Shaun Villiti has some pretty interesting views about outsiders. He thinks the French are lazy and the Japanese carry diseases. He votes Australia First every election cycle. He even puts up crudely drawn “foreigners fuck off” signs around town. Which is weird, because he runs a hostel exclusively for immigrant workers on working holidays.
Having a business model that revolves entirely around attracting naive 417 visa workers to a deprived agricultural town, his hostel doesn’t really seem to make much outside of the four harvest months of the year. Even then, the benefits of the business compared to the upkeep seem pretty limited. But that doesn’t stop him from running a business that he pretty openly despises.
“Fucking cunt,” Shaun mumbles to a German school-leaver about three seconds after accepting a $200 key deposit. Such exchanges are common, as Shaun makes no effort to hide his contempt for young people trying to make money through hard work.
The crux of his business model is his alleged “connections with local farmers,” which he offers to backpackers looking to do their regional work. These connections basically boil down to a bloke who has a few olive trees and a Chinese contractor who pays $6 an hour. Unsurprisingly, travelling workers are pissed off when they arrive to find Shaun’s promises of “lots of wrok” (sic) to be full of shit.
“Fucking dickhead backpackers,” he says, without prompting, of the main group of people who bring money and labour into his business and his town respectively. “They’re always fucken’ whingeing. Nobody made them come here.” Of course, if they want to extend their visa they do actually have to come here.
Shaun continues to be surprised that guests complain about his hostel, which he puts no money or effort into maintaining. From the cockroach-riddled kitchen to the black-mould-infested bathrooms, Shaun doesn’t give a shit unless the council comes knocking — which is basically never.
Despite Shaun’s constant need to make demeaning comments to 18-year-old Swedish girls and pick fights with the Irish lads, the hostel still continues to attract guests who presumably don’t know how to read reviews.
Our reporter asked Shaun if he’s concerned that the recent bushfires might reduce the number of backpackers relying on sad losers like him.
“Christ, I bloody hope not. If people stopped coming I’d have to get a real job. Like an asphalt labourer, or a dentist.”
Hilariously, the COVID-19 pandemic has given Shaun what he wanted – a complete ban on foreigners coming into Australia – but it’s also bankrupted him. It’s the universe’s way of saying “Fuck you, Shaun!”