Source: (2002) Discourse & Society. 13(1):105-142.

This article focuses on the rhetorical and argumentative organization of a major political address by the Prime Minister of Australia on the topics of reconciliation and apologizing to the Stolen Generations of Indigenous peoples. The analysis documents the interpretative repertoires that were mobilized to argue around these sensitive, controversial issues in a public forum, in particular the deployment of discursive formulations of ‘togetherness’, of ‘culture’ and of ‘nation’. The analysis also demonstrates the ways in which a limited number of rhetorically self-sufficient arguments, identified in recent studies of the language of contemporary racism, was mobilized in this important public speech. We argue that the flexible use of such rhetorically self-sufficient arguments concerning practicality, equality, justice and progress worked to build up a particular version of reconciliation which functions to sustain and legitimate existing inequalities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Australia. (author's abstract)