Hillary Clinton gives her concession speech before her staff and supporters.
A good concession speech will use what rhetorical scholars call 'transcendent rhetoric,' which emphasizes conciliatory, unifying language.
Donald Trump speaks at his election night rally in Manhattan.
President-elect Trump sounded very different from candidate Trump.
Imagine, if you will…
Why is figurative language more powerful – and what feelings exactly does it stir in an audience?
… and cue trapdoor.
This psychologist has studied equivocation for years, but had to invent a new category for the prime minister's unique style.
Is there a historical parallel to Donald Trump’s rise?
The Athenian politician Cleon was one of the earliest demagogues. An effective, if vulgar speaker, he made extravagant promises and delivered extravagant accusations.
Melania Trump allegedly plagiarised a speech given by Michelle Obama in 2008.
Plagiarism in public life is an ugly slight upon the intelligence and the trust of an audience.
Donald Trump is a spectre of things to come: of political performance in an age of projection rather than representation.
The faultlines in democratic politics are clear. On one side is a system of democracy that is bad at making people feel represented. On the other are anti-politician performers like Donald Trump.
‘Candidate’ has its roots in the word ‘candid’, to be frank. It’s hard not to believe that we’ve strayed a little from those noble aspirations.
Cesare Maccari/Wikimedia Commons
Many of the most commonly used election terms have a long linguistic history, stretching from ancient Rome to modern-day America and Australia.
Treasurers throughout Australia’s history have used their budget role to reach out to people.
As a political speaker, either you pick your key phrases or they get picked for you.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz speaks at the Fox News debate in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28.
According to an expert in political rhetoric, we shouldn't underestimate the power of the candidates who can skillfully tap into voter resentments.
Populists are on the rise on both sides of the Atlantic – Donald Trump (right) has even been called ‘America’s Marine Le Pen’ (left).
Populist politicians are on the march, first in Latin America, then in Europe and the US. They are on both the left and right, and their policies vary, but their approach carries the same risks.
Students protest at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University demanding the right to be taught in English rather than Afrikaans, which they identify with apartheid.
The university should be the bastion of the right to free expression in the promotion of democracy, and has a moral and ethical obligation to provide spaces for fierce debate and critical engagement.
Malcolm Turnbull’s relaxed and natural demeanour comes as a relief after Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard, except they were once like that too.
Australians have seen their recent prime ministers lose the very qualities as communicators that took them to the top. Malcolm Turnbull's challenge is to avoid succumbing to the same fate.
Tony Abbott has twice compared Islamic State to the Nazis, but does that aid our understanding of terrorism and what needs to be done to defeat it?
We need to find ways of speaking about the horrific actions of Islamic State that help, not hinder, understanding of the magnitude of those crimes and what needs to be done to combat them.
Liberalism means something completely different in South Africa compared with the US and UK, and has racist connotations.
Liberalism is a dirty word for the majority of South Africans. This goes back to early colonialism. Liberals opposed apartheid but not the close relationship between capitalism and apartheid.
The public response to the eulogies to Gough Whitlam testifies to the power of oratory that draws on and gives fresh life to memory.
In a playful rhetorical flourish at the Sydney Town Hall on Wednesday, Indigenous leader Noel Pearson monumentalised Gough Whitlam’s prime ministerial legacy, Monty Python-style: What did the Romans ever…
Noel Pearson’s speech has been hailed as one of the great Australian political speeches. What were its stylistic characteristics?
AAP Image/Fairfax Pool, Peter Rae
Gough Whitlam was a prime minister unsuccessful in three of his five federal election campaigns, including 1975’s extremely divisive contest. Somehow, though, his death has sparked an outpouring of kind…
There is little doubt that Tony Abbott – the pugilist, rugby player and ironman – has sport in mind when he describes Australia as a team.
Australia’s prime minister Tony Abbott is uncommonly fond of sport metaphors, not least when addressing the domestic terror threat. His latest championing of “Team Australia” in trying to sell his government’s…
Tony Abbott’s smiling now, but if his hold on the leadership weakens some say the Coalition should go back to Malcolm Turnbull.
Spin is widely seen as the scourge of contemporary politics. We rail at politicians who seem more intent on appearing to act, rather than coming up with and pushing through important policy decisions…
Joe Hockey’s budget speech forgot the age-old rules of rhetoric, which he needed to observe if he wanted to control ‘the narrative’.
The annual federal budget speech is the one required speech of the Australian political calendar. And it goes all the way back to Federation. It’s Australia’s equivalent of the State of the Union address…