Quotas Are NO Replacement For Merit

Australia’s system of honours is set to become more politically correct (PC) if Labor is elected – with a vow to introduce gender “targets” on recipients of our highest honours.

What ever happened to merit?

From The Australian this morning:

Labor will introduce gender targets into the Australia Day honours system if it wins the election.

Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek said Labor would set targets for 40 per cent female recipients of Order of Australia awards by 2020.

Ms Plibersek said women receive on average 30 per cent of Order of Australia awards, flagging plans to overhaul the award categories….

“If you have a look there are stand-alone categories, for example, for mining, for engineering, for primary industries and so on.

“But the areas where women traditionally work or volunteer are often subsumed in other categories.

“Nursing, for example, has no stand-alone category. It falls under the general category of medicine.”

Labor will also monitor data to see if indigenous people and disabled people are under-represented.

At Advance Australia we know women make a huge contribution to our nation in a variety of ways.

But we believe it’s dangerous to set out to “rig” awards to meet a quota based on gender, race or any other identity factor.  Merit alone should determine who is given Australian honours.

I would hate to be a woman and receive an honour under Labor’s system, did I get it on merit or did I receive the award because of a quota? It’s a niggling but important question.

Labor has also vowed to “see if indigenous people and disabled people are under-represented”.  What happens if they discover that they are in fact over-represented?  Should measures be taken to ensure that fewer are recognised in future rounds?

It’s interesting to note that in the 2018 Australian of the Year Awards, seven of the 32 state and territory recipients were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, including three of the seven finalists for the main award category of Australian of the Year.  Should this sort of over-representation be “corrected” under Labor’s approach?

To maintain integrity, our honours system must be based only on an individual’s track record of hard work and contribution to our community – not their gender, race, or any other identity trait.

This sort of gender politics is a clear sign of the dangerous political correctness we can expect under a Bill Shorten-led Labor government.