In the wake of violent clashes between groups of protesters at a halal food festival in Ascot Vale on 3 April, 3AW’s Neil Mitchell interviewed Nick Folkes, who attended the festival to protest against halal practices. Folkes is Chairman of ‘The Party for Freedom’, a group who describe themselves on their website as a ‘patriotic party’ that wants to create a ‘viable alternative’ to ‘major treasonous political parties’ in Australia. He makes statements that some people will find deeply offensive but that are not uncommon online, on talkback radio or in the comments of mainstream news publications. No matter what your position on this issue, be aware that this isn’t comfortable listening.
The language and attempts at persuasive argument in the interview are not subtle, so this is a great text for teaching the fundamentals of analysis. It provides stimulus for discussions about tone – especially the way that words and intonation combine in spoken language to indicate changes in attitude – and for critically examining the logical development of arguments and the use of evidence, including the difference between assertions, opinions and well-formed arguments. Mitchell also provides a clear demonstration of how persuasive language can work to position two different audiences simultaneously: listeners and Folkes.
As a listening task for Year 11 EAL students, you will probably need to play the interview through in its entirety first for students to get a general feeling for the content, then play it a second time in sections to discuss the specific details. The guiding questions attached will provide both short-answer comprehension and detailed discussion ideas.
As an argument and language analysis task for Year 11 and 12 English and EAL students, stopping the recording at significant moments during a first listen will open up some great discussions about how our perceptions and preconceptions change and develop as we listen to a text. You could also listen to the whole interview straight through and ask students to note down how they feel and what they think as they listen. The attached guiding questions will also help students step through an analysis of the interview’s key features. This interview might also provide some interesting material for Exploring Issues of Identity and Belonging Context studies.
Scroll down for a content breakdown that will help you to assess if these resources are right for your school context or class, and for a free downloadable PDF of guiding questions and writing tasks. Please note that all links below and in the PDF will take you to third-party sites.
With best wishes for a productive and smooth term 2,
Mornings with Neil Mitchell, 3AW, segment with anti-Halal protester Nick Folkes, 4
Suitability and relevance
- Form: radio show interview
- Length: 4:11
- Central ideas: interview is about the protests at a halal food festival in Melbourne on 3 April. Folkes was at the festival protesting against halal practices.
- Cross references and prior knowledge:
- students will benefit from prior knowledge of the meaning of ‘halal’
- the significance of Lakemba in Sydney, as a suburb with a large Muslim population
- some understanding of the New Year’s Eve sexual assaults that took place in several German cities.
- Content warnings: The whole interview centres on a very heated issue. The speakers both mention highly offensive terms – relating to sexual assault, race and religion. Teachers are strongly advised to listen to the interview in its entirety to judge whether it is appropriate for their class and school context.
- Suitable for: Years 11 and 12.
Commentary about the interview and reports about the protest violence include:
- Violent brawl at Halal festival in Ascot Vale, by Timna Jacks, The Age, 3 April 2016
- Vic police sets sights on balaclava wearing protestors, The Age, 3 April 2016
- Brawl at Halal expo, Melbourne Showgrounds, by , Herald Sun, 3 April 2016
- Violence rocks Melbourne cultural festival, Channel Ten News, 3 April 2016
- Anti-Muslim and anti-racism protesters ‘intensely’ clash outside Melbourne’s Halal Expo, ABC News, 4 April 2016
- ‘You’re An Idiot’: Anti-Muslim Provocateur’s Interview With Shock Jock Backfires, New Matilda, 5