Ismael, a Singaporean Muslim, immigrates to Australia and settles in a bucolic Brisbane cul-de-sac. His job is to decide whether asylum seekers get to stay in the country, a dilemma that reminds him of his own immigrant status. His neighbours keep to themselves but are outwardly civil. Then his life begins to take on the hue of a nightmare: a neighbour inexplicably commits suicide, his wife dies of cancer and his daughter abandons him to live in the United States. One day his Siamese cat disappears - and he recieves an anonymous hate mail: 'We were here first. We will decide who comes into this suburb - and who remains!'.