Immigration is, to say the least, a complicated issue in Australia.

A three-part reality television series that debuted this week on the SBS network in Australia is tackling this most heated of topics in a novel way — by sending six native-born Australians with differing views on immigration on punishing journeys that retrace the voyages of asylum seekers seeking safe haven in their country.

The series hopes to rise above the din of the sometimes sensationalist news coverage, said Peter Newman, commissioning editor at the SBS, to show the human side of what drives people to pay smugglers as much as $10,000 for passage to Australia aboard a rickety boat.

“When politicians and people say ‘Stop the boats,’ what do they mean? What’s behind those slogans?” Mr. Newman asked in an interview…

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