Editorial: Qantas inclusion directive not wrong but hypocritical

Many people have been quick to criticise Qantas when they recently issued their “spirit of inclusion” directive to staff.

The directive came in an information pack sent out to employees from the company’s People and Culture Group.

Qantas staff were encouraged to use terms like partner and spouse instead of husband and wife, and parents instead of mum and dad because it excludes some LGBTI families, according to the new advice.

The company has told employees not to use "gender-inappropriate" words in a bid to make employees feel more comfortable in the workplace.

They were to use “humanity” not “mankind”, “manager” not “foreman” and folks or people instead of “guys”.

The information pack also declares that Australia was not settled peacefully and as such all staff should say colonization, occupation or invasion instead of “settlement”.

Predictably whinging bores like Tony Abbott have been quick to denounce the guide as “political correctness that’s gone way over the top”.

I’d said before here how what many call political correctness is simply thoughtful tolerance of the other and to that end, I support Qantas’s initiative (even if I am guilty of collectively calling my two daughters “guys” when I’m talking to them together!)

However what annoys me out of this is the arrant hypocrisy of Qantas. Their idea of a spirit of inclusion may make “employees feel more comfortable at work” but does not appear to show any appreciation of people from rural and remote areas.

I’m not suggesting they continue to upset gays who make up 20 percent of their customers, or women who make up 50 percent of their customers.

But what about the 100 percent of their customers (female or male, gay or straight) west of the divide that are subsidising the dream run of east coast bargains by paying through the nose for their services?

The contempt Qantas (and their partners in crime Virgin) are showing for their rural travellers amounts to nothing less than a spirit of exclusion.

A pox on both their houses, and let’s open the skies to fairer players – Derek Barry