The Plebiscite, creating ‘division’ or ‘unity’?

VIEWS JOURNALISM 2 – Final Assessment

The Plebiscite, creating ‘division’ or ‘unity’?

By: Ashlee Barnes

Today, in Australia the statistics reveal that 1 in 3 marriage will ultimately esame-sex-australiand in divorce, with the number consistently on the rise, leaving many to question why non-heterosexual couples want to join in on the fun, but as Karen Brooks says “this is not the point”. With a Gallop poll in August stating that 61 per cent of Australians support same-sex marriage it seems inevitable that the bill will be passed in the near future. The question now moves onto how?

With the sanctity of marriage in question and Australia’s potential plebiscite upon us we have seen a number of people come from the woodwork to broadcast their opinions on the topic. Instead of allowing the debate to be about equal rights I think there has been a shift, moving away from the core argument and one to the positions of politicians. We as the Australian public have been bombarded with views on the matter, whether it is on daytime TV, political debate shows or print media it would be hard-pressed to find someone who wasn’t aware of the issue at hand. This fuels the argument that people are aware of both sides of the argument, now lets see what the public really think through a plebiscite vote. Whether your stance on the matter is cemented or malleable, it would be impossible for you to have not considered the arguments of both the opposition and the advancers of the issue. The media coverage has been relentless with a number of new issues facing the plebiscite being brought to the public’s attention everyday.

I would suggest that whether majority of Australians are ready for same-sex marriage is now not the question that needs to be answered, but instead it is how the government are to make sure this becomes a reality, and reflected in the applicable legislation. Recently, writers have been transitioning into discussing the implications of an enforced plebiscite for Australians, what are the social effects of such a vote will it creating harmony or further division, on what has been a rather controversial subject matter.

Of course there a lot of layers to this debate, its not simply should same-sex couples be allowed to be married or not, or at least this is how it is being framed by those who are inherently opposed. But what exactly is at stake with the plebiscite, is it a hate-fuelled campaign targeted at the LGBTQI community that could follow with its implementation?

For the purpose of this paper I have chosen to base my conclusions of how the plebiscite on same-sex marriage is being framed to the Australian public through a number of views journalism articles. And through the framing of the plebiscite I will argue that it is not necessarily a representation of how same-sex marriage is viewed within the public sphere.

Lets first address Joel Meares’ article “Winning the marriage equality plebiscite would have been cathartic, but at what cost?” published in The Sydney Morning Herald. Meares asserts himself as a supporter of the same-sex marriage cause by stating ‘the majority of us in the LGBTQI community and our supporters’, creating a feeling of inclusivity amongst readers sharing these same values. He further goes onto declare his disdain for the ‘plebiscite’.

Meares’ argument is sharp, he immediately positions the reader to associate the plebiscite with ‘hate’ by labelling it “an expensive and non-binding vote, born of seedy and self-serving backroom shadow-puppetry”, with a purpose merely to pass judgment on each other. He leaves little room for any positive implications of the plebiscite being passed by the Labor Party and clearly states that “we can wait”. His argument is based on the claim that we are a society that should agree to equal rights for all its citizens, and make sure this happens without hate being directed toward the LGBTQI community.a-reminder-that-a-marriage-equality-plebiscite-could-cost-australia-525-million-1472184638

The link between the plebiscite and ‘self-serving’ politicians appears to be at the core of why Meares takes such a negative stance towards the bill. To progress his argument he positions the reader to think that the plebiscite is merely a politicians way to advance their own careers rather than act for the greater good. By framing the politicians as ‘villains’ he further makes this a debate about what is right and wrong.

Meares also appeals to emotion as he appeals to readers to understand the damage to that could be caused through the commitment to a plebiscite on the matter.

“There are so many more vulnerable than I am today, less fully-formed and fully sure of who they are, for whom the kinds of hatred we could mine during a plebiscite could be irrevocably damaging.”

He asks readers to look at those who are younger, are not as comfortable with themselves and appeals to negative consequences by asking readers to understand the potential damage that it can cause their self-esteem and mental health. Is this worth it to simply allow Malcolm Turnbull to carry through what he went into the election claiming to be able to achieve on behalf of the community, Meares does not think so.

He does however attempt to personalise the debate.

“I am a secure, grown-up, mentally healthy gay man who has taken advantage of more progressive laws overseas to marry the man I love. I’m doing fine. And I can probably handle a bit of a war. I might even enjoy it. But this would not have been the case when I was 15. Or nine.”

He attempts to give a face to those that are affected by using himself and further educating the reader on that this is affecting a younger generation too and to not just consider how the decision will affect them as individuals but the potential implications of this commitment to people perhaps separate from their prospective lives. He labels these people ‘vulnerable’, in need of support and ultimately calling upon the nation to ‘wait’, ‘for them’ and make this decision the ‘right’ way.

Meares makes his stance clear, whilst coming from an obvious world-view and taking personal interest in the topic, he is able to provide compelling arguments to support the view that the plebiscite is something that must ‘wait’.

Another example of a commentator discussing the possible negative ramifications of a plebiscite is Dr Liz and Dr Sharon Dane for The Sydney Morning Herald’.

Why a plebiscite on same-sex marriage is dangerous and divisive”

 The doctors firstly provide a different perspective as psychologists rather than just social commentators. However they have made their stance clear from the headline, that they are against a plebiscite on the matter, labelling it both ‘dangerous’ and ‘divisive’. Their use of a red love heart as imagery, further cements their stance that this is matter of love and further one of “human rights and equal opportunity” to be dealt with as a conscience vote, to minimise damage to the LGBTIQ community and their families.

They make comparative analysis to Ireland, stating that prior to the vote in the European country,

 “People and their family were exposed to negative media, and false and belittling commentary”.

By drawing on comparison from the Ireland it gives readers evidence to how campaigns can and ultimately will be dealt with if put into the hands of the people. They further appeal to authority by quoting a psychologist from Ireland who commented on the oppositions stance during their vote, claiming the offences, “ranged from being spat at, threatened, name-called, called sinners, evil, spawn of the devil – you name it, it gave permission for hatred”.

With the comparison made to Ireland it gives the reader a factual, existent example of what these campaigns can cause a community in the lead up to a plebiscite vote. They further emphasis this statement with scientific references drawing on research done by The Australian Psychological Society (APS), who stated,

“A public vote is likely to present significant risks to the psychological health and wellbeing of those most affected”.

Further going on to warn of risks to two particular groups being ‘gay and lesbian’ people themselves as well as those whose parents are gay or lesbian, reporting,

“…studies confirm that the process of putting marriage equality to a public vote can be harmful to the psychological health of gender and sexual minorities…who not only have to content with the possibility of having rights to marriage denied through a public vote but also the stress associated with the campaign itself”.

Here the Doctors are appealing to negative consequences, I would suggest they have chosen to reference the APS to give a scientific explanation into how the plebiscite will harm a minority community. In an attempt to persuade readers that the conscience vote is the only way to minimise damage to the LGBTIQ community they use their own expertise and the expertise of others. Assuming that value by readers is put on scientific research,

Whilst they are able to recognise that a plebiscite “would result in marriage equality”, they also realise that a win “via a plebiscite would not undo the harm done along the way”. And simply calls upon the Turnbull government to looks at the health reasons not to hold a plebiscite, and listen to the warnings by expert psychologists.

They highlight ‘false’ comments that will potentially be made and makes reference to Liberal MP Chris Miles who made the claim that “social outcomes for children of same-sex parents are ‘unemployment’, ‘sexually transmitted diseases’ and ‘drug use/abuse’. Further asserting the idea that a government funded ‘hate’ campaign will merely be paying for a banquet of lies by the opposition to be served to the public, on the taxpayer’s dime.

However their use of ‘exposed’ suggests that if the plebiscite doesn’t get passed they wont be faced with ‘prejudice or discrimination’, this seems to be a contrasting opinion to other social commentators like Frank Brennan, and perhaps not accurate.

Interestingly, Frank Brennanm takes an opposing stance on the decision, suggesting that the damage that could be done is no different to that, which is to come in the next couple of years, if the debate continues. His argument appears to be that the plebiscite is a resolution to the debate and should be done now.

“My hunch, for what little it is worth, is that the hurt and insult would have been no more than what will continue…while the matter remains needlessly unresolved”.

His use of “unresolved” suggest that the plebiscite was a solution to the ongoing debate, a solution that was to put the entire topic to rest once and for all. I would suggest that it is not that simple when it comes to the same-sex marriage debate. It further implies that there will be no possible solution in the foreseeable future, and therefor thinks their best bet was to go ahead with the plebiscite in February. He attempts to make light of the potential damages that could have occurred during the campaigns to its employment.

 “I would have opted for the plebiscite in February…To those of my fellow citizens who feared they would suffer hurt and insult during a plebiscite campaign over the Australian Summer whilst most of the media were at the beach”.

It is quite apparent that Brennan does not possess a personal stake in the matter as a clear contrast in emotive language directed towards the issue is evident. He continually states “but it’s not my call”, further suggesting that whilst writing about the issue he does not have a personal stake in its ultimate outcome. He trivialises the topic by making a comedic remark by saying if we had of gotten it ‘over’ with in the summer the media would have been at the ‘beach’. I think it is clear that Brennan considering his position, as what I would assume to be a heterosexual male, he does not think that the plebiscite would have had the same affect that perhaps one with a personal investment would.

If I use this same framework, I would say that Graeme Orr, Professor of Law, who writes “Why Australians should say ‘Yes’ to the same-sex marriage plebiscite”, similarly does not have a personal stake in the matter. His position is clear from the beginning, his argument simply is that whilst this opportunity is in our hands we should take it.

“We don’t have to love a process or think it ideal to make the most of it…but sometimes when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade – sweet and sour though it will be”.

