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Sep 29, 2013

Shorten advocates ethnic quotas

Labor is still in the throws of a leadership election. Under the rules brought on by Kevin Rudd in order to ensure he became the first Labor leader since Keating in 1996, to last a full term of government were he successful in the last election, the membership has the vote on the issue.

As result the two contenders are frantically attempting to come up with feel good ideas to distinguish each from the other. In order to get the drop on Antony Albanese, Bill Shorten (Left) has come up with a call to introduce ethnic quotas on Labor MPs, something like the ‘women quotas’ they currently have:
 Labor leadership aspirant Bill Shorten has flagged changing the party's rules to set a quota for indigenous candidates. The ALP has a 40 per cent quota for female candidates, but has no such aim in terms of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders.  
Mr Shorten told a Per Capita forum in Melbourne the party should think "freely and openly" as it considers new ideas to revitalise after the September 7 election loss. "(We should) consider quotas for sections of the community that are under represented in our state and federal parliaments," Mr Shorten said.  
"And I especially think here of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait islanders." Mr Shorten said the party also needed to boost its effort to ensure women make up 40 per cent of all candidates, through the involvement of women on selection panels, and better mentoring. 
"A rule is not a rule unless the spirit is supported," he said. 
Something like:

 It is going to be interesting though, to see how these quotas will play out with other minorities such as various immigrant minorities, gay and lesbians (will there be a quota for each or can they share?), and of course, religious groups. And, oh hell, I forgot transgender people, and the list is endless.
What will be even more interesting is to see how this is going to play out along with his other big idea of local branches selecting their candidates themselves:
He recommended more community-based preselections for candidates, a dropping of the two-year membership requirement to vote in internal elections and the use of technology such as Skype to allow people to attend branch meetings. 
So, local branches will be allowed to pick their own candidate, but to ensure that the correct diversity is attained, some will be told that it can only be a woman, Aboriginal, Torres Straight Islander, gay, lesbian, Catholic, C of E etc, Buddhist, Muslim, or Kiwi.

 The good news is that the transgender issue can be solved by allowing some branches to pick either a man or woman provided they have been the other previously.

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