Recent Items

Julia Gillard and the Art of Rhetoric

Posted on by

By lambert strether of Corrente.

Readers may remember Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's massive takedown of "the Leader of the Opposition" for sexism and misogyny. In this post, I want to answer the question Yves posted in her headline — "Can We Get Australian PM Julia Gillard to Give Debate Lessons in America?" — in the affirmative, by highlighting some of the rhetorical devices that Gillard used. (For those who think this subject matter is alien to political economy, think again.) I hope that readers find this exercise useful; to participate in public life, some mastery of public speaking is needed. Gillard exhibits such mastery, and by looking at her techniques, I hope many of us can learn from her. Because the more of us who participate in public life, the better.

The Unknown Transcriber was (again) kind enough to make a transcription of Gillard's entire speech, which is just over 15 minutes long. I suggest you listen to the YouTube first — I have listened to it many times, because it's so good; after the rhetoric of Campaign 2012, it's like water to those dying of thirst — to fix Gillard's use of tone and register in your mind, and then examine the transcript. I'm going to do a close reading of the transcript and note my observations, aided by this short list of rhetorical devices, Silva Rhetoricae, and the Taxonomy of Logical Fallacies. Note that rhetoric is an academic discipline, and all I have is some rough and ready experience as a policy debater, back in the day. So I hope that knowledgeable readers will correct me where I go wrong. Also, I realize this post is just über-geeky on rhetoric, as befits the former policy debater I am. If at any point you want to skip to the end, scroll down or search on "Summing up."

To the speech!

Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard speaks during House of Representatives question time at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, in response to Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott's motion for Speaker Peter Slipper to be removed from office immediately under section 35 of the Constitution.

* * *

And now to the transcript!

DEPUTY SPEAKER:  The question is, should the motion be agreed to?  I call the Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER JULIA GILLARD:  Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker, and I rise to oppose the motion moved by the Leader of the Opposition.1 And in so doing, I say to the Leader of the Opposition2 I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man.3, 4 I will not.5 And the Government will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. Not now, not ever.6

Gillard gets a lot done in this short, plain spoken, but highly wrought introduction: 1 Gillard addresses the chair and establishes the tone (decorum): Extremely formal. 2 The entire speech is an assault on "the Leader of the Opposition," [TLOTO] Abbott, who is not named. We might think of this as a form of apostrophe . 3 Here is an example of synesis, word agreement by logic and not grammar. Grammatically, Gillard must mean "I say to the Leader … I will not be lectured by him," but the logic is clear when — speaking to the audience, and pointing at Abbott, Gillard says "this man" instead. Gillard instantly raises the tension between formal language and a very personal assault to a very high pitch, as you can hear from the tone of her voice and the reaction of her audience. 4 Gillard introduces the central theme: An ad hominem assault on TLOTO. (Logically, there's a charge of misogyny can be brought by a misogynist; humanly, many of us find that "can" is not the same as "should." 5,6 Gillard introduces the main rhetorical device: repetition. "will not be lectured… will not be lectured… "; "Not now, not ever."

The Leader of the Opposition says that people who hold sexist views and who are misogynists are not appropriate for high office. Well, I hope the Leader of the Opposition has got a piece of paper and he is writing out his resignation1, because if he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn’t need a motion in the House of Representatives, he needs a mirror.2 That’s what he needs.3

1 The ad hominem attack condensed into synecdoche;  TLOTO writing out his resignation stands for holding himself to his own standards in a Parliamentary system. 2 The ad hominem attack condensed into a metaphor; "look in the mirror." 3 Parallel construction: "he doesn't need… he needs… he needs." More subtly, Gillard has taken on herself the task of defining TLOTL's needs for him, which foreshadows her peroration.

Let’s go through the Opposition Leader’s repulsive double standards, repulsive double standards1, when it comes to misogyny and sexism.

We are now supposed to take seriously2 that the Leader of the Opposition is offended by Mr. Slipper’s text messages, when this is the Leader of the Opposition who has said – and this was when he was a minister under the last government – not when he was a student, not when he was in high school – when he was a minister under the last government.3

He has said, and I quote4, in a discussion about women being underrepresented in institutions of power in Australia. The interviewer was a man called Stavros.5 The Leader of the Opposition says, “If it’s true, Stavros, that men have more power generally speaking than women, is that a bad thing?”6

1 Conduplicatio: "Repulsive… repulsive." 2 Sarcasmus. 3  Repetition: "When…. When… Not When." 4  Gillard now proffers authorities for her ad hominem attacks. (I'm going to stop noting ad hominem going forward because there's so much of it.)  5 Gillard authenticates her authorities by proffering detail. 6 Gillard hoists TLOTO with his own rhetorical question.

And then a discussion ensues, and another person being interviewed says, “I want my daughter to have as much opportunity as my son.” To which the Leader of the Opposition says “Yeah, I completely agree, but what if men are by physiology or temperament more adapted to exercise authority or to issue command?”1

1 Gillard hoists TLOTO with a second rhetorical question!

Then ensues another discussion about women’s role in modern society, and the other person participating in the discussion says, “I think it’s very hard to deny that there is an underrepresentation of women,” to which the Leader of the Opposition says, “But now, there’s an assumption that this is a bad thing.”

This is the man1 from whom we’re supposed to take lectures about sexism.

And then of course it goes on.2

1 "The man" refers back to "this man" at the start of the speech. 2 "Goes on" signals a transition to a new rhetorical device. (The patterning of rhetorical devices in the paragraph that follows is so rich I'm going to use two separate annotation schemes.)

I was very offended personallyA when the Leader of the Opposition, as Minister for Health, said, and I quote, “Abortion is the easy way out.”1 I was very personally offended by those commentsB. You said that in March 2004; I suggest you check the records.

I was also very offendedC on behalf of the women of Australia when, in the course of this carbon-pricing campaign, the Leader of the Opposition said, “When the housewives of Australia need to do– What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing… ”2 Thank you for that painting of women’s roles in modern Australia.

And then of course I was offendedD too by the sexism, by the misogyny of the Leader of the Opposition catcalling across this table at me as I sit here as Prime Minister, “If the Prime Minister wants to, politically speaking, make an honest woman of herself”3 – something that would never have been said to any man sitting in this chair.

I was offendedE when the Leader of the Opposition went outside in the front of Parliament and stood next to a sign that said “Ditch the witch.”4

I was offendedF when the Leader of the Opposition stood next to a sign that described me as a man’s bitch.5

I was offendedG by those things.

A,B,C,D,E,F Anaphora (in fact, Obama's favorite rhetorical device). 1, 2, 3 Gillard again uses authorities to tag TLOTO with what we might call anti-ideographs for his views on women: "abortion… ironing… honest woman."

Misogyny, sexism, every day from this Leader of the Opposition. Every day in every way, across the time the Leader of the Opposition has sat in that chair and I’ve sat in this chair, that is all we have heard from him.

And now the Leader of the Opposition wants to be taken seriously. Apparently he’s woken up after this track record and all of these statements, and he’s woken up and he’s gone, “Oh dear, there’s this thing called sexism. Oh my lord, there’s this thing called misogyny. Now who’s one of them? Oh, the Speaker must be because that suits my political purpose.”1

Doesn’t turn a hair about any of his past statements, doesn’t walk into this Parliament and apologize to the women of Australia, doesn’t walk into this Parliament and apologize to me for the things that have come out of his mouth, but now seeks to use this as a battering ram against someone else.

Well, this kind of hypocrisy should not be tolerated, which is why this motion from the Leader of the Opposition should not be taken seriously.2

1 Sarcasmus, in a brilliant extended riff, even mycterismus, as Gillard changes the tone of her voice to imitate TLOTO. 2 Gillard restates the initial ad hominem claim.

And then, second1, the Leader of the Opposition is always wonderful about walking into this Parliament and giving me and others a lecture about what they should take responsibility for. Always wonderful about that – everything that I should take responsibility for, now apparently including the text messages of the Member for Fisher. Always keen to say how others should assume responsibility, particularly me.

1 Eutrepismus: Numbering the sections of one's speech. Gillard signals a transition and opens up a new line of attack. Part one used TOTLO's words against him. Part two will use TOTLO's actions. (You should be able to recognize repetition, anaphora, sarcasm, and the other rhetorical devices from part one, so I'll only note new devices.)

Well, can anybody remind me if the Leader of the Opposition has taken any responsibility for the conduct of the Sydney Young Liberals and the attendance at this event of members of his front bench?1 Has he taken any responsibility for the conduct of members of his political party and members of his front bench who apparently, when the most vile things were being said about my family, raised no voice of objection?2

No one walked out of the room.3 No one walked up to Mr. Jones and said that this was not acceptable.4

Instead, of course, it was all viewed as good fun until it was run in a Sunday newspaper, and then the Leader of the Opposition and others started ducking for cover.

Big on lectures of responsibility, very light on accepting responsibility5 himself for the vile conduct of members of his political party.

1, 2 Rhetorical question: No, and no. 3, 4 Anthypophora: Asking and then immediately answering one's own question. 5 Antithesis: "Big on.. very light on."

Third,1 Miss Deputy Speaker,2 why the Leader of the Opposition should not be taken seriously on this motion.

1 Eutrepismus again. From TLOTO's words and actions, Gillard will now shift to his personal associations. 2 Again, formality and decorum.

The Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition have come into this place and have talked about the Member for Fisher. Well, let me remind the Opposition and the Leader of the Opposition particularly about their track record and association with the Member for Fisher.

I remind them that the National Party preselected the Member for Fisher for the 1984 election, that the National Party preselected the Member for Fisher for the 1987 election, that the Liberal Party preselected Mr. Fisher [sic] for the 1993 election, then for the '96 election, then for the '98 election, then for the 2001 election, then for the 2004 election, then for the 2007 election, and then for the 2010 election.1

And across many of those preselections, Mr. Slipper enjoyed the personal support of the Leader of the Opposition.

