Persuasive Argument: Speech

The Task

Your task will be to write and deliver a written persuasive text in the form of a speech targeting your peers about an issue of your choice (the indigenous issue of ‘closing the gap’ will not be accommodated given that you have already been assessed on this material).

Approximate length: 800 – 900 words

This will be accompanied by a written statement of intention articulating your intentions and decisions in the writing of the task: content; structure; language.

Approximate length: 400 words

Duration: 5 minutes

Click on the following link for the assessment rubric:

Unit 2 English-Outcome 2A Persuasive Argument Assessment

The Process

You should keep abreast of current affairs or you can use the tailored issues in the  MHS Lib Guide for Argument and Analysis

You will need to complete the following steps and meet the following deadlines:

  1.  Choose an issue and have this approved by your teacher DUE: Monday 7 August
  2. Read widely and record your readings and observations in a reading record on your pink A3 sheets DUE: Monday 21 August
  3. Formulate your position and supporting arguments and submit these via this form for approval DUE Monday 28 August
  4. Write your speech and submit this via Canvas DUE Monday 4 September.  You will need to deliver this during the week of Monday 4 September.



Analysis of Argument and Language: Lessons from a SAC


Your language analysis should focus on the authorial intention given the language used to present certain people, places and ideas.

EXPLAIN: How this aspect is presented.  Why it is presented in this fashion. How this furthers the author’s main contention.

Take the following extract from an opinion article: “There are about 330 known Aboriginal languages, but researchers have found that only 13 are now spoken natively by children.”

How is language used to position the readers to interpret the statistic?

Of course the same statistic could be presented differently simply by altering the language slightly:
...researchers have found that up to 13 are spoken natively by children.

…researchers have found that as many as 13 are still spoken natively by children.

Be these alternatives as they may, remember that your task is not to speculate about alternative versions.  Stick with the text at hand.  What are you going to say about the author’s use of: “only 13 are now spoken natively by children.”



This sounds so simple that it could be argued that it is ‘a given’.  Except it’s not.  If you don’t understand the purpose of the task then your sentences will be devoid of understanding and analysis.  Merely restating a question or a sentence from the text does not demonstrate understanding.  That is why you need to use your own words to describe the main contentions.

freight trainImagine a sentence as a receptacle for transporting understanding from you to your reader – think of it like a container on a freight train, if you will.  Your purpose is to communicate your understanding of the task and in this case, analysis of the material studied;  your sentences are the containers for this.  If you leave a container empty it will communicates no understanding of either text or task.  Even worse, given that it lacks intellectual weight, it will rattle along the tracks and draw attention to itself.  Anyone looking into it will be disappointed given their expectations – this is a freight train after all.  However, the container which is weighed down by knowledge and understanding is most welcome.  A container that filled with knowledge and understanding delivers.  You must be conscious of your purpose: Deliver. The. Goods.


Complete this simple quiz:

  1.  When do you have to know what it is you are talking about?

a) Never b) Occasionally c) Frequently d) Always

The only answer should be d) Always.  You need substance to your arguments.  A lack of knowledge of your subject matter undermines everything you say.

He that will not reason is a bigot; he that cannot reason is a fool; and he that dares not reason is a slave.

——William Drummond


How to Analyse a Political Cartoon

While the content and production of these videos are American, the skills of analysis remain the same. Watch any of these videos which also include demonstrations then attempt to analyse the political cartoons associated with the issues for the SAC. If you do this in tandem with a classmate you will be enriching the experience and practice of your analytical skills even further.

Multiple-Text Analysis Sample Student Responses


Locate the student samples of multi-text analysis:

how to construct analysis – p.121

read the persuasive texts and the student responses on p.122-128; while reading you should highlight in your text book the sentences where each student explains the intended impact of the kinds of arguments constructed and techniques employed to help position the audience to share their viewpoint.

After you have read these, go back to your own efforts and see what key things you need to focus on to ensure you have the breadth and depth of these responses.

Persuasive Argument Task

a) Write an opinion article for a national daily newspaper presenting your view on [the proposed Adani mine/the Closing the Gap report and its implications/the Gonski 2.0 reforms].

b) As a member of the public, write a letter to the editor in which you express your views about [the proposed Adani mine/the Closing the Gap report and its implications/the Gonski 2.0 reforms].

c) As a representative of one of the key organisations with a vested interest in the [Adani/Gonski 2.0/Closing the Gap] issue, write a speech to be delivered to a public meeting to be held in response to the issue.

Point of View: use language appropriate to the form

Good writers make shrewd decisions about argument structure; language choice; word order; register etc.

For each of the following openings to persuasive texts consider:

  • title and its relationship to the main contention
  • the opening hook – how the audience is engaged
  • the audience
  • the point of view
  • the presentation of the writer themselves

and try to identify the form of each text from the following options:

opinion/comment article; editorial; current affairs TV commentary; letter to the editor; speech


1. East Timor: turning a blind eye to inconvenient truth

Try to picture this: almost every man, women and child forced from their homes, often at gunpoint, usually because of the sheer terror of staying.

Everything of value stolen and loaded onto trucks by the military, police or their anointed thugs.


2.Leaders’ treatment of Asylum Seekers shames our nation

Enough, surely, is enough. The mandatory offshore detention by successive Australian governments of people seeking asylum from persecution, war, torture and worse is inhumane, unsustainable and a massive waste of taxpayers’ money. It is so far out of kilter with the values of this nation that it beggars belief, and will come to be seen as a shameful chapter in our history.


