2018 Mobility Conference – Melbourne

Diversity as a business advantage

President Obama’s Senior Advisor and Elizabeth Broderick Join Women World Changers

Early Bird Ends Friday 28th July – SAVE $200

Diversity Australia is proud to partner with The Growth Faculty in presenting Women World Changers, the premier, all-inclusive, one-day leadership summit designed to drive critical dialogue on the impact and economics of women, diversity and culture on business growth.

Attended by Australia’s top business executives, government and community leaders, both male and female, Women World Changers brings a proven lineup of experts to present the most critical leadership requirements for success in leading and managing Australia’s workforce of the future.

This year our outstanding speaker lineup is headlined by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama and Elizabeth Broderick, Australia’s longest serving Sex Discrimination Commissioner (2007 – 2015).

Don’t miss crucial learnings…

  • Adaptability, innovation and agility: How diversity is driving modern business innovation.
  • The implication of the current political and economic landscape and what this means for your business and investments.
  • The economic imperative for closing the gender gap – “Women are half the world’s working-age population but generate only 37% of GDP.” McKinsey
  • Insights into behavioural science; the differences and similarities between men and women and the importance of gender balance in leadership.
  • How to drive cultural change and workplace equality through courageous leadership and engaging middle management.
  • Challenges and opportunities for women’s full engagement in the workplace.
  • Millennial ambition: What drives this hyper-connected, tech savvy generation that will make up 75% of the workforce by 2030? How can leaders harness their contribution?
  • Removing barriers that impede economic development, technology, innovation and business growth.
  • Building a resilient organisation: What are the global trends shaping the Australian economy and how can we invest in employee skills to increase relevance and resilience.





Non Member Rate: $995 | Diversity Australia Rate: $795 |

Ten Or More Gender Balanced Groups: $650
Early Bird Ends Friday 4th August – Save $200

Platinum Tickets: $1595

*Platinum tickets include reserved front of house seating, an intimate VIP lunch with WWC speakers, full conference material, access to VIP lounge area and cocktail reception

Why the ABC is at odds with Diversity Practices

If the ABC were audited for diversity, the report might read something like as follows: “Evidence suggests that the ABC’s organisational culture ­reflects structural discrimination. The staff profile is unrepresentative and produces marginalisation of outsiders or ‘others’. This marginalisation persists due to ­apparent discrimination in recruit­ment and promotion practices. As a consequence, the ABC’s program content reflects bias that reinforces the privilege of insiders while stereotyping and demonising those excluded from the existing power structure. ­Cultural change is required to transform the ABC from an unrepresentative public institution to an organisation that puts the public good ahead of in-group power and privilege.”

From my early years in the ­university sector, I worked for various equal opportunity and anti-­discrimination units. As a part of that work, I conducted ­organisational audits of equity and diversity. After several years, I saw that the movement for equity was ­destroying diversity of the kind that matters in education: ­intellectual diversity. Universities ­replaced the West’s civilisational wellspring of freedom of thought and speech, mastered by learning the art of public reason, with the comparatively superficial culture of skin ­diversity.

In the 21st century culture of public education and media, ­diversity is often measured by skin colour or gender. Diversity of thought is devalued, especially in the arts and humanities.

Despite the spread of discrimination and affirmative action policies across the public sector, little attention is paid to intellectual and political diversity. Rather, the ­equity and diversity agenda has come to resemble what former Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau considered the Maoist approach. In the book Two Innocents in Red China, he praised Mao Zedong’s approach to racial minority groups because it did “not try to assimilate them but … make them understand the ­blessings of Marxism”. Trudeau pioneered a nationwide policy of ­multi­culturalism. The multi­cultural ideal was a diversity of races united in ideological conformity to ­Marxism.

“The ABC’s political bias seems most apparent in stories related to border security, immigration, iden­tity politics and Islam.”

