Mate refused passage in nation?s capital

By JOSEPH TERNOWETSKY

A MOVE to ban the word "mate'' from use among parliamentary security staff has drawn stiff criticism from the community. Many have called the push unAustralian.

And Member for Capricornia Kirsten Livermore says calling people "sir or madam'' is an Americanism.

"I can't imagine why anybody would be offended by the term. It is a term of endearment,'' she said.

"It is just a natural way Australian's express themselves.'' Ms Livermore also said she was proud of Australian jargon.

"We should stick up for our language and try and elevate it.''

These remarks came after about 150 security staff members from the Federal Parliament in Canberra received a memo banning them from saying the word.

The memo said "mate'' was too informal and it even implied the word may be sexist.

But local historian Toby Clinch said the Australian use of the word mate had evolved and could mean either a male or female friend.

"It's a part of the Aussie charm,'' she said.

"The word has become a unisex term.''

In the dictionary the word mate has neither male nor female connotations.



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