Only in Australia. Yesterday it was reported that staff at Parliament House were banned from using the word 'Mate' to address MPs or the public. While I was preparing an appropriate rant about the neutering of Australian culture, it seems our esteemed representatives were rallying to the cause. Choice quotes include:
- "I would have thought that mate was the nicest four-letter word I've been called all year", Mal Washer, Liberals
- "I think frankly it's un-Australian.", Tanya Plibersek, Labor
- "I have never seen anything so criminal in all my life.", Bob Baldwin, Liberals
- "It's absurd and impractical to prohibit the use of the word 'mate'", John Howard
As you might imagine, with this kind of response it took less than a day for the ban to be overturned. If you want to see the kind of passions this issue has inflamed, just look at the photo of Johny in that article. Staff will now be free to address people as 'mate' if they deem is appropriate.
Our representatives may not be able to agree on issues such as war, the environment, workplace relations or Telstra, but it's comforting to know that when the chips are down, when there's a real, serious issue facing the Australian people, they can put aside their differences and unite for the common good.
Way to go, team! Way to go.