This argument stems from the warrant that people just want the debate to be over and a resolution to be definitively decided. His viewpoint is clear from the beginning it’s not ideal, but perhaps it’s the only way in the foreseeable future. The use of comparison to ‘lemonade’ like Brennan, trivialises the seriousness of such a vote. Further, giving the reader the impression that he is not personally attached to the outcome. He takes a rational, approach to the plebiscite, ultimately deciding that it is not ‘ideal’ but necessary at this stage in the debate.

The warrant he continually emphasises through a repeated use of ‘resolved’ or ‘resolving’.

“And ‘Yes’ to whether that question should be resolved by a direct vote of the electorate’.

“The longer we put off resolving it, the longer we are stuck on symbolic roundabout”

“What cant we rely on old-fashioned representative government to resolve this issue?”

The frequent use of ‘resolve’ facilitates my argument that he has no personal stake in the matter, as he fails to recognise the social complexities a matter like legalising same-sex marriage encompasses for the community. He argues that the plebiscite will ‘resolve’ and simply put an end to the entire concept of equality, for gay or lesbian people, when this isn’t the case. There are a number of socially embedded issues that need to be solved alongside legalising marriage for same-sex couples, and these need to be done with or without the implementation of a plebiscite. Simply put the plebiscite will not ‘resolve’ these issues despite what Orr may propose in his article.

Orr further goes on to state that we should have faith in the ‘old-fashioned’ representative government to solve this issue. He makes an appeal to authority that the government are the superiors who should have the power to dictate the course of action of legalisation, and if that is a plebiscite we should oblige. However taking an ‘old-fashion’ approach and following “our tradition” is exactly what the same-sex couples, hope to eliminate. The idea that tradition should rule over the progress of human rights in our country would be going against the issue in its entirety.

Quite clearly his aim is to convince opposed readers that the plebiscite, will end in a win for the LGBTIQ community and we should consider making an unideal situation into a positive outcome, “However imperfect, lets embrace this plebiscite, whether he has been able to make this argument effectively, I am not so sure. He seems to make this argument without taking into consideration the potential damages a plebiscite and its opposition through the campaigns will cause.

7117640-3x2-940x627It is quite evident that through this limited selection of opinion pieces two different stances have been taken on whether the plebiscite is something that will create division or unity. All articles have stated their belief that the Marriage Act needs to be reformed, but have not agreed on the process to which that should happen. On one hand, as stated by the first two articles examined, the campaigns that will be government funded if a plebiscite is to go ahead will only create ‘division’ and ostracise an already ‘discriminated’ minority. Whereas, Brennan and Orr take the viewpoint that we must make the best of a bad situation and go ahead with the plebiscite, they make this judgment without acknowledging the potential harm caused to the LGBTIQ community. Ultimately it leaves readers with the question, is there a solution as suggested in the second two articles or is this an ongoing debate without a foreseeable resolution.


Meares, J, 17 October 2016. Winning the marriage equality plebiscite would have been cathartic, but at what cost? The Sydney Morning Herald, accessed 30 October 2016-10-30

Brennan, F, 15 October 2016. Marriage Equality supporters’ hope for a free conscience vote, Eureka Street, accessed 1 November 2016

Short, S and Dane, S, 16 April 2016. Why a plebiscite on same-sex marriage is dangerous and divisive, The Sydney Morning Herald, accessed 31 October

Orr, G, 15 September 2016, Why Australians should say ‘Yes’ to the same-sex marriage plebiscite, The Conversation, accessed 28 October 2016

Jain, S, 2008. Lifetime Marriage and Divorce Trends, Australian Bureau of Statistics, accessed 2 November 2016




He or She? The gender role-play in the Presidential election

MDIA2002 Media Article
Ives, Elise z5016678 H12A

By Elise Ives

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton: stereotypical portrayal in the Presidential election media coverage


With the US Presidential election looming, and what the World seems to be deeming the two most controversial Presidential candidates America has had, it is no surprise that the worldwide public is watching this election like a hawk and passing judgements on both candidates (even if they say they aren’t). Mia Freedman’s ‘Mia Freedman writes: Why I’m so obsessed with Donald Trump’, Mike Fewster’s ‘Give thanks to Donald Trump, because we could do a lot worse (and probably will)’ and Jessica Valenti’s ‘Hillary Clinton’s problem? We just don’t trust women’ are a collection of views journalism pieces that offer personal insight and a general overview of how the population feels about the two in the heated and controversial upcoming election on November 8 2016.

The media portrayal of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton can be on multiple ends of the spectrum. It is common to find media articles that hold some kind of incline toward opinion for either or of the candidates, whether or not it be directly stated or not. But why is this the case? Why does the media so love to brutally attack these individuals? Surely it cannot be solely for their policies and promises for the future of the United States of America. It is instead, a matter of opinion for personality. In this modernised world that we boast of with equality and feminism, the gender roles of both candidates are subtly implied through some news sources. But in some cases, the individuals are picked apart piece by piece until what is left is nothing but their soft core. This could be seen as a forthright entitlement of the public; after all, these are the potential leaders of one of the most powerful countries on Earth. Why shouldn’t they be torn down until they run for the hills and prove themselves clearly unworthy leaders? Each public US voter will have the opportunity to put forth their opinion on Election Day, and in the leading moments until then; it has become an absolute must to sway the opinions of those who wish to listen.

Author and co-founder, Mia Freedman creates a highly one-sided argument in her article ‘Mia Freedman writes: Why I’m so obsessed with Donald Trump’ published in Mamamia. In analysing the news source for what it stands for, the source is highly new age feminist and stands for equal rights and diversity. The article is undoubtedly an opinion piece, as the context clearly stands in its entirety to be against Trump and everything he stands for. Although, the article harbours some argumentation in justification due to the claims of Trump’s opinions on women, specific races and religions, and his overall policy for his term as a potential US President.

Freedman begins the article with addressing the issue of why her followers have been asking why she is so fixated on Trump and the US election campaign. As Mamamia has been noted to be a feminist, left-wing source, it can be understood immediately that despite the headline of this article in reference to the authors “obsession” with Trump, this is not a positive obsession in the slightest and the readership of this article are much aligned with the authors views, therefore the article is merely a “flag waving” article and intends to poke fun at Trump in a coherent and feminist way.

Freedman intends to voice her opinion on the personality of Trump as well as his policies. Her use of language such as “loathing for this repugnant, buffoon-like Oompa Loompa of a man” and “he is the worst type of human. A misogynist, a racist, a bigot”, so very clearly states the authors distaste for Trump and support for Hillary in this manner. These claims are interpretative and cannot be universally implied to all.

The article overall states the author’s hatred for Trump and his policies and views Hillary in a positive light. This can be seen through language in reference to Hillary such as, “the most qualified person ever to run for President”. It can be analysed that the article appeals to ethics and morality of feministic terms, as well as consequential due to the author’s notion that if Donald Trump is elected President, the world as we know it will end… basically. So, if her claim is that Donald Trump is an unworthy winner let alone a candidate, and her justification for this claim is that Hillary is a diverse and strong leader whom will lead the country to success, her warrant is clearly stated in which she quotes, “Donald Trump is a hater.”

Although, aside from the left-wing nature of this article, the author herself becomes the “name caller”, ironically quoted in the article about Trump. The author offers entirely negative opinion on the individual and in doing that, creates the contrast of gender roles in media coverage. Although opinions on Trump are likely to be aligned with this article as readership of Mamamia, the author is creating a one-sided argument on Trump and Hillary in comparison, and therefore adds fuel to this stereotypical gender role-play of the US Presidential election candidates.

Collins (2011) suggest in her study of gender stereotypes in the media, that women are often portrayed as the weaker sex and are often objectified. Of course, in relevance to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the audience can look back on Trump’s comments about women and see the blatant sexism. Although, if looking at the position of Trump in this article, he is brutally picked apart by the author for all his flaws and in doing so is objectified in a manner that Collins (2012) is stating that women are subjected too.

“Thus, the overwhelming pattern of under-representing women begs the question of how this affects consumers of media content… Does the under-representation of women constrict societal perspectives and information in important ways?” (Collins, 2011 p. 292) suggests that the portrayal of powerful women, let alone all women in the media can affect the viewers and create propaganda of influence. This can be shown heavily in this article, but in juxtaposition to the role of Hillary.

Diversely, Mike Fewster’s, ‘Give thanks to Donald Trump, because we could do a lot worse (and probably will)’, published in New Matilda, offers an opinion article that although the author does not wholeheartedly trust and admire Trump, he insinuates disappoint at the potential of loss for Trump and his presidential campaign. The article acts as an argumentation piece although it is underlined with opinion. The article does not intend to annoy or provoke readers, nor so does it act to persuade them, but almost acts as an article that is completely passive and offers only an informed evaluation on the situation and any further consequences that will come from the election results.

Fewster states initially that with Trump, what you see is what you get. He refers to him as “a caricature with pitchfork in hand, horns on head and breathing smoke”. Fewster almost applauds him for how is he and his honesty when campaigning. The insinuation suggests that Trump is a worthy candidate not due to his radical policies and large personality, but more so his blatant uprightness in how he holds himself. Personally, I believe that due to the gender and nature of the author, this claim is justified only due to gender roles and Trump is seen to be honourable in this manner, where as it may not be the case for a controversially head strong candidate like Trump in female form.

The author offers a very two-sided opinion on the matter of Trump’s foreseen loss. It becomes clear that Fewster is neither pro-Trump nor pro-Hillary, but again offers insight into the dilemma at hand and the future of the US after Election Day.

What can be deduced from this very passive article, is that Fewster’s primary claim is that candidate Trump is a force to be reckoned with, but at the same time, does not suit the role of US President well due to his policies even though his campaign has been strong and admirable. The claim can be considered as evaluative, and offers an insight into how the author believes the aftermath of the election will play out for all involved, including Hillary.

