Saturday, August 20, 2005

It just ain't natural, mate...

Aussies banned from saying "mate"?
Come on. You're kidding.
Sadly, they're not kidding.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - No way, mate!
Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Friday said it was "absurd" to require security guards at the country's Parliament House to stop addressing visitors and legislators as "mate."
The ban was imposed this week among guards and attendants at the building in Canberra, Australian media reported.
"These things are all a matter of context, and that's why it's impractical and absurd to try and ban something," Howard, who in the past has used the term to describe U.S. President George W. Bush, told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.
"There are circumstances where a more formal address is appropriate," he said. "But in the same conversation you might start off calling somebody you've just met 'sir' or 'madam,' but as you become more familiar with your conversation and your exchange, you might end up saying 'mate.' "
Hilary Penfold, secretary for the Department of Parliamentary Services, said the ban was intended to ensure staff do not offend visitors.
But Howard said it was not necessary and even he often uses the term of endearment with people he barely knows.
"People will ring me up and I might start off saying 'yes sir' as a matter of courtesy, which I normally do, and then we lapse into it, we might say 'mate'."

Hillary Penfold needs to be re-grooved.
Probably could use a life, too.