The diversity agenda sometimes reflects the founding ideal of multicultural policy: a culture where race or gender diversity is encouraged as long as members conform to PC ideology. Islamic activist Linda Sarsour is celebrated as a leader of the US women’s march despite appearing to wish for violence against women who disagree with her. On Twitter, Sarsour wrote of two dissidents: “I wish I could take their vaginas away — they don’t ­deserve to be women.” One of her would-be victims was ­author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who ­suffered ­female genital mutilation as a child. Apparently that wasn’t enough.

The ABC has not admitted to a lack of political diversity in its staff profile or systemic political bias in its programming. Yet the largest survey in 20 years of political attitudes among journalists found that 73.6 per cent of ABC journalists support Labor or the Greens. The Sunshine Coast University ­research also found that 41.2 per cent of ABC staff surveyed voted for the Greens. As Chris Kenny wrote in The Weekend Australian, the “federal vote ceiling” for the Greens is just over 10 per cent. On those figures, the ABC’s staff ­profile is highly unrepresentative of the Australian general public.

The ABC’s political bias seems most apparent in stories related to border security, immigration, iden­tity politics and Islam. Many believe that the ABC pushes the PC party line backing porous borders, minority politics and the ­censorship of dissenters under dis­crimination law while demonising border integrity, conservatism, ­Judeo-Christianity and Western civilisation. In 2014, the broadcaster admitted that its reports that the navy had burned refugees were wrong. A previous audit found bias in ABC reporting on Tamil asylum-seekers.

Last week’s 7.30 was criticised for bias against Christians after presenters inferred that evangelical or conservative Christianity could lead to domestic violence. ABC presenter Leigh Sales said: “We talk about women in Islam but statistically it is evangelical Christian men who attend church sporadically who are the most ­likely to assault their wives.” To my knowledge, there is no cross-country research comparing male violence against women in Islamic and Christian communities. The relevant study cited was by American researcher Steven Tracy.

A series of lies by omission ­resulted in the perception that conservative or evangelical Christianity can lead to domestic violence. For instance, the ABC omitted Tracy’s related finding that: “Conservative Protestant men who attend church regularly are … the least likely group to ­engage in domestic violence. The ABC also omitted interviews that conflicted with the presenters’ line of commentary.

Ean Higgins ­reported that Sydney’s Anglican Archdeacon for Women Kara Hartley was interviewed for over an hour by Julia Baird. Hartley spoke at length about the church’s positive work in combating domestic violence. Her comments were excluded from the program.

Brisbane’s Catholic Archbishop Mark Coleridge responded to an ABC ­request for comments about a ­related essay by Baird and Hayley Gleeson. The ABC reported falsely that he had not responded.

It should go without saying that domestic violence is an abhorrent form of abuse to be condemned without reservation. Research on causation should be funded where preliminary research finds specific attributes correlated with higher rates of abuse. The public often funds such research and should be informed also when certain ­attributes are correlated with lower rates of abuse. The ABC ­neglected its public duty when it omitted the positive work of ­Christian churches in preventing domestic violence and the ­research finding that: “Conservative Protestant men who attend church regularly are … the least likely group to engage in domestic violence.”

In the coming 7.30 on violence against women in Islam, we might expect the ABC to consider the status of women under sharia. It might look at the prevalence of ­female genital mutilation and child marriage in Islamic countries and communities. It might consider why Islamic states enter the most reservations to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and justify it by appeal to sharia. Alas, we’re more likely to hear yet another version of: “We talk about women in Islam but … ” and find the blame shifted to the standard victims of politically ­correct thought.


Australians awake to glorious news that massive cultural diversity targets within government, universities and business

As far as titles go, ‘Race Discrimination Commissioner’ is a fairly benign one. Certainly, as distinct from its incumbent, Dr Tim Soutphommasane, it is not quite as bombastic as its former Soviet counterpart, the ‘People’s Commissariat for Nationalities’.

That comparison of course is not meant to imply the office’s communiques, or that of its parent body, the Australian Human Rights Commission, could be likened to the comical agitprop of communist regimes.

“Today Australia has been transformed,” heralds a futuristic newsreader in a promotional video for the AHRC publication Leading for Change: A blueprint for cultural diversity and inclusive leadership.