The author quotes, “the storm awaiting President Clinton will sweep over those policies as well.” This suggests the notion that a potential President Clinton could crumble under the pressure of what is to come as a leader of the United States. In saying this, I do not believe this can be considered to be a sexist remark, but more so an outlook on how the United States situation would affect any new president, male or female.

The article overall appeals to ethics and morality in a sense that oversees the results of the election and how it will affect all involved, as well as potential consequence. As mentioned, although the article provides an appeal to morality and offers a very passive ideal on the outcome of the election neither in favour of either candidate, I do believe some of the language used by the author views Trump in a light that differs to Hillary.

“Unfortunately, the man will be defeated not because what he stands for has been weighed and rejected, but because the man himself is unsellable”, is a quote from Fewster and this suggests that voters will choose not to vote for Trump based on policy (regardless of whether they are morally and politically correct or incorrect), but instead focuses on the personality of Trump. This again is a blatant portrayal of election coverage of the media, and focuses on the candidates as individual personalities rather than what they bring to the country as a reckonable force of power and success.

Finally, Jessica Valenti offers an opinion piece left-wing opinion on the matter of Hillary as an overlooked powerful candidate due to her gender. ‘Hillary Clinton’s problem? We just don’t trust women’, published in the Guardian acts as a rally in favour of Hillary and her policies, as well as her as a woman in power. The demographic of the audience for the Guardian would clearly be left-wing supporters, so this article appeals to an audience that do not need persuading and have similar outlooks to the author. Alternatively, the article can act as an offer of opinion to persuade readers into agreeing with the author, but this notion is open to interpretation as to readership and audience reach.

The primary claim of this argument can be considered to be evaluative as the overall notion of the article states that the view of Hillary in opposition to Trump is that of negative purely based on her gender, rather than her policies and promise.

Valenti uses language that justifies her claims of sexism through quotes such as, “when it comes to sexual assault or domestic violence, victims – the vast majority of whom are women – are still widely disbelieved”.

It is this form of media perspective that has influenced audiences to view women as a specific gender stereotype. The notion of sexual assault clearly does not relate to Hillary in this instance as a presidential candidate, but instead inclines that negative portray of women in the media acts as the justification that women (and especially women in power) can be viewed as poorly or as a threat.

Galdi et al (2014) suggests in a study on women objectified in the media that women are seen to be inferior to their male counterparts and more so influenced by appearance and sexuality.
“Across many TV genres, women, in contrast to their male counterparts, are typically presented as decorative elements whose value is based solely on their physical appearance.” (Galdi et al, 2014 p. 399) suggest that in claims made by Trump in regards to women in general as well as Hillary, the sexualisation or mockery of such in this notion is a blatant example of this.

Galdi et al (2014) also suggests that women are objectified heavily on the television.
Galdi et all quotes, “objectification of women in television not only is visual but also is expressed by explicit as well as subtle verbal acts.” (Galdi et al, 2014 p. 399)
This statement links closely with the notion that Hillary is judged on her appearance on television and how she expresses herself in this manner. Of course, this statement also refers to Trump but can be a clear indication of the media portrayal of the candidates and their success in campaign.

The justifications made in Valenti’s article appeal to a notion of ethics and morality. This justification is shown in allowing equal voter opinion to be based on policies only rather than content of character of the candidates. It appeals to the notion that neither of the candidates should be promoted through their gender but instead by their ability to lead.

Valenti states, “it’s impossible to divorce the way that voters view her from the misogyny she’s faced over decades. She’s considered “guarded” – but how could she not be after years of sexist smears and slights? Trump, on the other hand, is lauded for “telling it like it is” even as so much of what he says is shown to be untrue.” This notion applies closely to Fewster’s article in terms of Trump being applauded for his honesty through negative constructs.

The warrant of this article is clear in the underlying notion of equal rights for the candidates and offering a fair consideration for both before passing judgment.

The overall connection between the articles is the offer of opinion in relation to each candidate. All offer multilayered views and this links closely with the ideal of negative or positive media portrayal purely based on the characteristics of each individual.

When it comes down to the future of the election on November 8, it will rely much on opinion. Much like the articles in terms of their offering of personal opinion to sway the reader or just to offer evaluative aspect on the situation, the results of the election are driven purely by voter opinion. Media coverage and influence can only act as an intentional affect for the voter, but of course, it all boils down to the voter beliefs.


Collins, R. 2011, “Content Analysis of Gender Roles in Media: Where Are We Now and Where Should We Go?” Sex Roles, Vol. 64, Springer Science and Business Media pp. 290-298

Freedman, M. 2016, “Mia Freedman writes: “Why I’m so obsessed with Donald Trump” Mamamia, accessed 31 Oct 2016 <>

Fewster, M. 2016, “Give Thanks to Donald Trump, Because We Could Do A lot Worse (And Probably Will)” New Matilda, accessed 31 Oct 2016 <>

Galdi, S. Maass, A. Cadinu, M. 2014, “Objectifying Media: Their Effect on Gender Role Norms and Sexual Harassment of Women” Psychology of Women Quarterly, Vol. 38 No. 3, Sage Publications pp. 398-413

Valenti, J. 2016, “Hillary Clinton’s problem? We just don’t trust women” The Guardian, accessed 31 Oct 2016 <>

Photo source:

Media Analysis 2 Proposal – Amelia Chadwick (z5016373), H12A


The topic I have chosen to analyse for this assignment regards a young Australian couple who both have down syndrome (Taylor Anderton 21, and Michael Cox  25) , and the question of whether they should be allowed to follow their dream of having children together.

Much controversy was stirred following the appearance of the engaged couple on Australian Story, where they expressed a strong desire to have children (four to be exact)– much to their parents concern.

Both sets of parents expressed a strong apprehension about this desire, and neither think they should have children. This belief brought into play talks of sterilisation and commentary by the PWDA  (People with Disabilities Australia) who think they should be allowed to.

I will be analysing two articles which present opinionated commentary on the couples desire to have children and the opinions of the parents. Specifically I will explore two oppositional stances adopted in 2-3 opinion pieces:

  1. Supporting the parents opinion they SHOULD NOT be allowed to have children (two articles yet to decide which to use)
  2. Supporting the PWDA outlook that they SHOULD be allowed to have children

It’s not Sun Yang’s fault

Views journalism analysis 1

Chinese gold medallist swimmer Sun Yang is no stranger to controversy. He has had brushes with authority after crashing a relative’s Porsche SUV into the back of a bus which he was driving without a license, he has been publicly reprimanded for his relationship with an air stewardess and in 2014 he was banned from swimming for 3 months after testing positive for trimetazedine, a banned substance for competitive swimming.

This year’s Rio Olympics put Sun Yang back into the spotlight, after Australian swimmer Mack Horton publicly called him out for doping. This trigged many responses from mainly Chinese and Australian perspectives, arguing which swimmer was in the wrong.


The article for the Global Times, Horton displays no good will in remarks over his rival by Shan Renping is from a Chinese perspective on the controversy surrounding the two rivals. The author’s claim is that Mack Horton did not deserve to win the race against Sun Yang, which he justifies by saying that the Australian swimmer did not show good sportsmanship.


The author questions Horton’s behaviour of provoking Sun before the race and supports this by appealing to facts. “Hours before the game, Horton called Sun a “drug cheat,” and in an interview after the game, he defended his accusation that Sun was a drug user. But later that day, Horton admitted that he said it on purpose to distract Sun.”

The author also blames Australian media for Sun’s loss in the 400metre race, “If Horton won the competition by disrupting his rival, then it’s the fault of the Australian media.” This is a combination evaluative presumption and non-sequitur informal fallacies. Shan Renping is saying that because Horton called Sun a “drug cheat”, the Australian media’s coverage caused him to lose the race against the Australian.

In the eighth par, the author says that the Australian media framed Mack Horton with inconsiderate questions instead of presenting Horton to show sportsmanship to his competitor. This is an example of either-or argument because there are only two options put forward by the author of what the media should have down when interviewing Horton.

Shan Renping appeals to authority in his justification of Sun Yang not intentionally doping, by claiming that the World Anti-Doping Agency accepted his explanation that the substance was used to treat his heart palpitations.The author uses evaluative language such as “unfortunately” and “careless” to reinforce that Sun’s doping was an accident.

Towards the end of the article there is an evaluative presumption as the author suggests Australians should feel embarrassed over Horton’s remarks. The author then justifies by appealing to analogy, claiming that Chinese media would not do the same if the roles were reversed.

Shan Renping ends his article by referring to essays written by Westerners that Australia is a country on the edges of civilisation, which is a poor argument because it does not provide evidence of these essays. The author also tries to use the argument that Australia started as an offshore prison for Britain. This is an example of post-hoc and evaluative presumption fallacy, as it implies that Australians are uncivilised because it was colonised by prisoners. This can also be considered a false analogy because it has no relevance to the Mack Horton and Sun Yang controversy.

The underlying warrant of the article is that people should show good sportsmanship in the Olympics. This is not explicitly stated because Shan Renping assumes his audience share this sentiment.

The Global Times is a Chinese tabloid newspaper and is affiliated with the Communist Party of China. Therefore, their views will put China in a favourable light. The article has a strong anti-Australia feel, which is interesting because it is written in English, perhaps targeted at Chinese people living overseas. The purpose of this article seems to not be to persuade the audience to side with Sun, but to voice dislike for Australian behaviour during the Olympics.

Claire Harvey’s article for the Daily Telegraph, Sun Yang should have our support and empathy – not our ridicule takes different angle. Her primary claim is used as the title of the article, which implies that her audience needs persuading on the issue. Her justification of this claim is that Sun Yang is a pawn of the Chinese Government’s desire for public glory.

In her opening par she uses ad-hoc argument to criticise Sun Yang’s appearance and character, “I know he tested positive to a banned substance. I know he splashed Mack Horton in a training pool. Apparently he’s also responsible or the census hack. He’s got bad teeth. He has one, long creepy thumbnail.”