I remind the Leader of the Opposition that on the 28th of September 2010, following the last election campaign when Mr. Slipper was elected as Deputy Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of the Opposition at that stage said this, and I quote. He referred to the Member for Maranoa, who was also elected to a position at the same time, and then went on as follows: “And the Member for Fisher will serve as a fine complement to the Member for Scullin in the chair. I believe that the Parliament will be well served by the team which will occupy the chair in this chamber. I congratulate the Member for Fisher, who has been a friend of mine for a very long time, who has served this Parliament in many capacities with distinction.”2

The words of the Leader of the Opposition on record, about his personal friendship with Mr. Slipper, and on record about his view about Mr. Slipper’s qualities and attributes to be the Speaker.  No walking away from those words, they were the statement of the Leader of the Opposition then.

1, 2 Guilt by association. However, even if TOTLO is hypocritical in his words, actions, and associations, that doesn't mean that claims he makes about sexism and misogyny are false.

I remind the Leader of the Opposition, who now comes in here and speaks about Mr. Slipper and apparently his inability to work with or talk to Mr. Slipper, I remind the Leader of the Opposition he attended Mr. Slipper’s wedding.1 Did he walk up to Mr. Slipper in the middle of the service and say he was disgusted to be there?2 Was that the attitude he took?3 No, he attended that wedding as a friend.4

1 Sarcasmus. Listen to Gillard change her tone! 2, 3 Rhetorical questions. 4 Anthypophora.

The Leader of the Opposition, keen to lecture others about what they ought to know or did know about Mr. Slipper. Well, with respect,1 I’d say to the Leader of the Opposition, after a long personal association including attending Mr. Slipper’s wedding, it would be interesting to know whether the Leader of the Opposition was surprised by these text messages. He’s certainly in a position to speak more intimately about Mr. Slipper than I am and many other people in this Parliament, given this long personal association.

Then of course, then of course, the Leader of the Opposition comes into this place and says, and I quote – and says, and I quote, “Every day the Prime Minister stands in this Parliament to defend this Speaker will be another day of shame for this Parliament, another day of shame for a government which should already have died of shame.”

Well, can I indicate to the Leader of the Opposition, the Government is not dying of shame, my father did not die of shame [cries of “Hear hear!”], what the Leader of the Opposition should be ashamed of is his performance in this Parliament and the sexism he brings with it. [Abbott shakes his head]

1 Irony. With "the sexism he brings with it" Gillard shifts to a defense of her own conduct, using the same rhetorical devices she's familiarized us with in the earlier portion of the speech. This is the most difficuilt portion of the debate, simply because the Member for Fisher's text messages really are offensive.

Now about the text messages that are on the public record or reported in the – that’s a direct quote from the Leader of the Opposition, so I suggest those groaning have a word with him.1

Now, on the conduct of Mr. Slipper, and on the text messages that are in the public domain, I have seen the press reports of those text messages. I am offended by their content.A

I am offendedB by their content because I am always offended by sexism.

I am offendedC by their content because I am always offended by statements that are anti-women.

I am offendedD by those things in the same way that I have been offended by things that the Leader of the Opposition has said, and no doubt will continue to say in the future. Because if this today was an exhibition of his new feminine side, well I don’t think we’ve got much to look forward to in terms of changed conduct.2

I am offendedE by those text messages. But I also believe, in terms of this Parliament making a decision about the Speakership, that this Parliament should recognize that there is a court case in progress, that the judge has reserved his decision, that having waited for a number of months for the legal matters surrounding Mr. Slipper to come to a conclusion that this Parliament should see that conclusion.3

A, B, C, D, E Anaphora. 1 Gillard's speech as a whole falls under the heading of deliberative oratory, but I can't find a subcategory for the cut and thrust of Parliiamentary debate. Being able to think on one's feet clearly enhances one's ethos, however. 2 Sarcasmus. 3 Gillard, with the weak transition word "but," buries the weakest portion of the speech — the recommendation that Parliament do nothing regarding the Member for Fisher because the courts are handling it — at the end of a paragraph, with no rhetorical devices to set it off.

I believe that is the appropriate path1 forward, and that people will then have an opportunity to make up their minds2 with the fullest information available to them3.

1, 2, 3 Bathos: A descent from the high to the low, in this case from the brilliant deployment of rhetorical devices to process-driven bureacratic mumbo-jumbo. The descent signals in the clearest possible way that the Member for Fisher ("Mr. Slipper") is not really being defended here. Gillard then returns to the assault; listen for the change in her tone of voice.

But whenever people make up their minds about those questions, what I won’t stand for, what I will never stand for, is the Leader of the Opposition coming  into this place and peddling a double standard.

Peddling a standard for Mr. Slipper he would not set for himself.

Peddling a standard for Mr. Slipper he has not set for other members of his front bench.

Peddling a standard for Mr. Slipper that has not been acquitted by the people who have been sent out to say the vilest and most revolting things, like his former Shadow Parliamentary Secretary Senator Bernardi.

I will not ever see the Leader of the Opposition seek to impose his double standard on this Parliament.

Sexism should always be unacceptable. We should conduct ourselves as it should always be unacceptable.

The Leader of the Opposition says do something. Well, he could do something himself if he wants to deal with sexism in this Parliament. He could change his behavior. He could apologize for all his past statements. He could apologize for standing next to signs describing me as a witch and a bitch, terminology that is now objected to by the front bench of the Opposition. He could change a standard himself if he sought to do so.

But we will see none of that from the Leader of the Opposition, because on these questions he is incapable of change. Capable of double standards, but incapable of change.

His double standards should not rule this Parliament.

Good sense, common sense, proper process is what should rule this Parliament.

The devices in the material above should be familiar to you; see if you can spot any new ones! And now comes the climax, and in two ways: One prepared for by Gillard herself, the other handed to her by TLOTO.

That’s what I believe is the path forward for this Parliament, not the kind of double standards and political game-playing imposed by the Leader of the Opposition now looking at his watch 1

1 ZOMG! If Gillard hasn't won the debate already, she certainly just did. What a blunder by TLOTO (cf. at 0:03). Again, this is Parliamentary cut and thrust. No teleprompter here, and no script.

…. because apparently a woman’s spoken too long. [Abbott "oh come on!" affronted reaction]

I’ve had him yell at me to shut up in the past [PM/audience laughter], but I will take the remaining, I will take the remaining seconds of my speaking time1 to say to the Leader of the Opposition I think the best course for him is to reflect2 on the standards he’s exhibited in public life, on the responsibility he should take for his public statements, on his close personal connection with Peter Slipper, on the hypocrisy he has displayed in this House today.

And on that basis, because of the Leader of the Opposition’s motivations, this Parliament today should reject this motion and the Leader of the Opposition should think seriously about the role of women in public life and in Australian society,3 because we are entitled to a better standard than this.

1 The peroratio, or conclusion, elegantly signaled by Gillard. 2, 3 Just as she did at the beginning of the speech, Gillard defines TLOTO's needs for him ("the best course for him," "should think seriously"). One of the catchphrases one hears in sportcasting is "X dominated." That is exactly what Gillard is doing here: Dominating, and TLOTO, with the unconscious gesture of looking at his watch, validated her judgment and all she had to say. A stirring conclusion!

The bottom line: "We are entitled to a better standard than this."

AUDIENCE:  Hear hear!

Indeed.

* * *

So, summing up:

First, we might ask whether the speech achieved its objectives — which were not to salvage the career of the Member for Fisher, clearly beyond all hope, but to salvage the Gillard government, and, if possible, increase the power of her party relative to the Opposition. Gillard achieved her objective. Well wrought rhetoric can help with that.

Second, we might ask yourselves what use we can make of all this. Well, public speaking holds no terror for me; that's because I was lucky enough to participate in a high school forensics program (a discipline that I hope any of you who have children or grandchildren will recommend to them). However, polls indicate that the only thing Americans fear more than public speaking is snakes. That's nuts, and may be part of the reason public policy in this country is so far from reflecting public good: Those most affected by public policy are too fearful to speak on it. I urge those who are afraid to of public speaking to study this post carefully and look at the devices that Gillard uses. Those devices have passed the test of time; that is why the latin and greek names; all these devices are thousands of years old, and have survived because they work. These devices are all tools for you to pick up and use. Look at Gillard's use of anaphora, and see how she uses it as scaffolding across the fearful abyss of silence. You can do the same!*

Third, we might ask ourselves some ethical questions. I vehemently agree with Gillard's bottom line: "We are entitled to a better standard than this." Apparently, Parliament and the general public agreed. However, to achieve that outcome, Gillard used some devices that we are trained to look askance at: Ad hominem attacks, and guilt by association. Are those devices morally neutral? Simply tools? Did Gillard diminish her ethos by using them? Was Gillard immoral to use them? Or did the object of the speech — and I could wish that some other female politicians in some other countries had given such a speech — justify the techniques that the speaker used?

 

NOTE * This is not to say that the devices that Gillard uses in Parliament would be appropriate for, say, a General Assembly or the Town Council. Other devices, however, will be. They remain only to be discovered…

 

 

Print Friendly
Twitter22DiggReddit0StumbleUpon1Facebook43LinkedIn1Google+1bufferEmail

91 comments

  1. redd

    i dont think they will give 15 min to candidates here in US to go after one-another – even if they did, they would be interrupted atleast 100 times.

    They give a max of 1-2 min uninterrupted talking points. The skill thats required here is to speak clearly AND to the point, hitting all points in the rhetorical devices you point out. Its an art. More difficult than the australian. And i would argue both romney and obama were not that bad in this format…they were effective in their own ways.

  2. Hugh

    Well, since it is an economics blog. Is Gillard’s talking about sexism and misogyny a way of not talking about Australia’s housing and commodity bubbles?

  3. Hugh

    I would disagree with redd in so far as Romney and Obama are like bad actors who can’t remember their lines most of the time and don’t know what they mean anyway. So everything gets reduced to a few catch phrases they hope sound good but mean nothing.

  4. Ray Duray

    Lambert,

    You ask: “Are those devices morally neutral? Simply tools? Did Gillard diminish her ethos by using them? Was Gillard immoral to use them? Or did the object of the speech — and I could wish that some other female politicians in some other countries had given such a speech — justify the techniques that the speaker used?”

    1) Morality had little or nothing to do with Ms. Gillard’s outburst. It was pure theater meant as a distaction from the tremendous embarrassment that Peter Slipper had become for Gillard personally. She’d hired the wrong man to be the Speaker. Slipper was simply too indiscrete in his tawdriness for political advantage of Gillard. In short, with Peter Slipper being a major embarrassment for Gillard, her attitude became “the best defense is a brutal offense”.

