There’s a memo doing the rounds today which is copping a bit of a bagging from the anti-PC police but which actually isn’t that offensive.
A regional health executive in northern NSW has asked his workers to avoid the use of words like ‘mate’, ‘darling’, ‘sweetheart’ and ‘honey’ in the workplace.
Some have rightly seized on the fact that the word ‘mate’ is not only inoffensive, but is a pretty helpful substitute word when you don’t actually know someone’s name. Fair enough. But let’s be real. The other words on the list are old hat at best and demeaning at worst.
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This summer of Australian natural disasters has been book-ended by two New Zealand disasters, both of which claimed more lives than all of the Australian weather-related calamities put together.
In late November, the Pike River mine blast claimed 29 victims. Various Australian weather events – most notably the SE Queensland floods – then claimed around 25 lives, while the death toll continues to rise rapidly from yesterday’s devastating Christchurch earthquake. At last count it was 65 and early morning reports suggest this could reach as high as 200.
There are no lessons in all of this, except one. New Zealand’s pain is our pain. And ours is theirs.
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