Premier weighs in on ‘mate’ ban

by Stephanie Zillman14 Dec 2012

One way to get Aussies hot and bothered is to ban them from calling each other ‘mate’. And a little memo sent by HR to health workers in the Northern New South Wales Local Health District has certainly ruffled a few feathers.

Related Story: Ban on using ‘mate’ at work

‘Mate’ of course wasn’t the only term on the banned list, and it was joined by friends such as ‘darling’, ’sweetheart’ and ’honey’, and other like terms.

Premier Barry O’Farrell has since faced scrutiny over the memo, and said while he supports any manager wanting the public to be treated more professionally by his staff, he questioned the directive not to address people as 'mate'.

And all this is by no means the first time high-level government has become involved in work bans on saying ‘mate’.

Back in 2005 then Prime Minister John Howard and Labour leader Kim Beazley crossed party lines and objected to an order banning security staff from using the word inside parliament house. Howard labeled the ban ridiculous, and said the expression was part of Australian culture. The ban lasted just 24 hours.