Much of what US presidential candidate, Donald Trump, says needs to be taken with a pinch of salt; however, he is on the money when he says there is too much political correctness in the world. Eddie McGuire is currently defending himself against claims of racism following a report on Friday which alleged he called Victorian sports minister John Eren a “soccer loving Turkish born Mussie” at an AFL meeting in March. As it happens Mr. Eren and McGuire are friends. They work together; they talk with each other every other day. The leaders of Islamic Community have spoken out in McGuire’s defence, saying they do not find the word Mussie offensive. It is not racist; besides, a Muslim is someone who follows the Islamic faith. Muslim is not a race; therefore, technically, Mussie is not a racist word. Some may argue it is inappropriate but that is a whole different kettle of fish. I have never really understood why homosexuals are called gay. As far as I am concerned, it trivialises and is inappropriate. It not a word which I choose to use. Too often people are looking for dark shadows where there are none. The opportunity to publicly criticise McGuire is irresistible to some journalists. One is left speculating whether it is the person or the success they resent? Claire Harvey, a journalist with the Sydney Telegraph, described McGuire as, amongst other things, a football boofhead. If a man were to use such abusive and emotive language about a woman – and you should read her article which is deeply insulting about him – he would be pilloried from pillar to post; apologies would be demanded; explanations required; but no so from Ms. Harvey, who pretentiously, one assumes as a display of her linguistic knowledge and higher education, informs the reader that Mussie is a transgressive adjective. I know the definition of a transgressive adjective, but I am at a loss as to why she felt the need to include this superfluous scrap of data in her most hostile article.
Equally, I was bemused to hear television presenter, Jessica Rowe, branding McGuire a racist. According to her she knows from personal experience. She said: “I’m sorry, but I don’t have a lot of good to say about that man because he made my life hell.” Quite what that has to do with racism I am at loss to understand. One can only ponder. In The Age newspaper, Ebony Bowden, in a column which reports in detail Ms. Rowe’s reaction to McGuire’s use of the word Mussie, and his other transgressions, she makes mention of a supposed conversation which took place between McGuire and former Nine News director, Mark Llewellyn. I am at a loss to understand, precisely, what this salacious and questionable conversation – which is recounted in detail has to do with the racism debate, and why Ms. Bowden chose to include it. Curiously, Ms. Bowden makes no mention in her article of the fact that McGuire has, always, vigorously denied the conversation. He said: “It never happened!”
If we are going to label Mussie as a racist epithet, then there are dozens of words which should be removed from our daily dialogue. Are we going to find Colonials, Ozzie, Pommy, Mick, left-footer, Proddie, Septic Tank, Yank, Kiwi, Taffy, Paddy, Yid, Itie, Ruskies, krout, even blackfella, offensive? I hope not.
Of course these words can be used pejoratively to cause lasting hurt and deep offence, but please, let us not sanitise the language to such a degree that we remove all colour from the lexicon. Education, from an early age, is the answer to the problem.
I have known Eddie McGuire for about 30-years. He, and his wife Carla, are friends. I can say, absolutely, categorically, and resoundingly, Eddie McGuire is not a racist. If he were he would not be a friend of mine.
It is time to stop and concentrate on other matters. The prime minister, and politicians of all persuasions, have heard our message. It has been made abundantly clear that the politicians’ interpretations of the rules for the use of taxpayers’ funds regarding their financial entitlements are at odds with the publics’ expectations. There is nothing to be achieved by a day-by-day, blowbyblow, running account of how much was spent, and by, and on, whom. Some may think the embarrassment is clever, but it is tantamount to closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. Hopefully, the current practices will be a thing of the past, and there are not too many outrageous uses of charter flights and helicopters in the list of claims.
Despite their protestations, the politicians are under no misapprehension that we do not approve of their children travelling business class at our expenses, and that the use tax payers’ money needs to be brought into line with accepted private business practices. Like the rest of Australia, politicians’ should pay for their own holidays. Let us wait and see what the relevant committee presents as proposed rulings. It they are not to our liking that is the time to speak-out.