Thursday, 1 January 2015

The Australian Minister for Women is clearly not capable of understanding his role

The Australian 26 March 2011

On 30 December 2014 The Sydney Morning Herald reported:

The number of women on government boards has slipped below the 40 per cent target and a new report says men made up 75 per cent of new appointees within Tony Abbott's own Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet this year.
The Prime Minister, who is also the Minister for Women, has assured voters he is committed to the gender diversity target but the opposition says the statistics should "set the bells ringing".
The annual Gender Balance on Australian Government Boards Report says overall female representation slipped from its peak of 41.7 per cent under Labor in 2013 to 39.7 under the Coalition in 2014.
The Coalition drastically slashed the number of board positions from 4039 to 3206 when it came into government as part of its deregulation agenda.
The report, prepared by the Office for Women, which sits in the Prime Minister's Department, PM&C, said there were 639 new appointments to boards as of June 2014.
63.5 per cent of those positions were offered to men, meaning 36.5 per cent went to women……
"The government is committed to the 40:60 target and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women is working with colleagues to ensure this target is achieved," said a spokesman for Mr Abbott….

Not only has female board representation slipped significantly, the self-appointed Minister for Women clearly does not understand the gender diversity policy he is supposed to support.

A 40:60 target? One presumably giving 40 positions to women and 60 to men?

No, the real target is 40:40:20.

Where women hold at least 40 per cent of Australian Government board positions, men hold another 40 per cent of these positions and the remaining 20 per cent can be held by either gender.

That he doesn’t understand or chooses to ignore this target is clearly demonstrated by his own Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet with its 16 boards and 170 active positions, where only 50 women (29.4%) hold any of these positions, and of the 87 new board appointments in this particular portfolio in 2013-14 only 21 were female.

The gender imbalance becomes more pointed when one realises that the Gender Balance On Australian Government Boards Report 2013-14 only includes those boards covered by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) which have some level of input or sign-off from particular representatives of the Government.

That is:

* the Prime Minister alone;
* one or more Australian Government ministers;
* the Governor-General in Council; and
* the Cabinet.

Overall the Abbott Government is exceeding the gender diversity target’s set quota for male government board members and failing to meet the set board member quota for females.

Here is the breakdown of gender diversity by portfolio:

The Sydney Morning Herald 14 December 2014

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