‘Australia still dancing to Howard’s tune on asylum seekers’ The piece written by Michael Gordon in The Age on October 19 2011, argues that ten years after the Australian federal election that sparked the asylum seeker controversy, asylum seekers are still being demonised and alienated by both of Australia’s major political parties. Gordon writes in an assertive, controlled and a somewhat concerned tone throughout the article with his target audience aimed at ‘The Age’ readers who have considerable knowledge and understanding of the ongoing debate. Current parliament members from both federal parties could also be his target audience as Gordon provides a solution to the crisis, in that the failure of the Malaysia solution provides Australia to take a completely different path that aims at focusing on the compassion of asylum seekers. Gordon’s piece was brought about as the tenth anniversary of the SIEV-X tragedy that killed 353 people was marked and the fact that to this day Australian policy on the issue has not changed. Gordon’s article moves through distinct stages that are used to inform the reader of the very minor alterations that have been adopted by both the Labor and Liberal parties since the SIEV-X tragedy that occurred in 2001. He opens the piece in a unique and eye catching manner by identifying the three girls who were victims of the tragedy and how the SIEV-X disaster overall would significantly affect the federal election, “which Australian candidate has the harder heart?” Gordon claims that the picture of the three girls was the most affecting image of the 2001 election because it represents a failure of policy and lack of compassion. He uses their family as the backbone of the piece overall because the girl’s mother and father are positioned at the centre of the asylum seeker debate in general and the temporary protection visa debacle which brings “traumatic uncertainty” and “family disruption”. Gordon’s tone of language in the...
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