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Check on 'mate': workers warned to watch their mouths

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NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell ... he says calling work colleagues "mate" is OK.

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell ... he says calling work colleagues "mate" is OK. Photo: Dean Osland

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell says he approves of a directive from health officials that staff stop addressing each other or the public as 'darling', 'sweetheart' and 'honey' - but he isn't keen on banning use of the word 'mate'.

Northern NSW Local Health District has emailed health workers and other staff to remind them to use professional language with the public and other employees, the ABC has reported.

I have some issues myself around the word 'mate' - I think it is part of the Australian vernacular 

Terms like 'mate', 'darling', 'sweetheart' and 'honey' are not appropriate, the memo says, because they may be perceived as "disrespectful, disempowering and non-professional".

Mr O'Farrell says he supports any manager wanting the public to be treated more professionally by his staff but questions the directive not to address people as 'mate'.

"I get the fact that we don't want public servants providing services to the public to be referring to the public as sweetheart, darling or honey," Mr O'Farrell told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.

"I have some issues myself around the word 'mate' - I think it is part of the Australian vernacular.

"But I'm not going to criticise any public sector manager who is trying to ensure that public servants across the state, whether in the health system or any other department understand the need to treat the public professionally."

AAP

Poll: Are the terms 'mate', 'honey', 'sweetheart' and 'darling' acceptable to use at work?

  1. Please select an answer.
  2. View results
They're all fine - the world's becoming too PC

48%

I don't think any of them are appropriate

20%

Mate's OK, the others are dangerous territory though

32%

Total votes: 6477.

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Poll closed 1 Jan, 1970

Disclaimer:

These polls are not scientific and reflect the opinion only of visitors who have chosen to participate.

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