Calls for quotas for Asians on company boards and in the upper echelons of the public service would provoke ridicule. Arguments that corporate Australia needs to harness Asian perspectives to better compete in the `Asian century’, and that Asian people are unfairly underrepresented in the senior managerial ranks of the largest companies would be dismissed as weak at best.
Yet the same sorts of arguments motivate the depressingly fashionable trend toward quotas for women in the workforce. Since 2011 both the government and the Australian stock exchange have introduced rules requiring companies to encourage greater female representation at the executive level, so far stepping short of recommending hard quotas.
The public service has gone further, though. Treasury in Canberra intends to have women make up 35 per cent of its senior staff by 2016, and this week it emerged the Reserve Bank has considered an `aspirational’ target of ensuring women fill 40 per cent of its senior ranks, despite an internal review showing no bias against women in promotion given their levels of experience.
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Political tragics live for the moments when leaders let the mask slip; when the acting stops and the houselights come on and a bit of humanity shines through. We love when they slip up, or speak out, or decide to go out in a blaze of glory. We love it when there’s a surprise in the script.
After almost ten years in power, with almost ten days to go, SA Premier Mike Rann has raised the curtain on his final act before he hands power to incoming Premier Jay Weatherill, and the show is promising to be sensational, inspirational, celebrational. Or like a kind of torture.
Mr Rann has kicked off with a dazzling endorsement of gay marriage, and there are sure to be more big performances before it’s time to take off the makeup and dim the lights.
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