    I’ve become well aware of the back-story on how it came about that opposition leader Tony Abbott came to call for Slipper’s resignation. It was a reasonable request. Gillard’s outburst was anything but. It was grandstanding of the most outrageous sort, meant to turn reality on its head. The use of rhetoric to obfuscate facts and fan the flames of emotion when sober reflection was called for is certainly a barbaric approach. Gillard, in her bullying way, is damn good at this. Just ask Kevin Rudd.

    2) Simply tools? Absolutely coldly calculated tools. Gillard is about a cold a human being as you’ll likely ever encounter. She was in serious trouble over her poor decision to hire Slipper. So, Abbott was the butt of her attack. A magician’s trick at best, deflecting attention from the lout in her own camp to the fellow who stupidly decided to take political advantage of the PM’s embarrassment. Oh, he did get his comeuppance, eh?

    3) “Did Gillard diminish her ethos…” I’m not sure what you mean exactly by ethos, but I do know in my book, and in the book of many Australian political observers, that Julia Gillard’s outburst is regarded as a sign of emotional instability and a lack of suitable discretion shading into dishonesty. Attacking Abbott to defend Slipper? What was she thinking? Far better is the way Barack Obama handled the opposition attacks on Van Jones, for one example. When Jones was accused of indiscretion by the opposition (signing a 9/11 Truth petition), Obama discretely demanded Jones resignation and received it. Meantime, Jones has landed on his feet and continues to prosper doing related work, just as Peter Slipper no doubt will do so out of government.

    4) Was Gillard immoral? No, she was completely amoral. Ditto for Abbott and Slipper. Recall that the basis of all this brouhaha was Slipper’s rather flippant description of an aspect of female anatomy resembling a certain seafood product.

    5) Should this speech be a model of appropriate parliamentary behavior? Absolutely not. What public policy purpose is being served here? This was 15 minutes of gratuitous insult which was made a complete nullity and embarrassment for Ms. Gillard within a day or two as Peter Slipper, the oaf Gillard was so vociferously defending, simply resigned his post and ended the kerfuffle.

    The whole exercise reeks of misguided motivations and a total lack of concern for the matters of state and the administration of a nation among all concerned. As Lee Iococca lamented in a recent book, “where have all the leaders gone?”

    In other words, this was much ado about almost nothing. To which I should take my own advice and add nothing more. :)

      1. Ray Duray

        Re: “One may, for example, learn a good deal about music by studying Wagner’s music.”

        Apparently I’m not One. I found that I learned a great deal about music by enjoying Ry Cooder’s peregrinations with great contemporary musicians, but that, OTOH, I can’t stand Wagner. I heard the Nazis loved him. And his music. So, there’s a natural disinclination on my part to begin with. Then there is the music.

        This combines the worst of all worlds doesn’t it? Bellicosity, murder and schmaltz: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aKAH_t0aXA

        Compare and contrast:

        Sublimity on a river bank: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Og5PdU2V7cA

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Yes, and Lincoln was a railroad lawyer, so I crossed the Gettysburg Address off my list.

          Fetch me my pearls, maw! I’m a-headin’ fer the faintin’ couch!

    1. Yves Smith

      My reading of the Australian press (and the UK media’s seems to be the same) is that Gillard shored up her domestic position considerably with this speech and boosted her reputation internationally. And Slipper’s an independent, a key fact you gloss over in your remarks (perhaps choosing to pull wool over the eyes of US readers).

      Moreover, you completely miss the aim of this speech. It was not a defense of Slipper (as she makes clear) and most certainly not of his texts, this was using the fact that Abbott (of all people!) in the Liberals decided to go after him.

      Moreover, Slipper did not resign “in a day or two,” he resigned virtually on the heels of the speech. This suggests Gillard was aware of his plans.

      Your charge of emotional instability is a real tell. Her speech was the antithesis of unstable, it was calculated, well structured, and theatrical. The fact that you’d use that slur suggests you are triggered by her charge of sexism and misogny.
      .

      1. Ray Duray

        Consider this to be friendly jousting and NO more. I’m not willing or interested in ending what cordiality and collegiality we may have evolved here. But some of what you say seems so far off the mark I feel a need to clarify my thought. Keep in mind neither you nor I are the targets here. They were Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard. I find neither of them defensible. YMMV. :)

        YVES: “And Slipper’s an independent, a key fact you gloss over in your remarks (perhaps choosing to pull wool over the eyes of US readers).”

        Ha ha. Paranoid much? Don’t be silly. Slipper was part of the opposition whom Gillard cleverly tried to use in a triangulation gambit. I didn’t discuss this because I felt I was at some risk of being too verbose and nit-picking. But since you bring up the matter, I’ll just say that the Internet is a big place. I assume other American readers like me can be big kids and do their own background research. I wish there was more wool to pull over our eyes. The shift in Aussie and NZ production from lamb to dairy for the Chinese market is ruining my lamb stews by making them far too dear to be worth the bother. :)

        YVES: “Moreover, you completely miss the aim of this speech. It was not a defense of Slipper (as she makes clear) and most certainly not of his texts, this was using the fact that Abbott (of all people!) in the Liberals decided to go after him.”

        Huh? Let’s be plain. Gillard’s ugly speech was an unnecessary and unnecessarily mean and dishonest ad homimen attack, meant to toss some red meat to those who wish to insert matters of sex into the realm of governance. I, for one, would prefer the state stay out of the bedroom.

        YVES: “Moreover, Slipper did not resign ‘in a day or two,’ he resigned virtually on the heels of the speech. This suggests Gillard was aware of his plans.”

        You may suggest that, but I’ve read from an informed source that Gillard was caught short and taken by surprise when the man she was defending in a speech in parliamentary discussion of a motion to remove the Speaker failed by one vote. She had won the vote. Slipper could have stayed. He betrayed Gillard and her effort. Your understanding of the events of October 10 and the extensive reading I’ve done on this incident do not agree with each other. As I see it, Gillard was posturing. She was attempting to defeat the Liberals on a vote that would have besmirched her already tenuous hold on power in a minority government. (She’s got 70 votes in a 150 seat parliament).

        YVES: “Your charge of emotional instability is a real tell. Her speech was the antithesis of unstable, it was theatrical. The fact that you’d use that slur suggests you are triggered by her charge of sexism and misogny.”

        What? I accuse Julia Gillard of cynically promoting Julia Gillard. I do not accuse her of emotional instability. I accuse her of having a deficit of genuine emotion and a surfeit of cunning and self-interest.

        OK, Venus, Mars, Out. :)

        1. archer

          You insist on bringing the gender issue into this. Your perceptual filters are really clear (as in you keep telling careful readers you have them in a big way). This post is about rhetoric and speaking technique, but you are the one who made it about Gillard and gender (the emotional instability charge screams that) and then charge Yves with feminist bias. Textbook case of projection.

        2. JTFaraday

          “Gillard’s ugly speech was an unnecessary and unnecessarily mean and dishonest ad homimen attack, meant to toss some red meat to those who wish to insert matters of sex into the realm of governance. I, for one, would prefer the state stay out of the bedroom.”

          Boy, you’re really working overtime here, and in the process you’re really distorting the facts, which work against you.

          The person who inserted sex and “the bedroom” into politics was Abbott, who called for Slipper’s resignation for (technically private) bawdy talk.

          Gillard, on the other hand, inserted Abbott’s championing of the fundamental social, political, and economic disempowerment of women.

          Such an agenda is a more than fit topic for political consideration, potentially at any time and on any occasion–or no particular occasion at all– just because it is relevant to so many matters of the public interest.

          As for emotion, there may be some emotion involved, only to the extent that any woman who is fully aware of Abbott’s agenda might be rightfully incensed at his self righteous attempt to appear as he is not.

          Stop digging.

        3. ChrisPacific

          What? I accuse Julia Gillard of cynically promoting Julia Gillard. I do not accuse her of emotional instability.

          Yes you do. Re-read your point 3, the sentence after the quote.

          Unless you would like to argue that what you wrote didn’t mean that, which would bring us nicely back to the main topic (rhetorical devices).

        4. Mark

          As a Labour (Gillard’s party) voting male I agree with your sentiments Ray. Also any comment on the content of this speech by necessity involves bringing gender into it.

          As a speech it was no doubt VERY good. It probably a months in formation and Gillard had must have been looking for the opening in debate to let fly. It involved numerous quotes from Abbott which were far from recent and definately well researched. But to suggest misogyny is going along lines that are unsupported by evidence.

          Furthermore as you quite simply say “The whole exercise reeks of misguided motivations and a total lack of concern for the matters of state and the administration of a nation among all concerned.”

          That said Abbott is the same. In fact these two have had a reputation for verbal sparring even before they were both leaders. Both are excellent at the cut and thrust of verbal debate. Both are similarly lacking on the policy front.

        5. jake chase

          What it all comes down to is that the world’s history of sexism (and racism) gives any member of the oppressed group unrestricted license to bootstrap herself (himself), and anyone who says ‘boo’ is ipso facto a sexist (racist).

          Our latest reward for indulging in this charade is Obama. How do you like him so far?

    2. rps

      1. Ms. Gillard’s outburst
      2. Gillard’s outburst… It was grandstanding of the most outrageous sort….
      3.fan the flames of emotion when sober reflection was called for
      4..Gillard is about a cold a human being
      5.Julia Gillard’s outburst is regarded as a sign of emotional instability

      Rhetoric Indeed. Politics of language. Language is the language of men and their grammar. As Ms. Gillard pointed out to the opposition leader, I also suggest that you look in the mirror. The intentional application of the subordinate descriptive language such as the word “outburst” used 3 times in conjunction with Ms. Gilliard is a rhetorical tool to marginalize and undermine Ms. Gillard’s controlled expression of anger in a logical and concise manner. The politics of anger; who’s allowed to express anger, whose anger is acknowledge and/or unseen, and who appears angry when they are no– is an effective measure to express the pain of the injustices perpetrated, and does validate the depth of women’s subordination rather than discounts their experiences. Clearly, the acts of politeness, measured speech and intonations are in fact, a betrayal of the self in the face of women’s personal and political outrage towards the inculcated violations experienced daily.

