A sensitive Australian?
Alf always thought he would never encounter such a creature – not without further substantial advances in the science of genetic engineering.
But today he admits he is wrong.
British newspapers have revealed the existence of a sensitive Australian who is alive and well and litigating in that country.
Hmm. Not so well, maybe.
He is making something of a fuss about being racially abused when colleagues greet him with ‘G’Day sport’ and he says the ‘racism’ would have ‘eventually killed him’
This evidence of a delicate nature raises an important question for the scientists who study these things: maybe if you put an Aussie in another environment for long enough he or she can become sensitive.
The Daily Mail tells the story –
An Australian community warden who claimed he was racially abused by colleagues who constantly greeted him with ‘G’day Sport’ is taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights.
Geoff Stephens, who has been in the UK for 27 years after coming over from Australia when he was 22 years old, claimed he suffered a barrage of abuse from co-workers for being Australian.
This bloke, now aged 49, worked as a community warden battling anti-social behaviour in Dymchurch, Kent, for six years.
Alf imagines this kept him busy, considering your basic Pom’s strong inclination to anti-social behaviour, although Dymchurch authorities say theirs is a small village located on the south east coast of Kent at the very edge of the Romney Marshes.
In fact, it sounds like a very quiet community.
Dymchurch has a blue flag awarded sandy beach and is surrounded by mile after mile of flat countryside that is well suited to those who seek to walk or cycle, the village provides an ideal base for visitors to the area.
Dymchurch village itself has an assortment of accommodation types ranging from Hotel to “rooms at the inn”, Bed and Breakfast to Caravans and also a large holiday park. In the centre of the village is an Amusement Park with the usual offering of Ghost Train, Dodgems, Log Flume and other rides which will keep the whole family entertained. The Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway also has a station in the village providing a unique way of travelling west as far as Dungeness and east as far as the Cinque Port town of Hythe.
The sandy beach is the jewel in the Dymchurch crown. Stretching for miles toward Dungeness to the west and Folkestone to the east it is washed completely by the tide twice daily to leave a magnificent gently sloping strip of sand almost a 1/4 mile wide at low tide. This expanse of sand is home to Donkey Rides, Kite Surfers, Sandcastle Builders and those who like to relax.
The population at last count (back in 2004) was estimated at 5820.
They boast a primary school (Stephens is a former school governor).
“Dymchurch Primary” is smaller than the average-sized primary school. The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals is broadly average. Most pupils are of White British heritage. The proportion of pupils from minority ethnic heritages is much lower than average, as is the percentage who speak English as an additional language.
Geoff Stephens – who presumably speaks Oz as his first language – would have been a member of an ethnic minority group.
His Pommy colleagues must have given him a hard time because he is reported to have quit his job with depression in 2010.
He claimed that the ‘racism’ and bullying’ he suffered at work ‘would eventually have killed him’ and that he constantly asked colleagues to stop making jokes about him being an Aussie.
He said that fellow wardens constantly greeted him with ‘G’day Sport’, ‘Is your girlfriend called Sheila?’ and made jokes about kangaroos and asked him to ‘Throw another shrimp on the barbie’.
But his Aussie fighting qualities were enough to have him fight local authorities through the legal system.
Mr Stephens took Kent County Council to an employment tribunal in January this year but eventually lost his discrimination case and his appeal was thrown out.
But this week it can be revealed that Adelaide-born Mr Stephens, who is married to Christine and lives in Folkestone, Kent, is taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights.
This action stems from his belief that Kent County Council chiefs monitored a string of private phone calls to find out if he was ‘genuinely sick’ when he went off work with depression.
‘I thought ‘Strewth’, and couldn’t believe it when I realised. It’s a breach of my human rights under article 8, the right to privacy.’
The drain on his health became apparent last year when he spoke about the case and said:
‘I’ve only been able to sleep for three hours a night since August, and the physical and mental exhaustion will eventually kill me.
‘I feel like my life has been ripped apart. I loved my job with a passion and I did a lot of good work in Dymchurch.’
So at what point did British conditioning and socialising turn an Aussie bloke into a sensitive citizen of another country who now finds an Aussie greeting depressingly offensive?
And how many Poms must an Aussie associate with for the conditioning to kick in?
Let’s face it. Geoff Stephens might not be the only Aussie who is being reconditioned by exposure to people in another country.
Shane Warne seems to be shaping up as a sensitive bloke, too.
Observers suspect the powerful influence of Liz Hurley.
The photograph above was taken on the steps of Hurley’s west London home shows Warne significantly thinner than his former portly self,
…looking more like an international sportsman than before he retired. The Australian’s face is covered with a sheen of sweat in the August heat.
Warne, 41, has been going on with Hurley since last year, when she split up with her husband Arun Nayar.
In that time, he has lost more than two stone.
But he says that his new fitness regime is all his own idea.
True, the change so far essentially is a physical one.
But we should keep an eye on Warne to see if he, too, develops a sensitive streak.
And if he does – well, at that point it’s fair to suppose that any Aussie you care to nominate – including Sir Les Patterson – could become a sensitive soul too.