I grew up in the '70s, and it wasn't the most well-mannered era. You didn't get five minutes into daily conversation before any number of racist, homophobic, sexist epithets would be spat out, sometimes with malice, often merely because that was the way many people spoke, whether intending to offend or not. And the media reflected that, which is why so much comedy from the 1970s is now so painful to watch. Anyone who wasn't a white able-bodied heterosexual male would be described in insulting or dismissive terms, with white able-bodied heterosexual women second on that particular ladder of privilege. They were what was normal. Everything else was Different. Other.

One of the stories of Australia, one of the good stories since that time, is that it has become a much more comfortable place for diversity and difference. I'm not going to use the term "politically correct", because it's bullshit. This is about having some basic manners and treating someone as you'd like to be treated yourself, judging a person on their actions, not on the colour of their skin or whom they sleep with or whether they use a wheelchair. The path we've travelled has been winding and, on occasion, confusing. I can still remember the Wran government debating whether to decriminalise homosexuality in NSW, while the Catholic churches thundered against it. At the same time, from the same pulpits, racism against newly arrived Vietnamese refugees was being denounced. Go figure. But progress was slowly made.