      One moment you complain that she has outburts, next she’s a “cold human being,” and lastly, the old reliable misogynistic tool to clearly undermine her power position by classifying her “outbursts as a sign of emotional instability.” Clearly, you are the confused one in your contradictions of her confrontational speech that point to the injustices against her(female PM), and not against her politics, but the politics of men to subordinate women.

      Next, you employ male justification and implement the gender specific tool of “emotional instability” as the reasoning necesary to perpetuate the belief of Ms. Gillard’s inferiority through the lens of patriarchal belief structures and practices against the other half of the species. Lastly, your comments are the prescritive male ideology presenting a rational and logical male argument against the emotionally unstable female PM– Ms. Gillard.

      It is necessary to remember Tillie Olson at times like this that women are still fighting the same tiresome battles. Her commonsense observation of the danger of perpetuating by continued usage entrenched centuries old oppressive power realities, early on incorporated into language has been given substantive analysis in the writings of feminists who study language as a symbolic system closely tied to a patriarchal social structure. The importance of language is used as a tool in establishing, reflecting, and maintaining an asymmetrical relationship between women and men.

      Rhetoric Indeed

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        “Outburst,” forsooth! I’ve had to devise two separate annotation schemes to footnote the patterning of rhetorical devices. This speech is no “outburst.”

    3. Glenn Condell

      ‘The use of rhetoric to obfuscate facts and fan the flames of emotion when sober reflection was called for is certainly a barbaric approach. Gillard, in her bullying way, is damn good at this. Just ask Kevin Rudd.’

      Rudd used rhetoric to obfuscate facts too, ditto Howard. And those two are not in the same league as your Clintons and Blairs, for whom bullshit was an artform.

      And they weren’t too shabby in the ‘cold and ‘calculating’ and ‘amoral’ depts either. Obama is the same.

      It’s called politics, and you will notice that all of the above have one thing in common. They are men, and excuse me for leaping to the conclusion that their exercise of oratory for political purposes wouldn’t have moved you to anything like the heights of indignation you’ve scaled here, if at all. Why might that be?

      Of course you might be in print, ink or virtual, with denunciations of male politicians for similar transgressions, if so could we have a look?

      And ‘barbaric’? That is one word that cannot be applied here, as Lambert’s elegant dissection makes clear. As for her target however…

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m sure I’ve quoted this before but here it is again:

      Crash Davis: It’s time to work on your interviews.
      Nuke LaLoosh: My interviews? What do I gotta do?
      Davis: You’re gonna have to learn your clichés. You’re gonna have to study them, you’re gonna have to know them. They’re your friends. Write this down [giving Nuke the pad and pen]: “We gotta play it one day at a time.”
      LaLoosh: Got to play… it’s pretty boring.
      Davis: ‘Course it’s boring – that’s the point. Write it down.

  5. skippy

    Sexism is in the air, don’t use it once, not twice, but as many times as you can. Hell its a tennis match at this point.

    FORMER prime minister Kevin Rudd has shrugged off suggestions that he ghostwrote ex-MP Maxine McKew’s tell-all political book, saying the claim “verges on sexism”.

    “For anyone to accuse a prominent journalist such as Ms McKew of not being able to write her own book I think verges on sexism,” Mr Rudd told reporters today after giving a speech in Mandarin at a Chinese cultural event in Sydney.

    In her book, Ms McKew accuses Prime Minister Julia Gillard of manufacturing a leadership crisis in the ALP before challenging Mr Rudd for the Labor leadership in 2010.

    She also says Ms Gillard’s office launched an “offensive and sexist” smear campaign against her that included leaking confidential correspondence.

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/pm-julia-gillard-stitched-up-kevin-rudd/story-fndo317g-1226499866236

    The Fifth Estate: Insider Insights: Maxine McKew

    The Wheeler Center

    The Fifth Estate is the Wheeler Centre’s new series of fortnightly forums: a more measured approach to news and current affairs. Provocative and studied, authoritative and unhurried, this is real analysis that will be pulling no punches. Hosted by broadcaster, journalist and anthropologist Sally Warhaft, The Fifth Estate is indispensible live journalism. All events are recorded, with podcast episodes posted on our website by noon the following day.

    http://download.wheelercentre.com/120626_FifthEstate_InsiderInsights.mp3

    Skippy… Lambert and co. please listen to hte pod cast. Then if some comment, I will take it further.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I asked (for example): ” Did Gillard diminish her ethos by using [these rhetorical devices]?”

      I asked that because if people take my advice and start using these devices, such questions are going to come up.

      Do you regard this comment as answering that question, or a similar question? If not, why is it here?

    2. Ray Duray

      Re: “Then if some comment, I will take it further.”

      I am at present listening to the podcast with substantial interest. It’s good to get an insider’s view of the pillaging of the mensch Kevin Rudd by the wicked witch of the west Julia Gillard. I believe that is not too unkind a thing to say, in view of the fact case.

      Please do continue with your thoughts on this topic. I am quite intrigued by Aussie politics at this time.

      Readers may find some keys to understanding the situation in this recent Economist article about Julia’s unfortunate attack on Abbott:

      http://www.economist.com/node/21564599

      More and more I’ve come to the conclusion that Gillard’s performance was just that, i.e. an act with a political end in mind, rather than a cri de couer.

        1. skippy

          “He self descructed, big time. Gillard stood by him longer than most.” – archer

          skip here… party talking points with out substance are just reinforcing propaganda. Self destruction is not applied by out side forces.

          Gillard has a checkered past see:

          He said it should offend every unionist that nobody had been held accountable over the slush fund, known as the AWU Workplace Reform Association. Mr Daly helped discover its existence in April 1996, after hundreds of thousands of dollars had already been paid by building company Thiess, and siphoned off.

          “I want to see some sort of public inquiry into this — I will support an inquiry and I will tell it what I know,” Mr Daly told The Australian in Perth yesterday.

          “It will be messy and it will be harmful for some people, but an inquiry is necessary to prevent these things from ever happening again. I am loyal to the AWU and the Labor Party, I just don’t like crooks. I think that one of the crooks is now prepared to tell the truth.

          “The fact is that when you have companies paying off unions in secrecy, the workers have no chance. There has been a great reluctance to get to the bottom of this very serious matter for 17 years. The slush fund (in the way it worked) was corrupt, there is no question about it, but I have a nagging concern that people still do not want to see this all come out.”

          Mr Daly said while most unions have slush funds to pay for elections, the AWU Workplace Reform Association was “highly unusual”– it was bankrolled by a major employer, Thiess; it was kept secret from the rest of the union and its membership; and it received sums of money that were remarkable for the period.

          ———-

          Whistleblowers turned on by law firm

          LAW firm Slater & Gordon filed a legal action against union officials who blew the whistle on wrongdoing by Australian Workers Union bagman Ralph Blewitt, the controller of a secret “slush fund” that Julia Gillard had helped him establish 18 months earlier.

          Concerns among union officials about financial irregularities and the conduct of the then branch secretary were silenced by Mr Blewitt in the Supreme Court defamation action brought on his instructions in October 1993.

          The action came six months after Mr Blewitt, who now admits to being involved in fraud, transferred about $100,000 from the slush fund to buy a $230,000 Melbourne terrace for the use of Ms Gillard’s then boyfriend, union boss Bruce Wilson.

          Ms Gillard attended the auction for the Melbourne property, helped in the transaction, and witnessed a power of attorney giving Mr Wilson control over the asset.

          The Prime Minister has repeatedly and strenuously denied any wrongdoing, and said she did not know about the workings of the slush fund.

          The Weekend Australian has obtained legal documents and other files showing AWU officials alerted rank-and-file members in September 1993 to significant anoma lies in union accounts and worries about Mr Blewitt’s leadership.

          Their leaflets warned that, with Mr Blewitt at the helm, the union risked returning to “bad old days” of corruption. They also revealed attempts to level “20 charges of misconduct and mismanagement of union funds” against Mr Blewitt.

          https://bleyzie.wordpress.com/tag/julia-gillard/

          skip here… one is corrupt the other is not, one displays to the crowd the other sought act, which was, mandated by popular consent. Whether Rudd comes back or not, is not the issue, its, the PMs ethos and morality. Granted Abbot is no paragon of either, too.

          1. skippy

            ” Did Gillard diminish her ethos by using [these rhetorical devices]?” – Lambert

            How can one diminish, what one, has none, regardless of device? Conversely, a device used deceptively in the name of such an important distinction (sexism), lessens it. To me, she has cheapened the term (sexism) for personal gain (remain PM), applied its leverage for vacuous political advantage (ratings a year out of elections) and utilized it completely out side its meaning to the population in general.

            Shezz…. the National Liberal Partys sexist? LOL… that’s a corner stone of the party, nay a piece of the bed rock! Its like calling a black cat, black. It was not unlike a media KONY event…. sigh… all sound and fury in 3D digitized, streamed globally, its even got Mikes approval:

            Mike Tyson: ‘Your PM is totally bad-ass’

            Tyson said he caught Gillard’s fiery Canberra speech on TV news in Britain, while on tour for his one-man show, Undisputed Truth, which he will bring to the Sydney Convention Centre next month.

            The 46-year-old said he was impressed with Gillard’s performance, adding that Tony Abbott was a product of a sexist society.

            Speaking with The Sunday Telegraph from his tour bus on Thursday, Tyson said:

            “To be honest, history proves that she’s right.

            Former World Heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson has gotten behind the Prime Minister’s claims of sexism.

            “I’m just going by the facts of what history proves, that most males are that way.”

            While admitting a chequered past of his own when it came to misogyny, Tyson said Opposition Leader Tony Abbott had some lessons to learn.

            “That’s the situation that the prime minister and [Abbott] have to deal with,” Tyson said.

            http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/mike-tyson-your-pm-is-totally-bad-ass/story-fndo317g-1226495035711

            Skippy… Maxine McKew is a good sort and I’ll add my emphasis to her observation, the tail wags the dog ie the fourth estate. Did Gillard score a temporary ratings boost, necessitated by her – own – failings… yes! Is she killing the last remnants of the Labor party as Obama is the Democrat brand… yes! Please listen to the pod cast.

