Turn back the bogans: What Really Happens in Bali exposes Australians at their worst

I have a question for Scott Morrison, the Federal Immigration Minister. How come we spend billions of taxpayer funds each year preventing what may well include some perfectly decent people from entering our country when, on an annual basis, we inflict hundreds of thousands of our most egregious citizens on a poor old place like Bali?

Forget about "stop the boats'. It's time, please, to "turn back the bogans". This is the unavoidable conclusion after watching the first two episodes of What Really Happens in Bali, the Seven Network's new no-holds-barred documentary series narrated by comedian Corrine Grant. It promises to expose the island's tourism underbelly, and succeeds.

In just two, albeit excellently-made, installments of the series, the producers, for the first time, manage to showcase the full horror of the Australian let loose in Bali: methanol poisoning, rampant unsafe sex, drug criminals on death row, epic drunkenness, general reckless and uncouth behaviour and gormlessness in epidemic proportions.

It's Barry McKenzie in board shorts. It's cultural cringe on the grandest scale. For a country that continually professes its love for Bali – even though half of us don't even know it's actually part of Indonesia - Australia has a funny way of showing it.

Indonesia's tourism authorities are apparently furious at the recent wave from Australia of what they perceive as negative depictions of Bali, including another program called Bogan Hunters. Yet  the Indonesians are too polite to express their anger publicly. But, really, the country that emerges in by far worst light from What Really Happens in Bali is Australia itself.

The country that emerges in by far worst light from What Really Happens in Bali is Australia itself.

One million or so Australian tourists a year – many of whom, it goes without saying, do not exhibt bogan tendencies during their visits - underpin Bali's economy. But anecdotal evidence suggests that the reputation of some of our tourists is deterring other nationalities from around the world visiting there with Bali becoming Australia's equivalent of Britain's Benidorm.

The "star" of What Really Happens in Bali is expat Australian Todd Gisondi, a dreadlocked self-confessed sex addict, who preys on female tourists using his cute dog as the lure. Todd is either having a massive lend of the series producers or is one truly sick puppy.

Much of the action in What Really Happens centres around an expensive hospital for westerners, where the tropical Lothario goes for what he calls a "sex check". Miraculously cleared by a Balinese doctor of any STDs, as Todd leaves the hospital he picks up some comely backpackers in the car-park.

Then there's the young woman in the first episode, who breaks her back after jumping into the ocean from a four-storey high cliff on a notorious tour, and the lucky 20-something bloke who recovers from methanol poisoning.

To its credit the series, with one million viewers when it premiered last week making it one of he highest-rating programs on Australian screens, does provide some cautionary advice for Australians holidaying in Bali who don't know better in terms of avoiding those lethal methanol-laced drinks in bars that can cause horrendous damage such as blindness and the importance of taking out travel insurance when you're jumping off four-storey cliffs.

Really, it's time for Australians to stop bashing Bali for its faults and show some respect for a unique culture and people whose economy unfortunately has to come to rely on the sort of crass tourists who populate What Really Happens in Bali. And, really, if Bali is not perfect then it's surely Australia that helped make it that way.