Author Topic: Our PM's dinner  (Read 6949 times)

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CakeEater

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Our PM's dinner
« on: February 21, 2012, 06:13:24 AM »
http://www.news.com.au/national/gay-couples-to-share-31k-dinner-with-pm/story-e6frfkw0-1226075899575

Australia's Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, donated a dinner at her home to a charity auction. The dinner will be held tonight. I was listening to the radio this afternoon, and one of the women mentioned in the article was saying she intended to 'throw some grenades at the PM.'

Is it rude to 'accept an invitation' to dinner, fully intending to engage your hosts in an uncomfortable discussion of any nature?

Bethalize

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Re: Our PM's dinner
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2012, 06:14:40 AM »
http://www.news.com.au/national/gay-couples-to-share-31k-dinner-with-pm/story-e6frfkw0-1226075899575

Australia's Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, donated a dinner at her home to a charity auction. The dinner will be held tonight. I was listening to the radio this afternoon, and one of the women mentioned in the article was saying she intended to 'throw some grenades at the PM.'

Is it rude to 'accept an invitation' to dinner, fully intending to engage your hosts in an uncomfortable discussion of any nature?

It might be, but if you buy a dinner invitation I think the rules are different.

Twik

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Re: Our PM's dinner
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2012, 10:13:28 AM »
I don't think so - if you accept hospitality, even when it's a charity event, you are obligated to behave decently. That includes not treating your hosts as if you were a hard-hitting reporter on an investigative news program.

And if she insists on using the phrase she does, she may end up being stopped by security before she ever gets a chance to say hello.
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GeauxTigers

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Re: Our PM's dinner
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2012, 10:38:13 AM »
It is rude to accept an invitation to what is usually a social event (dinner at a person's home) with the intention of making the host uncomfortable.

If the woman/guest in question feels the need to be quoted in the national media ("throw some grenades"), she should also expect that PM Gillard's security personnel will take her very seriously and act accordingly.

Shoo

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Re: Our PM's dinner
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2012, 10:41:09 AM »
I'd expect that person's invitation to be revoked, considering the wording she used.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Our PM's dinner
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2012, 10:47:37 AM »
Yes, I do think it is impolite.

But I'm sure AU's PM has the skills to deftly handle any word bombs launched her way.  This guest doesn't appear to have superlative debating or oratory skills that would match a long term politician's abilities. 

Winterlight

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Re: Our PM's dinner
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2012, 10:50:42 AM »
I think when a political figure puts themself up for auction, they should be aware that their time may be bought by someone trying to lobby them. That is not rude.

However, common sense suggests that discussing grenades, even as a figure of speech, in such a situation is foolish.
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Bibliophile

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Re: Our PM's dinner
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2012, 10:54:05 AM »
I'm going to disagree & say that it's a good way to get a private conversation with a politician about issues that are important to them.  As long as they are polite during dinner, a difficult question about a heated political issue isn't rude. 

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Surianne

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Re: Our PM's dinner
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2012, 12:42:44 PM »
I'm going to disagree & say that it's a good way to get a private conversation with a politician about issues that are important to them.  As long as they are polite during dinner, a difficult question about a heated political issue isn't rude.

I agree.  Nothing wrong with discussing politics at a political dinner, as long as she keeps it polite. 

Hmmmmm

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Re: Our PM's dinner
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2012, 01:51:17 PM »
I'm going to disagree & say that it's a good way to get a private conversation with a politician about issues that are important to them.  As long as they are polite during dinner, a difficult question about a heated political issue isn't rude.

I agree, but going into the event and telling the press that you plan to "launch a grenade" implies hostility. It would have been just as easy to say they were eager to discuss X issue with the PM as they have a different perspective than the PM. 

Surianne

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Re: Our PM's dinner
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2012, 04:12:56 PM »
I'm going to disagree & say that it's a good way to get a private conversation with a politician about issues that are important to them.  As long as they are polite during dinner, a difficult question about a heated political issue isn't rude.

I agree, but going into the event and telling the press that you plan to "launch a grenade" implies hostility. It would have been just as easy to say they were eager to discuss X issue with the PM as they have a different perspective than the PM.

Two ways of interpreting the same phrase, I guess -- I'd see "launch a grenade" as "start the political debate with something controversial" rather than as anything necessarily involving hostility.

Twik

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Re: Our PM's dinner
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2012, 04:24:35 PM »
The trouble is, few people who want to "start with something controversial" are willing to also be genial and pleasant. In fact, normal etiquette requires you to avoid the controversial when dealing with strangers (and no matter how easily a professional politician may deal with such things, the other people at the dinner may not react well).
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Surianne

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Re: Our PM's dinner
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2012, 06:56:36 PM »
The trouble is, few people who want to "start with something controversial" are willing to also be genial and pleasant. In fact, normal etiquette requires you to avoid the controversial when dealing with strangers (and no matter how easily a professional politician may deal with such things, the other people at the dinner may not react well).

I would think a dinner billed as the chance to talk with the Prime Minister would automatically involve political discussion.  And I also know many, many people (including myself) who are fully capable of discussing controversial issues while remaining polite.

The idea that political discussion is rude at a dinner the women paid for in order to get time with the PM is just...baffling to me. 

Edit: here's a quote from the article in the OP:

Quote
"Our youngest often asks us, 'Mummies, are you going to be engaged forever? Why don't you get married?,'" Ms Miller said in a statement today.

"It has been hard trying to explain that our government won't let us get married, and he doesn't understand why everyone else can get married and become a family legally and we can't.

"We don't want to be considered special or better than anyone else. We only want the same rights as every other person and couple in Australia."

Sounds to me like she's doing a fantastic job of remaining polite, logical, and passionate.  I don't doubt she'll be able to bring the same attitude to the dinner.  I think this is a great example of handling a political issue *without* being rude. 
« Last Edit: February 21, 2012, 07:10:57 PM by Surianne »

Iris

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Re: Our PM's dinner
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2012, 07:46:21 PM »
To be honest gay marriage has been so much on the agenda in Australia for the last while that I don't actually consider it that much of a 'grenade'. Especially given that thanks to the media the PM will be fully aware that the auction has been won by GetUp and they have arranged three gay couples to participate.

Provided that the conversation is civilised I don't see a problem. I also don't think it will achieve much, especially since the PM has had more than ample time to prepare responses on the issue, but good on them for having a go.

On the topic of security - Australian politicians are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy more relaxed about security than their US counterparts. In fact DB and I once stood within 10-15 metres of the then PM, idly (not seriously!) discussing running up and poking the PM in the eye because of some stupid (in our opinion) policy or another Then we realised that there was a senior police officer right near us clearly listening and tryng very hard not to chuckle when we noticed him and stopped with "Oh Carp" expressions on our faces.
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Isometric

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Re: Our PM's dinner
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2012, 08:07:12 PM »
The link didn't work for me, but if I remember correctly, there was an auction for this dinner? (Please correct me if I'm wrong)

To me, they have bought time with the PM, to talk about whatever they wish. This is still a "work function", not a coffee with friends. They have bought time with the "Prime Minister of Australia", not Julia Gillard, cat lover and knitting enthusist (or whatever she may do in her own time!) Politicians wouldn't be on many people's "top interesting people" list, so most people would have an agenda.

I think it's perfectly acceptable to hold a heated discussion. The PM has been thoroughly drilled in appropriate answers & bean dipping for these types of questions. I don't think it's appropriate to rapid fire questions and attack the PM personally.