New South Wales north coast health workers cannot address their colleagues or patients with words such as 'mate', after a memo stated it was inappropriate.
The memo, which was sent out by the Northern NSW Local Health District, told workers that these terms may be perceived as disrespectful, disempowering and non-professional, the ABC News reports.
The other terms that were mentioned as being inappropriate were 'darling', 'sweetheart' and 'honey'.
The memo said that the directives are in line with the NSW ministry code of conduct, news.com.au reports.
"The utilisation of this language within the work place at any time is not appropriate and may be perceived as disrespectful, disempowering and non-professional," the memo said.
"This type of language should not be used across any level of the organisation such as employee to employee or employee to client," it added.
According to the report, the controversial memo comes as former Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales James Spigelman addressed the Australian Human Rights Commission on freedom of speech.
He said that on the issue of regulating hate discourse, Australia could not afford to shift so far as to impinge on freedom of speech.
"The freedom to offend is an integral component of freedom of speech. There is no right not to be offended," he said.
"Words such as 'offend' and 'insult', impinge on freedom of speech in a way that words such as 'humiliate', 'denigrate,' 'intimidate', 'incite hostility' or 'hatred' or 'contempt', do not. To go beyond language of the latter character, in my opinion, goes too far," he added.
"None of Australia's international treaty obligations require us to protect any person or group from being offended," he said, adding: "We are, however, obliged to protect freedom of speech." (ANI)