3.Thank you, Eddie McGuire, for starting a debate we had to have

I never thought I would say this, but thank you Eddie McGuire. Thank you for your misogynist comments because they finally sparked national debate and resulted in national outrage. People are now connecting the dots between language – the weaponry of words – that trivialise violence against women, and a culture that perpetuates it.

The public reaction to this so called “banter” was unprecedented. While compounded by another member of the “blokes” network, Sam Newman, it opened people’s eyes to the fact that violence against women sadly encompasses more than the women being murdered every week – that it’s much more than countless acts of reported physical or sexual abuse.


4.Belittling farmers

How extraordinary that Andrew Smith, chairman of Shell Australia, describes those of us wanting to keep our land safe from onshore gas exploration as “coffee shop activists from Fitzroy”. In fact we are farmers in South Gippsland who are against gas mining because we have seen what happens to farmland in regions where wells are sunk. Farms are criss-crossed with roads; once-viable farms become unsustainable; and vital water supplies for agriculture are threatened.


5.There’s Never Been a More Exciting Time to be Horrified by the Senate!

When Malcolm Turnbull made his stirring not-victory speech on the night of the election, he made very, very, very clear that changing the senate ballot immediately before calling a double dissolution election was absolutely not intended in any way to clear out the senate crossbench about which he’d been complaining for the previous eight months.

“Now, I want to also address a matter that I know has been raised earlier today or this evening about the calling of the double-dissolution election,” he explained not-at-all defensively. “That was not a political tactic. It was not designed to remove senators or get a new Senate because new senators are better than old senators or whatever.”

And it’s a good thing too, because otherwise it would look as though he’d made a near-catastrophic tactical error by actually making things a lot worse. Phew!


6.Michael Phelps Made Me Cry (Good Tears)

Somewhere between the Zika stories, the doping stories and the stories about what a fetid, toxic swamp Rio really is, I got the message: I was supposed to feel cynical about these Olympics, the way we feel cynical about pretty much everything these days.

I was supposed to marvel at our talent for making messes, cutting corners, evading responsibility, procrastinating. Rio was a testament to that, both as the host of the Games and as a sublime, wretched theater of humanity. All the promises we fail to keep, all the plans that go awry: They were and would be on vivid display. I was supposed to shake my head in disgust. Sigh in frustration.

Instead I cried, and I mean good tears. It was Monday morning, and I was telling someone what he’d missed on Sunday night: how the American swimmer Michael Phelps defied age and his own stabs at self-destruction to swim toward yet another gold, in a men’s relay.

7. [transcript extract]

Look, we Democrats have always had plenty of differences with the Republican Party, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s precisely this contest of idea that pushes our country forward. (Applause.) But what we heard in Cleveland last week wasn’t particularly Republican — and it sure wasn’t conservative. What we heard was a deeply pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other, and turn away from the rest of the world. There were no serious solutions to pressing problems — just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger, and hate.

And that is not the America I know. (Applause.) The America I know is full of courage, and optimism, and ingenuity. The America I know is decent and generous. (Applause.) Sure, we have real anxieties — about paying the bills, and protecting our kids, caring for a sick parent. We get frustrated with political gridlock, and worry about racial divisions. We are shocked and saddened by the madness of Orlando or Nice. There are pockets of America that never recovered from factory closures; men who took pride in hard work and providing for their families who now feel forgotten; parents who wonder whether their kids will have the same opportunities that we had.

All of that is real.  We are challenged to do better; to be better.

Point of View Karaoke

  1.  Choose the issue with which you are most familiar or have the clearest position on
  2. State your point of view as a main contention
  3. Familiarise yourself with the presentation slides (8 in total)
  4. Present your point of view to the class.

Click here to access the following presentation material:

Divide between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians

Gonski 2.0

Adani Mine

Image analysis


Indicate WHAT is being shown (a person? an institution? an idea? ).

Examine what WRITTEN LANGUAGE is used and its intended impact.

Describe HOW is it being presented (background? foreground? relative sizes? colours? symbols? framing?)

Explain WHY (intended mood? atmosphere? use of satire, sarcasm, caricature?).

Analyse WHY is it presented in this manner? (what argument does it further? is it an appeal to government, businesses, community leaders, general public?)

More detail on p.56 and pp.90-93 of your text book

Issue Overview Assignment

Go to Echo (via the MHS Library student e-resources tab login: librarymhs; p/w student101) to read at least three issue outlines then create your own for each of the three issues, one which will be assessed in your SAC:

  • Gonski 2.0
  • Indigenous Australians’ Rights  (Australia Day; Closing the Gap)
  • The Adani Coal mine


  1. READ

For each issue, read widely from the articles collected in the Analysing and Presenting Argument 2017 libguide and ensure your reading covers reportage and persuasive articles.  You may watch news clips and listen to radio interviews as well.  Keep a list of the links to these materials so that you can upload it as a bibliography.


For each issue, provide an introduction under the following headings.

THE ISSUE AT A GLANCE: (200-300 words maximum and in your own words)

WHAT THEY SAID: (at least two quotations sourced and attributed)

BIBLIOGRAPHY: a list of links to the articles you have read in two categories: Reportage and Opinion

This will be done online in OneNote.