Labor's honours' gender quotas ‘not needed’

January 25, 2019

A Labor plan for gender targets in Australia Day awards has been dismissed as unworkable and totally unnecessary.

The Conservative Party's South Australian Senate candidate, Rikki Lambert, has called for quality to trump quotas when it comes to any awards system.

Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek yesterday pledged Labor would set the 40 per cent target because women received on average only 30 per cent of the awards, also flagging an overhaul of award categories to better favour female winners.

However, Council for the Order of Australia chairman Shane Stone told The Australian that without sufficient female nominations, those deciding the awards would be unable to satisfy a quota.

“If we were short (on female nominations), I don’t know where you get them from,” Mr Stone said. “If they haven’t been nominated, they haven’t been nominated.”

In 2018, women made up 31 per cent of all Order of Australia (general division) nominations. Of these, 77 per cent were successful, with women making up 33 per cent of all recipients.

Mr Stone, a former Country Liberal Party chief minister of the Northern Territory, said his council was non-political and would work with whatever legislation the government provided.

However, he said the 40 per cent target by 2020 suggested by Ms Plibersek was “absolutely” likely to be met with no change in the current merit-based system.

Speaking to Andrew Reimer on Adelaide Radio station FIVEaa, Mr Lambert called for quality not quotas and said the Liberal Party has recently embraced the nonsense of gender quotas, moving it even further towards Labor and the Greens socialist Left.

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