Australian of the Year David Morrison has faced a bombardment of criticism from various politicians over his declaration that the word “guys” should no longer be used in the workplace.
One of Morrison’s critics is Barnaby Joyce, who was very vocal against the former army chief’s suggestion, and said he will still use gender-specific terms.
The Nationals leader also argued that words like “mate” are part of the Aussie lexicon, according to SBS.
“I’m going to continue using ‘fellas,’ I’m going to continue using ‘guys,’ I’m going to continue using ‘ladies,’” Joyce said in front of reporters on Thursday in Rockhampton.
“I’m not going to go home to mum and say, ‘Hello parent-type person, how are you?’”
Former Labor leader Mark Lantham said that Australians shouldn’t follow Morrison’s example, but Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop slammed campaigners and said they shouldn’t be interfering with his free speech, according to Sky News Australia.
Yesterday, the 2016 Aussie of the Year introduced a Diversity Council Australia campaign to put a stop to the use of the word “guys” and other gender-based words in the workplace.
The campaign was launched alongside the social media hashtag #WordsAtWork, as well as a video that features female office workers saying the use of words like “girls,” “poofter,” “Abo,” “ball-breaker” and “retard” is inappropriate.
“Everyday at work there are hazards you walk past without realizing just how dangerous they are,” Morrison says in the video. “I’m talking about the power of words. All sorts of people cop it, old labels which don’t do us justice for who we are today.”
The former army chief is no stranger to controversy. Morrison targeted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during his very first speech at getting the Australian of the Year award earlier this year.
“It is an extraordinary time to be an Australian, but I need to give it qualified agreement,” Morrison said, using the PM’s lines that he often uses in his own speeches ever since becoming prime minister.