The Prime Minister:
David Thackrah writes: Re. Friday’s Editorial. I am tired of the misogynistic barbs and reporting that has enshrouded the Prime Minister over the past two years. Business people and political commentators — plus the shock jocks — have not been able to elucidate that the banal behaviour they have espoused damages the office of Prime Minister.
What do people around the country begin to think when the Prime (number one) Minister is referred to by just a name? No one has bothered to set out the duties the PM faces each day when entering the office. No deference to the discipline needed to cope with widespread policy and functional issues to do with the public service and the “dispensing” of government. No, that is outside the business person’s perspective as it is the media mob (the gallery?) so we end up with serial damage to democracy and insincere opposition performance.
Question time remains the worst hour of the day for radio and television.
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Unless we inject more formality into media reports and coverage of political affairs, the trust in our democratic process that we think is unassailable will vanish and we will have to work hard as a people to come together again.
Referring to the country’s first peoples:
Martin Wardrop, director, Aboriginal Art Online, writes: I am a daily reader of Crikey and enjoy much of it, but I was surprised that you bothered to print the comment from “A Crikey reader” (Friday, comments) about the use of the term indigenous when the comment was so obviously wrong.
It is easy to establish that common and accepted term in Australia for referring to the country’s first peoples collectively is “Indigenous” people (capitalised). Numerous organisations run by Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander peoples use this word and in the capitalised form. The Australian Bureau of Statistics states “The term Indigenous is used to refer to Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”
The statement by your Crikey reader that “Indigenous is not widely accepted any more, it is an anachronism from early government days. It is best to use the term Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people” is wrong. Indigenous is not an anachronism — if anything, it is now more widely used than the longer phrase.
The reader’s statement about not using “Aborigines” is correct — such usage does tend to be viewed as being somewhat archaic.
There is no need for Crikey to develop a policy on this topic — plenty of satisfactory ones already exist, if you do decide you need one, an example is the ABC’s cultural protocol.
The ABC protocol states:
“When using Indigenous always use a capital I. Aboriginal and Indigenous are classified as people, and therefore qualify using capitals. This applies only to Australian Indigenous people.”