What if a waiter at a Chinese restaurant explained the menu to Linda Burney (Indigenous Australians Minister) in the manner she responds to questions about the voice model?
Waiter: Good evening and welcome. I’ll be taking your order.
Burney: Thank you. Could I please have the prawn dumplings to begin with, followed by the Mongolian lamb and…
Waiter: Sorry to interrupt, but we have revised our ordering process. This is our new menu. (Hands leather-bound folder to Burney)
Burney: (Opens folder, revealing only a single page) There must be a mistake. Where are the dishes?
Waiter: Look under the heading.
Burney: The heading says ‘food’. There’s nothing listed underneath.
Waiter: It’s what we call a principle-based menu. I’ll put you down for food for one, shall I?
Burney: I’m sorry, but is this a joke?
Waiter: I can assure you this new menu will be to your liking. The food will be delicious. It will nourish. It will enrich. It will bring diners together.
Burney: Look, this doesn’t have to be a complex question. What dishes are you offering?
Waiter: You don’t like the new menu?
Burney: How can I like it when I know nothing about it?
Waiter: Of course you will like it. The food is delicious. It nourishes. It enriches. It will bring diners together.
Burney: So you keep saying. But how do I know what I’d be getting?
Waiter: There is a wealth of information available on Chinese cuisine, which you can read for yourself. I suggest you start with ‘Classic Chinese Dishes’ by T. Calma & M. Langton.
Burney: This restaurant endorses that book?
Burney: But nonetheless this restaurant serves the dishes contained in that book?
Waiter: I didn’t say that.
Burney: Then what is the point of reading it?
Waiter: It will help you understand that the food we serve is delicious. It will nourish. It will enrich. It will bring –
Burney: Will you stop saying that! If you can’t answer simple questions, then forget it. You’re not getting my business.
Waiter: I urge you not to be divisive. After all, the Asian owners of this restaurant have generously extended their hand and asked you to walk with them on this journey. You don’t want to be associated with the xenophobes, do you?
Burney: That’s preposterous! And by the way, you don’t even list prices on the menu. What’s this going to cost me?
Waiter: It’s not our policy to reveal our prices upfront. But don’t worry, you’ll find out — eventually!