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Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Commonwealth Franchise Act 1901
Coat of Arms of Australia.svg
Parliament of Australia
An Act to provide for a Uniform Federal Franchise
Date of Royal Assent12 June 1902
Introduced bySenator Hon Richard O'Connor (Prot)
1905, 1906, 1909, 1911
Related legislation
Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918
Status: Repealed

The Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902 was an Act of the Parliament of Australia which defined a uniform national criteria of who was entitled to vote in Australian federal elections. The Act established universal suffrage for federal elections for those who are British subjects over 21 years of age who have lived in Australia for six months, with some qualifications. It granted Australian women the right to vote at a national level, and to stand for election to the Parliament.

The Act meant that, though the Colony of New Zealand had granted women universal suffrage in 1893 and this carried forward to New Zealand subsequently becoming an independent nation in 1907, Australia was the first independent country to grant women's suffrage at a national level, and the first country to allow women to stand for Parliament. However, the Act also disqualified some Indigenous Australians, Asian people, African people and Pacific Islanders (except New Zealand Maori) from voting, even if they would otherwise be qualified as British subjects.

The act was replaced by the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

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  • Moving beyond token women: The need for radical reform in corporate Australia by Dr Linley Lord


>> Good afternoon. Vice Chancellor, distinguished guests and ladies and gentlemen. My name is Amanda Willis and I'm the Director of Corporate Values and Equity and the ATN WEXDEV committee member for Curtin University and I'm the MC for today's proceedings. On behalf of Curtin University, the Department for Communities, Dr. Linley Lord and the ATN WEXDEV, welcome to the 2010 Clare Burton Memorial Lecture. In welcoming you here we acknowledge the Noongar People, the traditional owners of the land on which we are gathered today. I would also like to welcome and acknowledge a former colleague, Barbara Taylor, who is responsible for organising the Clare Burton lectures when they began in 1999. It's nice to have you with us today, Barbara and I know with great pleasure that today's gathering of over 200 people is the largest in the history of the Perth event. A wonderful indicator of the increasing community interest in the issues presented in the lectures and in this year, in particular, in the work of Dr. Linley Lord, respected equity practitioner and academic and longstanding colleague and friend. Now to the practical side of things the toilets are located in the foyer outside the Argyle Ballroom. The emergency exits and procedures in the case of emergency when you hear the second continuous siren please move through the doors you entered by and head out the fire exit located on your right. Can I also please remind you to switch off your mobile phones or put them on silent. Finally, you'll find a copy of the order of proceedings of today's events at the table next to you. I'd now like to welcome Auntie Janet Hayden who will provide the Noongar Welcome To Country. Thank you Auntie Janet. [ Applause ] >> Sorry to be late everybody. I apologise. My sister and I tried to get a taxi with my boy and I tell you what it was like, I don't know we couldn't get one anyway until the last minute and we all-- we were stuck at the other end of town and we had to get down this end of town. So, I really do apologise. This is very important. I saw on a car that said, "Women's issues" and I guess it's long overdue where women have to take the front row of men. So, I'd like to acknowledge the men too, because without our men there's not much women can do. Ay woman? Okay. This is Noongar country we're in. This is a very special place here and you Noongar country we have one language, one culture, one tribe but we do have 14 clans. Fourteen clans and those clans cover almost into Geraldton bordering on Yamangi country right around the circle and you have to the tip of the dessert and then you go back down to Wagyl country which is Kalgoorlie area and you go right down past Esperance and back. People seem to think that Esperance is not Noongar country, it is. It is very much Noongar country. It's our language, our culture and our tribal region. So, we have those 14 clans and it covers all beautiful sea right back up to Geraldton again. So, we're very lucky to have such a beautiful country. We should share it, never mind who comes across the waters, never mind who go back we should share it because this country is a free country and there's not many free countries left in the world today. [ Foreign language spoken ] This is my country. This is your country. I welcome you to Noongar country. You men I welcome you. You women I welcome you. This is your country. This is my country. And hey folks, let's share it. God bless! [ Applause ] >> Thank you Auntie Janet. That was wonderful. I would now like to call on the Vice-Chancellor of Curtin University, Professor Jeanette Hackett to open today's lecture. Thank you Vice-Chancellor. [ Applause ] >> Well, welcome everybody. We're delighted to have you here in this great sense of celebration on this important event. In opening the event today I acknowledge the Noongar People and their oldest past and present as the custodians of this land. And I particularly thank Auntie Janet for her warm welcome to country. Thank you very much for your leadership. I also note that today is the 11th of the 11th and marks Remembrance Day and, of course, we acknowledge those who gave their lives for us. There are many distinguished guests here today, and in particular, I'd like to acknowledge the following: The Honourable Robyn McSweeney, MLC, Minister for Child Protection, Community Service Seniors and Volunteering and Women's Interests. Jenny