Our political system — like many other industries — is traditionally male-dominated, with women remaining underrepresented.
Shifting this dynamic and giving women the same opportunities as men, has been a hot topic for many years now.
For years now, the Labor party has been using quotas to try and address this imbalance within their own ranks. Today, nearly half of all Labor politicians are women. But within the Liberal and National coalition, the balance remains much more skewed, at five-to-one.
This has led some to call for the Coalition to implement the same sort of quota system. But we believe this is misguided.
Linda Reynolds, Liberal senator for Western Australia, believes the inequality we see today in the Liberal party is ‘not because of deliberate bias or misogyny but because they reflect the eras of their creation, eras when workplaces were predominantly male and women worked at home, rearing a family.’
It seems Reynolds believes the reason that there are five males to one female in the Liberal party is an artefact of prior periods of male-dominated culture, which has left a lingering trend in many industries, including business and politics.
Overcoming rusted-on structures
‘When it comes to being the party’s pick for safe seats, Liberal women face the same battles that women fight in jobs everywhere else: trying to overcome rusted-on structures and attitudes that favour men over women.’
Enforcing an unwanted quota system wouldn’t eliminate these biases. If anything, it’s likely to reinforce them, as women coming into the party may face accusations of not having earned their place, and of merely fulfilling a quota…
Prime Minister Scott Morrison agrees. As reported by SBS news:
‘“[Quotas are] never something I have supported … I don’t believe quotas are the way you remove obstacles,” he told ABC’s 7:30 on Tuesday.’
Here at The Australian Tribune, we think ScoMo has it right. Despite quotas being a tool of successful implementation of gender equality in politics in other countries, we think the best person for the job should always prevail, whether that’s 80% women or 20% women. Hiring processes should ultimately choose the person with the most merit and relevant qualities, regardless of a quota needing to be filled..
Quotas an anathema to Liberal values
Similarly Linda Reynolds believes quotas are not consistent with Liberal party ethos, stating (from The Australian):
‘Conversely, quotas, which are designed to engineer equality of outcome, are a fundamentally socialist concept and an anathema to Liberal values.’
She claims that the inequality issue in politics is one that requires much time to be undone, and isn’t always as simple as introducing mandatory quotas.
Also from The Australian, Reynolds stated:
‘The party has adopted targets and all state and territory divisions are taking action to encourage more women into the party, to mentor them into leadership positions and eventually into preselection and parliament: the longer path but the right one.’
We believe colour and gender neutral hiring processes are the only way forward.
PS: Australia’s right to free speech is under attack! Discover how a select group of Australians want to stifle your fundamental right to speak your mind — and what you can do to help turn the tide.