The great ‘mate’ debate continues with NSW government ministers required to take part in Respect at Work training where they were advised to stop using the word ‘mate’.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the training also advised ministers to avoid drinking alcohol at work, not to yell at staff, and to steer clear of office ‘banter’ or ‘gossip’.
The publication reports that the training sessions were organised by the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet as part of a review into bullying and harassment by former sex discrimination commissioner Pru Goward.
It was reported that several participants were unhappy with the suggestion that the word ‘mate’ is offensive with one minister saying: “I use ‘mate’ all the time – it’s as Australian as you can get. How can it be offensive?”
Another minister added: “We’re not allowed to have individual opinions. We have to engage in group thought … This is straight out of [George Orwell’s] 1984.”