Perkins, the Director General, or the Deputy Director General of the Department of Communities, Deborah Clements, Director of Policy and Planning for the Department of Communities, Associate Professor Bev Teale, Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic at Murdock University and Dr. Linley Lord, our special guest speaker today. Thank you very much. I welcome you all to the 12th annual event to celebrate and commemorate the life of Dr. Clare Burton. It's wonderful to see so many people here today. Many of whom have supported these lectures over the 12 years and I know that we so often look forward to meeting, I mean many of us don't actually get to meet on a regular basis. So, to come together in this sort of event is wonderful and it's great to see all the friends. As many of you are aware, the annual Clare Burton Memorial Lecture was initiated by the ATN WEXDEV, which is the Women's Executive Development Program established by the five universities of the Australian Technology Network, which includes Curtin University, Royal Melvin Institute of Technology University, Queensland University of Technology, University of South Australia and the University of Technology, Sydney. So it's a very collaborative effort. The success of this lecture series has also led to an additional lecture being held outside the ATN universities. It was held in Canberra under the joint sponsorship of the University of Canberra and the Australian National University. ATN WEXDEV is a dynamic and strategic career development program designed for senior women both academic and general staff within the ATN universities. The program is a response to the continued under-representation of women at senior levels in higher education, a situation which Australia shares with the international university community and indeed the broader business community. At Curtin we've made great progress in recent years and women are well represented in the senior management of the university. However, we still have some way to go to achieve equal representation at lower levels of management and at senior, academic and professional staff classifications which we are looking to progress through our advancing women's strategy. Clare Burton passed away in August, 1998 and was someone who made a difference during her lifetime. In Australia during the 1980's and 1990's Clare was the intellectual force behind employment equity programs. It was her academic research on gender and race bias as well as her work as a public sector administrator, which became the basis for policy both in public and private sector. She was known of the guru of equity practitioners. Some of you here today may have known Clare and been involved with her or knew of her work in policy development in the community. These lectures support the awarding the Clare Burton scholarship which was established by the five ATN universities to honour and continue the work of Dr. Clare Burton into aspects of gender equity. The 10,000 dollar scholarship is open to post graduate students within an ATN university for a research-based gender equity project. To date proceeds from the Perth events have contributed more than 15,000 dollars towards the scholarship. Here with us today we would like to welcome and acknowledge the 2010 Clare Burton scholarship recipient Melissa Marinelli. Thank you very much, we're delighted to have you. [ Applause ] Melissa is a research assistant and doctoral student with the Maureen Bickley Centre for Women in Leadership at the Curtin Graduate School of Business. Her doctoral research is in the area of women in leadership and management in non-traditional occupations, specifically the transition of women engineers to managers and leaders. She holds an Australian post-graduate award and is a Curtin research-- and has a Curtin research scholarship for the research project. Melissa was a Bachelor, has a Bachelor of Engineering with honours and a graduate diploma of Oil and Gas Engineering from the University of Western Australia. Her passion for gender equity and equal opportunity stems from her own experience as a woman in engineering. This experience has been very positive. And as a consequence, she's passionate about reversing the gender imbalance in the profession and promoting engineering and the other non-traditional occupations as exciting and rewarding careers for women. We're honoured to have with us today the Minister for Women's Interests, the Honourable Robyn McSweeney who will be introducing as our-- who will be introducing our guest speaker. Robyn is best know for her role in leading and setting long-term goals as both Minister and shadow Minister in the social portfolios of child protection, seniors and volunteering as well as local government interests and emergency services. Now, I think it's very interesting to look at Robyn's career path. She was elected as a member of the legislative council for the southwest region in 2001. Robyn's also chaired the legislative committee on the adequacy of foster care assessment procedures in 2005 and served two terms on the environment and public affairs committee. Robyn's current role as minister for child protection, community services, seniors and volunteering and women's interest is the result of many years of representation at both the local and state levels. Our guest speaker today, Dr. Linley Lord, has a wealth of practical experience in working with issues related to equal participation by women, which informs her academic work and I know that you'll find her reflections and practical suggestions very interesting. On behalf of the Australian technology network, WEXDEV and Curtin University, I'd like to thank our sponsors Policy and Planning, Office of Women's Interest, Strategic Policy, Research and Evaluation, Department for Communities for their continued support and involvement in these lectures and indeed, your support and encouragement generally. So, we really appreciate that. I now invite you to enjoy your main course after which the honourable Robyn McSweeney will introduce Dr. Linley Lord. So, enjoy your meal and we look forward to the presentations. Thank