The Meeting Place

Too 'PC': Ita laments the loss of the larrikin

Ita Buttrose says the ABC's latest audience research shows Australians want a greener world, even if the ABC chairwoman says it's a little too 'white'.

Speaking on the ABC on Tuesday, Ms Buttrose revealed the broadcaster had just completed a survey of 50,000 audience members and found that environmental issues were top of mind for many people.

She also said that a lack of diversity was another issue to come out of the survey results.

“Much of the media is white and we’re not all white,” said Ms Buttrose.

“Let’s look at diversity. Do we have enough Asian representation? Should we have some Asians on the board? Do we have enough Middle Eastern representation? Should we have Middle Eastern representation on the board? Many Australians are not represented well enough and it’s about time we change that.”

She added that Aussie workplaces had become too politically correct – to detrimental effect.

“I think Australians are especially good-humoured people, and we like to josh each other in the workplace, and we should be able to do that without anyone being offended or sensitive about it. We’re far too sensitive,” she said.

“We’ve sort of suppressed that side of our character. I think we need to bring back the larrikin element of Australia and be very proud of it, because it’s very unique to us. Our larrikins are pretty special.”

Buttrose added that respondents felt passionate about Indigenous issues, a fairer go for people in country areas and the climate was a significant concern.

“Anyone in government who thinks the Australian people do not believe in climate change is absolutely blinkered in their thinking,” she said.

Do you agree that we're too PC? Is there an obvious lack of diversity in the media and on television?


Australia has been consumed by political correctness which is really bowing to the wishes of a small minority. Labor wants equal representation so some good men have been stood aside to allow women to take their place to reach a "quota". Australians want a fair go and that includes putting the best person in the job, not the one who will fill a quota. Ita wants "more Asians" but how will that work? Will those Asians be Japanese, Chinese, Indonesians, Thais, Vietnamese, Indians, Arabs or Turks, all of whom can claim to be Asian. Do we really need ethnicity as a factor in deciding the best person for the job? I would like to think that those attendingto my needs are the ones who excelled at their chosen career, not the ones who are not very good but were born in the right ethnic group which is the flavour of the month. Give everyone a fair go Ita.


Quote Ita: "Even in the workplace, the way men and women used to talk to one another, which was quite fun, I think, doesn't exist today.

"We should be able to do that without anyone being offended or sensitive about it.”


Really Ita? Really? You disappoint me and I suspect many other women. Do you think the bullying and off colour jokes to women in the workplace should resume all in the name of  "larrikinism?”  If being “too PC” means Aussies are becoming a little more well mannered, then that’s a good thing in my opinion.

Australia is doing reasonably well on the “diversity” scale, but there is still a long way to go, the ABC should take its lead from SBS.

So the ABC is too white!

I suggest Ita, that you and your CEO David Anderson lead by example and immediately offer your well paid jobs to persons of 'protected characteristics' ie non white.

KIAH, you put in your own interpretation there. I do not think she was saying bullying is acceptable. People can joke without it being sexually nasty. 
Women can wound too and deflate men's egos. If the recipient is not offended it is usually just a bit of fun.
People should speak up if the talk or actions are inappropriate but when it is all meant in fun and people can laugh at themselves a bit it is actually healthy.
It is shown on shows where cops pay out on each other to relieve the stress. Not sexism, because that is wrong but silly things to lighten the mood. 

Quote: "KIAH, you put in your own interpretation there."

Isn’t that what people normally do Paddington? In the good old larrikin days in the office, did you get wolf whistled as you walked through the office? Did you like it? I didn’t. Some take it as flattery, many women though, argue it’s a form of sexual harassment and it makes them feel objectified. In France men could face fines of up to 750 euros. A few other countries have also outlawed it. 

I am glad that sort of thing does not happen now. No, I am sure many women do not miss the "larrikins" of yester year.

Horace Cope, "good men have been set aside," what a lot of rot! Also, the argument about ethnic groups. 
There is often blatant racism involved and male bias. If there are 100 people in a group, half are women, then within the genders, there are a mix of races. Why would you think for a moment that white men would be the ideal or superior sub group. Men feared women getting the vote. People feared anyone who looked different. They are biases. They are not rational reasons for choosing a worker. Age is another bias. That one we all understand on here. The best person for the job is not one person out of the 100. It is many. And from those we bring in our biases. 


Really Paddington? Read Ed Husic's history, a Parliamentary Secretary in the Rudd government and a shadow minister until the unlosable election where he resigned as a shadow minister to make way for Kenneally. I consider Ed Husic a good man as, obviously, did Labor until the quotas kicked in. Kenneally's track record against Husic's is appalling.

Your accusation about what you claim that I think is distasteful to say the least. Read my post again and then point out the part that even suggests that I think that "white men would be the ideal or superior sub group". As I point out, Australians want a fair go for everyone.

yes we are too PC and people are too easily offended. I agree with equal pay for equal work, equal opportunity (based on merit) and abhor bullying of any kind and sexual harassment. That said I got ribbed something feirce when I was a young apprentice and called short arse, pommy bastard etc. but I learned to give as good as I got and developed a genuine liking for the people who teased me as it was their way of accepting me. I am proud to call myself Australian after 62 years here and I have developed the larrikin sense of humour which sees me tease and love to be teased back. I refuse to be politically correct so lighten up folks and if you are easily offended by words perhaps you need to develop more self confidence. Oh, and my wife says she used to love getting wolf whistles as she saw it as a compliment.


                           Image result for picture of ita buttrose with her book on good manners


I have always admired Ita..her work ethic, many of her views and her  penchant for good manners.  I believe Ita’s book on etiquette should be in every school library.

“Good manners are the basis for civilised living. They are about respect. They help make a good impression when you meet people and make life more enjoyable and less stressful. They give pleasure to everyone with whom you interact – your family, your friends, business colleagues and neighbours. I think etiquette is always important. There are those who claim that manners no longer matter but I don’t agree. Times may have changed but good manners never go out of fashion.” (Ita Buttrose).

So, when Ita speaks of “larrikinism”.. I feel certain she is not referring to foul language or being boorish. No.. I am sure she means clean good humour which she calls “joshing” between males and females who know each other. Let’s face it, one does not normally “josh” with strangers or people you hardly know. Too often however, larrikinism is used as an excuse to justify discrimination, sexism and racism (by both sexes) in the workplace. 

I do agree with Ita’s opinion that we would benefit from more ethnic cultural diversity. Personally, I would welcome this and this is one of the reasons I find myself being drawn to SBS. Just to put the cat among the pigeons here..why not amalgamate ABC and SBS?


Hi Sophie,

Ita and Jennifer Byrne are teaming up for Osteoporosis Awareness Day on the 20th October. For anyone nterested here’s a great video.

All the larrikinism has gone out of Australia.  I well remember the tons of fun I had in the workplace.  Yes politically incorrect and all that but I had a great time.  So glad I was born in the mid forties.  Would hate to be a teenage today.