What’s the %&*# fuss about?
EDs: South Australian Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond has banned swearing in Liberal party meetings. Here she explains why.
I am somewhat surprised at the level of interest in my anti-swearing stance.
It’s not that I’m a prude – I don’t expect that people will never swear. Indeed, I’ve been know to utter the odd expletive myself. But in the workplace and especially in my workplace the Parliament, I take the view that it is inappropriate.
As politicians, we are elected to represent other people in the ultimate democratic forum – our parliament. I believe we should be conscious of that at all times. To that end, I have insisted throughout my parliamentary career, that appropriate language be used when in the Chamber, in Committee meetings, Shadow Cabinet or Joint Party meetings.
If people want to swear the rest of the time – that’s their choice; I can walk away. But when we are engaged in our various official capacities it seems to me not too much to ask that appropriate language be used.
Besides, I do think that the over use of the ‘f’ word, in particular, is both unnecessary and intellectually lazy. Our language is rich and ever-evolving. Words can inspire us, and move us to tears. But in recent years the over-acceptance of the ‘f’ word as the generic adjective has, I think, diminished our command of the language.
Sir Robert Menzies didn’t swear. He was a master of the put-down with no need of swearing. For instance – when heckled by an audience member “Tell us everything you know Bob; it won’t take long” he replied “Sir, I shall tell them everything we both know and it won’t take any longer.” How much more eloquent is that, than if he’d simply told his heckler to “f-off”.
So it’s not that I think people should never swear, and not that I can hope to stem the tide. It is simply that I think there is a better way.
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