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EDITORIAL: Respect is everything, at all times

It seems we as a society might need regular reminding about the importance and value of basic respect and good manners.

When we see, hear or get an inkling of a deterioration of these fundamental cultural values, especially at high levels of governance, administration or leadership, it is time for another one of those tap-on-the-shoulder moments.

We’ve seen a massive national resurgence in demands for greater respect for women. This comes in the wake of all sorts of ugly allegations oozing from the highest administrative and governance levels in the land. 

While this is everything from grubby to nasty, suspicions are that the overall issue goes much further than the realms of sexism and is more about the idea of having respect for each other generally.

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Having a sense of acceptance is only the start of what is needed for different types of people to live and work together effectively. Everyone having respect for each other, regardless of gender, motivations, socio-economic and cultural background and a myriad of other circumstances is what makes everything work. 

We know that laws are in place to prevent or respond to the most serious breaches in how people treat each other. But it’s unwritten laws, many that have childhood foundations, that provide important behavioural building blocks.

Last time we looked, being rude, offensive, lying and yes, even having bad manners, were things most of us frowned upon –  this included everyone from the youngest child to the elderly. Yet, the ideals of respect and good manners that accompany appropriate behaviour are periodically, if not regularly, under siege. 

To see this exposed at the highest levels of governance, and often reflected in parliamentary settings, is a reminder of how disruptive it can become.

We suspect some fall into the trap of believing being respectful and having good manners is somehow a weakness. They then resort to adopting disruptive ‘cheap-shot’ tactics to inflict the most personal pain on opponents as possible.

The opposite is true. If everyone follows accepted rules of appropriate behaviour and understands that there are and always have been lines in the sand, individual strength in character comes to the fore.

LETTER: Leading the way

The entire March 24, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!