Australian Tribunal Rules It’s Not Discrimination To Call A Kiwi A Kiwi

While I’m almost certain that there will be a non-zero amount of New Zealanders living in Australia who disagree, an Australian employment tribunal has ruled that calling a New Zealander a ‘Kiwi‘ does not count as discrimination.

In a discrimination case brought against Adelaide bakery Vili’s Cakes by former employee Julie Savage and heard by the South Australian Employment Tribunal, Savage alleged that her co-workers and managers did not use her name, simply calling her ‘Kiwi’ when she worked there in 2016.

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The judge’s findings note that this was the only point of possible discrimination raised in the case, with Judge Leonie Farrell noting that Savage “did not allege that she suffered unfavourable treatment in respect of the terms of her employment, lack of progression or segregation“.

Vili’s Cakes argued that ‘Kiwi’ is an accepted term for a New Zealander (citing its definition in the Macquarie Dictionary), to the point that it is openly embraced by the New Zealand government. Judge Farrell seemingly agreed, ruling that “calling a New Zealander a ‘Kiwi’ is not of itself offensive. ‘Kiwi’ is not an insult. It cannot be said to give rise to a detriment as defined by [section 5 of the Equal Opportunity Act]“.

The case was dismissed, with the judge ruling it to be of no substance, describing the complaint as “not about racism or any matter to which the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 has application. Her complaint is that it was disrespectful for others to not call her by her name but to instead use a nickname.