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Asylum Seekers Essay

A topic that’s been constantly debated over the last few years in Australia is the treatment of Asylum seekers. The opinion piece and the cartoon share a similar stance on the issue. ‘Australia’s ugly secret: we still warehouse asylum seekers’ by Julian Burnside and a cartoon by Andrew Dyson, both from the Age newspaper share the idea of cruel treatment by Australian official to the in need refuges. Julian makes his point very clear about how ‘warehousing’ the asylum seeker is not the right way to treat human being.

The cartoon by Dyson presents a view to the readers that Kevin Rudd is incompetent in keeping the refugees ‘afloat’. The article by Julian Burnside states a point right from the title, ‘Australia’s ugly secret’ giving the readers an immediate negative feeling about the issue at hand. The first paragraph seems to be praising the government about its current attitude in dealing with the refuges to ease the readers and inform them of the positive side of things. However starting from the second paragraph, the intention of the author is made clear and readers realize that the writer is using a sarcastic tone.

Even though the government did some good work, the idea of offshoring the refuges is an atrocious act of deception. Later on, the writer uses an anecdote in his arguments to convince the readers that the warehousing process is not a pleasant one. He uses someone called ‘Jessie Taylor, a lawyer and refugee activist who recently travelled to Indonesia’ to make the readers think that the person is well-educated and a respectable source. He describes the refugee’s living conditions with imagery, filling the readers with horrifying images of the detention centers.

The uses of Statistics help with readers visualizing the amount of people seeking asylum and the way they are processed. The writer uses a very logical tone to describe how the refugees seek for protection in Australia. The process of interviewing has about an average of 24 minutes per person to convince the Australian government to accept them as citizen. As the article pumps out more facts about how the interview is not nearly long enough for the refugees to get their point across because most of the time is taken by translation the guidelines, the readers feels a sense of pity or sympathy for the refugees.

After describing the process, the writer uses loaded words such as perfunctory and superficial to describe the government’s way of dealing thing. The author’s language has turned more direct towards the government and he uses a more angry tone. The writer then turns to the sense of justice in the readers by comparing soldiers who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan by the Taliban where most of the refugees are from and the victims as a result of the war. He asks the readers ‘Why is it that so many Australians can readily recognize the evils of the Taliban…….

But they cannot extend that understanding to the victims of those groups? ’ making the readers think about how the victims and the soldiers who were killed are not so different and that they should be accepted as part of our society. Once more using emotive language the author sums up how much ‘shame’ he feels for the way the Australian government treats refugees and compares the process with ‘Russian roulette’, hoping that the readers understand that the process of seeking asylum is no small joke and takes great risk and courage.

Similarly, the cartoon by Andrew Dyson portrays the Australian government as incompetent and irrational in dealing with the asylum seekers. The head of Kevin Rudd (prime minister of Australia) with the Australian flag floats on a green sea. This makes the Prime Minister look like a beacon of hope or a floatation device that could save the asylum seekers. However, in the image, as the asylum seekers climb the floatation device, it starts to topple depicting how Kevin Rudd cannot handle the responsibility of taking care of the asylum seekers.

This can also represent the state of the Australian government and its way of processing the refugees which the previous article described as perfunctory and shameful. Both the opinion piece and image represents similar ideas to the reader. The opinion piece by Julian was more logical and loaded the readers with facts and numbers while the image by Dyson seemed simple but has a hidden meaning to it telling the readers how the Rudd government is incompetent.

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