            PS. It was a contrived MSM event, nothing more, nothing less.

          2. Glenn Condell

            ‘skip here… party talking points with out substance’

            Yeah but Skip the Rudd-friendly anti-Gillard stuff is too. He said she said. The truth as always lies somewhere in the middle…

            I listened to the podcast; colour me unimpressed. McKew was one of the best political journos we have had, and a brilliant interviewer. I was excited by her tilt at the PM and overjoyed when she won. But while she was a great candidate she was a shithouse politician. Once in this great communicator seemed to become so unfamiliar with the language that she was incapable of answering a simple question. They are all toe-ing the line, but with her the seams were showing.

            As for the accusations of rorting; I will believe them when I see them taken seriously in court. Until then they remain simply accusations.

            ‘To me, she has cheapened the term (sexism) for personal gain (remain PM), applied its leverage for vacuous political advantage (ratings a year out of elections)’

            So she should have waited until she was out of politics before venting? It may be that the time coincided with a critical tipping point for her but it must also be admitted that the genesis, the drivers of the outrage (real or imagined) had, while building over a long period, came to a head in the previous few weeks. So while the time might have been right politically, it was hardly out of left field given the context.

            And I’m sorry, but the notion that this was all coldly planned with the passion of delivery feigned? Err, no. There was a genuine anger fuelling that performance, indeed without it we may not have seen anything like the global reaction we did. And to my mind it was her determined manner, the red heat discernible under the steel, which capptured the global audience rather than the rhetorical devices she employed.

            No more off topic Aust pol minutiae or Lambert will send out drones to clean up the thread.

          3. skippy

            Glen… I would gladly address your concerns if you reconcile the information, in my, bottom of the thread comment.

            skippy… “No more off topic Aust pol minutiae or Lambert will send out drones to clean up the thread” – Glen

            Extremely bad form… old boy… and why do I smell fear (like cut snake) whilst the natives are in a state of befuddlement. Shall I call on the less informed… yet aggro… to meet this challenge… as a champion? Glen you have a position of privilege, you are at a nexus of activity, you are not blind to the ongoing events, yet, you are oblique to the true nature of your ethos and why.

            PS. Threaten me one more time… for steeping out side your preferred discourse, with a gang bang drive – by… and, we’ll go the no rules route. We all have family’s, keep it clean in nut gallery… eh.

        2. Ray Duray

          archer,

          Re: “He self descructed(sic), big time. Gillard stood by him longer than most.”

          As is so often the case with keeping up on international news, I was only vaguely aware of Kevin Rudd as he took over from John Howard in 2007. I don’t follow Aussie politics all that closely. Fast forward to 2010 and the stunning, mendacious and cunning assault on Rudd by Gillard behind closed doors. I read about the palace coup the day after it had occurred, and attempted to piece together the reasons for the assault and the means by which it was perpetrated. On both counts, I found Gillard’s justifications for knifing Rudd in the back to be tawdry, self-serving and distasteful. Gillard was serving no higher purpose than to advance her own career is what I concluded at the time. There was no major policy change made. I’ve read nothing since that coup to prove to me that Gillard has anyone other than herself as the object of her attention and affection. She’s one of the most cold-hearted, remorselessly machiavellian players I am aware of in the political world.

          [Aside: In this sense, Gillard is the polar opposite of our host here who is genuinely concerned about the welfare of others and the fairness of our social/economic systems. Gillard it seems is only motivated by a raw desire for power.]

          Gillard’s rhetorical flourishes are nothing in comparison with the back room machinations she engages in.

          It would be nice if American observers were less naive about this remarkable situation the Aussies find themselves in.

          As to the ridiculous assertion that Gillard “stood by” Rudd, let’s just say that you don’t steal someone’s job by back room manipulation and media humiliation when you are a loyalist, shall we?

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            It would be a shame of NC readers were deprived of the opportunity to study an excellent toolkit for public speaking by wandering into the weeds of an off-point discussion of the details of domestic Australian politics.

  6. Jo

    Fine and good.

    Fact of the matter is she presides(somewhat illigitimately, having stolen the election) over a democracy.

    So she will be lectured-to any time the dislikable Abbot chooses to do so – and has the floor.

    Talk is cheap. People ain’t stoopid. Obama take note.

  7. ZygmuntFraud

    Before I can fully respond, I suppose I’d like to know what was in the proposed motion and look at the “Hansard” of Australia for those days. Gillard repeatedly said “I was offended when/by” ; if she had said “Australians are offended …”, that would be Amplification/over-reaching (nobody can read minds), and that always annoys me.

    I see the role of the Speaker as keeping some decent order i Parliamentary proceedings in the House. Mr Slipper doesn’t have the kind of standing needed to instill respect, so he can’t make an effective speaker (couldn’t have) after the salacious nature of the messages became widely known.

    It’s a bit like a snap-shot: what happened at some hour in the Australian House of Representatives.
    The timeline I have so far (as events unfolded) is very sketchy. I don’t know what Gillard knew about Slipper when Parliament opened, etc.

  8. Max424

    I gotta try some of this rhetorical shit on my male cat Max (who is a very bad cat when compared to his beautifully mannered sister).

    “This untrained housemate, who yesterday was found up on the kitchen table, in clear disobeyance of longstanding household strictures, presently pleads with me to feed him?”

    “This too wild animal, who last night refused, yes refused, to come directly home when whistled for, in open violation of our settled mutual agreement, has straightaway wishes to go a wilding?”

    “This feral pet, who just this moment took to clawing the sofa, when my back was turned, as if I didn’t know what he was up to, now implores his master to play with him?”

    The old boy won’t know what hit him. From this day forward, Max is going to be dealing with a modern Demosthenes.

    Now where’s my marbles. I need to practice.

    Hmmm … the bastard has apparently hid them.

  9. craazyman

    I guess if you’re the boyfriend you probably learned pretty quick, don’t even think of trying to argue with her.

    Just shut up and do it, whatever it is she wants. It’ll be so much easier on you that way.

    Or if you’re really bored and want to crack yourself up, provoke some petty dissension, just to see what deficiencies she tries to tag you with and how she does it. hahaha ahha too funny for this early in the a.m.

  10. David Lentini

    As someone with a long debating history in high school and college myself, I really enjoyed Gilland’s delivery. If her effort was to reverse the political momentum that the opposition had following the original scandal, then I’m not surprised she succeeded as the link provided suggests.

    But as an example of good rhetoric that can serve as a model for others I’m not so sure this is a good choice. True, you can identify many long-known rhetorical devices in Gilland’s speech; and reviewing these may help readers in preparing their arguments. But you can identify rhetorical devices in any speech, good or bad. (Regarding the study or rhetoric, I’m reminded of Feynman’s famous quip about philosophers of science: they’re as useful to scientists as ornithologists are to birds. I doubt few speakers lay out their rhetorical devices like chess pieces when composing a speech; they use what feels right given their audience and goals.)

    The problem in this case is the fundamental goal of Gilland’s performance–She doesn’t want to win an argument so much as whip up emotion against her opponent in order to reverse the political momentum against her party. To do this, she resorts to what I view as tu quoque: Essentially, she argues that TLOTO is the pot calling the kettle black, referring to TLOTO’s own history of sexist behavior. She both hides and enhances this thrust by making an emotional appeal as the defiant victim of an unjust lecture (“I say to the Leader of the Opposition I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man.”), as if she’s the only person in the room with TLOTO and this issue is about herself. This has nothing to do with the underlying scandal, which was moot at this point anyway, but is an appeal to justice and emotion. And of course, as a woman with no question of sexism in play, Gilland can take the position of someone who can call the kettle black. By doing this, she’s transformed the issue from the scandal in her party to a rebuttal of an unfair personal attack on herself by TLOTO.

    I think the rest of the speech follows this script.

    What then, can we learn from this? Well, as I remembered learning in law schools years ago, when the law’s on your side, pound the law; when the facts are on your side, pound the facts; and when nothing’s on your side, pound the table. This is excellent table pounding. Since the art of political leadership often turns on a leader’s ability to get the public to view the leader, the party, and the party’s policies favorably, then table pounding using the typical appeals to emotion, fear, power, etc. are often effective instruments of political rhetoric. As arguments, they aren’t so good. So, as an example of the power of political rhetoric, then this is a good example. Do we need more of this given the problems in the world that need solving? I’m not so sure.

    1. Aquiifer

      Methinks it might help to know who she saw as her audience and what she was trying to do – it does sound like a red meat speech, but that doesn’t ipso fact, IME, disqualify it as a potentially good example of rhetoric – so the question is, did it do for her what she wanted it to do … That, it seems to me , being the pragmatist that i am, is the true test of rhetoric – does it invoke the desired emotion/action in the audience to whom it is delivered ….

      If so then it would seem worthy of study within the context of such an audience, if not then i would think it’s only, though that is not to say insignificant, worth is in terms of its “structural” value, as an example of the various devices Lambert points out –

      I would be curious if she did have her audience pegged correctly – that seems to me an unspoken, but nonetheless important component, of “speechifyin’” –

      Rhetoric as a “work of art” complete unto itself, is one thing, though i do wonder if such a thing can exist, rhetoric as a tool is another and that is why i suggest it is important to dissect it in context ….

      I think this WAS about rhetoric and not about argument – as you say, so did pounding make a dent in her opponent or only in the table ….

      I did HS debate as well – and though i do not remember all the boxes that were checked by the judges, i do believe presentation was one and that makes an enormous difference in how well your rhetorical devices “work” ISTM …

    2. Unkle Smokey

      The quote
      “Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds.” ― Richard P. Feynman
      reminded me of this reply to Feynman:
      Some philosophers (e.g. Craig Callender) have suggested that ornithological knowledge would be of great benefit to birds, were it possible for them to possess it.
      Just sayin’.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yes, it is tu quoque, too, I should have marked that.

      As for a good model, technically, I think it’s an excellent model, and not least because it’s gone viral. That’s a lot of teaching opportunities.

      And as a fellow debater, surely you must know that sometimes the arguments on your side aren’t the best that might be imagined? Even if this speech is an excellent example of table-pounding*, are you saying that NC readers will never need to pound the table and should not?

