Australian of the Year David Morrison wants everyone to use their manners more 8



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As a society we could all benefit from using our manners more, but could the suggestion of our Australian of the Year be taking it a little far?

60-year-old David Morrison wants us to stop using gender exclusive terms such as ‘guys’ i.e. “Hey guys!” when addressing people of both genders.

The former Army chief said the term ‘guys’ especially needs to leave workplaces.

He’s now launched a new Diversity Council Australia video which aims to crack down on language which excludes minority groups.

“Exclusive language, gender-based language or inappropriate language, has as much a deleterious or disadvantaged effect as something where you’re saying something blatantly inappropriate to another human being,” General Morrison told ABC News Breakfast.

He said he was not trying to become the “language police” and said he knows he’ll be criticised.

The #WordsAtWork campaign video depicts a group of women rolling their eyes at being called “girls” by a male colleague.

“All the campaign is doing is saying look, it’s a proven fact that more inclusive [and] more diverse workforces create real diversity of thinking and are more productive, more effective,” General Morrison said.

“And one of the ways that you can engender that type of environment is being careful about how you speak to other people, talking to them with respect and listening to their views with respect.”

General Morrison said he was making a conscious effort to stop using the word “guys” when speaking to groups of people.

“I have now removed that from my lexicon as best I can, I think it’s important”.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said “I don’t think we should try and interfere with the freedom of speech in this country to a point where people are too concerned about day-to-day conversations”.

According to Australian National University language expert Catherine Travis said “you guys” had evolved to include all genders and was commonly accepted.

“Mum really only refers to a mum, girls only refers to girls, whereas the meaning of guys has changed to include males and females”.

Watch the video below and tell us, do you make this faux pas when speaking to a group of people or do you prefer to address people by saying “Hi everyone”?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Well then I was only called Love in my work place the other day and I took no offence maybe that’s because I’m old school. Don’t we all have better things to worry about in our lives.

    1 REPLY
    • Exactly! I don’t mind in the least when someone calls me Love. Too much nitpicking going on about words that are not meant as offensive.

  2. How long has the argument been around? A lot longer than I have. I’ve known female friends who chaff at the bit when they are referred to as *girls*, you stop being a girl when you menstruate, then you become a *woman*. When this article indicated *Manners* I thought it was the olde P’s and Q’s. Let’s face it please and thank you are in even shorter supply these days. As for the poofter/dyke euphemisms (like to think that’s what they are) some terms are used by Gays as a means of owning and disarming them, but even some Gays object and are still offended by them.
    Can we de-genderise *Guys & Gals*, what d o you say *Hey you lot!
    About the only Gender based *manners* thing I was taught as a child was to give up your seat for a lady, no I’ll give up my seat for an elderly person or a pregnant woman or even someone with a greater disability than mine, but not for say an office person (was gonna say *girl*) who’s been seated on her behind all day whilst I’ve been on my feet!
    As for the *Love* Darl* it’s usually because I haven’t remembered the names yet! If the want to take *Offence* then they should get a name tag!

  3. Maybe he should use his year better how about he focuse on return service guys ! Show them support and how we can all help support them.

  4. The man strikes me as quite a bit shell shocked.

    Having said that, I am tired of the tend of calling my wife and I guys. We’re Mr and Mrs. Or sir and madam. I don’t go into a business of restaurant to make friends, I am there to do business. As I explained to a Telstra queue manager ” if I wanted to date you I would have come with flowers and champagne, my name is Mr Gee!”

    Let’s get some manners back into our business dealings.

  5. Seems David Morrison is running around looking for cause to me. Not a lot to hang his hat on so go for a word that is defined in one of the main dictionary’s ( so I heard this morning) as being gender neutral and has been since around 2000 that I can remember when addressing groups of people of both genders. What a joke.

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