Although this is considered a fallacy argument, the author does not use it as a legitimate justification to support her claim, but rather uses it sarcastically to highlight the nature of criticism towards Sun. In this article, Sun is portrayed as a victim of public humiliation who has been trained all his life as a pawn for the Chinese government.

Ad-hoc fallacy is used again in the fourth par to discredit Australian swimmer Mack Horton’s character. She accuses him of publicly humiliating Sun Yang when he should have been empathetic of him. She also claims that Horton overreacted to Sun splashing him in the pool.

“Horton could have been a bit less of a schoolgirl about copping what he himself describes as a friendly splash, given that he was already in a swimming pool.”

She supports her claim by quoting the swimmer directly admitting that Sun splashed him as a friendly gesture to say ‘hi.’“He splashed me to say hi and I ignored him because I don’t have time for drug cheats.”

The nature of Harvey’s article is largely a combination of evaluative and recommendatory argument, as she voices her opinions on the situation as well as suggesting to her viewers that they should not ridicule Sun, but rather support him. Similarly to the previous article, Harvey appeals to facts and authority in her justification that the Swimmer was not intentionally doping by referencing the World Anti-Doping Agency to give her justification more credibility.

“WADA was critical of China for failing to announce the ban quickly enough, it did not impose a longer ban because it accepted [Sun] was not intentionally doping. There has been no evidence Sun is lying about the heart condition.”

 The underlying warrant of the article is that the Chinese government is controlling and is only concerned with their national pride. This is explicitly stated throughout the article, which indicates that Harvey is aware that some readers may not share this sentiment.

“Sun, like every other Chinese athlete, is an employee of a regime that practices brutal repression of its own people, military intimidation of its regional neighbours and a single-minded pursuit of glory.”

This is a straw-person argument and evaluative presumption because she is attacking the Chinese government’s regime but her claim is about Sun being trained to be an elite performer. The warrant possibly reflects the author’s worldview that Western democracy is superior to Chinese communism.

It is interesting that Harvey states her warrant clearly and sometimes separates herself from the audience using personal pronoun, for example she says, “Here’s why I am not piling up on him…to me, Sun’s a phenomenally talented young man…”

The Daily Telegraph is a conservative Australian tabloid newspaper so the majority of the audience is likely to support Mack Horton over Sun Yang, so Harvey’s article that seems to favour Sun will need to persuade people otherwise.

It is likely to be a more effective argument after the initial feud between the two swimmers fizzled down so Australians can perhaps look at it with a more objective lens, however it still must be written during the Olympics because of the relevance.

Overall the piece is stimulating because it provides a different insight into the Sun Yang controversy from an Australian perspective, however there is not enough evidence to support the author’s claims of the Chinese government only caring for its national image. This makes it more of an opinion piece on the author’s distaste for the Chinese government, rather than highlighting Sun’s merits.

Applaud all athletes to spread sports spirit by Wang YiQing is written for China Daily and offers another Chinese perspective on the Sun Yang and Mack Horton controversy. Wang YiQing’s main claim is that Olympians should display sportsmanship and he justifies this by using Mack Horton as an example of unsportsmanlike behaviour.

The author uses evaluative language such as “groundless accusation” and “sensational comments” to convey his stance on the issue. He also directly quotes Chinese swimming team manager Xu Qi that Horton’s comments were a “malicious personal attack” as an appeal to authority.

The use of direct quote in this article is interesting because it is a way for the author to either emphasise his opinion or refute what he does not agree with. For example, he quotes the Australian Olympic swimming team, which defended Horton, and then counters it with another quote from the International Olympic Committee, “we support freedom of speech but…at the Olympics it’s also about respecting your rivals.” By quoting the International Olympic Committee, the author is appealing to authority by implying that they did not support Horton’s comments, which gives his argument that Horton was in the wrong more validity.

There is a tone of recommendation in the article’s 6th par. Wang YiQing argues that Horton should have approached anti-doping authority directly if he had concerns about his rivals rather than calling them out publicly as it would have led to traditional methods for drug testing. This is an appeal to precedent. The underlying warrant here is that traditional drug testing is the most effective way of dealing with substance abuse in competitive racing.

In the last three pars, the author uses an example from the 2012 Olympics of Chinese gold medallist Ye Shiwen who was questioned about her performance because of her age, even though she was proven to be clean of drugs. This justification appeals to a combination of analogy and ethics. Although Sun Yang tested positive totTrimetazidine there is evidence to suggest he was not intentionally doping, so the author compares both as victims accused for something they did not do.

By using prominent Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe’s voice, the author attempts to appeal to authority and set a precedent for other Australians. In this example, there is an underling warrant that some western people feel superior to other countries.

“Thorpe defended Ye saying some Western people tend to question the performance of athletes from other countries because of their biased attitude. Thorpe improved his timing by 5 seconds when he was just 16 but that didn’t arouse the same amount of suspicion.”

Sun Yang is portrayed as reasonable and sportsmanlike. The direct quote of Sun Yang validates his favourable character, “Every athlete deserves to be respected and there is no need to use these cheap tricks to affect each other”. However, it is important to note that the author did not include other reported incidents of Sun Yang allegedly splashing Horton to provoke him, or getting involved in a physical altercation with Brazilian swimmer Larissa Oliveira.

The article is written in English for China Daily a broadsheet newspaper published China, so perhaps it is written for Chinese Australians, or upper-class intellectual Chinese citizens. It would be most effective when the rivalry broke out in order to gain the support of Chinese Australians. The fact that the warrant is never explicitly stated indicates that Wang YiQing assumes his readers share his views that Mack Horton was not very sportsmanlike during the Rio Olympics.

In conclusion, the three articles discussed all defend Sun Yang. Shan RenPing’s article for the Global Times is perhaps the least persuasive of the three. Although some of his claims are supported with proper justification, most of the article is littered with informal fallacies and opinion.

Claire Harvey’s article for the Daily Telegraph was the most interesting to analyse because it provided an Australian perspective on Sun Yang. Although she defended him, the author attacked the Chinese government. This article did not particularly address Sun Yang’s credibility as a swimmer, but rather portrayed him as a victim of a controlling and manipulative regime that is only interested its own national pride. The final article by Wang YiQing is perhaps the most persuasive because the author presents his claims and supports them with appropriate justification and evidence. Opinion is shown through evaluative language, however it is mostly argumentative. This is likely due to the readership of the newspaper of intellectual Chinese citizens capable of reading English fluently or Chinese Australians. It portrays Sun as a respectable athlete and enforces the notion that the Olympic games are about showing sportsmanship to your rivals and other countries.

By Susan Chen


Horton displays no goodwill over his remarks over his rival by Shan RenPing

Sun Yang should have our support and empathy- not our ridicule by Claire Harvey–not-our-ridicule/news-story/84546dc2ea2e8de9131e126f11f6b9c1

Applaud all athletes to spread sports spirit by Wang YiQing

media analysis article 1-Shurong

Views Journalism article 1 by ShurongLi

Items on the following social justice, civil liberties, and human rights related issues: poverty and social disadvantage

Article 1

Poverty and social disadvantage – move over folks, you’ve had your go

Article 2

Living standards, working poverty and social mobility


In this task, two articles about poverty and social disadvantage will be discussed. Although the two articles reflect the situation of different countries, their basic stances are very close to each other.  Both of the articles advocate that an effective and a quick response to the issue of poverty and social disadvantage are necessary. Moreover, two articles mentioned about the lagged behind reaction and limited effects of the efforts that have been made.


In the first article, the primary stance of the writer is that the political response to poverty is full of cliché and lack of effective actions. The Privileged and wealthy people have been leading lives far better than people with social disadvantages. It seems that they are living in a totally different world. Government and different communities are seemingly unaware that actions speak louder than words. The argument above may characterize as interpretative or evaluative which is presented by largely in the form of complaints. Complaint of the author is an evaluative argument about the ineffective strategies in combating poverty. The writer is tired of the method, and it hasn’t worked. This is evident by the fact that there are some people who only care about the interest of themselves and are nonchalant about the situation of others. Furthermore, the justification that appeals to social norms, which the author assumes that the readers share the same value as he does, has even made these concepts easier confirmed by the wide scale existence of poverty and social injustice. As it is mentioned in the article, the author, as an individual who has been involved in social reform for four decades, has heard a lot about the cliché. The example of these includes “We all agree we could be doing better”. “We are all struggling to find solutions.” “It’s all very hard.” “We’ve got a long way to go, but this stuff takes time.” Then the article supported it with point-scoring, the inevitable tiresome nonsense from two sides of politicians. These kinds of words are like “The other side doesn’t care”. “Our policies are better.” “No, their policies are crap – ours are the best.”  It can be seen that the author is very dissatisfied with the words from police figures by using strong emotional justification. In this case, the substitute irrelevant judgments of an individual for reasonable evaluation of the issue that author use show an Ad hominem kind argumentation. There is no doubt that there are also other justifications that the government of Australia and related communities lack effort in solving poverty and disadvantages. The argument of the author is based on his past 40 years experience, which it’s authority appeal can easily arise the resonance of others. It is not difficult to list the ineffective strategies from the governors. Also, there are also a lot of areas and aspects of poverty stricken works that have not been done enough by the communities in Australia. For the purpose of making the justification effectively justify the claim of the author, a strong warrant is essential. The key function of a warrant is to support the justification and makes it reliable and true. A warrant can be presented in two forms, which means it can be either explicitly stated in the text or implied from the article. In the first article about the issue of poverty and social disadvantage in Australia, warrant mainly refers to the reliability of words from others and information sources. This kind of warrant has not been clearly stated in the first article; it can only be found in some text with hints, which means the author make an assumption of like-minded reader who share the same worldviews and value systems with him. Thus, there is no need to state the underlying warrant clearly.

