Last Sunday saw the premiere of a six part ABC mini-series on the theme of refugees and Australia’s controversial treatment of them. One of the main plot lines is loosely based on the true story of a mentally ill woman who, despite having lived in Australia for most of her life as a permanent resident, was detained for around one year in the now closed Baxter detention centre in South Australia on suspicion of being an unlawful non-citizen. The fictional character gives the series its name, Stateless, and weaves her story in with the lives of refugees taking the perilous journey to find safety for themselves and their families in Australia as well as the effects of the mandatory detention regime on the Australians involved in it.
Any dramatisation of real life situations has to balance artistic considerations against historical accuracy, but if the first episode is a guide it appears that the production has managed to do an excellent job on both counts. Having some of Australia’s best female actors in the production certainly helps.
We look forward to seeing the next five episodes, after which the series will be available on Netflix.