Alumni profile

Dr David Corlett

PhD in Politics, La Trobe, 1998

Host of SBS’s Go Back To Where You Came From

Dr David Corlett has many years of experience working with asylum seekers and hosted SBS’s Go Back To Where You Came From.

He holds a PhD in Politics from La Trobe University, and is a member of the Class of 1998.

David believes it was the engagement in national debates that kept him studying at La Trobe. From his time at the University, David has become an expert in the rights of asylum seekers and refugees. 

“People who come to Australia seeking asylum have historically overwhelmingly been found to be refugees, which means that they’re people who have a well-founded fear of persecution," David said.

"One of the things that we can learn from such people is courage and resilience. These are people who have faced incredible hardship.

"Part of the Australian mythology is about people having a fair go and I think that’s the way we need to be talking about this stuff."

It was the Tampa situation - a controversial political event in Australia - that contributed to David's Honours studies. 

“I wrote my Honours thesis on asylum seeking young people. I was almost ready to submit (the paper), and then Tampa happened," he said.

"I just felt like I couldn’t submit without trying to grapple with the meaning of Tampa and then the Pacific Solution."

David credits La Trobe with developing his ability to think critically. 

"You’ve got to justify the claims you’re making. You need to cite your sources and you need to have evidence. There’s discipline and rigour in thinking and expression. I think it comes from my time here (at La Trobe)," he said.

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Last updated: 9th April 2019