To Our Leaders The Biggest Threat Isn't Boats, It's Us: Charlie Pickering Takes On Australia's Refugee Policy


With a John Stewart shaped hole now missing from comedy news our very own Charlie Pickering has been doing his best to plug the gap, chugging along at The Weekly, a satirical news program with a progressive bent.

Having jumped from issues such as halal certification to rape culture, Pickering this week landed on one that proves vexed for actual reporters: immigration detention.

It’s a choice that certainly pushes the boundaries of the satirical news genre.

For almost a year we’ve been talking about sexual assaults and child abuse on Nauru, most recently the case of Nazinan, a woman reportedly raped on the island and refused transfer to Australia for medical assistance until close to death.

This week also brought the beginning of the long anticipated Coronial Inquiry into the death of Hamid Kehazaei, the second young man being detained indefinitely on Manus to die before being processed.

As the staff of human rights organisations who visited the island reminded Australians last week, that means the total number of deaths is higher than the total number of refugees settled.

And then there’s the increasingly distressing news from inside the Nauru detention centre, waterboarding added most recently to the innumerable allegations of malpractice.

With this as source material you have to admire Pickering for giving it a go.

Can comedy cut through on an issue where regular news is failing to shift the conversation? Here’s his effort, let us know how you think he did in the comments.

Max Chalmers is a former New Matilda journalist and editorial staff member. His main areas of interest are asylum seekers, higher education and politics.