Argument Analysis On Offshore Immigration (90% A+)

Analysing Argument VCE English Essay
Following the 9-year anniversary of offshore processing of asylum seekers in Australia, the debate
surrounding the legitimacy of such a policy and its ethical and moral implications has been reignited.
In their article “Cruel, costly and ineffective: Australia’s offshore processing asylum seeker policy
turns 9” (August 12th, 2021), Madeline Gleeson and Natasha Yacoub, both experts in international
refugee law at the University of New South Wales ardently contend that the offshore processing
policy should be abolished. Targeting their audience of Australian voters, the authors vehemently
implore their audience to realise the immorality of the policy and campaign for its abolition.
Gleeson and Yacoub commence by emphatically scaffolding an economic argument on the costs
associated with the offshore processing policy. They assert that the policy is “cruel, costly and
ineffective”, the connotations of which position the reader to re-examine the effectiveness of the
policy and question why it remains in place. The use of “cruel” implies the practice of mandatory
detention is barbaric and induces affliction , thus invalidating the argument of the opposition who
support the policy, as inconsiderate and approving of such cruelty. Gleeson and Yacoub encourage the
audience’s repudiation of the offshore processing of refuges, establishing that it “consistently fail[s]”
to meet its desired aims. This serves to shape the issue into a moral dichotomy, where readers who
disagree with the authors’ stance are prompted to re-evaluate their moral values. Arguing that the
policy is neither a “benign failure” illuminates the “immense suffering” the policy directly causes.
Hence, the reader is positioned to directly associate the policy with the suffering of refugees,
mitigating the doubts they may have regarding the policy’s claimed ineffectiveness and solidifying
support for its eradication. Subsequently, Gleeson and Yacoub introduce the economic costs that arise
from the implementation of this policy, asserting that it “tarnish[es]” Australia’s international
reputation. Here, the authors imply that the offshore detention policy threatens Australia’s
international relations with others, inciting fear of international conflict and appealing to the reader’s
desire for safety because of the “strained” relations with other countries. It also serves as an appeal to
patriotic Australian values, positioning the readers in favour of the termination of the offshore policy
as obligated to remain true to their values. The authors then evoke outrage in their readers at the
“billions” from tax payers “sunk in vain” to uphold such a policy. Since the audience comprises of tax
payers, the reader is likely to feel scandalized by the immense costs of the policy since they are
directly losing money because of it, increasing their distrust in the Australian government. Thus, both
Gleeson and Yacoub build their argument through pointing out the flaws in the policy to garner their
audience’s support.
Furthermore, after establishing the costs associated with the failed policy, Gleeson and Yacoub
fervently argue that the policy fails to meet any of its intended targets and thus should be abolished.
The authors shift their focus to berating the Australian government for continuing to implement the
policy despite its numerous failures. They emphasise that more sought asylum in Australia via boat
during the first year of the policy than “any other time”, making it apparent to the reader that the
offshore processing policy does not deter refugees trying to reach Australia by boat. The reader is
therefore compelled to question why the policy remains in place if it is ineffective. Moreover, Gleeson
and Yacoub criticise the Australian government for going to “extraordinary lengths” to send asylum
seekers back instead of settling them in Australia, whereby they insinuate that government officials
lack any sense of humanity and empathy for sending refugees back to the countries they have tried
their hardest to escape from. Thus, the authors elicit the audiences’ frustration at what the government
seems to prioritise, imploring them to act against this policy as a form of moral retribution to
compensate for the government’s lack of empathy. A photograph of a male refugee staring miserably
and accusingly into the camera incites a sense of moral responsibility in the audience as they are faced
with an individual directly impacted by the government’s “disastrous” policy, hence encouraging the
reader to help the refugee in any way they can. Additionally, since there are “barely more than 100
asylum seekers left”, Gleeson and Yacoub reiterate the uselessness of the offshore detention policy as
the refugees are “living in the community”. Here, the authors imply that the refugees ought to be
Analysing Argument VCE English Essay
living in the Australian community, reinforcing the ineffectiveness of the policy and why it should be
Moreover, after consolidating the numerous flaws in the offshore detention policy, Gleeson and
Yacoub further debunk the claim of a “resurgence” of boat arrivals to Australia and propose a
solution. They appeal to the audience’s sense of logic, elucidating that neither the settlement of
refugees under the Howard government, nor the announcement of US settlement eligibility triggered
an influx in boats arriving to Australia. As a result, the authors hope the audience will express their
disapproval of the policy and seek tangible methods to eradicate it. Subsequently, by stating that the
policy gives the asylum seekers “significant trauma” to deter others from reaching Australia via boats,
Gleeson and Yacoub urge their audience to question their complacency with such immoral treatment
of asylum seekers, suggesting that those who agree with such a policy lack a moral conscience. Thus,
the audience is prompted to actively campaign against the policy to redeem their morality in the eyes
of the authors. Gleeson and Yacoub conclude their piece by proposing a solution, expressing it
simplistically to imply that it is common sense and should be blatantly obvious to the reader. This also
serves to insinuate that the government and those who agree with the policy for the sake of having no
better solution lack common sense, since they are unable to see the solution and implement it. The
authors characterise the asylum seekers as “victims” of offshore detention, heightening the brutality of
such treatment. Gleeson and Yacoub leave the reader with a sense of urgency, vigorously asserting
that such an inhumane policy “must not be permitted to reach its ten-year mark”, and it is the
audience’s collective responsibility to impede it from doing so.
Gleeson and Yacoub employ a combination of both emotive and logical techniques to galvanise their
audience into speaking out against the offshore detention policy. They rely on the audience’s moral
conscience and sense of logic to establish the flaws of the policy and to propose a solution the
audience is likely to accept as to eliminate the “disastrous” offshore processing policy.

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