Saturday, May 03, 2003

Strange Bedfellows

It's not often that I find myself agreeing with Stanley of the Billabong but he makes a very good point here:

The Victorian government is about to waive its own discrimination laws in order to indulge Commissioner Nixon's desire to attract more female recruits. "It will also bring a greater diversity of approach to policing, particularly in areas such as negotiation and communication, where women are acknowledged to have different approaches to men," Nixon was quoted as saying. She's peddling trendy tosh from the syllabus of some womyn's studies collective at one of Australia's institutes of higher learning. But let that go - and overlook, too, the sad spectacle of those paid to enforce and uphold the law blithely circumventing those parts of it they find inconvenient.

As a reasonable citizen, what really troubles the professor is that this priority to achieve gender equity in the ranks is an example of grossly misplaced priorities. Since the police force's primary brief now appears to be raising public revenue via speeding fines (and private funds via cooperation with drug runners), does it really matter if it is a male copper or a female one who chooses not to enforce the laws that matter the most - the ones intended to safeguard property and safety? If Victoria had a parliamentary Opposition worthy of the name, some honourable member would point out as much on the floor of the chamber. Sadly, like Mrs. Bunyip, the very people who should be raising a stink prefer to peddle fibs. In this case, the lie of silence.
[Stanley's emphasis]

Back in my early days as a bureaucrat, working for the now defunct Department with a Continuing Identity Crisis, I learned the difference between affirmative action, which is what they have in the US, and equal employment opportunity, which is what we're supposed to have in Australia. It's worth spelling out the difference, because a lot of people confuse the two. Affirmative action aims to overcome discrimination in favour of incompetent white heterosexual males by promoting discrimination in favour incompetents who are otherly genitalled or of other sexual orientations and colours. Equal employment opportunity is based on the principle that the best person for the job is the most competent, regardless of these factors, although it's unlikely to be much help if, despite your obviously superior vocational competence, you keep missing out on jobs because you can't resist picking your nose during the selection interview.

As Stanley points out, it's unlikely that Victoria's decimated opposition will have much of an effect here. It's also probably too much to hope that anyone on the Left of the ALP might get up on her hind legs and point out that this action flies in the face of Leftie principles too.

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