To What Extent Has Your Personal Response to the Speeches Been Shaped by the Enduring Power of Their Intellectual & Artistic Qualities? an Exploration of the Speeches “Faith Hope and Reconciliation” by Faith Bandler

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I have selected two speeches both of which I felt were written to connect with their audience and be persuasive. The first speech by indigenous Australian rights activist Faith Bandler, is aptly named “Faith, Hope and Reconciliation” 1999, the second speech is “Funeral Service of the Unknown Australian Soldier” presented by the honorable Paul Keating, 1993. In the following case study I will be exploring and reviewing and evaluating the intellectual and artistic qualities of these two speeches, with reference also to Sir William Deane’s speech on the canyoning tragedy of 1999.

The point of any speech is to connect with an audience (and persuade them) on a far deeper level than any written form can provide. That connection may be through empathy, or through enthusiasm. An audience can relate to a strong speaker and a well written speech, and can be persuaded into seeing and understanding different points of view. Unfortunately not all speech writers have the insight or skill to do this, and it is obvious not only in the language and tone (formal, indifferent) but in the construction of the text.An example of this would be (former governor general of Australia) Sir William Deane’s speech “On the Occasion of an Ecumenical Service for the Victims of the Canyoning Tragedy” 1999, of which even the title feels impersonal and somewhat cold. The whole of the speech is very formal, with strong political undertones and all round lack of sincerity. Of all the prescribed texts, I found the Governor General’s speech the most lacking in intellectual appeal and the most insincere, especially when compared to Keating’s balanced and heartwarming speech. considering that both speeches were written to be presented at a funeral service, and in Deane’s case, for 21 young people. a better speaker on the other hand is able to connect with the audience, no one has to be passionate or even interested in their subject as long as they understand the audience’s perspective, the situation at hand, and are a relatively good actor. had Deane used less formal language, and engaged deeper with his audience, he may have been able to do the particular event - a funeral - justice.

The degree to which the audience connects with the speech lies in the language and techniques used. words such as ‘we’, ‘ours’, ‘together', when spoken by the speaker, make the audience feel like they are included in the speech, it is written about them. Paul Keating is very aware of this and throughout his speech he uses these phrases religiously to create an air of patriotism, community and to express what it is to be Australian.

A core purpose of speeches throughout history, is to motivate an audience into action; to rally for what they believe in, or, if the speech is written and presented with enough strength and conviction, to fight; even for what they do not believe in. One such speech in which this is evident is “Faith, Hope and Reconciliation” written by Faith Bandler and presented by her at the ‘Talkin up Reconciliation Convention, Wolongong, in August 1999. This gathering had come to commit action for the long unaddressed issue of reconciliation, and the recognition of the horrors and indecencies inflicted on the indigenous Australians. Bandler (whose father was ‘blackbirded’ from the Vanuatu Island of Ambrym to work in the mainland cane fields) is on basis of her heritage an Aboriginal Torres Strait islander, and an recognised authority on the issues of indigenous Australians.

She addresses her audience in a very informal tone; she speaks in first person, and talks about her own thoughts and feelings towards the issues at hand. Never a hint of superiority is detected, and by showing herself as just one person making a difference, she inspires her audience to do the same. Bandler’s audience is one that is gathered for one reason and one common interest, she appeals not only to this target audience but many beyond. I am not indigenous, i know several people...
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