1. Always listen compassionately to the concerns of others, and be mindful of their feelings.

“Can’t we all just grow a spine and grow up?” – Matt Canavan, Senator for Queensland

2. Always be sure of the sound ethical underpinnings of your position, before attempting to defend it.

We know exactly who they are. They have been on Nauru or Manus for over three years and the only reason we cannot let them into Australia is because of our commitment to not allow people to come by boat. Otherwise we would have let them in. If they had arrived by airplane and with a tourist visa then they would be here.” – Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister.

3. Remember, while making your case, to keep your priorities in order.

“And if there is a law that says that I have to disclose [evidence of child sexual abuse], then yes, I will conscientiously refuse to comply with the law,” – Father Frank Brennan, priest and provider of moral guidance.

I cannot see that the sacrosanct nature of confession would ever change [in order to prevent child sexual abuse],” – Denis Hart, Archbishop.

4. Show that you are taking the matter seriously by ensuring you are across all the detail.

“Having become aware of my citizenship status, I hereby resign.” – all of Australian Parliament.

5. Stay informed – in a debate you will look foolish if you haven’t done the most basic homework beforehand.

“Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?” – Donald Trump, freelance president.

6. Don’t get personal: it just undermines your argument when you resort to personal slurs against your opponent.

“I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!” – Donald Trump

“Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’” – Donald Trump

“We have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.” – Donald Trump

7. Always be open to alternative points of view – that’s how we learn!

“Get out of my face.” – Barnaby Joyce, farmer 

8. Remember that it weakens your position to make hysterical, hyperbolic claims that everyone knows are ridiculous.

“[Same-sex marriage means] parents would lose their freedom to have their children sheltered from radical LGBTIQ (sic) sex education in schools, which will become widespread and compulsory.” – Lyle Shelton, private citizen

9. Never lose touch with the zeitgeist.

“I liked that guy Tony Abbott, I thought he was cool.” – Milo Yiannopoulos, socialite

10. Make sure every point you make is delivered with clarity, articulated with precision, and makes perfect sense.

“Why are we pushing in parts of this country in the school educational program … teaching kids about body parts, and their body parts and everything?” – Pauline Hanson, serial MP.

 

Peter Fray

Save 50% on a year of Crikey and The Atlantic.

The US election is in a little over a month. It seems that there’s a ridiculous twist in the story, almost every day.

Luckily for new Crikey subscribers, we’ve teamed up with one of America’s best publications, The Atlantic for the election race. Subscribe now to make sense of it all, and you’ll get a year of Crikey (usually $199) and a year’s digital subscription to The Atlantic (usually $70AUD), BOTH for just $129.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW