Australian Psychologists warn that anger is a growing crisis in the country. A national survey is being planned for later this year.
As the controversy over an incident at a nightclub in Brisbane is raging, attention is turning towards how people tend to blow their tops when things do not go the way they want.
AdvertisementNew South Wales Education Minister John Della Bosca has been suspended following a fracas over shifting tables on July 7.
The owner of Iguanas Waterfront at Gosford, Dean Singleton, said that Bosca's wife Belinda Neal demanded four waiters be sacked, allegedly yelling, "I could have this place shut down" and, "Do you know who I am?"
Singleton said yesterday: "They were both out of line. They carried on like pigs. Who the hell do they think they are?"
Della Bosca denied the claims, instead accusing the staff of being "abusive and provocative".
He said he and Ms Neal, the local Federal Labor MP, were celebrating a friend's birthday when they were treated rudely by staff.
"I asked to speak to the manager. Staff refused this request and an argument ensued," he said yesterday.
Singleton, who was not at Iguanas when the stoush occurred, said his operations manager was threatened by an abusive Ms Neal when staff asked them to move tables at 9pm because the restaurant was being changed into a nightclub.
"The staff set up another table for them and that's when it all boiled over. They were offensive and unreasonable. There was poking in the chest and going into areas they shouldn't have been going and saying this one and that one should be sacked," Singleton said.
Singleton said there was video footage of the fracas and several staff had signed affidavits.
"They are supposed to be pillars of society," he said.
Subsequently the club issued an apology to Della Bosca clearing him and his wife of any wrongdoing at the nightclub, but it was found out that the minister himself had dictated the apology statement.
And his wife and Labor MP Belinda Neal is apparently known for her explosive temper.
A music teacher said when there was a dispute over payment of tuition fees of Neal's son, the MP was "an absolute horror on phone."
In the lead-up to the 2001 election, Ms Neal allegedly became very angry with a leader when he flatly refused to overturn a pre-selection ballot that had made rival Trish Moran the party's candidate.
Normally tough senior party officials said they shuddered at the prospect of having to deal with Ms Neal because of her temper.
Federal parliament on Tuesday voted to refer to a disciplinary committee an exchange last month in Ms Neal had with Sophie Mirabella, a Liberal MP.
"Your child will turn into a demon, you have such evil thoughts," Ms Neal is alleged to have told the heavily pregnant backbencher right in the parliament.
The following day she apologised, but maintained she did not make the comments as described by the opposition, but her comments were caught on the parliamentary broadcast service.
An upset PM Kevin Rudd directed her to undergo counselling for a pattern of unacceptable behaviour.
He also told reporters that she reminded her that no one was guaranteed a future in politics.
It also emerged that Ms Neal was sent off and suspended for a rough tackle on a rival player during a soccer match.
She's denied swearing or threatening staff at the Iguanas night club and denied claims she kicked her soccer opponent while she was on the ground. Belinda Neal says her boot made contact with her opponent's boot.
But then she is not the only one with a temper, it looks like.
"There's a culture of bullying and intimidation in the party, and they could all do with anger management therapy," a health professional remarked. "Ms Neal is no worse than many others there."
Psychological Society president Amanda Gordon said she believed the stresses of modern life were causing a high level of stress in Australia and it appeared to be getting worse.
"We believe it is a big problem in the community," she said.
Ms Gordon said that anger management therapy could help people identify the causes for their anger and the triggers for their outbursts.
She said uncontrolled anger could be caused by stress at work or at home and most people could be taught to control their reaction to their feelings.