by Neve Mahoney
Originally published: May 2, 2017
Recently, the Australian Human Rights Commission came under scrutiny after it was reported that government contractors would to be required to reach a 40 per cent female workforce quota, with contractors possibly losing out on contracts if they didn't reach the 40/40/20 standard.
Chalk outline man and womanSex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins sent out a statement clarifying the issue. The recommendation was a target, not a mandatory quota. Rather than disqualifying contractors, it 'recommended that the Commonwealth government should become a model industry in improving the participation of women in the workforce'.
While it seems this was mostly a misunderstanding, it's interesting how drastic a reaction the mere suggestion of a quota received. The Daily Telegraph called quotas 'draconian' and Tony Abbot said on 2GB they would be 'politically correct rubbish' and 'anti-men'.