The author despairs at the lack of empathy for others and the shameless way that millions are spent on re-working policy, funding and defunding programs and constantly changing the goal posts with only the minimum dribbling to those most left out. The author would contribute to our world if we just recognized all they can do. People are not diminished by their disability or their culture, but by people who have the power of cultural imperialism.


This argument, however, has an informal fallacy in it. The major fallacy is that the article failed to provide sufficient warrant to the justification. To support the primary claim of the article, the author used words for his own exercise, and the subjective complaining sentiment in the justification, as the result, the whole argumentation is not only evaluative but also ad hominem. In addition, the article failed to provide the warrant with detailed and indisputable facts. Information and data are also lacked to support the justification for the first claim.


It makes people suspect that community-based programs rather than any political force will continue to chip away at the rights and welfare of people with a disability in Australia – while politicians repeat they are now dated and tiring rhetoric. They should, however, look to a country like Japan who mandates that the corporate sector employs persons with a disability with set minimum quotas. Japan demands that Companies modify workplaces where necessary to accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities and that they treat such people with the same dignity and respect that is provided to able-bodied employees.


Apart from the above claims, other claims are also made by the author. The author maintains that there is better way to deal with poverty and social disadvantages. A lot of successful cases are used to justify his point; the justification is backed by cases and precedents. The case of efforts from Australia’s most socially disadvantaged communities in North Adelaide is true and in detail.


In the second article, it is about Living standards, working poverty and social mobility. The article argues that disadvantage and advantage cascade down from generations to generations and the Britain has struggled to provide a fair opportunity for people and give them an equal chance in life. The author argues that there is lack of social mobility in the British society, which means poverty and social disadvantages lack of chance in promotion their position in social ladders. Though the whole article, the author assumes readers will agree with his viewpoint by targeting readers are British and using the term “we,” demonstrated by the following example paragraphs: “Over decades we have become a wealthier society, but we have struggled to become a fairer one.”, “We believe the UK Government deserves credit for sticking to these commitments and making new ones.”


In this article, the justification for this claim is explicitly stated after the claim; the justification can be clearly seen in the following paragraph. The following paragraphs justify the problem with sufficient data that strongly appeal fo facts and argument. The article provides justification from various perspectives, which is to justify the claim from social, economic and historical perspectives. From the justification, it can be easily concluded that the mobility of people in society is far from satisfaction. The goal that everyone should have a fair chance in life is not easy to achieve, though it has been part of Britain’s DNA. Therefore, the justifications in this article are carried out in an explicit manner.


In the third paragraph, the author provides authoritative justification by the annual state of the national report from Parliament, “It is all too easy for Government to abandon the aim of ending child poverty by 2020 and to avoid the long hard haul of making progress on social mobility.”


Justifications provided in the second article are very sufficient. In the seventh paragraph, data was provided to support the factual and authority justification, quoted as “The proportion of 25-34-year-olds owning their own homes has fallen from around 60% to 40% in just a decade.” The data well reflect that many families have been struggling with falling household income and rising property price.  In a society that lacks opportunities, people in poverty suffer from more disadvantages.


In the eighth paragraph, the author provides further justification from the perspective of the wealthy people.  Again, it is very explicit and in the form of statistical data. “One-third of MPs, half of senior doctors and over two-thirds of high court judges all hail from the private schools that educate just 7% of our country’s children.” This data is a stark contrast to the above data. The sharp comparison leads to a shocking result, which is a very strong support for the justification.


In terms of the working condition, data, and researchers that appeal to authority are also provided in the following paragraph. Based on the findings of Resolution Foundation, “there are 320,000 workers, overwhelmingly women, who have been trapped at the minimum wage pay level for five years or more and 140,000 for ten years or more. “For the middle class, they are also facing the same challenges.” From the quote, it can be found that the author uses many justifications appealing to facts and authority to more persuasive


After a large amount of factual and authoritative justification statements, the author ends up the article by empathizes recommendation claim and ethical appeal justification. For example “extending early years’ education; closing the gap between better-off and less well-off children in schools; ensuring fair access to higher education and vocational training; opening more doors to a career in the professions.”  The recommendation primary claim uses assumed to be widely held values and beliefs to lead readers to support that the four key steps above are very much needed to be taken to make sure people from all social classes can enjoy fair chance in the process of economic growth.


If we do a detailed analysis of the two articles, we can imply about the worldview and value system that are deeply held by the two authors, although they are not explicitly stated. Throughout the first articles, the author has been arguing about the inefficacy of     Australian society in combating poverty and disadvantage. In the second article, the author express that disadvantages are passing down from generation to generation and justified it from the social, economic and political perspectives. Regarding readership and targeted audiences, both articles seem to be focusing on making their government officials from Australia and the UK relook into the current societal issues and improve on their policies to produce better results. But Australia and the UK have different social contexts, so different measures have to be taken to ensure societies’ well-being respectively.

Same-Sex Marriage & Sexism: A Stalemate

Same-sex marriage has been at the forefront of global political and social debate for the past two decades. The issue of homosexual couples having equal rights to heterosexual couples is not a new issue; it has been a very present topic for centuries, however, it has dramatically become one of the growing conflicts in the twenty-first century. The sexism of women is also another issue that has received critical attention in the battle of the sexes. These two issues fall under the umbrella of gender equality and the need to address both sides of the argument in order to dissolve the accumulating tension between the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community and anti-LGBT supporters. These two articles – “Why women-only ride-sharing services are revolutionary’ and “What can the Australian Christian Lobby do with their $7.5 million?” – explore the different ways in which gender equality exists: prejudice towards gay and lesbian marriage and sexism of women. Further, a comparison of the two articles highlight a fundamental flaw in the policies enacted to uphold civilised relations between the two communities, which undermines the purpose of them and sheds light on the complexity of gender equality including the sensibility that governments need in order to effectively approach it.

In 2013, New Zealand passed a bill of legislation allowing same-sex marriage. It joined California, Argentina, South Africa and 21 other countries where same-sex marriage is legal. Earlier this year, U.S President Obama called for the urgent support to protect the safety and security of homosexual individuals and couples due to the rising number of violent cases of abuse against gay and lesbian citizens. Irrespective of the rapid globalisation of technology and increased migration encouraging an integrated community of acceptance, and diversity, there remains a strong division in the debate over the right of same-sex couples to obtain equal rights to heterosexual couples. However, the fight to obtain these rights runs deeper than preferences of gender in a sexual partner. On top of of this issue, the heterosexual community, and society in general, are engaged in attempting to equalise the professional and domestic platform between male and female and remove the double standards placed against women. To believe in same-sex marriage and equality of women is separate from the belief of how achievable it is. In other words, just because one believes in it doesn’t mean it can be achieved. The desired conclusion for analysing these two views-journalism articles is to draw attention to how society and the government are attempting to resolve these two gender equality issues without realising that victory cannot be obtained on two fronts when you are in a stalemate.

Article 1 – “Why women-only ride-sharing services are revolutionary” – appeals to emotions as a means of persuading its reader-viewer to embrace the perspective of the author. It weaves in anecdotes collected from females who have experienced sexual harassment and abuse while using the unisex Uber app. Thus, it positions its audience in a vulnerable state early on in the article as a way of easily accessing their thinking space so as to manipulate their stance by the end of the article. For example, “Sadly, I was unsurprised” is the opening anecdote that the the author uses to introduce a series of anecdotes that detail cases of unwanted sexual advance by male Uber drivers. By using this anecdote as the first in the article is not a coincidence; the author has purposely selected this quote because it reveals sexism of women as almost a culture of its own. Thus, the author also appeals to social norms of how women should and should not be treated. The female gender is then characterised as a survivor of societal standards and expectations. But this glorification of women comes at the cost of painting the male gender as sexual predators. It positions women on a higher ground by lowering the man.

Article 2 – “What can the Australian Christian Lobby do with their $7.5 million” – addresses the issue of same-sex marriage. The nature of the article stems from the fact the Australian Christian Lobby has asked the government to fund them with $7.5 million to argue and prove their case against same-sex marriage. It is clear that the author is astounded by their need for such a high demand of money to fund an argument that needs no funding by the title of the article. It is also the drive behind the argumentative strategies and methods used to position the reader-viewer. Unlike Article 1, the author unites the genders, male and female, in a single front for one cause: same-sex marriage. The author appeals to consequences by stating what the funds the Australian Christian Lobby demand will have on society and humanity. There is no division to how it will impact women and men separately, but together as a united front. In this article, women and men come together to fight against Pro-Christian lobbyists who the author portrays as filled with anti-love. The focus is uniting the sexes in a debate of homosexuals versus heterosexuals. It is no longer about a battle of the sexes, male versus female. Although it is an attack on the Australian Christian Lobby, its justifications, or evidence and facts, are on the fundamental principles of the genders. It is not about who is the more dominant sex, it is about the sociology of human beings, that is, patterns of actions, attitudes and behaviours.

The commonality that exists within these two articles is the manipulation of the gender to suit the context of what is at issue. Both authors have applied effective methods of convincing its reader through persuasive language but they fail to recognise how their use also promotes the reversed outcome. For example, the principal claim of Article 1 is that a women-only ride-sharing Uber app is necessary because it will reduce the growing sexual abuse of women committed by males. It also raises existing issues of how women are treated by society on all fronts to further provide justifications in support of its principal claim. But its promotion of female equality creates greater gender inequality by accusing the male populace for this. In Article 2, there is no division between the genders, there is only division between sexual orientation statuses. Women and men are the same, it is the sexual identity of a person that is the threat. The author of Article 1, Deirdre Fidge, fails to recognise the hypocrisy of the perspective she presents on the issue. She employs a gender equality perspective using gender inequality strategies. The second author of Article 2, Ben McLeay, shares his perspective through a union of the sexes in a discussion of legalising same-sex marriage without understanding the complexity of the inequality between the genders that stifles same-sex marriage from becoming a reality in Australia and other non-same-sex marriage countries. However, his article plays a more important role than highlighting the two types of varying issues that fall under gender equality. McLeay’s views-journalism article brings to attention the problem with policies targeted at gender equality.

The legalisation of same-sex marriage undermines women’s rights because society cannot demand for an equality between homosexuals and heterosexuals when equality does not exist between the male and female. These two articles address the respective issues as complete separate conflicts that do not fall under the umbrella of gender equality yet they both alter and adjust the concept of gender to best fit their claims and justifications, creating the spectrum that exists with the definition of what gender is. As a result, they have argued their case against the issues they are exploring without actually addressing the issue; they’ve taken the issues as a means of inflaming a response and generating commentary. The gender and political statuses of these two authors speak heavily of their value system, assumptions and argumentative techniques. Article 1 is written from a female perspective while Article 2 comes from a male perspective. The topic of Article 1 is about women’s rights, thus, Fidge writes as a woman, explaining the passionate tone of language and the expressive anecdotes. The Article 1 is a lot more serious because of how sensitive the topic is to the writer. On the other hand, McLeay is a comedian in addition to being a writer. His sarcasm and wit comes through in his child-like teasing of what the Australian Christian Lobbyists will do with their $7.5 million fund against same-sex marriage. The use of comedian techniques, however, overshadows his article in actually addressing the issue. As left-wing writers, there is a tendency to write about issues without actually addressing the issue which is visible in this article in which McLeay falls victim to the fallacy of ad hominem.

The assumed audience of these two articles are just as varying as the two writers. Article 1 leans towards a more women-based audience. It appeals to women who frequently use the unisex Uber app and experience sexual abuse by a male driver. But it also has a wide reach out to all women with a message of protecting themselves against possible sexual abuse by downloading the women-only app and pushing for its support and approval. In Article 2, the target audience is more generalised because it does not necessarily exclude people who are against same-sex marriage. It purposely ridicules the Australian Christina Lobby’s fund demand but it does so in a manner that even anti-LGBT supporters would agree with McLeay because of the extremity of the amount and it being tax-funded. The intended readers are, however, Australian Christian Lobbyists; McLeay intends to ridicule them whilst addressing supporters of same-sex marriage and the government.

In conclusion Fidge and McLeay have written their views-journalism articles with good faith and intentions. The strategies they have employed are effective but only to a certain extent. Through an analysis of each article, and a comparison to identify a commonality, we can see how both writers appeal to emotion and social norms using argumentative strategies of emotive language and facts and evidence to dictate their target audience. The issue at debate is a sensitive topic often prone to strong feelings and opinions. Both writers recognise this by their tactic of making their audience vulnerable before presenting their justifications and warrants so that their audience is more receptive and agreeable. But the issue of gender inequality remains unresolved because of the lack of understanding the depth of the problem, the manipulation of the concept of gender to suit their personal pursuits, and the pride in beating down the opposite gender in order to be equal.

Should we get married? Please tick the box

Should we get married? Please tick the box

By Elise Ives

Ives, Elise z5016678 Media Article 1 H12A


The battle for equal love has been a tried and tested issue in Australia and the world for as long as many of us can remember. As multiple countries around the globe have jumped on the bandwagon of same-sex marriage equality, Australia continues to lag behind in the issue due to political uncertainty and negligence.

Aside from the multiples bills attempted to be passed on this issue in Australian history, the most recent movement within the political agenda has been the plebiscite, which encourages the Australian public to vote for or against the same-sex marriage law to be passed. Similarly to most controversies in history, the issue cannot technically have a correct or incorrect answer indefinitely, but the opinions can often favour to one direction as “the fair thing to do”. The parties involved in this issue all have agendas on the matter, which provide for interesting analysis in argumentation and opinion pieces. Three political news articles provide insight into the whereabouts of the plebiscite to date and the opinions on where important parties stand behind them for the same-sex marriage bill to be passed. The two timely articles by Tom McIlroy and Jared Owens provide insight into the plebiscite standing in the current period and political opinion on this, which I believe to be interestingly contrasted by an opinion article by Michael Jensen, which although taken from 2015, opposes same-sex marriage and works in alignment with the proposition of an opinion poll on the matter.

The collection of articles provides insight into the generalised opinion on the passing of the same-sex marriage bill within Australia from political as well as individual viewpoint. In relation to the plebiscite, the viewpoints correlate in line with one another as the overall vote in the plebiscite will be individual, and so this is why it is important to consider a variety of attitudes.

Jared Owen’s article ‘Greens to block same-sex marriage plebiscite’ published in ‘The Australian’ in late August 2016 provides an insight on where the Greens party stands in terms of the plebiscite and their opposition to it. The article uses opposing opinions from member of the Greens party, Richard Di Natale and Liberal MP Tim Wilson to create an argument against specific party views. Richard Di Natale states:

“The Greens won’t support this waste of money that is designed to delay equality and give a megaphone to hate and homophobia.”

“We should never put questions of human rights to an opinion poll.”

This use of quoted language here connotes the plebiscite as a negative thing on the Greens behalf. It appeals to the notion of consequence, as the fate of same-sex couples in the hands of the Australian public is not a good thing.

Owen also quotes Tim Wilson who says:

“This is a betrayal of all their supporters who want to see a change in the law and shows they would rather use couples as political pawns rather than see them get married.”

The use of such words as ‘betrayal’ and ‘political pawns’ suggest the difference of opinion between the two. They suggest a sense of interpretative ‘name calling’ which provides to portray the opposing party in a negative way.

The entire article itself is tentative with the issue and acts as an informant to the reader, allowing them to create their own perspective of the ideal. The primary claim of the article analyses to be a factual representation of views between both parties and the consequences they might hold for the future. Typically, in this day and age the majority of the public vote in favour of same-sex marriage, so the argument can be classified as an audience that does not need persuading, but instead to inform on the current movements throughout the political agenda towards the finalisation of the same-sex marriage bill.

Tom McIlroy also creates an informant argument in his article ‘Three-quarters of Australians would oppose a popular vote on their own right to marry: poll’ written for ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’ in August 2016. The article creates a formation of research that shows that:

“36 per cent of respondents support a popular vote on same-sex marriage when asked to consider their own right to marry.”

“76 per cent of respondents [from 1000 surveyed] would not be happy if they needed popular support before getting married.”

This use of opinion poll differs from the first article as it proves itself to be a useful tool in understanding the public vote for the readership rather than heavily political viewpoints. McIlroy creates a factual argument that appeals to ethics and morality as well as popular opinion of Australians surveyed.

As ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’ holds a wide readership of multiple ages and standpoints, the argument comes as an interesting piece as it will reach various individuals, and potentially influence any decision making during a potential plebiscite in the future.

When quoting PFLAG national spokeswoman Shelley Argent, the article states:

“This poll shows Australians are against judging other people’s relationships and reject a plebiscite when they realise this is exactly what a plebiscite is about.”

This quote acts as a summary of popular Australian opinion of the plebiscite, and can be analysed as the underlying opinion for the article’s basis. McIlroy warrants that the Australian public are the contributing factor in political change for Australia’s same-sex marriage laws, and by use of poll results, the article examines the general consensus of the public aren’t pleased with this as it can lead to a difference of opinions which will only extend the issue further and decrease movement toward the future in a positive way.

Lastly, an opinion piece to analyse in alignment with public opinion and result is ‘I oppose same-sex marriage (and no, I’m not a bigot)’ by Michael Jensen for ‘ABC News’ in May 2015. Although this article is not timely in this manner, it relates heavily to the topic matter and the analysis relates heavily to the issue of Australian public views on the movement of the bill.

The article states that Rev Dr Michael Jensen works within the church, so this is a contributing factor to the direction of the argument. Jensen states:

“I prepare many couples for marriage each year. Most of them already cohabit. When I ask them about marriage, they almost always indicate that it is for them the beginning of a new family unit open to welcoming children.”

“To remove the sexual specificity from the notion of marriage makes marriage not a realisation of the bodily difference between male and female that protects and dignifies each, but simply a matter of choice.”

This can be offered as the underlying basis of the argument Jensen is proposing. The sanctity of marriage between male and female offers the ideal of children made by a mother and father legally bound in matrimony, and the ideal is somewhat lost when it refers to same-sex marriage.

When analysing Michael Jensen’s argument, it can relate to the audience agreement/not in agreement but I do not believe it is in the nature to provoke or annoy. The argument relates to personal opinion but does not intend to provoke negatively but instead provide personal insight into the issue. Although the argument can be viewed as inherently “discriminative”, Jensen argues against this notion:

“The case has been made almost entirely in terms of “equality” and its alleged opposite: “discrimination”. The argument is that applying the word “marriage” to some relationships and not to others is unequal treatment, and thus discrimination. These are both apparently self-evidently bad.”

This use of language connotes the misconception of correct and incorrect and how this issue should be viewed, without analysing it in a way that equally allows both ends of the opinion spectrum to be plausible.

The article implies the primary claims as evaluative and interpretative as the piece is left in the reader’s discretion to analyse it in their own way. Jensen states:

“It will be called marriage, but it won’t be marriage as we know it. It won’t be “marriage equality”: it will be an entirely new thing.”

It is here that the reader can gather the meaning behind Jensen’s argument and what the issue is. The justifications offered for this opinion piece relate to ethics and morality in an opposition to same-sex marriage. It relates to precedent and customary practice as well as how people will react emotionally (due to the negative backlash this article would receive from strongly pro same-sex marriage advocates).

The warrant for the article can be analysed as same-sex marriage will not be attributed as equality, but instead a choice, which in turn shifts the entirety of marriage through all sexual orientations, and child bearing is primarily focused toward heterosexual couples. The article aligns well in comparison to the other articles mentioned because it relates to Australian public vote and the difference of opinion from a pro same-sex vote rather than against it, which is a contributing factor to whether or not the bill will be passed and if the rights of same-sex couples should be held in the fate of the public which clearly hold very different opinions to each other.

