Sunday, August 18, 2013

Australian workers told to cut the slang

I am more concerned about it dying out.  A lot of colourful expressions are seldom heard now.  Do young people today know the difference between a galah and a drongo, for instance? -- JR

AUSSIE workers have been urged to soften their strine and avoid traditional slang, in a Federal Government push to make workplaces more migrant friendly.

Despite Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's penchant for obscure Aussie colloquialisms, the Immigration Department is frowning upon strine and slang in the workplace, in a new guide for employers.

Business groups have criticised the advice, one policy analyst dismissing it as political correctness "writ large" that would achieve nothing.

The official document warns the Australian accent can baffle even English-speaking migrants, and tells bosses and workmates to speak slowly, clearly and simply.  "Remember some people, including native English speakers ... may have trouble understanding the Australian accent," the guide says.

"Keep in mind common Australian expressions may be misunderstood, for example, 'bring a plate', 'this machine is cactus' and 'he really spat the dummy that time'.

"For some people, casual swearing may also be seen as aggressive or provocative and new employees may not be sure how to respond.

"If it appears your new employee is baffled by the sense of humour and the jokes of your other employees, have someone help them out."

The guide is accompanied by taxpayer-funded fact sheets on "Harmony in the Workplace", prepared by the Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia.

Despite using "ethnic" in its own title, FECCA says the word is "an illogical term with negative and potentially discriminatory connotations" when used to describe individuals.

It says migrants should not be referred to as "ethnic", but as Culturally and Linguistically Diverse or CALD.

"Referring to someone as an 'ethnic' is not acceptable, given its assumptions and stereotypes, and connotations between the term and other racial slurs such as 'wog', 'chink' and other discriminatory labels," its fact sheet states.

Centre for Independent Studies policy analyst Alexander Philipatos, who has a Greek background, said the guide appeared to be a well-intentioned waste of money.

"My initial reaction is it is political correctness writ large," he said.  "I think it's well intentioned, but personally I don't think it's going to do anything and is probably a bit of a waste of money."

FECCA president Pino Migliorino questioned the Prime Minister's use of obscure slang, such as "fair shake of the sauce bottle".  "I think the Prime Minister is very interesting in his use of slang," he said. "It doesn't make it right."

Mr Migliorino said the guide was "not trying to be politically correct, but to give a sense of what's meaningful".

The Harmony in the Workplace guide says Australian culture can seem "alien" to migrants - including "Edna Everidge, pavlova, fish and chips, Australian Rules football, the summer barbecue and drinks after work".

One in four Australian workers was born overseas, and 17 per cent hail from non-English speaking countries.



Anonymous said...

Liberal guilt/insanity at its finest. I am just dumbfounded by this moron.

Anonymous said...

God forbid that immigrants should learn colloquial phrases so they become more Australian. We must keep people from joining the "Melting Pot" to borrow an American term. If they can relate to each other it is harder to play divisive group identity politics. Here in the US, those obsessed with race have caused so much resentment between differing racial groups with their constant complaining, that instead of coming together, we are being divided.