you. [ Applause ] >> I am pleased to introduce and welcome our guest speaker Dr. Linley Lord who will deliver the Clare Burton 2010 Memorial Lecture today. Clare Burton's legacy of the leading researcher and academic public sector administrator and writer on employment equality holds value to all of us. Clare made a significant contribution to our knowledge about gender equality and organisational change. I am proud that my Department for Communities is an active participant in this lecture series and understand that in partnership with Curtin University the proceeds of this event will be donated to the Clare Burton Memorial Scholarship Fund. I am particularly looking forward to hearing Dr. Lord's insights today into the participation of women in corporate leadership roles, because while there is work under way to change the number of women in senior positions, there is still much work to be done. We have already seen an increase, a very small increase in the number of female directors in response to changes of the Australian stock exchanges, corporate governments, principals and recommendations. With 40 women directors appointed this year compared to 10 last year, so somebody out there is recognising that we need to lead in chase too. Given the momentum of the initiatives such as these, I am particularly looking forward to hearing Dr. Lord's insights into the participation of women in corporate leadership roles. The Department for Communities Women's Interest regulate publisher's statistics on women, western Australian women in the women's report card. The 2009 card revealed the percentage of women who are chief executive officers in western Australia and no surprise, it has remained relatively constant since 2003. In addition, my department has commissioned Dr. Lord's centre to develop a report for women in leadership, strategies for change, which identifies what is limiting women's opportunities in those senior leadership roles and provides practical tools and resources to increase the number of women in those roles, and that report is available in front of you on your table today. And while we know there is continuing work to be done, it is also important to reflect on where we have come from. And next March is the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day and it has been a 100 years message change to the status of women in Australia and globally. My department will be offering grants so that people all over western Australia can hold local events to celebrate the centenary of International Women's Day. And on that day we celebrate how very far women have come. Change probably seemed just as elusive to those before us. The history is showing that change is possible and to me I remember in the early 70's when women in the public service, once they got married, had to leave work and I just find that totally unbelievable and that was only in the early 70's, teachers, and it's just not even in the younger women's head these days. To me it seems ridiculous to so to them it must seem totally archaic. In the spirit of Clare Burton's legacy we need to keep a hold of our vision for future change. Our speaker, Dr. Linley Lord is the Director of Curtin University's Maureen Bickley Centre for Women in Leadership and is also a senior lecturer at the Graduate School of Business. Her current research includes work on models of leadership and a focus on women on boards. Her findings have been published in international journals on higher education, gender, business and management and she has presented widely at international conferences from the U.K. to Norway. And she is currently collaborating with the International Centre for Women's Leaders at Cranford University in the U.K. Prior to her academic career, Dr. Lord worked to promote and facilitate equal opportunity in senior roles in a range of organisations including the Reserve Bank of Australia. With her extensive experience on the issue of women in leadership, Dr. Lord is well positioned to help us understand cutting edge thinking on the topic and it does give me great pleasure to welcome Dr. Lord to deliver the 12th Annual Clare Burton Memorial lecture entitled, "Moving Beyond Token Women: The Need for Radical Reform in Corporate Australia." So, please join me in welcoming Dr. Lord. [ Applause ] [ Dishes clanking ] >> Dr. Linley Lord: Thank you Minister and thank you Vice-Chancellor. I'd also like to begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians on whose land we are meeting today and to thank Auntie Janet for her warm welcome to us all. I'd also like to acknowledge the leadership role that has and continues to be taken by indigenous women in Australia today. Clare Burton's work, her thoughtful analysis and desire for real change in organisational practice provided inspiration and perhaps more importantly for those of us working in the areas, sound arguments that as practitioners and researchers we've been able to draw on throughout our own careers. I first met Clare when I moved to Sydney in 1990 to take up the role of Equal Opportunity Manager for the Reserve Bank of Australia. Clare was at the stage the new South Wales director of Equal Opportunity for Public Employment. Here was someone with a national reputation and so I went to that first meeting feeling very inadequate about my own equal opportunity knowledge and practice. But what I found was someone who was not only passionate about the need for change, but also delighted to help those of us who had less experience and knowledge and who at that stage still failing new practitioners in the field. I was fortunate enough to meet and work with Clare again after I moved back to western Australia when she undertook some work at Edith Cowan University in the mid 1990's. I continue to draw on her work which remains relevant, insightful and forward looking. I feel very privileged to have met Clare and now to have been asked to present this year's Clare Burton lecture. I also want to acknowledge the excellent work undertaken by WEXDEV. In particular, the establishment of the Clare Burton memorial scholarship. I know firsthand how