It is July 2026, and Australians awake to glorious news that massive cultural diversity targets within government, universities and business have been exceeded. No longer is Australia an Anglo-dominated backwater, thanks to a leader and his ten-year plan.

“A driving force was Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane,” the newsreader continues effusively, before crossing to archival footage from ten years prior featuring the visionary himself. “Australia’s a very multicultural society,” said he, stern-faced and with much gravitas, “but we don’t see that diversity represented yet in our senior leadership…It’s pretty striking, and simply it’s not good enough.”

“Passionate words from Tim Soutphommasane,” adds the newsreader admiringly, repeating the great man’s name for posterity. All that was missing in this video were the shots of cheering citizens taking to the streets in spontaneous demonstrations of joy and thanks.

Laugh if you will at this cringeworthy and grandiose affirmation of one’s own legacy, but remember your taxes are paying Soutphommasane’s $339,460 salary. That does not include the budget for his support staff, or travel, or the office outlay. Not bad work for an entry-level academic and former ALP staffer who was appointed by the Rudd Government to the AHRC at the age of 31.

In a speech last week to the Western Australian Multicultural Mental Health Forum, Soutphommasane denounced those who sought to “reopen ideological culture wars”, and dismissed with derision suggestions that “cultural Marxism [is] taking over public institutions.”

Ideological culture wars? The very use of that simplistic terminology to describe an opposing view is revealing, especially for a man supposed to personify diversity. But for this human rights commissioner, the ideal culture is Soutphommasane-centric, and dissenting opinions threaten social harmony. Indeed, such people are guilty of “deviationism”, to borrow a Stalinist term. Critics therefore are not to be regarded as opponents, but as enemies. What is cultural Marxism if not aggressive social engineering in the name of equality, together with public condemnation of those who question its worthiness?

“Today’s conservatives frequently endorse a form of destructive radicalism towards public institutions and civil society,” wrote Soutphommasane, a self-described social democrat, only months before his appointment to the AHRC in August 2013. This is tosh. One need only look at the events last week in Hamburg’s G20 summit and the actions of so-called anti-fascists in the US to see who is responsible for this destructive radicalism. It is not conservatives who are torching cars, looting shops, and attacking police officers. Yet Soutphommasane maintains “very nasty forms of xenophobia and populism are on the rise in many countries.” In other words, we must blame those who voted for Trump and Brexit.

And last week’s speech would not be complete without Soutphommasane attributing ill-motive to those seeking amendments to the Racial Discrimination Act, particularly section 18C, which makes it unlawful to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate people based on their race, colour, or national or ethnic background.

Never mind that careers and reputations have been destroyed as a result of complainants exploiting this section, or that the test for infringing 18C is essentially a subjective one; Soutphommasane’s take on reformists appears to be one of malice. “Some commentators…complain about there not being enough freedom of speech to racially insult or offend others,” he said. That’s right, the man who once wrote the ‘Ask the Philosopher’ column for this newspaper resorted to using a cheap logical fallacy – the straw man argument – as a substitute for informed rebuttal.

Yet Soutphommasane champions freedom of speech when it comes to defending the left. “The arts must…consciously question the status quo,” he wrote in June this year. “This has always been the role of the arts: to challenge, to disrupt, to speak truth to power…” But what of artists who disrupt progressive dogma? The late Bill Leak spoke truth to power with his cartoon last year in The Australian featuring a delinquent indigenous father, and Western Australia police commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said it was an accurate depiction of what his officers saw daily. Soutphommasane, however, responded by tacitly urging people to make a complaint under the 18C process. He later denied this constituted touting. Presumably he meant at no time did he don a sandwich board or spruik outside the entrance to the AHRC office.

Given his antagonistic demeanour and his glass jaw, Soutphommasane will likely struggle to sell an already controversial blueprint requiring cultural diversity “targets” within corporations. The recommendation that employers should gather and report “cultural diversity data” has been labelled “racial profiling” of employees by Liberal backbenchers. As an aside to the statist connotations, the blueprint is written in depressingly familiar bureaucratese, especially with its espousing of “diversity metrics”. “Diversity and inclusion”, it says, must form part of “managers’ performance appraisals.”

