Scott Morrison’s Political Discourse During Crisis: A Narrative-Semiotic Analysis

Mohammed Akhib, Sky Marsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This study explores communication strategies and techniques in the political discourse of the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, during crisis. Twelve public speeches and statements made during media conferences, from April 2019 to May 2020, are analysed as sample data. These consist of three contexts, starting from the election campaign, followed by the bushfires that ravaged the nation and the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic. The study identifies the prominent themes and most frequently occurring features in the data set. The election campaign communications and COVID-19 crisis communications are observed to have similar use of discourse features and emphasis of themes. Comparatively, the bushfire crisis communications showed low levels of technique usage and a low significance of themes. The speeches are grouped into four political discourse clusters for further analysis using actantial modelling. The models provide a visual representation of various actants to draw comparative insights. The study highlights that communication needs to be viewed as a discursive activity that can have variations to the contexts, and the need to attribute sufficient significance for public issues using discourse features is critical.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalMedia International Australia
Early online date9 Oct 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Oct 2022


  • communication
  • Crisis
  • election campaign
  • public expectations


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