To conclude, the three articles mentioned in this analysis provide insight into the same-sex marriage vote as they all argue and inform in different ways opposing to the other. The intended audience of the articles are those who are on both ends of the opinion spectrum, as it will affect the audiences in different ways depending on their belief systems. The articles all provide informative stance on Australia’s position when it comes to same-sex marriage equality, regardless of the different opinions. They will persuade the readership in different ways in relation to their personal stance on the issue as well as the outcomes and how it will affect them overall.

Words: 1633


Reference list / Articles:

Jared Owens:

Tom McIlroy:

Michael Jensen:,-i’m-not-a-bigot)/6502850

The Australian Gold medal deficit: Who is really to blame?

The Australian Gold medal deficit: Who is really to blame?


By Terri Slater


The debate surrounding our national performance at the recent Olympic games in Rio De Janiro, Brazil, is some of the most heated and critical of Australian sport. The question everyone is asking, from the Australian Sports commission (ASC), to the Australian Olympic committee (AOC), to Swimming Australia, and without forgetting the public and the athletes themselves is- where did it all go wrong? The backlash from the games has been quite severe; with some calling for athletes to pay back their training costs like a HECS debt, and others calling for CEO’s of sport to step down. A recent article written by The Australian journalist Nicole Jeffery attributes lack of funding as the key downfall to our national Olympic performance, while an article written by The Herald Sun writer Susie O’Brien asserts our very culture as a nation when it comes to participation versus winning as a key reason for Olympic failure. It is important to note that both pieces are evaluative and somewhat recommendatory arguments, that assess a multitude of angles and propose their own personal opinions toward the debate. While Jeffery’s article encompasses Australian Olympic sport as a whole, O’Brien’s piece focuses on Olympic swimming in particular, however both are extremely relevant to one another due to the emphasis on swimming as our the main source of gold medals for Australia. The articles are fundamentally opposite in nature, with both authors coming to extremely different conclusions in regards to their stance on our national performance and how it could be improved in the future.


Jeffery’s stance on the issue is clear from the lead of her article, Rio Olympics: Lack of funding key to poor Games outcome; she uses analogy to compare the backlash on Australian Olympic sport to a ‘crucifixion’, although “Just who is to be hoisted on the cross is still to be determined”. Thus, she is immediately addressing the theme of blame and ‘finger pointing’ that is present within both articles. She goes on to mention each Olympic entity that has laid blame on another for the poor Olympic outcome, referring to blame shifting as an Olympic sport. Jeffery continues to appeal to the facts- The gold medal hopefuls did not perform when it came down to it, particularly the swimmers, who attained only a ‘mere’ 3 Gold medals, although 8 athletes are ranked first in the world. Jeffery’s stance seems to be somewhat sympathetic towards the athletes, describing the underperformance as a “lot of near misses”, appealing to emotion in a sense, by connecting to the audience and communicating that the athletes themselves should not be blamed for the underwhelming outcome. Jeffery also employs appeals to precedent, referring to the Australian Olympic teams’ performances in London and Athens, to demonstrate that this year’s performance is in fact worse than others. Once she has provided clear background information to her main line of argument, she begins to assess the reasons for this downfall in Australian sport, with funding, or lack thereof, a key focus. Jeffery writes:

“Australian Olympic sport hasn’t had a significant increase in funding for a decade or more, so to some extent Favier’s job was to shift the deckchairs on a slow boat, by finding efficiencies to make Australia more competitive without spending any extra money.

He told the federal government what it wanted to hear, that it was possible to resurrect Australia’s competitiveness in the Olympic arena without spending more money. Governments love to be told they don’t need to spend more money to get a result.

But the reality is that if they want the glory they need to pay for it. Restructuring is not enough”.


Although Jeffery is initially critical of the ‘blame game’, it is interesting to observe how she herself puts some blame on AIS director Matt Favier, the leader of the Winning Edge program, as well as the AOC as an entire corporation-

“The AOC is all care and no responsibility here. It does not produce or develop athletes. It wants to call the shots, and it trumpets the fact that it doesn’t take government money, but it is completely reliant on government funding to the sports to produce the athletes who win the medals (or not). It’s happy to take the glory when the team shines, but it won’t take the blame when it doesn’t”.

Again, Jeffery is addressing the overriding theme of blame, essentially asserting that a combination of the Government’s unwillingness to donate money to the cause and the AOC’s ignorance toward responsibility.


Jeffery’s piece is based on a world-view or value system that cares about the politics of elite sport and is nationalistic by nature, in regards to Australia’s performance in international sporting competition. It is also very ethically- focused, and functions on the argument that Australian athletes, and consequently Australians, are being let down by the Government’s lack of investment in elite sport, and therefore the underlying warrant that this is unethical and needs to be changed. The audience is assumed to be an Australian, mature readership who are invested in the politics of sport, and/or the recent Olympic outcome, and the impact it has on our national sporting culture.

In regards to the article as a recommendatory as well as an evaluative argument, Jeffery affirms that more funding is the key to better Olympic performance, which could be achieved through the use of the lottery as a financial source, as it is in the U.K, who are “outspending Australia two to one in the medal race, which they are winning handsomely”.


In comparison, Susie O’Brien’s article, Rio Olympics 2016: Is an Australian culture of mediocrity behind our medal choke takes a completely different stance on the issue, focussing on the Australian culture of ‘participation is equal to winning’ particularly when it comes to swimming. From the outset of the piece, O’Brien takes a very hard-line and opinion dominated approach to the topic, writing:

“What happens when the choke goes beyond a joke?

Should Australians be paying $40 million to get just three gold medals, four silver and three bronze in the pool?

If each swimmer performed their 2016 best at the Games, we would have won five gold, eight silver and five bronze.

So on any count, a lot of money was spent on a pretty average outcome”.


From this excerpt, it is clear that O’Brien is essentially targeting an Australian tax paying, sport-invested readership, and trying to evoke a strong reaction from the public by directly appealing to an ethical persuasive technique. She supports her central claim that we as taxpayers are essentially funding mediocre athletes through quoting the amount of money going in comparison to the medals coming out of the Australian Olympic swimming campaign. O’Brien also makes an appeal to authority, also known as the veteran swimmer Shane Gould, whose viewpoint appears to be of a similar nature;

“As Gould — who is one of our greatest ever Olympic swimmers — told Radio National this morning, “maybe we need to rethink schools giving out ribbons for fifth place”.

I can see where she is coming from”

By referencing Gould’s interview, O’Brien is providing justification to support her own argument, which is positioned right before her most direct and potentially controversial claim-

“When it comes to the Olympics, all that really counts is the medals. That’s how we measure success.

No one cares how many individuals make their finals, or how many get placed in the top half of the heats, or how many come fifth or better in the semis.

If you don’t get a medal, you’re a loser in Olympic terms”.


Clearly, this series of statements is aimed at evoking a highly emotional response from the reader, either in agreement or disagreement. While the article is aimed at the taxpayer, I don’t believe it is seeking to change minds on the issue (due to lack of strong evidence/justification) but more to induce a debate over whether gold medals really are the only measure of success that matter when it comes to elite sport. O’Brien’s use of analogy between Olympic and school sport is an example of this- clearly Olympians are far more developed in their psychological sense of winning and participating than primary aged children, although perhaps our culture of rewarding children simply for the act of participating has had some long-term effects when it comes to the general Australian sporting culture, as opposed to that of other nations, such as The United States, The United Kingdom and China.


A key distinction between the two articles is the author’s view of the athletes themselves- while Jeffery refers to them quite sympathetically and puts no blame on them for lack of performance, O’Brien directly states “…it’s fair to say some of the members of the swimming team let us down, and let themselves down.

When it really counted they simply weren’t able to perform at their peak”. Again, O’Brien reinforces the huge cost of $40 million in taxpayer’s money, that simply ‘isn’t going to cut it’ with Australians. Essentially, O’Brien’s article is based on the world-view or value system that athletes must produce performances according to the funding they receive, and in this case, it should be Gold or nothing. In determining whether each article is conducted in good faith, and is clear and well rounded, it is evident that Jeffery is far more democratic in her views journalism writing as opposed to O’Brien, who is far more hard-line and direct in expressing her opinions. In a sense, the second article is an informal fallacy, due to its’ lack of strong evidence or justification to support its’ claims, in comparison to the first, which offers a more well-rounded point of view on the issue.


An analysis of both articles subsequently uncovers the view that there are many aspects of blame for our poor performance as a nation at the 2016 Rio Olympics, being a ‘nation of mediocrity’ and having a ‘lack of funding’ being only a few in the grand scheme of Australian sporting organisations. While both articles are highly evaluative and in some ways recommendatory, it is clear they take highly opposing view points in regards to who is really at fault for such a disappointing result. When viewing both articles together, however, it is clear that both pieces function on the underlying assumption that Australia’s underwhelming Olympic performance was due to more than just bad luck, illness or nerves, but some sort of systematic issue that is deep-rooted in our national sporting culture.















Assignment proposal

Assignment proposal

Nowadays, the impact of social media is a hot-debated issue, especially regarding to the question whether there is a casual relation between social media use and behavioral problems and personality flaws, which is the topic I want to focus on in the first assignment.

The two articles I’ve chosen are:

  1. ‘The Internet Made Me Do It’: Stop Blaming Social Media for Our Behavioral problems, written by Jared Keller, published in Pacific Standard, on Jun 10, 2013.

  1. ‘Is Social Media to Blame for the Rise in Narcissism?’, written by Lisa Firestone, in Psychology Today, on Nov 29, 2012.

Both two articles argue that we shouldn’t blame the social media for behavioral or personality problems. What is interesting I’ve found that the first article is more “personal” with the author’s own understanding of the nature or the function of social media, while the second one is more “serious” and “objective” by provides a lot of academic facts to remove the misinterpretation of social media and further give some useful suggestions. So my primary conclusion may focus on their different type of justification and also their assumption of intended readers.