      I think you’re raising the issue that Richard Lanham calls Q: “Is the good orator also a good person?” and in this case, can good oratory only be peformed in a good cause? If by “good” we mean, “Can we learn from it?” I think the answer is definitely no. (A Jesuit might say that even if we don’t use these “bad” techniques ourselves, we should nevertheless learn them to be able to recognizes and refute them.)

      NOTE * Personally, I think the speech is more than that. Elsewhere I’ve argued that “art” that survives is necessarily and inevitably detached from its context. I think having an excellent example of a truly awesome beatdown of sexism and misogyny is useful as an object lesson in a good cause. “We deserve a better standard than this” was the merit of being true in many contexts where women participate in public life, regardless that the speech was occasioned by a not especially savory episode in Australian domestic politics.

      1. David Lentini

        Hi, Lambert!

        I don’t see any connection between the moral quality of the orator and the quality of the oration. “Bad” people can make “good” orators, although I think that such a statement mixes the uses of the words “bad” and “good”. Again, it’s a great speech regardless of Gillard’s politics or morals. My point was that the value of the rhetoric lesson really depends on the context in which you offer the speech as an example. I would never accept Gillard’s speech in a debate on logical question. I do find the speech moving as a political oration.

        As for the table pounding, I don’t see it as a beatdown on sexism and misogyny so much as a beatdown on Gillard’s opposition. For my money, Gillard’s rather sanctimonious closing line, “[w]e deserve a better standard than this”, had more to do with getting a last kick than taking a real moral stand, especially when Abbott had raised the issue of a double standard in his attack on Slipper (who ultimately resigned).

    4. JEHR

      David, you have provided a balanced look at how rhetorical devices can be used and abused. Many rhetorical devices come “naturally” and if one devised a speech intending to use certain devices without the emotional reality behind them, it would seem flat. Sometimes I find Obama’s speeches flat as they seem to come from outside himself now wheras before he was elected they were mesmerizing and seemed to come from within.

  11. Aquiifer

    Oh dear, poor Lambert – methinks your intentions were good ones, but it appears, for the most part folks couldn’t separate Julia from her speech and chose to focus on the former …

    Wonder if it wouldn’t be better to pick some old Greek or Roman who nobody knows :)

    1. Aquiifer

      Ah, but then you wouldn’t have the video – so maybe one could do an enactment – “Friends, Romans and countrymen, lend me ….” No wait, that will spark a discussion about interest rates …

      But Lambert, you are soooo right, we do have to learn how to speak effectively – we do have to get beyond that charming quaint assumption that all we have to do is “tell the truth” and “stick to the facts”, we have to figure out how to move people – not to manipulate them but to make that connection between head and heart (and gut) without which all our bloviatin’ does no more than contribute to global warming …

      I do applaud your effort – but the responses i have seen indicate, perhaps, that before we learn the art of rhetoric we have to accept the validity and the usefulness of it – and i have this “feeling” that too often it is held in disdain ….

      1. ZygmuntFraud

        The “morality” of using rhetoric effectively (if slyly) depends on the greater context, i.e. what are the real stakes in this game?

        If I were up against a Hitler-mad-man, Yes, I would use all my “firepower”: logic, laying out the facts, evidence, and a good dose of rhetoric.

        I think I can see rhetorical devices for what they are, most of the time. By the way, Reuters handbookofjournalism.pdf file counsels reporters to:
        “Listen for what is NOT said as hard as you listen to what is said.”, page 534 in the interest of avoiding manipulation.

        Returning to the Gillard speech, I’d say that since the audience could be anyone among millions, and also future generations, and Ms. Gillard is not likely to tell us who her intented audience is, what can we do?

        There are questions to study, although clarifying and identifying the “important” ones takes time …

        1. Aquiifer

          Hmmm – that is a good point, though i would have thought that a speech such as this is usually made to a particular audience. large or small, that the speaker has in mind, even though it may reach many others – so the tone and content and even the rhythm, which i think much of rhetoric is about – tempo and all – will be designed with that audience in mind, unlike a speech “made for the ages” – e.g. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, maybe?

          1. ZygmuntFraud

            Following your keen lead (just my opinion) (leadership?),
            I’d suggest making a reasonnable assumption about the intended audience.

            This could be debated forever, but as a first approximation I’d identify the audience as Australian citizens aged 14 and over; suitable for a ‘tween? probably not …

          2. Aquifer

            ZF – not an unreasonable assumption, but for some reason i can’t quite put my finger on, i am curious about who SHE intended it for – sometimes stuff like that can be surprising, sometimes not … :)

        2. Garrett Pace

          Interesting – the more rhetorical devices I recognize, the more I figure the speaker does not think the facts are in their favor.

          1. When the law is against you, argue the facts.
          2. When the facts are against you, argue the law.
          3. When law and facts are against you, pound the table and shout, “Outrage!”

          “But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.”

  12. Ray Duray

    Hey Lambert,

    Here’s a thought! :)

    How about a compare-and-contrast between Gillard’s pounding the table (Thanks for that, David Lentini!) and this bravura rhetorical dressing down that George Galloway handed to two completely hapless U.S. Senators?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuzlwFXeW3A

    The difference here, of course, is that Galloway is pounding the facts…. good and hard.

    To me this is the superior display of Anglophile rhetorical excess. Enjoy the show. :)

    ***
    Similarly, in a fit of complete nostalgia for my country which is vanishing before my eyes, here’s something from 1988 that is a complete impossible dream of a debate that cannot be permitted in 2012:

    http://climatecrocks.com/2012/10/23/climate-silence-blame-the-troglodyte-right/

  13. Mark

    While I realise that this has been a discussion on rhetoric, as an Australian and reader of this blog I feel compelled to comment.

    I find it utterly amazing how this speech has gone world wide and has been seen as some as a woman at the top of a country still needing to fight against misogyny. Most of us at home see it as simply political grandstanding which both current leaders seem to do more so that actually debating policy.

    The person she is lambasting is a brash conservative who I would never vote for. But he does not deserve these personal attacks. Gillard is the leader of major the party that I normally would prefer to vote for but has done nothing to endear herself since she backstabbed the previous leader to gain the top job.

    “Are those devices morally neutral? Simply tools? Did Gillard diminish her ethos by using them? Was Gillard immoral to use them? Or did the object of the speech — and I could wish that some other female politicians in some other countries had given such a speech — justify the techniques that the speaker used?”

    Opinions of the general populace seem divided 50/50 on this which could be interpreted as the male/female divide or the political division. ;-)

    It was a great speech but much of the support seems to be coming from women who can relate to the sentiment and therefore agree rather than having any knowledge of the man being attacked. This is effect is highlighted by the very fact that is has spread online and across the world.

    In my opinion you can describe Abbott as an strong conservative (by Australian standard, not US ones) but that does not make him a misogynist. In fact very little has actually been said about what makes him a misogynist. Funnily enough it has been all rhetoric…

    1. JTFaraday

      Perhaps “it’s all rhetoric.” I don’t know enough about Abbott’s record to know if his rhetoric is backed up by action or if he really is all talk (at least to date), but the rhetoric to which you refer is all his rhetoric:

      “The Leader of the Opposition says, “If it’s true, Stavros, that men have more power generally speaking than women, is that a bad thing?”"…

      “And then a discussion ensues, and another person being interviewed says, “I want my daughter to have as much opportunity as my son.” To which the Leader of the Opposition says “Yeah, I completely agree, but what if men are by physiology or temperament more adapted to exercise authority or to issue command?””…

      “Then ensues another discussion about women’s role in modern society, and the other person participating in the discussion says, “I think it’s very hard to deny that there is an underrepresentation of women,” to which the Leader of the Opposition says, “But now, there’s an assumption that this is a bad thing.””…

      “the Leader of the Opposition said, “When the housewives of Australia need to do– What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing… ”2 Thank you for that painting of women’s roles in modern Australia.”…

      “the Leader of the Opposition catcalling across this table at me as I sit here as Prime Minister, “If the Prime Minister wants to, politically speaking, make an honest woman of herself” – something that would never have been said to any man sitting in this chair.”…

      “the Leader of the Opposition went outside in the front of Parliament and stood next to a sign that said “Ditch the witch.””…

      “the Leader of the Opposition stood next to a sign that described me as a man’s bitch.”…

      I may have missed a few. Unless she’s just lying, which no one seems to have suggested, this is Todd Akin caliber stuff.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      But I think this is true — exaggerating for effect here — of any great work of art. I’m sure if we had the back story on The Odyessey, say, we’d find that Homer was a cranky old guy with some very curious habits, including, well, let’s not go there. Or that Shakespeare was a highly successful and very bourgeois businessman.

      Yet the work survives independent of its creator. (Which now that I come to think about it is a very good thing for a civilization that wishes to accumulate artifacts over a long period of time.)

  14. Mark

    craazyman
    >>>”I guess if you’re the boyfriend you probably learned pretty quick, don’t even think of trying to argue with her.

    Just shut up and do it, whatever it is she wants. It’ll be so much easier on you that way.

    Or if you’re really bored and want to crack yourself up, provoke some petty dissension, just to see what deficiencies she tries to tag you with and how she does it. hahaha ahha too funny for this early in the a.m.”<<<<

    Her current partner is a hair dresser, interpret that how you will.

    1. craazyman

      That’s fortuitous because it might be worth softening that red a little. It’s hot as a chili pepper & makes her look kind of angry. Maybe dull it down a bit and mix it with some blonde, or just go for basic black for that “intellectual” look.

      This one’s almost as bad as the one by Cicero about Cataline I was reading the other day.

      Cicero actually said he thought they should kill Cataline right there, right then. And Cataline was listening, there in the Senate! It must have gotten to him because they said he walked right out and went and collected up his army.

      Can you imagine that? I’m sure Cicero used all the tricks of the trade, but that was back in the day you could walk around with your political enemies severed heads on spikes and nobody thought it was out of the ordinary.

      I suppose politics has made a little progress since then. But the rhetoric has no doubt lost something, with TV soundbites and all.

      1. Valissa

        In case anyone else is interested in Cicero’s speech/oration against Cataline, there’s more info on the historical context here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catiline_Orations .

