What's at Stake in Australian Political Rhetoric?
The stakes for Australian rhetoric are very high. Politics is more than rhetoric - it is also policy and action - but rhetoric remains fundamental. One of the lessons emerging from this collection is that, in politics, words are never innocent. Words have power, both to create and destroy. Political speakers know the possibilities and the dangers; they are acutely aware of the power of words, their own and others, to do them either harm or good. Having always a vested interest in the success or failure of their rhetorical intentions, they must continuously weigh and calculate and choose each word. They cannot afford an unguarded moment. Rhetoric therefore is vital but perennially problematic. Even the apparently most sincere, straightforward example of political speech must be scrutinised, analysed, and contextualised in order to reveal the layers of its meaning and political intention. This is the task of political scientists, theorists and commentators. It requires considerable acuity and some subtlety to perform it well, and I argue it has been performed well in the diverse but always enlightening papers of this excellent collection.
Studies in Australian Political Rhetoric
Political Theory and Political Philosophy