Flat White

Liberals want quality, not quotas

11 September 2018

11:20 AM

11 September 2018

11:20 AM

Sorry lefties, but the Liberal Party ain’t ever going to have targets or quotas for transgenders or albinos. If the Liberal Party goes down the path of giving preferential treatment to any category of individual – including gender – that is not strictly related to ability, then we are on a slippery slope where other categories will soon demand special treatment too.

We are better off simply viewing people as individuals and not members of clubs. Labor can indulge in this folly at their peril. We won’t.

Liberal Party members and supporters couldn’t care less if Liberal MPs were 100 per cent male or 100 per cent female – they care about smart, gutsy leadership. Parliaments are not a national kaleidoscope. They are meant to be a solemn gathering of the wisest public policy thinkers and advocates.

When Margaret Thatcher was asked what it was like to be the first female prime minister she dismissed it by saying, ‘I don’t know. I’ve never been a male prime minister.’ Her gender was incidental to her agenda and her role.

Calls for quotas deter high calibre women putting themselves forward. They are rightly too proud to win a new role with the cloud hanging over them that they won because of a quota or even a silent quota where the party thinks ‘oh well we better vote for the female to keep the chattering class happy.’

There are two categories of concerned citizens demanding the Liberal Party change its rules so it is forced to select candidates based on gender.

The first are politically ambitious women who doubt they have the raw talent to win Liberal endorsement but suspect they might if their competitors are handicapped.

The second are those who have been opposed to the Liberal Party their whole life yet assure us that they want us to embrace quotas for the good of the party. They claim we will lose votes if we don’t have more women Liberal MPs. While we appreciate the turnaround in their level of goodwill towards us the facts don’t back up their claims.

Paul Keating was a terrific Treasurer and Australia is indebted to him for the passion, courage and leadership he showed in bringing Thatcherite economics to this country. Keating was, however, a woeful prime minister. He largely gave up on true economic reform and championed lefty issues.

One of his pet issues that Keating drove was a female quota for the parliamentary representation of the ALP. In 1994 the ALP National Conference decreed that within a decade 35 per cent of their parliamentarians would be women, a goal which was achieved on time. The trend line has been consistently up since. In 2018 just over 40 per cent of federal Labor parliamentarians are women. The misogynistic, unconsciously biased Liberal Party have just over 20 per cent

Since Keating’s quota, there have been eight federal elections. The Labor Party has won just two (and in 2010 they shouldn’t have won because the voters of New England and Lyne understandably assumed their independents would not prop up a Labor government). Why isn’t Labor winning every election since so many women consider the gender of a candidate so critical?

Because they don’t. The truth is that noisy left-wingers (male and female) claim to speak for all women but the empirical evidence suggests there are far quieter women who are gender blind when voting. It is quite possible the over-emphasis on gender turns more voters off the Labor Party then the Liberal Party allegedly loses.

It is true that a gender divide had occurred across western nations in the voting habits of men and women in recent decades. Women are voting increasingly for the left and men are voting for the right. But despite a majority of females not voting Liberal we still tend to win, so the empirical evidence is clear. The party with the most consequential gender problem is Labor – it lacks masculine appeal. Why isn’t the national conversation about how Labor can win back men? I suspect it’s because Labor believes females are more likely fooled by political tricks – which is (dare I say it) sexism 101.

In the 2016 presidential election 42 per cent of American female voters chose the man over the women. On 13 March 2018, the Washington Post reported how failed candidate Hillary Clinton interpreted this: She said Democrats:

Do not do well with white men, and we don’t do well with married, white women. And part of that is an identification with the Republican Party, and a sort of ongoing pressure to vote the way that your husband, your boss, your son, whoever, believes you should.

Like all modern democracies when casting a vote in the United States an individual is alone inside a private booth. The pain of losing has caused Hillary to be delusional. Hillary’s premise is that women are naturally weak-willed, which means the world’s most prominent feminist has gone full circle and arrived back in the nineteenth century. Emmeline Pankhurst would not be impressed.

The Liberal Party presently has a silent quota for women in the ministry. This has the perverse effect of some women Liberal MPs working hard to prevent talented women getting into parliament for fear they will occupy the few cabinet spots effectively allocated to women. Of course, publicly they say the very opposite, but those in the know know.

In May 2018 the Kelly O’Dwyer, the federal Minister for Women, announced she was starting the Enid Lyons Fighting Fund to help get women preselected by the Liberal Party. There had been multiple media reports suggesting O’Dwyer’s own preselection was subject to a possible challenge due to her policy positions, but the announcement of this fund ended that discussion. O’Dwyer could do much more for helping other women get into parliament by focussing on being an outstanding minister.

When a political party is run by a small group of factional bosses it is rule of the thugs. That is poison to talented women. What will attract and elect top-notch women candidates is an open democratic party where candidates for lower house seats are chosen by a primary that invites the Liberal supporting public to vote for the best Liberal candidate. A primary will demonstrate just how important gender is to voters.

John Ruddick’s new book ‘Making the Liberal party great again’ is out now from Wilkinson Publishing.

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