        And here is link to a translation of Cicero’s first oration (of 4).

        The first oration of M. T. Cicero against Lucius Catilina.
        Delivered in the Senate. http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/catilin1/a/2Catilinarian.htm

        I have to admit I found Cicero much more compelling than Gillard, so thanks craazyman for the tip on that. I tried listening to her whole speech but found her style very annoying and was not at all impressed and didn’t last past 3 minutes (and even then I was forcing myself). Admittedly I have never been a fan of Gillard for a number of reasons (some of which Mark laid out at 12:15pm), and she seems a pretty standard politico to me. Also I have an extremely low tolerance for political speeches of any kind anymore, so that’s a factor as well.

        1. Valissa

          You ought, O Catiline, long ago to have been led to execution by command of the consul. That destruction which you have been long plotting against us ought to have already fallen on your own head.

          What? Did not that most illustrious man, Publius Scipio, the Pontifex Maximus, in his capacity of a private citizen, put to death Tiberius Gracchus, though but slightly undermining the constitution? And shall we, who are the consuls, tolerate Catiline, openly desirous to destroy the whole world with fire and slaughter? For I pass over older instances, such as how Caius Servilius Ahala with his own hand slew Spurius Mælius when plotting a revolution in the state. There was — there was once such virtue in this republic, that brave men would repress mischievous citizens with severer chastisement than the most bitter enemy. For we have a resolution of the senate, a formidable and authoritative decree against you, O Catiline; the wisdom of the republic is not at fault, nor the dignity of this senatorial body. We, we alone, — I say it openly, — we, the consuls, are wanting in our duty.

          Now that’s what I call a bloody good speech!

          1. Glenn Condell

            I would be interested to know (from Lambert esp) whether there are any peers in political speechifying in living memory, or even superior examples.

            People gushed about Clinton’s wiping the floor with Obama at the convention. I gather it was an extremely professional piece of work; was it dotted with rhetorical touches? Personally I cannot listen to the bloke, after a while I get the same feeling I have when I’ve had too much of something I shouldn’t. That might be down to the fact that he was playing footsie with Monica when our futures were deleted by his handpicked lieutenants, but it is also all the treacle you have to wade thru in search of a nugget.

            What about Blair’s famous ’45 minute’ speech to justify the immoral and illegal Iraq War? I can recall even (or perhaps especially) rightwing columnists here who almost wet themselves in admiration. Was he using the toolkit? Whether or not, he didnae convince me.

            Ray mentioned George Galloway earlier and I have a soft spot for him; anyone who puts so many mainstream journos offside must be doing something right. Not sure if he tu quoques and all that stuff or not, but boy is he effective.

            But I wonder if that might simply be because George was telling the truth. Blair wasn’t, Clinton probably can’t anymore, and I can’t say I’ve always been swayed by Gillard’s efforts over the years so maybe on those occasions she was gilding a bit. But when expression is powered by or backed by belief, doubt about motive is harder to sustain. This is hardly scientific, indeed it can’t be, but.. it feels right!

            Gillard cannot always ‘tell the truth’ or rather say exactly what she wants, no senior politician can. So for much of the time we get the drone of half-truth, replete with faux conviction. But when an opportunity arises to let rip from somewhere a little deeper than political calculation, that can result in the sort of performance we saw.

            And if that opportunity to vent some real feeling also aligns with your political calculations, all the better.

            I know the first piece plaintively asked whether any US pol could have managed the Julia show, but shurely there must be some gems hidden in the dross?

  15. Greg Marquez

    Lambert… that was my question too? In fact I was a little surprised that you were using her logical fallacies as examples of good rhetoric.

    I’d been thinking a lot, the past few months, about the documentary you, or perhaps a commenter, recommended, Century of the Self. Very much enjoyed it, but what wasn’t clear to me was what were the acutal techiques used to move the herd in the desired direction.

    After reading a little more about Eddie Bernays it occurred to me that perhaps the key to moving the herd is using logical fallacies. Perhaps, I thought, the secret to effective marketing is revealed in the list of logical fallacies. They must work pretty well at convincing people or else there’d be no need to list them.

    Reading this where you seem to be equating successful rhetoric with the use of logical fallacies seemed like a sort of confirmation of my thoughts.

    Perhaps the taxonomy of logical fallacies is really just a good guide to effective rhetoric. If it’s necessary to go to such extents to point out logical fallacies, perhaps it’s because they are so effective in argument.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Well, that’s indeed the question, isn’t it? However, if we have the idea that we can somehow get “beyond rhetoric” into communication that’s simple, pure, clean… Well, those adjectives just signal a form of rhetoric that’s all that more effective, don’t they?

      I don’t think I’m equating. I’m saying the speech is a worthy object of study, and that the formulation “We deserve a better standard than this” is in fact a good goal.

      On the Q question (Richard Lanham): “Is the good orator also a good person?” I’m conflicted. For example, Yves moderates on “tu quoque” because it makes threads go bad. But we only know the device at all because we have rhetoric as an object of study (rather like an immmune system). Should we ban certain devices in our discourse at large for similar reasons? I don’t know. I do know that I’ve had “ad hominem” thrown at me more times than I can count by Obama fans, back in the day, but it was clear that they didn’t know what the term meant, and it was only a synonum for “bad” and by extension “bad person do not engage.”

      These are not easy questions at all.

      NOTE Adding, one reason on my own blog for using rhetorical devices as a moderation tool is that they can be applied with reasonable objectivity, so moderation becomes to a degree depersonalized. Moderation concepts like “civility” are lot more vague than “Don’t use rhetorical device _____.” Of course, a blog is a closed environment. Political culture is more open. There is a Robert’s Rules (or some other set of rules) to determine the agenda and run meetings (which is hard and a great skill (there should be a “How to run a meeting” post….)) but a set of rules for discourse would be much harder. Could be worth thinking about, though. The hideous corruption of current structures, all the way down to the linguistic level, screams out for something parallel….)

      1. Garrett Pace

        One of the bases for a relationship is communication. An orator is attempting to relate to an audience. The best are the ones that make listeners feel a connection with them.

        The one-sidedness of the interaction is the problem. There is something fundamentally fraudulent about the dynamic, and there’s a tension that will never go away. For while we may think David Letterman or Jon Stewart is a friend of ours, they of course don’t know who we are. They are doing all the talking and we are doing all the listening.

    2. Ray Duray

      Greg,

      Re: “Century of the Self. Very much enjoyed it, but what wasn’t clear to me was what were the acutal techiques used to move the herd in the desired direction.”

      A good starting point is Herman & Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent”. There’s both a book and an easily absorbed video version.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manufacturing_Consent

      Another good source on the dark arts of devious persuasion is Mark Achbar’s “The Corporation”.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Corporation_%28film%29

      Versions of both videos are readily available online.

  16. Lambert Strether Post author

    Je repete: “I urge those who are afraid to of public speaking to study this post carefully and look at the devices that Gillard uses.”

    Insofar as a focus in comments on Australian domestic politics deprives NC readers of an opportunity to participate in public life, it’s pernicious.

    1. Ray Duray

      Lambert,

      My head is spinning.

      You write “Insofar as a focus in comments on Australian domestic politics deprives NC readers of an opportunity to participate in public life, it’s pernicious.”

      So, we’re to focus on the techniques of spin and forgo any attempt to deal with substance?

      That seems a bit shallow, a bit callow. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding your drift, please advise.

      ***
      For American readers, let me suggest “Words That Work” by Dr. Frank Luntz. http://tinyurl.com/8ke9ze2

      Why? Because the rhetorical flourishes of an Australian PM might just seem over the top to your average low information Yank seeking confirmation of his/her prejudices. Better to stick to the home-grown versions of language debasement in the pursuit of personal gain offered by one of our own expert psychopaths.

      “It’s widely known that you’re evil”: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/06/bill-maher-schools-frank-luntz-rich-democrats_n_1944899.html

      1. Aquiifer

        “Substance”? What is the “substance” of the speech itself that you thought was being slighted or ignored? Did Gillard play fast and loose with any of the facts she related re Abbott? Did she misquote him? Did she take his remarks out if context? Or was her speech a “fair use” of his remarks/actions in the sense that it would pass the “reasonable (wo)man” standard? Is that part of the problem – that something a “reasonable man” would consider kosher a “reasonable woman” would not? Or vice-versa? or must we examine “substance” at a more subatomic level – is “reasonable” a “reasonable” standard”?

        What the heck – what i really want to know re rhetorical devices is whether it takes 2 to make a pregnant pause ….

  17. Renodino

    For male political oratory, I vote for Nigel Farage. I’m not sure if he has the style
    points you outline, but his arguments against the Euro at the EU are devastating.

  18. Aquiifer

    Hmmm, this has been (another) interesting thread –

    Just a couple of thoughts – to the extent this thread got hi-jacked by “politics” (funny how that happens – politics never sneaks in on little cat’s feet, does it – always like a bull in a china closet …) it’s unfortunate, but methinks not entirely unexpected, so i wonder if it might be useful if a poster might indicate in the beginning something like “Warning – this post is for illustration purposes only, it is not intended as, nor do we wish it to be used for, a platform for political discussion for the duration of this thread!” of course that wouldn’t stop folks from doing it, but at least it would be clear that they knew they were “off topic” ….

    Also, i notice that all the speeches that were offered as alternatives to Gillard’s as examples of good oration were made by – men. Could no one come up with another made by a woman?

    1. Aquiifer

      Uh,oh , just noticed – too many “i”s up there in me name, ego must be getting too big – well at least they are small ones …

  19. skippy

    Tabula rasa methinks, amends Lambert.

    Yes – yes, Gillard is a finely honed political operative. Decades of experience within an ever changing environment, as a woman, in a mans sand box. She wields her gender with much vigor against all opponents… equally.

    Lambert and co, my concern, is the possible unwitting beautification of person]s which engage in group think which is dēterius to the State of Sovereignty and the Commons… by which – all – benefit.

    The events which are unfolding around us – all – globally – necessitate a fine granular analysis and much mastication, in order to preserve where one can and implement change where needed.

    Granted this post was about form and not substance, with in, the confines of a political snap shot. How can one judge with out using all the optics, tie ones hand, cut off a limb, gouge an eye out. Yet we scratch our heads when faced with the past and the rise of despots, facilitators of woe, liars and deceivers… eh.

