Slang ban instigators are no mates of local leaders

By REN LANZONrlanzon@gladstoneobserver.com.au

A SUGGESTION the term "mate'' not be used in the halls of power has drawn the scorn of many Australians, including that of local leaders.

A parliamentary circular issued this week warned security staff and attendants against using the term when dealing with the public or members of parliament because it might offend some people.

Federal Member for Hinkler Paul Neville, Gladstone mayor Peter Corones (pictured right) and Calliope Shire mayor George Creed howled the idea down.

Mr Neville said he was comfortable being Paul, Mr or mate. He said he did not believe the term 'mate' was over-familiar in the Australian context. "Mate is part of our military history, our outback tradition, our sporting lexicon and our literature,' he said.

'We shouldn't allow politically-correct zealots to dominate our lives or the familiarity of our relationships.' Cr Corones, whose habit is to call people 'mate' and 'matey', said the terms typified the Australian character of casualness, friendship and a relaxed attitude.

'I might as well cut off my tongue if the word was ever banned,' he said.

"If anything like that happens, it will be political correctness gone crazy.''

He said If anyone became offended over the term "they ought to get a life'.

'It would be like trying to stop Australian's saying G'day.'

Cr Creed said there were occasions when the term should not be used.

'I don't use the term much, but no one has ever offended me by calling me mate,'' he said.

'It's a term used a lot in Australia and no one should find it at all offensive.'

The ban had a short life and later yesterday was overturned. Parliamentary security staff officers are now free to use their judgment when deciding how to address members of the public and politicians.



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