Top Aussies say ‘It’s time to ban the bans’
AUSTRALIANS are drowning under a tidal wave of wowserism as bans, rules and red tape sweep away our reputation as a laid-back nation in the name of nanny-state ideals.
From prohibitions on sex, surfing and single use plastic bags to bans on balloons, barbecues and birthday cakes to promotion of student safe spaces and gender fluidity, our freedoms are being chipped away.
Among the results: schools banning playground cartwheels, universities marking students down for using the word mankind and insisting on a consent checklist before romantic relationships, and businesses insisting on "inclusive language".
Last month, the Tasmanian government even foreshadowed a ban on outdoor barbecues.
Today three premiers, business titans, sports stars, media personalities and even a VC winner have called for a return to common sense.
"Political correctness should not be used as a cover to shut down debate or shy away from difficult decisions," Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
"Good governments … stay out of people's lives and give people the freedom to make their own choices," she told The Daily Telegraph.
"I think on some occasions we do go too far (with political correctness). It's really important for people to step up and take personal responsibility."
Former premier John Fahey, who brought the 2000 Olympic Games to Sydney, said most of the nation's politicians were "gun-shy and afraid to say what the majority of Australians think".
"The supermarket plastic bag removal is a classic example of environmental symbolism," Mr Fahey said.
"Everyone admits it will achieve very little environmentally."
Mr Fahey said Australia's energy supply was another key area at serious risk.
"Why has coal become an abhorrent four-letter word?"
Former Labor Premier Minister Bob Carr is concerned about "political conformity out of control", in the nation's universities.
"Safe spaces at universities (where students can avoid dissenting views) should not be needed," he said.
"We should be confronting young students with shocking and challenging ideas. I am calling for more respect and civility for people with different views."
Former Prime Minister John Howard has warned of an "avalanche of political correctness" and, in a new book, education expert Kevin Donnelly said it was destroying Australia's cultural heritage and restricting free speech.
A ban on toy guns at childcare centres and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's no-sex rules for parliamentary staff are too much for Ita Buttrose.
"I used to play with my brother with cap guns as a child … we haven't turned out weird and aggressive," she said.
"Turnbull's bonk ban was a waste of time - you can't change ingrained human nature by slapping a sex ban on people."
Attempts by defence officials to promote gender diversity and ban killing iconography have riled VC winner Keith Payne, 84, who told The Telegraph: "We were always known as risk takers - and that is still happening - but politicians are telling people, 'You can't do that'.
"I don't know whether they (politicians) want to control the population or govern them."
Wallabies legend John Eales said that Australia had "gone overboard".
"The standard of debate has deteriorated to a 'Let's attack the person' situation and not get to the actual argument," he said.
Cricket great Mike Hussey said in many cases political correctness went "way too far".
"It is important for kids to have a go (and) feel what it is like to win and lose as there are many lessons to be learned from failure," he said.
Retail legend Gerry Harvey said that rules were killing entrepreneurialism and Australia would need a "miracle" to recover. Businessman and entrepreneur Dick Smith said Australia was in the grip of "do-gooders. "Young people are not allowed to take risks like walking in the bush or climbing … it is changing our way of life," he said.
Aussie Home Loans founder John Symond added: "Political correctness has gone too far and people are wanting our politicians and statesmen to comment with conviction and follow through."
TV and radio personality Prue MacSween received death threats over comments she made about the removal of indigenous children at risk.
"It is pretty tragic that the traits that made this country unique - our laid-back attitude, irreverence and laconic humour - are now under threat," she said. "People everywhere are too scared to express their opinions."
Author Blanche d'Alpuget said: "We have lost confidence and trust in our institutions and replaced it with fear that everything is falling to pieces.
"We need to take a few deep breaths and steps backwards to see what are sensible changes and what are hysterical ones."
TV host "Baby John" Burgess said: "It has become absolutely outrageous changing kids' nursery rhymes and the way you speak to people.
"Who is making these rules and who gave them the right?"
Olympic legend and 36-year member of the International Olympic Committee Phil Coles also backed the call for a return to reason.
"Common sense is the way to go - that's what we need," he said. "Decades ago it was a totally different atmosphere."
Psychologist and author Michael Carr-Gregg said: "Even those sympathetic (to political correctness) have been turned off."
Actor and comedian Rob Shehadie said "Australia just needs to laugh again".
"Australians need to start enjoying life again and not worrying about other people's lives," Shehadie said.
WHAT WE'RE BANNING NOW
■ Single-use plastic bags at major supermarkets
■ Toy weapons and birthday cakes in childcare centres
■ Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's bonk ban on ministers having sex with staffers
■ Health groups calling for certain foods and drinks - including Milo (!) - to be banned from junior sports clubs
■ Party balloons in parks
■ Ball sports in certain council parks
■ Surfboards at North Bondi
■ Witches, goblins and other things that go bump in the night from children's books
■ Drinking at popular Sydney beaches such as Coogee
■ Sydney University's ban on students kissing without receiving an "enthusiastic yes" from the second party
■ Kebab shops remaining open after midnight in Newtown and Enmore
■ High-vis clothing from certain inner-city hotels
■ University students using "mankind" and "he" or "she" in essays being marked down
■ Kids being allowed to do cartwheels and handstands in school
■ Diversity Council chair and former chief of army David Morrison's attempt to ban the term "guy" from the workplace to encourage inclusion of minorities
■ Army ban on "symbols of death"
■ Airline staff told not to refer to the "settlement" of Australia by the Brits but instead use "colonisation", "occupation" or "invasion"
■ Qantas ban on 'gender inappropriate' language