    Just some stuff…

    Factional position

    Although nominally a member of the Victorian Left faction of the Labor Party,[155] her election to Prime Minister occurred because of support from the Right factions of the party, with the hard Left planning to support Rudd in the Caucus vote had there actually been one.[156] Analyses of Jacqueline Kent’s 2009 biography of Gillard suggest that her membership in the Left faction is “more organisational than ideological”.[3][155] In July 2010, historian Ross Fitzgerald said, “… at least since last year Gillard has sought to reposition herself more towards the Labor Right.”[157]

    Poker machines and problem gambling

    In 2010 Gillard agreed with Nick Xenophon, Andrew Wilkie and the Australian Greens to introduce poker machine reform legislation, to curb problem gambling, into the parliament by May 2012. After members of the cross bench advised that they would not support this bill in the House of Representatives, Gillard withdrew her support. Wilkie said that many Australians felt “very let down by the PM”, and fellow anti-gambling campaigner Xenophon accused the Prime Minister of “backstabbing the person who put her in office”.[158]

    Same-sex marriage

    Gillard does not support legalisation for same-sex marriage in Australia, saying that she believes “the Marriage Act is appropriate in its current form, that is recognising that marriage is between a man and a woman” and that marriage being between a man and woman “has a special status”.[154][160][161] The triennial Labor conference held in December 2011 saw Gillard successfully negotiate an amendment on same-sex marriage[162] which will see the party introduce a conscience vote to parliament through a private members bill, rather than a binding vote.[163]

    Wikileaks

    Following the November 2010 release of secret United States diplomatic cables, high-profile people in various countries condemned the whistleblower website, WikiLeaks; some called for the founder Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, to be killed.[164][165] Julia Gillard stated, “I absolutely condemn the placement of this information on the WikiLeaks website. It’s a grossly irresponsible thing to do and an illegal thing to do”.[166][167][168] After an Australian Federal Police investigation failed to find WikiLeaks had broken any Australian laws by publishing the US diplomatic documents, Gillard maintained her stance that the release of the documents was “grossly irresponsible”.[169]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Gillard

    skippy… beware of whom you choose to exemplify, especially when they play the gender card, like it was the racist one, point scoring in lieu of open policy debate.

    PS. I’m quite sadden by it all…

    1. ZygmuntFraud

      In business, there’s a complex and intricate system for “tracking updates”. In medicine, the doctor always looks to the patient’s records for test results and updates when needed.

      With politicians, they get away with revising materially (i a way that matters) a statement without ackowledgement of
      prior statement being different and without them having to explain themselves …

      Why?

    2. Ray Duray

      skippy,

      There’s been a lot of gibberish hurled out of the chimp cage here. “Rhetoric trumps reality!” “Focus on the emotion!” “She’s a woman!” etc., etc.

      It’s enough to make me despair of the ability of the denizens here to think clearly enough to found a coherent and/or effective opposition to those who have “econned” the rest of us.

      The one shining example of brilliant, focused and enlightening comment throughout has been the wisdom of “skippy”. Thanks for remaining focused, in spite of abuse, misdirection, pleas for groupthink and harassment for staying focused on the essential facts that make this Gillard outburst so troublesome.

      To you my hat is doffed. I’ve learned more about important facts of political life in Australia from your erudite and informed comments than in sum from the rest of the comments here combined. You’re the best. Thanks! Especially for the Maxine McKew podcast. What an illuminating and (mostly) forthright interview.

      1. JTFaraday

        “Thanks for remaining focused, in spite of abuse, misdirection, pleas for groupthink and harassment for staying focused on the essential facts that make this Gillard outburst so troublesome.”

        Really now, that’s interesting. Because not one of you has remotely articulated what makes Gillard’s “outburst so troublesome,” other than the fact you don’t like her– the reasons for which are also entirely murky to me.

        Consequently, I have to conclude that you just don’t like that she called out a sexist pig and a hypocrite.

        Whereas it just looks to me like Labour needs to run someone a little less ethically compromised for his position. If they can’t do that, eff them.

        By your logic, the American D-Party should run people who would deny the full exercise of social, political, and economic rights to women. Are female “laborers,” somehow not legitimate “labor”?

        You know, you’re actively supporting the exact same thing that is held over the head of the American labor movement and the American working class all the time: That it has a long legacy of racism and sexism and is therefore undeserving of political support.

        If you want to allow Gillard to play that card by harboring someone with a known anti-woman agenda, thereby putting the public in a no-win position, that’s your decision.

        And, remember, until you officially take away their votes too, women are technically still members of the public.

        1. skippy

          “Really now, that’s interesting. Because not one of you has remotely articulated what makes Gillard’s “outburst so troublesome,” other than the fact you don’t like her– the reasons for which are also entirely murky to me.” JTF

          JTF, if you have read the links and observations, I have offered, and not groked its meaning, there is nothing I can offer to clarify.

          But, regardless, I shall attempt, the right wing labor faction is neoliberal light… capisci. Unlike many whom bloviate here, I have provided more links within this post and the original article to buttress my assertions, see:

          Gillard: new leader, same racist, pro-big business politics

          By Andrew Martin

          On June 24, Julia Gillard was sworn in as Australia’s first woman prime minister after the right-wing faction withdrew its support for Kevin Rudd. Rudd’s support had evaporated so quickly that he didn’t even contest the leadership ballot. This made Rudd one of the shortest serving prime ministers, the shortest being Frank Forde who held the office for eight days in 1945. As Rudd’s deputy and his minister for workplace relations, employment, education and “social inclusion”, Gillard proved to be as conservative as any other Labor cabinet member.

          Big-end of town elated
          The replacement of Rudd with Gillard was motivated by political expediency to shore up votes before the coming federal election with leaders of the ALP calling it “essential”. The mining bosses were quick to show their approval. Andrew Forrest, CEO of Fortescue Metals, named by Forbes magazine earlier this year as Australia’s richest person, welcomed the appointment of Gillard after she stated that she was prepared to negotiate with the mining companies over Rudd’s Resources Super Profits Tax proposal. Gillard also announced that she was ending the Labor government’s advertising campaign on the tax. The mining companies quickly accepted the truce in the “ad war”.

          Following a deal with BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata, Gillard announced on July 2, “There will be a government profit-based tax regime, but there will be no resources super profit tax”. The RSPT, with its 40% tax on all mining company profits above 6%, was replaced under the deal with the Mineral Resources Rent Tax, with a tax rate of 30% on profits above 12% on coal and iron ore mining (excluding those companies that have annual profits below $50 million). The MRRT regime will provide coal and iron ore mining companies with a 25% extraction allowance, making their effective tax rate 22.5%.

          Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Mitch Hooke declared the deal, “A positive outcome for Australia and the Australian minerals industry”. His view was echoed by mining union national president Tony Maher, who stated: “The infrastructure spend goes ahead, the superannuation spend goes ahead, that’s a win.” It’s certainly a win for BHP, which can now mine the world’s biggest uranium deposit (at Olympic Dam in South Australia) and the world’s biggest silver mine (at Cannington in Queensland) without parting with a single extra cent of its profits from these mines.

          http://directaction.org.au/issue25/gillard_new_leader_same_racist_pro_big_business_politics

          Skippy… will the – real – labor person please stand up… eh… JTF where is your evidence? Where is your substantiation… um… Look at the end of the day, regardless of party, the push is on to privatize everything. My hope is that there is enough push back to limit the damage till it all washes out, then move forward, what ever that portends.

          PS. Ray upon reviving a positive act of reinforcement… a vacuum which can rip limbs from torso as I flee… is not unusual.

          1. JTFaraday

            You’re still making a false argument.

            In attacking–yes, the two of you are attacking as “bloviators”– those who agree with Gillard’s criticism of Abbott, you seem to be implying a defense of Abbott.

            There is no reason that both Gillard and Abbott can’t go. Along with Slipper, who is already out.

            If they knock each other out with their politicking, that’s a beautiful thing. Meanwhile, there is no need to defend the indefensible in the process.

            And there is certainly no need to attack those who agree with her assessment of Abbott as “bloviators” unless you can actually defend Abbott himself by demonstrating that she lied.

            I continue think it’s interesting that objecting to a man who denigrates the social, political, and economic rights women constitutes “bloviation.”

        2. Ray Duray

          JTFaraday,

          Apparently your reading comprehension is subpar.

          Re: “Consequently, I have to conclude that you just don’t like that she called out a sexist pig and a hypocrite.”

          I think skippy and I have made it abundantly clear that Gillard’s sex has nothing to do with our distaste. She’s a bully who backstabbed her way into power. It’s got nothing whatsoever to do with which sex she happens to be. To the contrary, it’s got everything to do with the fact that her moral compass is so warped and her ruthless ambition so wrong for the leader of a democratic nation.

      2. JTFaraday

        …oh no. It’s even better than I thought.

        You’re supporting the anti-woman agenda of a “centrist” with umpteen education and employment ministerial positions, including aboriginal affairs, (I don’t know he managed that one).

        Nice. Justice will served in Australia for sure.

        1. skippy

          Gibberish without distinction, assertion without evidence, plea to authority without policy examined, utility of gender without definition of cause… lesser of two evils… what if Obama was… FFS.

          Skippy… anti-woman… nay… anti neoliberal privatize the world… anti commoditization of education, health, the commons, human beings, all life, as a means to extract for short term profit… for a few.

  20. skippy

    No where do I agree with Abbott, projection on yours and others part.

    Your attack again “Really now, that’s interesting. Because not one of you has remotely articulated what makes Gillard’s “outburst so troublesome,” other than the fact you don’t like her– the reasons for which are also entirely murky to me.” JTF

    Maxine McKews pod cast is from a woman’s view point, so your gender bending is inconstant with the application to myself, try harder aka keep digging the hole deeper.

    Can’t help you with murky bit, after much linkage and spalining stuff… personal problem methinks.

    Skippy… I made it quite clear… “beware of whom you choose to exemplify, especially when they play the gender card, like it was the racist one, point scoring in lieu of open policy debate.” – skippy

    Or would you rather a show with out the meal, you must be full already…

Comments are closed.