The following article by Barry Cohen, who was Environment Minister in the Hawke government, rubbishes the proposal by Bill Shorten (then still aspirant to the ALP leadership) for quotas for various minority groups in the Parliament. It was published in The Australian on October 10, 2013.
“Diversity” is a key component of the mantra of Cultural Marxists. Invariably it refers to “victim groups” – those identified by the Frankfurt School as the ones who would have to substitute for the working class as the makers of socialist revolution. These groups were the alleged victims of the “Racism, Sexism, Colonialism, Nationalism, Homophobia, Fascism, Xenophobia, Imperialism and [always only Christian] Religious Bigotry” supposedly perpetrated by white, Christian, capitalist, heterosexual males. POLITICAL CORRECTNESS is the tactic used by Cultural Marxists to advance their cause of subversion of Western society.
Shorten’s proposal stinks of political correctness.
WHY SHORTEN’S QUOTA IS NOT WORTH AN IOTA
WHEN I first read that aspiring Labor leadership candidate Bill Shorten had suggested that quotas be extended to include a range of minority groups with different sexual proclivities – lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersex communities (whatever they are) – I assumed he was exercising his quirky sense of humour or he had taken leave of his senses.
Gay marriage is silly enough, but these latest proposals are a step too far. Ever notice how the gay-marriage enthusiasts become quiet whenever a referendum is suggested? With only 4 per cent of the population ranking gay marriage of any concern to them, they are aware of the defeat they would face if the matter were put to a vote. They know how bodgie their polls are, which is why they never call for a referendum.
My loathing of quotas harks back to my Polish Jewish grandparents who escaped from Russian-occupied Poland in the 1890s to avoid serving 30 years’ conscription in the tsar’s army.
Conscription is one thing but being restricted to one or two students at school or university was quite another. Quotas for Jews were normal in many European countries in the 19th century and were later introduced into the US.
Fortunately Shorten was able to qualify his position on ABC1’s Q&A program: “We should consider the question of quotas. I am not saying we should have quotas.”
So far in this debate the only trait that is being examined is people’s sexual preferences. Why stop there? There are hundreds of personal characteristics that could be taken into account and one that screams for attention, apart from gender, is ethnicity. Imagine the fun that will occur if every nationality has to be represented in parliament. Then there are
hundreds of different occupations, physical disabilities, intelligence and all the variations that flesh is heir to. Aren’t they entitled to a seat in parliament? The mind boggles. Quotas for one group will create a demand for quotas for all. Madness is the word that comes to mind.
Conventional wisdom among the sisterhood was that men plotted to keep women out of parliament. This nonsense has been repeated ad nauseam for 50 years. Those who parrot this rubbish have no idea what they are talking about. Some will ask, “Why should we listen to you?” Because I was there and you weren’t.
Arriving in Canberra in 1969 I was appalled to find only three women in the Senate and none in the House of Representatives. All were Liberals: Annabelle Rankin (Queensland), Ivy Wedgwood (Victoria), and Nancy Buttfield (South Australia). By 1972 only Buttfield remained. Were we embarrassed? You betcha, and most of us did what we could to encourage women to become involved.
What those who rabbit on about men keeping women out of politics ignore is that in the 1950s and 60s most women were not interested and active in politics. There were a handful who played a role, but most seemed satisfied to take the minutes and make the tea. That changed dramatically in the late 60s and 70s thanks to Germaine Greer and other feminists. More women joined political parties, ran for office and won.
Until 1972, when Joan Child won the Victorian seat of Henty for Labor, only three women had served in the House of Reps – Enid Lyons (Tasmania, 1943-51), Doris Blackburn (Victoria, 1946-49) and Kay Brownbill (SA, 1966-69). The big breakthrough came in 1980 when Labor won four more reps seats – Elaine Darling (Queensland), Ros Kelly (ACT), Wendy Fatin (Western Australia) and Jeannette McHugh (NSW).
At almost every election since, the numbers have increased to the point where at the recent election the number of women in federal parliament had risen to 69 (the count is not finalised so the numbers may vary slightly, but 69 is a big improvement on none).
Once quotas were introduced for women, or any particular group, they almost certainly would be sought by others to gain special votes for them.
The only minority groups that I would favour are Aborigines.** I am opposed to a lot of the gobbledygook that is enacted at every public gathering, but there is a strong case for a quota of two Aborigines in the reps and the Senate. New Zealand introduced special seats for Maoris. The fun would start once the parliament had the job of deciding who was an Aborigine and who wasn’t.
As the recent election has illustrated, our electoral system leaves a lot to be desired and I have no doubt one of the main issues raised will be, “How do we get rid of the tablecloth-sized ballot paper for the Senate?”
There is a lot of reform work to be done, and one can only hope the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader will get to work on it soon.
Whatever changes are made it is to be hoped quotas aren’t considered. There is only one reason to vote for anyone, and that is merit. I don’t care if every member of parliament is a woman. In 1972 they were all men.
Political parties can achieve that by inviting people of quality to join them.
** Freedom and Heritage Society does NOT support special seats in the Parliament for Aborigines or any other minority group.