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Title: Breeding Them Tough North of the Border: Resilience and heroism as rhetorical responses to the 2011 Queensland floods
Contributor(s): Williamson, Rosemary A  (author)
Publication Date: 2012
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Abstract: Dominating the Australian media early in 2011 were reports of widespread and disastrous flooding in the state of Queensland. On 13 January, then Premier Anna Bligh gave a press conference in which she made a brief and emotional speech that was broadcast repeatedly. In it, Bligh entreated her fellow Queenslanders 'to remember who we are ... the people that they breed tough north of the border'. Bligh's reference to strength and character 'north of the border', with its implicit appeal to communal resilience and cohesiveness, represents a rhetorical response common among leaders in times of natural disaster. It also alludes to long-standing demarcation and rivalries between the residents of Queensland and those of southern states of Australia, and in this sense, Bligh was adopting a distinctively inflected rhetorical strategy to which the notion of 'Queenslander' was central. This strategy continued into the recovery period. Long after the floodwaters had receded, the Queensland government invited local communities to nominate people who had performed extraordinary feats of bravery and selflessness during the flooding. These so-called Queensland Disaster Heroes featured in Queensland Week celebrations mid-year. This paper considers the rhetorical dimensions of Bligh's speech and the Queensland Disaster Heroes scheme. In particular, it considers the nature of appeals made to resilience and heroism, and situates those appeals within both established rhetorical practice and rhetorical theory related to community formation.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Social Alternatives, 31(3), p. 33-38
Publisher: Social Alternatives
Place of Publication: Brisbane, Australia
ISSN: 1836-6600
Field of Research (FOR): 200101 Communication Studies
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 950299 Communication not elsewhere classified
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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