Australian: “G’day sport” teasing is rights violation

by Walter Olson on March 2, 2012

Anti-antipodean harassment? “An Australian community warden whose colleagues greeted him with ‘G’day Sport’ is taking his racial abuse case to the European Court of Human Rights.” [Telegraph; Dymchurch, Kent, U.K.]

{ 12 comments }

1 John David Galt 03.02.12 at 1:06 am

The Telegraph makes clear what the above doesn’t: the complainer is from Australia but has lived in Britain for decades, and he feels the taunters are making fun of his national origin.

In his shoes I’d be a little annoyed myself, though even if it rises to the level of major ongoing harassment, I would want to exhaust other remedies before considering a lawsuit. Then again, maybe he has; the comment by one of the defendants that “his complaint of [being wiretapped] was dismissed as vexatious” certainly indicates both ongoing harassment and that he’s tried to fight it in court already.

2 Nezuji 03.02.12 at 1:15 am

As an Australian, if you travel or live abroad enough (or even identify yourself on the Internet enough), you quickly get used to a plethora of generally good-natured ribs about shrimps & “barbies”, dingoes & babies, kangaroos, koalas, “sheilas”, “cobbers”, and a whole slew of other extremely outdated ocker-isms (“ocker” being a slang word meaning stereotypically-, or perhaps overly-, Anglo-Australian). It can grate on the nerves for a while, but most Aussies seem to come to the conclusion that these people are making fools of themselves, more than of their targets.

Brits can be particularly strident about it (and sadly, many of my fellow countrymen return the favour). I note that the Telegraph got a little twist of the knife in by quoting him as saying, “strewth”; it seems a poor choice of expletive for someone trying to build a case like his, although there does seem to be more to it than just name-calling.

3 peter 03.02.12 at 4:02 am

Well struth Cobber, thats oncus mate. Recon he’s a bit of a drongo bludger.

4 Richard Nieporent 03.02.12 at 8:42 am

In his shoes I’d be a little annoyed myself, though even if it rises to the level of major ongoing harassment, I would want to exhaust other remedies before considering a lawsuit.

If this is John Galt, Ayn Rand would be rolling over in her grave.

5 John Burgess 03.02.12 at 9:04 am

Clearly, this man has lived long enough in the UK to adopt the Australian stereotypical view of Britain: The Land of the Winging Poms.

6 Walter Olson 03.02.12 at 9:41 am

“Whinging,” no? The first Australian-stereotypical-view-of-Britain joke I remember hearing is: “How do you know when a BOAC (= British Airways) flight has landed at Sydney? The whinging sound continues after the engines turn off.”

7 Hugo S. Cunningham 03.02.12 at 11:06 am

Economist usually writes the words “whinge” and “whingeing.”
As I suspected, Wiktionary suggests pronounciations of “whinj,” (rhymes with “hinge”) and “whinjing” (does *not* rhyme with “swinging”).
It is close in meaning to the US word “whine,” which sometimes is used to describe jet engine noise.

One wonders whether someone with such a thin skin would be an effective community warden.

8 John Burgess 03.02.12 at 1:54 pm

Yep… caught the typo immediately after hitting ‘Submit’. Funny how often that happens….

9 Laura 03.02.12 at 2:43 pm

I didn’t know that Australian was a “race”, so how is this a “racial abuse” case? If I’m in Europe, can I file a racial abuse suit if someone makes fun of my American Southern drawl? Heavens to Betsy, what should I do if they start quoting “Gone with the Wind.” Frankly, I wouldn’t give a d#@m.

10 Bill H 03.02.12 at 3:10 pm

One wonders whether someone with such a thin skin would be an effective community warden.

Hmm. We could ask our current President.

(Sorry. That was just too easy.)

.

11 Hugo S. Cunningham 03.02.12 at 4:12 pm

A few years back I remember someone’s analysis that Western Europeans collect on what sound like trivial grievances to most Americans, but the usual award is only in 3 or 4 figures– enough for a pat on the head and feeling of sympathy, but not enough to quit your job. American verdicts are usually harder to get, but can be jackpots of 6 figures or more. I prefer the European approach.

12 Bill H 03.03.12 at 1:10 am

The European approach might work here if we didn’t have the industry that has grown up around victimhood. My view, uneducated though it is, is that even the most minor slights and imagined injuries get blown out of proportion here. The 6 figure+ verdicts may be hard to get, but they’re still common enough that people try for them every day. There’s nothing in place to slow this phenomenon down to a reasonable pace, it just keeps increasing. Your line of thought may be another reason we need a ‘loser pays’ system. A lot of nonsensical “I’m aggrieved!!!111!!!!!” lawsuits would disappear overnight. Those that remained would plummet in value to about the 3-4 figure level you’re talking about. We might then be able to attend to parties who really were damaged in some way in a much more timely manner.

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