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Your views: on "bizarre" workings of ABC chair selection panel

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Today, readers comment on an ABC board SA member’s criticisms about gender equality at play within the selection panel appointed to find a new ABC chair.

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Commenting on the story: ABC chair recruitment process “bizarre”: SA board member

I was flabbergasted to read the comments made by Donny Walford.

It is virtually inconceivable to me that a woman of Donny’s intelligence would applaud the interference of the government in a decision made by an independent panel.

It is deeply concerning that the conflation of “equal opportunity” and “equality of outcome” is being perpetuated so often in public debate, that they now just appear to be one in the same.

Equal opportunity is affording both men and women the right to put their name forward and compete for any position that they choose, while being free from their gender interfering in that process.

Equal opportunity does not grant you any right to equality of outcome, nor should it. Forcing a panel, a business, or whoever, to guarantee a position for a woman is not equal opportunity, it is positive discrimination, and it is something we should reject as an intelligent civilised society.

To suggest that you must grant any position to a woman, purely because she is a woman, is sexist in itself. It says that women cannot compete on an even playing field with men, and that they must be given some sort of leg up to achieve success. Why would any hardworking, intelligent woman want this?

Is Donny going so far as to say that these three women who made up the panel are so unintelligent and blinded by bias (bias against a group to which they belong, apparently) that they are incapable of critically evaluating a candidate? What an ugly smear against the panel.

To the fact that the top three candidates were men, I say “so what?”. If we want true equality, we need to accept the fact that equality of outcome is not only impossible, but also counterproductive.

Science has shown us, again and again, that we achieve true diversity of ideas and values when we evaluate people as individuals, not based on whatever group we want them to belong to.

It should terrify us that the Government chose to meddle in this process, presumably for the sake of misguided political correctness. A dangerous precedent to set.

I say all of this as a woman who works in the corporate world, in a male-dominated industry. – Ashlea Malcolm

From the outset I am a supporter of equal opportunity whether that is based upon gender, race, or any other factor that may give rise to bias.

However, Ms Walford, along with our prime minister need to do some navel-gazing.

A panel was selected to present their choice. That choice would have been based upon selection criteria and defined parameters. 

Doing what’s in the best interest of women, society and the wider Australian interest does not mean ensuring the selected shortlist has a woman within the ranks. 

It does mean, do not omit a woman who meets the selection criteria and is a proper choice in accordance with the criteria. That includes a woman irrespective of race, religion or other factors. 

But do not, under any circumstance, add a woman, (or man) that does not meet the criteria, that is irresponsible to the wider community and unfair to other participants who have worked hard to prove and improve themselves.

Any self-interest group that wants to push their objectives at any cost, such that Ms Walford appear to be doing, only damages their objectives and sets back anything they have achieved to date.   

As for the prime minister overriding the panel of three women, that’s typical of the out-of-touch Liberal government that does little for women in the first place, and insulting to the panel that was in this case doing exactly what they were engaged to do without fear or favour. – Rob Naudi

Donny  finds it bizarre that the all-female panel only put up three males for the position, and no females.

What we find even more bizarre is that the selection panel was comprised of three females and no males.

Apparently Donny finds that totally acceptable.

In this increasingly anti-male culture we are forced to live in today, our family – two males and three wonderful, strong, self-opinionated intelligent, adult females – thinks the pendulum has swung completely out of kilter with the entire issue of equality. – Robert McCormick

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