Features Australia

May I quota you?

Time leftists made way for other identity groups

14 November 2020

9:00 AM

14 November 2020

9:00 AM

What would you call a glass ceiling that blocks men from career advancement? A lipstick ceiling? Whatever, it exists, even as the glass version, like the Lady of Shalott’s mirror, cracks from side to side. Worse, there’s no male Emily’s List-type organisation devoted to removing it. If there were, it could start its campaign with the Children’s Book Council of Australia. This clutch of fussy nanny-types, convinced that they know better than children what children like to read, comes to mind because of their insane decision to award their Book of the Year prize to a junior version of Dark Emu, the collection of fantasies about the supposed wonders of Aboriginal civilisation dreamt up by Bruce Pascoe (‘the Cornish Koori’) to further the myth of a flourishing Aboriginal society invaded by the wicked British and now due for redress by means of a treaty. Ten women and one man compose the Children’s Book Council. That’s a pretty shameless example of the lipstick ceiling. Talk about ‘gender equality’. Why don’t they just call themselves the Women’s Children’s Book Council and, while they’re deliberating on the next piece of leftist twaddle to foist on the kiddies, send the man out to make the tea?

‘Gender equality’, along with ‘inclusion’ and ‘diversity’ are hallmarks of a mature and just society, or so the Left is always telling us. But if there’s one place you won’t find gender equality, inclusion and diversity it’s in the host of government and taxpayer-funded organisations devoted to gender equality, inclusion and diversity, all of them tainted with, if not drenched in, toxic leftishness.

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency, for instance, should win some sort of prize for its achievements in keeping gender equality out of its workplace. Its website blathers on about how diversity ‘promotes improved decision making, creativity and innovation and leads to better overall performance’ – so why are there no men at all among its ‘executive managers’? Not one. By comparison, the federal Human Rights Commission is a bastion of patriarchy, with three men to five females assiduously touting for complaints from the congenitally offended.

I looked into this question of institutional inequality over two years ago (‘The inequality of Mercy’, The Spectator Australia, 3 March 2018) and the situation has not improved. The New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board still has four women and one male on the board. The South Australian Equal Opportunity Commission has a female commissioner but its website is coy about other staff so if someone makes a complaint about you, you will not know what faceless bureaucrat will be sitting in judgment. The Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission is similarly reticent but admits it’s run by a woman. The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission has two men to five women on its ‘leadership team’.

Blokey Queensland’s Human Rights Commission (how many human rights snoopers does a nation need?) actually has a male commissioner, as does Western Australia’s Equal Opportunity Commission, but in case anyone interprets this as a resurgence of ‘male supremacy’, the latter’s website reassuringly explains that its boss is the first male in the commission’s history, after four women in a row.

Of course, mention these examples of imbalance in government organisations to a feminist and you’ll elicit a screech of ‘what about corporate Australia?’ The answer is that there are plenty of women well up the ladder in corporate Australia but that’s not the point. Commercial boards and management hierarchies are no business of government ‘equality’ busybodies but anything funded by the taxpayer is – including the alleged guardians of fairness themselves. If we must have these sheltered workshops for stickybeaks, there should be quotas for male and female participation, an idea endorsed years ago (if not quite in those terms) by none other than our esteemed former federal sex discrimination commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, now bestowing her talents on a wider audience as a ‘United Nationals special rapporteur for Discrimination against Women and Girls’ – for? Horrors, it makes it sound as if she encourages it. Speaking to a coven called Women on Boards (eleven female directors, two men) Elizabeth extolled the virtues of ‘mandated gender equality’ with regard to a projected quango, noting with approval that it would be ‘led by two full-time co-chairs – one man and one woman and at every level there will be an equal number of men and women’ (one assumes she meant real men and women, not ‘trans’ approximations).

You would expect so magisterial an endorsement to find bipartisan political support. But the Left, though it ostensibly loves quotas, really only loves them when they can be used to shoehorn women or gays or other of their protected species into areas where by force of convention such groups are ‘under-represented’, like fixing cars or championship woodchopping. A current favourite is a quota of non-Anglo thespians playing Anglo roles, which creates its own confusion. Are we supposed to ‘celebrate’ the non-Anglo’s professional success or pretend that we unracistically don’t notice he or she isn’t Anglo?

There are plenty of areas in our national life where leftists have everything their way and where a quota in favour of things that might engage non-leftists would be useful. The quota could easily be set as a percentage based on federal election votes. How about a quota of sports figures licensed to speak in favour of traditional morality? And perhaps at least one football stadium named after Israel Folau. Why not impose a quota on the Australia Council to subsidise a fixed amount of genuine artistic ability to offset the blob-and-neon-tube practitioners of pseudo-art and self-advertisement, talented only at hoovering up handouts?

We could have a quota of funded research into evidence that there is no ‘climate emergency’, or of scientists permitted to say the Barrier Reef is just fine without risking the sack. Or a quota of university courses, and not just Ramsay, on the glories of Western civilisation. Museums could contain a quota of exhibits whose labels don’t mention ‘oppression’, ‘invasion’ or ‘stolen’. Smokers’ compartments could return to trains. We could split the ABC into two, with true news and amusing comedy on one half, though you would have to recruit proper journalists and comics who don’t need moronic vulgarity to make you laugh. No one on the existing ABC staff would have the first idea of what you were talking about.

And all those phoney (invented circa 1974) ceremonies of ‘acknowledgments of elders’. We could do with a quota of them acknowledging the pioneers and settlers who laid the foundations of the great country which today gives so many people the freedom to deride it.

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