N. B. These are as they appeared in the articles - either Edited by Editors or otherwise.
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My comments are in Italics - some comments will be larger, some smaller, just to mix things up a bit.
For ease of reading, my comments also appear here:
AUSSIE workers have been urged to soften their strine and avoid traditional slang, in a Federal Government push to make workplaces more migrant friendly.
Bosses should stop calling migrants "ethnic" because it might be discriminatory - and instead use the politically correct term "CALD", or Culturally and Linguistically Diverse. Casual swearing should also be avoided, as it may appear provocative or aggressive.
Despite Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's penchant for obscure Aussie colloquialisms, the Immigration Department is frowning upon strine and slang in the workplace, in a new guide for employers.
Business groups have criticised the advice, one policy analyst dismissing it as political correctness "writ large" that would achieve nothing.
The official document warns the Australian accent can baffle even English-speaking migrants, and tells bosses and workmates to speak slowly, clearly and simply.
"Remember some people, including native English speakers ... may have trouble understanding the Australian accent,'' the guide says.
"Keep in mind common Australian expressions may be misunderstood, for example, 'bring a plate', 'this machine is cactus' and 'he really spat the dummy that time'. "For some people, casual swearing may also be seen as aggressive or provocative and new employees may not be sure how to respond. "If it appears your new employee is baffled by the sense of humour and the jokes of your other employees, have someone help them out.''
The guide is accompanied by taxpayer-funded fact sheets on "Harmony in the Workplace'', prepared by the Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia.
Despite using "ethnic'' in its own title, FECCA says the word is "an illogical term with negative and potentially discriminatory connotations'' when used to describe individuals. It says migrants should not be referred to as "ethnic'', but as Culturally and Linguistically Diverse or CALD.
"Referring to someone as an 'ethnic' is not acceptable, given its assumptions and stereotypes, and connotations between the term and other racial slurs such as 'wog', 'chink' and other discriminatory labels,'' its fact sheet states.
Centre for Independent Studies policy analyst Alexander Philipatos, who has a Greek background, said the guide appeared to be a well-intentioned waste of money.
"My initial reaction is it is political correctness writ large,'' he said. "I think it's well intentioned, but personally I don't think it's going to do anything and is probably a bit of a waste of money."
FECCA president Pino Migliorino questioned the Prime Minister's use of obscure slang, such as "fair shake of the sauce bottle''. "I think the Prime Minister is very interesting in his use of slang,'' he said. "It doesn't make it right.'' Mr Migliorino said the guide was "not trying to be politically correct, but to give a sense of what's meaningful''.
The Harmony in the Workplace guide says Australian culture can seem "alien'' to migrants - including "Edna Everidge, pavlova, fish and chips, Australian Rules football, the summer barbecue and drinks after work''.
It tells bosses that migrants are "entitled to wear religious dress at work unless it creates a safety hazard''. "If items of clothing cover the face you can ask an employee to show their face for reasonable identification purposes,'' it states.
ACCI director of employment Jenny Lambert said bosses were entitled to set dress standards and make staff wear uniforms. "There is no doubt employees can have uniform codes, although many workers may also wear a turban if the employer says it's OK,'' she said.
The Harmony in the Workplace guide also explains that some migrant workers will need time off work for prayer. "Some cultures prioritise family commitments that may, at times, conflict with work commitments,'' it says.
Australian Industry Group spokesman Mark Goodsell said employers had to juggle giving special treatment to some workers while being fair to everyone. "All cultures will say they prioritise family commitments, people with young families prioritise kids,'' he said. "At what point does recognising an individual's needs create problems with the workers you're not recognising?''
Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said employees who asked for time off for non-Christian religious festivals should not be paid penalty rates for working through Easter or Christmas.
"There's got to be give and take,'' he said.
Mr Zimmerman said retailers had the right to insist on a certain "look'' or dress code from shop assistants, so long as the clothing was provided free.
Brisbane businessman David Goodwin, who chairs the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry productivity board, said workers would "struggle to get jobs'' if they did not try to fit into a workplace.
"You can't run your business accommodating every single staff member's specific needs,'' he said.
Multicultural Affairs Minister Kate Lundy launched the "harmony'' guide and fact sheets last week.
One in four Australian workers was born overseas, and 17 per cent hail from non-English speaking countries.
AUSSIE WORKPLACE TRANSLATION
Sickie - day off sick, Bludger - lazy person, Flat out - busy, Offsider - assistant, Stoked - pleased, Stuffed - tired,
Compo - compensation, Smoko - coffee break, Hard yakka - hard work, Arvo - afternoon, Cuppa - a cup of tea or coffee
She'll be right - it will be OK, You bewdy - excellent, Cactus - broken, Fair dinkum - true, Spit the dummy - get upset,
Give it a burl - try it, Knock - criticise, Bring a plate - of food to share, Mate's rate - discount for friends
No worries - everything's OK, Tee up - set up an appointment
Interesting that people living by Lake Macquarie for 50-plus years say that they've observed no 'sea level rise'. What or whom to believe? People claiming the sea and lake are higher now than ever before in human history (or similar), or people who've seen the situation / Lake / Sea (and even photographs to back up their observations?
LETTERS: No sign of sea-level rise
WITH Lake Macquarie City Council looking at ways to reduce costs, I imagine most of the council's departments are looking for savings or proof of worth - especially the more recent environmental departments, departments which were never needed in the past.
I believe that continuing with stepped-up planning requirements in anticipation of sea level rises - requirements never seen before in recorded history - shows the council's determination to use theories to justify staff jobs and their net worth.
Myself and other old timers who have lived on the lake for the last 50 years haven't noticed any measurable difference in the lake's level.
Having no scientific qualifications we can only go by what we see and have seen.
And while I agree the lake rises at times, due to storm run-off and king tides happening simultaneously, this is nothing new.
It has been happening in much the same way for as long as I can remember and no doubt will continue to do so in the future.
- Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek
We should look after our own people first - the 'Refugee Intake' budget should be included in the 'Foreign Aide Budget'. Some people wish to be homeless though - probably a tiny minority with mental issues or that want to 'get off the grid', etc.
SCOTT Holmes from Newcastle Uni wrote in the Newcastle Herald recently that he is concerned for the thousands of people in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie suffering this winter because they are homeless and without shelter.
He questions the selfishness of some who seek millions of public dollars to build a new art gallery.
I, too, share that concern and would seek the power of the press through the Lakes Mail to push for the release of the many old and vacant but still very solid buildings at Morisset Hospital to provide shelter and care for the homeless.
I believe Morisset Hospital would not be the only buildings sitting idle.
I would ask for public input to locate others.
I would also call on Newcastle's Motor Traders Association to provide a mini bus to provide a regular pick-up service as I believe these homeless people are our own true refugees.
- Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek----
Another interesting and insightful Letter to the Editor by Carl Stevenson of Dora Creek :-)
Even though this happened during and after heavy rain, with extensive run-off giving higher-than-normal lake levels, this should give an accurate maximum sea level rise data ratio.
This, I hope, is the council's first step in sensible planning by doing individual assessments on section 149 certificates.
Many people have planned ahead with council regulations and, by means of land fill or building practices, they have raised their floor levels way above any possible sea level rise or storm run-off.
This would remove unfair blanket decisions and practices based on an area as a whole.
I believe, and ask, that results should be posted, free of charge, to all concerned, rather than charging the $100 fee for a section 149 certificate. This is the least the council can do for the trauma they have caused.
The cost of a stamp would be a poor excuse for not doing it.
- Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek
But the stamp is a fancy one... maybe they'll start charging $100 to just look at it.
- Arjay Martin: Independent for Charlton.