Published on Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Qantas crew urged to mind their language

Qantas has advised staff that using words such as 'mum', 'dad', 'husband' and 'wife' might offend customers.

They have also been told to think twice about using words like 'love, honey and darling'.

The information was included in material posted on the Qantas intranet as part of the airline's 'Spirit of Inclusion' month.

It suggested that gender-specific terms such as 'husband and wife' could be seen to exclude same-sex couples, while addressing passengers as 'mum and dad' might upset single parent families.

Staff were also warned not to 'manterrupt' women, which is when a man talks over a female.

Contents of the message were leaked to The Daily Telegraph in Sydney.

One section apparently urged staff to 'recognise reality' and suggested they stop referring to the arrival of the British in Australia as a 'settlement' and describe it instead as 'colonisation', 'occupation' or 'invasion'.

It explains: "Describing the arrival of the Europeans as a 'settlement' is a view of Australian history from the perspective of England rather than Australia."

However, former Australia prime minister Tony Abbott told 2GB Radio that he thought the pack was 'political correctness gone too far'.

"Qantas staff are very good people... they've got to deal with just about every possible type of person, and they don't need this kind of nonsense, they really don't," he said.

The material was devised by the Diversity Council of Australia and similar information was provided to many of the council's other 450 members.

It said: "Our WordsAtWork materials are not telling people what they can and can't say. We are simply asking people to put themselves in someone else's shoes and look at what they say from another perspective - and be open to changing what they have always thought is 'normal', respectful and appropriate to say.

"We designed the materials so that they weren't instruction manuals but rather offered up ideas for consideration. In fact, in the guide we note that language changes and so it's important to revisit these ideas over time to see how community standards about words at work may be changing.

"We will never get universal consensus on what words or behaviours are or are not inclusive - but that's actually not the point, the point is to open up a respectful discussion about it."

Qantas said the material was intended to start an internal discussion 'about how language choice can impact how inclusive (or not) a workplace is'.

The airline said it had not changed any rules or imposed any new policies or procedures.


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  • They are filthy liars.

    "Words At Work"? -Mendacity Up To No Good, more like it! Revisionist historians are liars. These people would describe the arrival of the British in Australia as 'invasion' when it was no such thing. It was the establishment of a 'settlement' at that time, and that's all it was then. If you want to know what an invasion looks like, look at the D-Day landings, etc.

    By Tony Harris, Thursday, June 7, 2018

  • Unbelievable

    So my question is: Are you telling me that there is some kind of 'think tank' who are paid to come up with this garbage? If so, then we are in deep trouble. Australia is admirably one of the most free speech countries in the world - tell it as it is - we should be embracing this and not allowing a bunch of ridiculous people to start re-writing history and being so absurdly 'politically sensitive' that it would make even the kangaroos puke. Give it a rest whoever thought this up. Go back to bed.....hopefully not in a first class seat on Qantas, either....

    By Neil Holbrook-Smith, Wednesday, March 7, 2018

  • Don't worry - It's just.....

    .....the modern world going COMPLETELY STARK STARING RAVING BONKERS!

    By Peter Mannell, Tuesday, March 6, 2018

  • Then wha is it saying...?

    The Diversity Council of Australia pamphlet iwas supposedly "...not telling people what they could and could not say..." Then what, I humbly ask, was it supposed to be doing when it gives a list of "forbidden" words?

    By Richard English, Tuesday, March 6, 2018

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