loungeroom. Stressful flights, stressful predicaments, stressful entries to a foreign land we take for granted. Every show, if not every flight, must have one.
In another arm of the Customs machine, known as Bio- Security, an officer has discovered what appear to be snakes in a couple of inbound parcels.
Will the reptiles make it out alive? Almost as significantly, will our Customs officers? Already, the suspense is killing me.
Great job, folks: Border Security producer Dan Meenan with Customs officers