If you were still in any doubt as to George Orwell’s powers of prediction, then just consider this. The ANZ bank has just published the definitive guide as to what is and is not acceptable language. Significantly titled #LoveSpeech, this is part of a larger twenty-five page (!) guide as part of:
[A] national campaign to educate Australians on the impact that hurtful language has on the LGBTIQ+ community.
Not only that, but you can also download what is being referred to as the “Hurt Blocker” as an extension to Chrome to “transform hurtful words in live text into fun-loving emoji’s”. Oh, please! So, all of our online communications are going to look like it’s coming from a bunch of teenage-girls on Snapchat or Instagram.
Don’t get me wrong. Being able to speak to one another in a respectful way is integral to being part of a civil society. But where does the ANZ Bank get off on lecturing the broader community about morality? I mean—according to just one of the many, many reports on the financial institutions royal commission—this was the very same financial institution which ripped off customers $682 million dollars over ten years.
Not only that, but this single report continued:
ANZ was warned that charging customers to move money between their own accounts could be illegal in July 2011, but continued levying the fees for another four and a half years, the corporate regulator has told a court.
There’s much, much more in the same vein.
So, spare us all your self-righteous, progressive moralising and get back to serving your customers with integrity.
Maybe then you might begin to have the credibility to try to tell us what we can and cannot say.
Mark Powell is the Associate Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Strathfield.
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