Border Security: Australia's Front Line

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Border Security: Australia's Front Line
Genre Factual
Narrated by Grant Bowler
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 16
No. of episodes 199 (as of 14 September 2016)
Running time Approx 30 minutes (including commercials)
Original network Seven Network
Picture format 576i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Audio format Stereo
Original release 13 October 2004 – present
Related shows Border Security: Canada's Front Line
Border Security: America's Front Line
Homeland Security USA
Border Security New Zealand
UK Border Force
Customs (Irish TV series)

Border Security: Australia's Front Line is an Australian factual television program that airs on the Seven Network. The show follows the work of officers of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Australian Border Force, and the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, as they enforce Australian immigration, customs, quarantine and finance laws. It also shows scenes from Sydney mail centre.

Most of the programme is filmed at Sydney and Melbourne airports. Occasionally, the program features other locations such as Brisbane Airport, Perth Airport, seaports, international mail centres, raids on workplaces suspected of employing persons contrary to the restrictions of their visa or immigrant status and the work of Australian Border Force vessels and aircraft in the waters of Northern Australia.


The show premiered in Australia in 2004 and became a ratings hit.[1] The first season was hosted by Grant Bowler, who stopped appearing on camera in subsequent seasons. However, Bowler appears on the show again in 2010 at the beginning of the show. In all seasons, Bowler provides the voice over for every story. The show has continued to air since then, and airs on Wednesday nights in 2010. It is classified PG. The show was moved to a Sunday Night slot for Season 7 in 2011. The show premiered on Sunday 6 February 2011, at 7:30pm time slot. The show continues to garner high ratings.

The show is also broadcast internationally. In New Zealand, it airs on TVNZ's TV1. It airs in the United Kingdom on Sky Livingit, Pick TV, Discovery ID, and in Ireland on TV3 (airing as Nothing to Declare in both the UK and Ireland),

It airs on Tele 5 in Poland (in Polish), on vtm in Belgium and on Veronica in the Netherlands, where it features a Dutch voice-over. Kanal 9 airs the series in Sweden, on Jim in Finland, on the TV 2 channel in Denmark, on DMAX in Germany with German voice-over; and also in Italy on DMAX with Italian voice-over, where it is broadcast as Airport Security.

It is broadcast as Grensevakten in Norway on TVNorge, on the Australian Pay TV channel The LifeStyle Channel and on the Australia Network. Border Security airs across Asia in countries such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Macau. In Canada, the series airs on BBC Canada and DTour.


Writer Bob Burton in his book Inside Spin: The Dark Underbelly of the PR Industry expressed concern that the television show, by being subject to post-production editing, allows the producers to remove anything that shows any mistakes made by the government agencies concerned. Instead, Burton argues, the show gives the viewing public the sense that the government is effectively and fairly administrating border security policy.[2]

In 2009 Media Watch suggested that the Department of Immigration and Citizenship used its working relationship with Seven as leverage for an apology to its National Communications Manager, Sandi Logan, who had appeared in an unflattering light on a Today Tonight report. Media Watch's sources claimed that persons in the Department threatened to cease co-operation with Seven in the production of future Border Security episodes.[3]

In November 2014, American sex work activist Monica Jones was detained in Villawood Immigration Detention Centre after the Department of Immigration and Border Protection cancelled her tourist visa at Sydney Airport.[4][5] Jones commented that producers for Border Security "knew details of what Immigration was going to do to me" and that "It was about 30 seconds before the cameras showed up... and tried to get me on their TV show"[6] Jones was asked by an immigration officer "Are you OK if they continue to film" when she had already demanded that the TV cameras leave.[4]


Season 15[edit]

No. in
No. in
Title Original air date Australian viewers
TBA 1 "Episode 1" 24 June 2015 (2015-06-24) 794,000
Officers are concerned by a passenger's bizarre behaviour when traces of a drug known as 'Charlie Sheen' are found. A gruesome find in the mail room may be linked to witchcraft. Immigration suspect a baby-faced tourist may be an imposter.
TBA 2 "Episode 2" 1 July 2015 (2015-07-01) 741,000
A bungling drug mule tries every trick to avoid being caught. An elderly gambler's luck runs out when Immigration uncover his ongoing scam. Biosecurity intercept a delivery from Russia which is suspected to be part of the illegal trade in endangered animals.
TBA 3 "Episode 3" 8 July 2015 (2015-07-08) 697,000
A bunch of Aussies returning from Thailand are all packing a shocking concealment. A man on the run from Immigration detention tries to escape capture. Officers smash a sophisticated drug syndicate.
TBA 4 "Episode 4" 15 July 2015 (2015-07-15) 693,000
When a woman pushes away a sniffer dog, officers home in on what she has stuffed in her undies, a young man's past is exposed and two Indian passengers will say just about anything to get out of a fine.
TBA 5 "Episode 5" 22 July 2015 (2015-07-22) 743,000
Officers search an aircraft when it is feared that a jumpy, sweating passenger has dumped contraband on board. A gang of hustlers are stopped at the border and their scam is soon uncovered. When a doctor is caught falsifying a legal document he tries to blame it all on his wife.
TBA 5 "Episode 6" 5 August 2015 (2015-08-05) 753,000
In Border's biggest drug bust, a shipment of narcotics is discovered in the most unlikely of places. Also, the discovery of a mystery bag finally reveals the truth behind an imposter's lies. (Note: Episodes 6 and 7 originally played as a double episode.)
TBA 5 "Episode 7" 5 August 2015 (2015-08-05) 753,000
In Border's biggest drug bust, a shipment of narcotics is discovered in the most unlikely of places. Also, the discovery of a mystery bag finally reveals the truth behind an imposter's lies. (Note: Episodes 6 and 7 originally played as a double episode.)
TBA 5 "Episode 8" 12 August 2015 (2015-08-12) 747,000
An elderly man is caught delivering a suitcase with a shocking concealment. A father travels to save his daughter in an abusive relationship. A Chinese couple is caught with lots of food in their bags.
TBA 5 "Episode 9" 19 August 2015 (2015-08-19) 811,000
Officers take chase when some illegal foreigners make a daring escape. Three young men are caught being paid to be couriers for illegal smugglers. A traveller finds himself in a sticky situation.
TBA 10 "Episode 10" 26 August 2015 (2015-08-26) 770,000
When traces of cocaine are found on the belongings of a family returning from South America, one of them makes a confession. Officers suspect a Ukrainian man isn't just there for a business trip.
TBA 11 "Episode 11" 2 September 2015 (2015-09-02) 758,000
A passenger who is carrying clumps of human hair becomes hysterical when her luggage returns positive readings for drugs. Immigration has concerns about an Indonesian man who is travelling with several disturbing documents and officers are suspicious about a child's car seat.
TBA 12 "Episode 12" 9 September 2015 (2015-09-09) 799,000
Immigration detain a bus load of illegal workers but their organiser is not giving in without a fight. An Aussie is far from happy about having her bag searched and begins to mouth off.
TBA 13 "Episode 13" 7 October 2015 (2015-10-07) 774,000
TBA 14 "Episode 14" 14 October 2015 (2015-10-14) 860,000
TBA 15 "Episode 15" 21 October 2015 (2015-10-21) 881,000
Border Force officers are left in shock when inspecting the luggage of a Vietnamese woman suspected to be involved in drugs. Later, biosecurity try to teach a stubborn student an important lesson.
TBA 16 "Episode 16" 28 October 2015 (2015-10-28) 857,000
Detector dogs stop an elderly man with an extremely high risk item and he's far from happy about it. An evasive passenger tries everything to avoid questioning about his reason for crossing the border.

