Ed’s note: Stephen is the BBC reporter who asked former Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo whether Australians are racist. Here he explains why he asked the question.
G’day, mate! Strewth. Did you hear what Kevin said about that Mexican and his amigos. Gave it to him straight, cobber, like a true blue Aussie. Senor Sol won’t be going walkabout near our billabong any time soon.
Offensive, isn’t it? And it’s offensive because it’s patronising. It’s a tired cliché that portrays Australians falsely as hicks and provincials and so distorts and devalues a modern country.
Which is presumably exactly what all those sombreros and cheap Mexican tunes and words like “adios” were meant to do. Rather than take Sol Trujillo on his merits, it was his background that was the salient point about him.
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We always knew Sol Trujillo was a smooth talker. Now we know just how smooth. His replacement at Telstra, David Thodey, will be paid at least $1m, and possibly as much as $4m, less a year.
Details of Thodey’s contract, released to the ASX this morning, actually say more about Trujillo than his successor. Trujillo may not have been able to bend the government to his will but he could sure strike a good deal with a pliant Telstra board.
Thodey, who colleagues say is a good negotiator, will be paid $2m a year. Trujillo got $3m. Thodey could top up his pay with another $7.2m in bonuses if he hits certain targets. Trujillo’s bonuses could run to $10m. If Thodey, and Telstra, hit every target in the coming year, he could earn up to $9.2m. Trujillo took home $13.4m last financial year.
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From the Chk Chk Boom girl to the anti-Indian ratbags in Melbourne, Australians are racist. I’ve come to this conclusion not because I’ve got three university degrees but because I’ve spent the past four decades being asked if I’m a curry-muncher.
Not in a rude or insulting or abusive way, well, generally not. But in that genial, good-natured, piss-takey Australian way.
Which is still racist, and which explains why so many foreigners – to use a popular and racist Australian term for non-Australians – regard us as such.
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