Dong _Serena_z5078836_MediaAnalysisArticle1_H10A

A Prank Call Gone Wrong

Prank calls have always been a staple for the Kyle & Jackie O Show, Charlie Darley from Mix95 FM and other radio programs alike to amuse listeners with the naivety of those pranked on the other side of the phone. However, is this act of amusement pure child’s play or catastrophical damage?

On December 4th, 2012, the operator at London’s private King Edward VII’s Hospital received a call from the Queen and Prince Charles and put them through to a nurse who reported the Duchess of Cambridge’s current condition as she was treated for hyperemesis gravidarum, a morning sickness. Little did they know, the voices came from presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian of 2DayFM as part of their prank call. While the intention was light-hearted, consequences turned out detrimental when Jacintha Saldanha, the operator who answered the call took her life days after the call was broadcasted on air to the world. Since then, there has been debate over the ethical and legal issues broadcasting prank calls on air may concern. Two articles of interest– At whose expense? The dubious morality of prank calls by the Professor of Journalism at Bond University in Queensland, Mark Pearson, and A bit of fun that flouted the rules by Jonathan Holmes of ABC TV’s Media Watch – work to question the ethical and legal questions raised based on the consequences prank calls pose.

In the first article, Pearson takes on a more opinionative stance with common references to pronouns such as “I” and “we” (although it is important to take into account that a possible reason for this might be in conformity to a particular language style he uses for his blog, Journlaw, where the piece was originally published). He explicitly states the topic of interest in the second part of his title, “The dubious morality of prank calls”, and uses the first part of the title, “At whose expense?” to set a serious tone for the article. What more explicitly stated is Pearson’s claim found in the last paragraph:

“It is good that the 2Day FM management has been moved to suspend its prank calls. Now it’s time for the rest of the industry to do so as well – permanently…”

He also assumes that the audience is somewhat in agreement to his viewpoint. The common use of the pronoun “I” and “we” appeals to popular opinion and implicitly states the common sense that should be imbedded in our minds on the unacceptable act of making prank calls as exemplified by the following statement:

“The laws and ethics of the matter are quite clear.”

The word “clear” almost implies that he is incredulous of anyone not aware of the “laws and ethics of the matter”, as he assumes it is common knowledge. Pearson’s opinion is reflected in his choice of diction, writing that the 2DayFM’s suspension of prank calls is needed because it sets an example radio stations need to follow. Following his claim that radio stations should suspend prank calls permanently, Pearson justifies it using several techniques.

A large number of his justifications appeal to analogy to create a relatable scenario to readers, many of whom have not been a victim of radio prank calls. First, he implies that prank calls are no better than racist jokes and workplace bullying in the following statement:

“I’ve heard many arguments in their favour in recent days, including that they are a time-worn practice in commercial radio, that they are just a bit of fun, that good sports will laugh them off, that they are part of an Australian tradition of laconic humour. Well, to be frank, so were racist jokes and workplace bullying pranks last century, and neither are acceptable in the modern era.”

It proves a point that similar to racist jokes and workplace bullying, prank calls can end up hurting people emotionally and make them vulnerable. He adds on to his analogy by writing:

“Just a few decades ago all this might have been written off as good fun – just like the workplace tricks colleagues would play on their apprentices or the racist and misogynist jokes you could read in the newspaper or watch on television. But society has moved on.”

Analogies are not enough to support Pearson’s claim so he takes an argumentative stance by appealing to factual evidence in the following paragraph:

“According to Sane Australia about 20% of adults experience a mental disorder in any year – typically anxiety or depression. When a radio station conducts a prank call, they are never absolutely sure about the mental and emotional state of the person they are calling. Sooner or later that call is going to reach a person at a particularly vulnerable moment of his or her life – a moment when they are low on self esteem, high on anxiety or perhaps under the influence of a substance, prescribed or otherwise… They might well feel the world is set against them.”

Pearson recommends rather than continue prank calling strangers that radio hosts have no knowledge of their psychological background, society should provide expert counseling and offer support rather than making them feel like a “laughing stock of society”. On another note, one can argue that there seems to be a hasty generalisation, one that concludes prank calls will send a person down a dark path. The operator who received that prank call took her life but not only has there been no explanation for her intentions, Pearson has not compared the situation to one that happened before, if there even was one. It is important to remember however that he did state a counterargument to a justification that appealed to ethics and facts:

“The NSW Surveillance Devices Act prohibits the broadcast of recorded private conversations without the permission of the participants. The Commercial Radio Code of Practice does likewise at section 6.”

The second article by Holmes takes an opposite approach incorporating a two-sided view on the situation. Holmes aims to convince an audience, such as Pearson’s audience who are against prank calling on air, that the situation has been sensationalised yet he reasons an explanation and develops an understanding as to the possible seriousness of prank calling in general. His first claim is that there is no harm in making prank calls for broadcasting stations and the act is all of joking matter. With the case of 2DayFM’s royal prank call, Holmes says:

“… I was one of those who thought it was pretty harmless, and pretty funny”.

He then justifies by appealing to popular opinion by stating:

“Yet the call, to many people, was funny partly because it contained no real malice.”

He argues that there was already public knowledge in the Duchess of Cambridge’s condition, that she was suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. What audiences learn from the nurse could also be learned by searching the words “hyperemesis gravidarum” in Google. An interesting fact Holmes points out that is often left unclear in other articles is that Ms. Saldanha was the operator who put the call through yet newspapers use the vague term “answered” to convince readers of the important role she played as a “nurse” in this incident. He also emphasises that no clear evidence from the autopsy or other forms of proof is available to reach a conclusion about the link between the suicide and the prank call. This stops readers to question if Ms. Saldanha’s suicide intention was really attributed to the prank call or something else.

Holmes’s second claim does not counter his first claim but instead states that while the specific situation at hand is of no real malice, the act of prank calling in broadcasting is problematic. He claims that broadcasting stations must “govern their own behaviour” but if otherwise, they become “accountable for the consequences, however difficult they might have been to foresee”. By reminding readers that the consequences are of no joking matter, the underlying warrant is that, rules must be abided to avoid causing a detrimental aftermath.

The justifications present dealing with authority has to do with laws on prank calling in broadcast. Holmes goes on to directly quote the applicable laws of the incident:

“Clause 8.15 of the British regulator Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code specifically deals with prank calls— what it calls ‘wind up calls’ – which are recorded without the initial knowledge of participants…

“The equivalent clause of the Australian Commercial Radio Codes of Practice is much less wide-ranging. The voice of an ‘identifiable person’ that has been recorded without the person’s knowledge, Code 6.1( b) says, cannot be broadcast unless:

..that person has subsequently, but prior to the broadcast, expressed consent to the broadcast of the words.’

“… Code 2.3 (d) of the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice states that a licensee must ensure that it…

‘… does not use material relating to a person’s personal or private affairs, or which invades an individual’s privacy, unless there is a public interest in broadcasting such information.’

“… Then there’s the Surveillance Devices Act. In New South Wales, and most other states, it’s illegal to record someone in a situation that they would expect to be private – and that emphatically includes telephone calls – and then broadcast the result without their consent.”

Clause 8.15 of the British regulator Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code, Code 6.1 (b) and Code 2.3 (d) of the Australian Commercial Radio Codes of Practice, and the Surveillances Devices Act all work together as justifications appealing to authority because laws govern societal behaviour and are therefore classified not as justifications that appeal to facts. Facts are not questioned; they are assumed to be true. The wording of these laws and codes of conduct are questioned and debated. In fact, the lawyers of Southern Cross Austereo representing 2DayFM when faced head to head in court with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) argued that the nurse and receptionist were not named in the prank call and are not considered ‘identifiable persons’ under Code 6.1 (b) of the Australian Commercial Radio Codes of Practice and the New South Wales Surveillance Devices Act. Holmes claims that Australian audiences would have no knowledge of their names if it weren’t for British publications who revealed them. He takes it even further by holding the Daily Mail responsible for Ms. Saldanha’s suicide since they took their outrage on the hospital’s unacceptable actions, which to Holmes’s judgment is what “poor Ms. Saldanha would have been reading and hearing in the time before her death.”

As seen, there is a poverty of the different appeals in Holmes’s justifications because the article is an opinion piece and Holmes more often than not states his own analysis on the situation. Only every paragraph or so does he incorporate a few justifications to legitimize any arguments made.

On the contrary, Pearson and Holmes both aim to portray journalistic representations and arguments about crime and punishment. The two writers came to a conclusion that the royal prank call achieved a whistle-blower status despite their different viewpoints on the outcome of the issue. Their articles presented no ad hominem argument that puts the blame on presenters Greig and Christian for the suicide of Ms. Saldanha because they were “just doing their job” (Pearson 2012). While readers might find the two articles polar in opinion, the underlying debate of each article is the same— whether the laws and ethics have been broken. Pearson acknowledges the debate on whether the conversations classify as “private” and whether the parties are considered “identifiable” but personally stands against such act of bullying. He writes:

“We are at a pivotal moment in media history and it is time for the industry to build the public’s trust, not to exploit it for a cheap laugh at someone’s expense.”

As for Holmes, his ability to reason that at one hand, the situation was just a playful act of no harm but on the other hand, it challenged legal and ethical matters that are part of the issue at large.

After lengthy legal battles, the ACMA ensured 2Day FM broadcasted a three-hour special program to promote media ethics and raise public awareness of the signs and risks of bullying, depression and anxiety. Ever since Greig and Christian were suspended from the show, presenters, production and management personnel were required to attend a training program to actively engage with their ethical and legal obligations. Finally, ACMA imposed an additional three-year license condition involving Clause 6.1 of the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice and Guidelines on 2Day FM which could not be contested. The royal prank call from 2DayFM made present day broadcasters understand the similarity of impact to mental health of prank calls to media bullying, raising caution in the wellbeing of listeners.