Season 16[edit]

No. in
No. in
Title Original air date Australian viewers
TBA 1 "Episode 1" 17 July 2016 (2016-07-17) 705,000
An American couple admit to using medicinal marijuana at home in California and officers suspect they may be trying to smuggle drugs into Australia.
TBA 2 "Episode 2" 20 July 2016 (2016-07-20) 767,000
An Asian woman stuns officers with her outrageous behaviour, shedding tears and throwing a tantrum. Also, traces of a date-rape drug are found on a Chinese man's luggage.
TBA 3 "Episode 3" 24 July 2016 (2016-07-24) 732,000
Officers must establish whether an Indonesian woman is lying or the victim of identity theft. Also, officers catch a Vietnamese student with a stash of seafood infested by exotic pests.
TBA 4 "Episode 4" 27 July 2016 (2016-07-27) 699,000
High Traces of Methamphetamines are detected on an American woman's luggage and officers suspect a pregnant Japanese woman is trying to courier drugs.
TBA 5 "Episode 5" 31 July 2016 (2016-07-31) 780,000
A passenger travelling with a snow board during summer has officers concerned he's got something hidden inside. Later, a Hong Kong fisherman is found to be carrying live bait.
TBA 6 "Episode 6" 3 August 2016 (2016-08-03) 656,000
A Malaysian man says he's here for a holiday but officers suspect he's here to work. Also, a shipment of water looks to be loaded with an illicit substance.
TBA 7 "Episode 7" 31 August 2016 (2016-08-31) 732,000
Officers question an American woman when they suspect she's arrived to perform unlawful work in the sex trade. Also, a Chinese mother and son get caught red-handed with high-risk concealment.
TBA 8 "Episode 8" 7 September 2016 (2016-09-07) 728,000
Officers fear a cocaine user may be smuggling drugs in a dangerous place after his quick trip to South America.
TBA 9 "Episode 9" 14 September 2016 (2016-09-14) 619,000
Officers are on high alert when an Italian man's luggage appears to have been tampered with and they suspect they're dealing with a drug courier.
TBA 10 "Episode 10" 21 September 2016 (2016-09-21) 660,000
An English Ex-Con tries to hide his dangerous past and it could stop him from entering to meet his new born granddaughter.
TBA 11 "Episode 11" 28 September 2016 (2016-09-28) TBD
Officers spot a traveller behaving very strangely and he acts up when he's caught out breaking the law. Also, a US citizen is detained when officers suspect he's been working unlawfully in the country.

Series Ratings[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired Viewership
Season premiere Season finale Viewers (in millions) Rating Rank Ref
1 10 13 October 2004 15 December 2004 N/A [7]
2 11 10 February 2005 21 April 2005 1.822 13.2 #1
3 19 16 May 2006 19 September 2006 2.119 15.2 #1
4 10 2 November 2006 14 March 2007 1.569 11.2 #3
5 10 2 July 2007 26 November 2007 1.828 13.0 #2
6 20 11 February 2008 22 June 2008 1.610 11.3 #3
7 10 8 February 2009 12 April 2009 1.499 10.3 #1
8 17 13 September 2009 14 October 2009 1.480 10.2 #3
9 7 14 February 2010 4 April 2010 1.229 8.3 #5 [8]
10 8 22 September 2010 10 November 2010
11 10 6 February 2011 10 April 2011 1.090 7.1 #2
12 7 5 February 2012 March 2012 0.976 6.2 #7
13 17 3 February 2013 17 September 2013 0.966 6.1 #4
14 18 27 February 2014 5 October 2014 0.818 5.1 #5
15 16 24 June 2015 28 October 2015 TBA TBA TBA

International version[edit]

An international version of the show, titled Border Security: Canada's Front Line, began airing in 2012 in Canada.


External links[edit]