Are you having trouble staying awake? What a surreal life it must be for the likes of Soutphommasane and the others at the AHRC. Then again that office’s culture has been defined by its president, Gillian Triggs, with all the trappings of elitism and her personality cult. Fortunately she finishes this month, and who knows what lavish ceremony will mark her departure. Flying out Elton John to play Goodbye England’s Rose as the British-born Triggs walks down the steps for the last time, perhaps? As the American political philosopher Thomas Sowell observed “We should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive.”


Human Rights Commission-led Corporate Diversity Drive Rebuffed

The Turnbull government empowered by an angry backbench has rejected a Human Rights Commission-led campaign for ­racial and cultural diversity ­targets to be pushed on corporate Australia.

The commission’s July 2016 reform blueprint, Leading for Change,recommended that ­organisations consider “sending signals on cultural diversity” by collecting data on the cultural backgrounds of employees in ­addition to the setting of aspir­ational targets. The blueprint ­defines cultural diversity as differences based on “race, ethnicity, ancestry, language and place of birth”.

Liberal MPs were yesterday in open rebellion against the commission’s diversity campaign, warning against any steps that amounted to “racial profiling” of employees. They also urged newly appointed commission president Rosalind Croucher to ensure the body did not become a “commission to implement left-wing policy”.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter yesterday rejected the substance of the commission’s ­report, upheld the autonomy of businesses to employ people on merit and defended Australia as a successful multicultural society.

Mr Porter told The Australian there was no need for the ­proposed targets. “Anyone who has actually visited Australian business and professional organisations can see that the embrace of diversity is on plain display,” he said. “Decisions on the make-up of organisations’ leadership and diversity are matters for them … Government has no plans to ­implement recommendations from this report.”

Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane has recruited a range of senior ­organisations into the diversity campaign, including leading figures from the public and private sectors. A Leadership Council on ­Cultural Diversity — chaired by Dr Soutphommasane and established in December — includes ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Martin Parkinson, PwC chief executive Luke Sayers and ­Commonwealth Bank chief executive Ian Narev.

Speaking last year at the ­University of Sydney, Dr Soutphommasane noted that 95 per cent of the chief executives of ASX200 companies had either an “Anglo-Celtic” or “European” background and argued there was evidence to suggest “organisations understand leadership in ways that privilege ‘Anglo’ cultural styles.”

Victorian Liberal senator James Paterson criticised the push by the commission as a “bit creepy” and questioned the objective of the campaign.

“Will the Human Rights Commission be satisfied if every single organisation perfectly reflects the community in age and sexuality and race and every other different characteristic — because that’s the logical conclusion of this,” Senator Paterson said. “You don’t need a racial profile of your workforce to ensure that it’s diverse … Where does this end?”

Tasmanian Liberal senator Eric Abetz cautioned there was a degree of artificiality about encouraging targets that could create resentment if people believed they had been overlooked or promoted because of their cultural background. “I just think it’s fraught with difficulty and social engineering,” he said.

Queensland Liberal National MP George Christensen said the commission was “out of control” and “overstepping the mark.”

“Not having someone of a particular gender or a particular ethnic minority group in a management position of a company is not a human rights abuse,” Mr Christensen said.

“I really do hope that the new president of the Human Rights Commission will take a long hard look at this sort of nonsense. It is not a commission to implement left-wing policy.”

When contacted by The Australian, the commission clarified it was not seeking to impose compulsory quotas on businesses but was instead encouraging the adoption of aspirational targets.

The 2016 reform blueprint — which was produced by a working group comprising members of Telstra, PwC, Westpac and the University of Sydney’s Business School — argues that “a strong case exists for including targets as part of one’s diversity and inclusion policies”.

“Targets are voluntary goals adopted by an organisation at its discretion, whereas quotas refer to goals that are mandated by an external body and imposed upon an organisation,” it says.

Some businesses have already adopted aspirational targets. PwC Australia hopes that 30 per cent of its partner admissions will come from a “diverse cultural background” by 2020.