Arts & Entertainment


It’s no secret that Sydney and Australia at large love to host the big international events – showing off our wonderful country and reassuring ourselves that we are a great global player. Okay we may have missed out on the World Cup, for the time being, but there are other opportunities still to be explored.

Ask yourself – what is this country really good at, and what do we lead the world in? There’s really only one word that comes to mind and it’s not cricket. It’s “detention” – and in recent years we have refined the art of locking up refugees, be it in our home based hellholes or in cahoots with those great democracies like Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

The world is currently experiencing a flood of refugees, like we have seldom witnessed, particularly those fleeing from wars in the Middle East and encroaching on European shores. Now is the time for Australia to show the international community just how it should be done as we host the first ever ‘World Detention Expo’.

And what better place to hold it than Sydney Harbour’s very own Alcatraz: Cockatoo Island, which comes ready equipped with its own Nauru style tent city. In recent years Cockatoo has been home to a number of ill-fated film and music festivals with nobody able to pull off the definitive successful event. World Detention Expo would change all that as the Island showcases every aspect of the world wide refugee incarceration industry.

For starters we would invite all our good friends like Nauru, PNG and Cambodia to host their own pavilions, complete with authentic mock ups of the facilities they offer. Expo patrons would be playfully frisked and interrogated and kept under constant surveillance (Sarah Hanson-Young style) as they inspect the various showcases and leave with a goody bag of quinine tablets and miniature stretcher beds. Naturally the big detention industry contractors like Transfield and Wilson Security would host the grandest most impressive pavilions, wooing the international trade with wine and canapes as they screen colourful riot footage on giant LED screens.

The Australian Government would kick in by inviting all international visitors to partake in a unique overnight detention experience. You would leave in a leaky fishing boat from Circular Quay, and purely as a bit of theatre, be constantly turned back by Australian Border Control as you approach the Island. Eventually you would be landed and confined to the expansive tent city for the night. No upmarket ‘glamping’ here, as the tents are stripped back to the absolute basics and your food arrives in a cheap plastic bucket.

Forget about any socialising or hanky panky on the night as a team of burly Nauruan security guards maintain a strict decorum. In the morning you are bussed to the other side of the island to meet with Cambodian officials in a mini size mock-up of Phnom Penh. For just a small brown paper bag donation you are offered complimentary Cambodian citizenship plus a selection of colourful postcards from Angkor Wat.

It’s just one of the many delights of World Detention Expo, and yes kiddies are especially welcome. There’s even a lock up crèche for the day, complete with barb wire fencing and absolutely nothing for the kids to do. So grab your “Stop The Boats” bumper sticker, your Lonely Planet Guide to Cambodia and a dictionary of Nauruan slang – Gulag 2016 awaits!

By Coffin Ed, Jay Katz and Miss Death


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