important this scholarship is and the difference it can make. Because as you heard last year's recipient, Melissa Marinelli, is undertaking her doctoral studies through the Maureen Bickley Centre for Women in Leadership. And I want to particularly thank Melissa, professors Sue Fike, Fiona McKenzie and Therese Jefferson as well as other wonderful colleagues at Curtin for their help and support in preparing this lecture. We need to move beyond tokenism. For me, 10 percent of women on our corporate boards in Australia in 2010 is tokenism. Substantive change is needed in our organisations and their governing bodies if we are serious about addressing current gender inequities. There's been considerable discussion and reports in the press recently about the lack of women on corporate boards and the actions some organisations are taking to try and redress this imbalance. While state initiatives are welcome I want our focus to be on changing the systems that are in place rather than the continuing helping women focus. So, in other words, it's time to stop fixing women and start fixing the system. [ Applause ] Today's talk is predominantly about women in corporate Australia. However, much of it will, I expect, have relevance to the government, universities and not-for-profit sectors. Across all of our institutions and sectors there's a need to develop and utilise fully our best people and currently we're not doing that. So, I want to focus on three key areas. What's happening in Australia, what is happening overseas and what do we need to do differently. So, what is happening here in Australia. I'd like to start by looking at some case statistics that I'm sure are familiar to many of you. Women currently make up just over 45 percent of the paid workforce. They comprise nearly 70 percent of the part-time workforce and are likely to be found in four or five industries and occupational groupings, to be employed in jobs that have little or no career path and to have interrupted work patterns and breaks in paid employment. So, given that data it's perhaps not surprising that our pathway to those top jobs is not straightforward. The 2010 EOWA census in women on boards and in executive positions shows that women remain under-represented at the most senior levels and that the rate of change is exceedingly slow. And in the ASX 200 companies women hold just 2.5 percent of board chair positions and comprise only 8.4 percent of direct, board director positions. Of even more concern is that women hold only 4.1 percent of the line manager roles that are considered to be the pipeline positions to key executive appointments, including that of chief executive officer. In our Federal Parliament, despite having a female Prime Minister, we've seen a drop in the number of women politicians in the House of Representatives, with women comprising just under 25 percent of members compared to 28 percent in the previous Parliament. Women fare better in the senate where they now hold just under 40 percent of seats compared to 35 percent in the previous Parliament. And as always, there are some interesting stories that sit under those statistics. In the recent Federal election women candidates were less likely to be in safe seats, more likely to be in or defending marginal seats, and as it has been noted, party pre-selection remains the crucial factor in Parliament's gender balance or imbalance, a similar sentiment to that expressed in the EOWA census. So, where are the women will fill these executive roles or becoming members of Parliament, or take on other leadership roles in Australian society? Or for those of us at university, luckily, many of them are getting an education. Fifty six percent of undergraduate students are female and just over 52 percent of postgraduate students are female. And women now make up a higher proportion of students at all levels except Master's by coursework and I think there's some interesting research to be done about who gets paid to do some of that Master's by coursework. However, our study isn't necessarily helping us get to the top or to close the gender wage gap. The current gender wage gap is around 18 percent overall and it's been close to that level for the past decade. And it's most pronounced after the age of 35 years, which is not good news for some of us at least in the room. One might be forgiven for thinking that is women reach higher levels in organisations that the gender wage gap decreases. Not so. EOWA survey of the top 200 companies listed on the ASX showed that female CEOs earn just 67 percent of the salaries of their male counterparts. And even more dramatic for the differences in chief financial and chief operating officer levels where women's salary on average was 50 percent lower than their male counterparts. And it's been estimated that 60 percent of that disparity comes down simply to being a woman. I want to turn now to how some of the key changes that have occurred for women have been achieved. Engaging in legislative reform has provided insights to policies and practices that regardless of their intention disadvantaged women. However, changes in women's rights and status attract considerable attention not only by those in favour of change but also by those who see such change as threatening the very fabric of society. If we take a quick look at history we can see that there is a need for disruptive action to bring about substantive change in the roles and positions women hold in society. I want to focus on some of those key legislative changes that have occurred for women in Australia to provide some insight into the framing of arguments opposing quotas and targets in relation to women on boards. It also highlights the surprising lack of change in the rhetoric about why a change that improves opportunities for women needs to be opposed with the utmost vigour. Australia was one of the first countries in the developed world to give women the vote with women first building in South Australia in 1895. This was followed in 1902, by the 1902 Commonwealth franchise act, which enabled some women, aboriginal women were generally excluded, to stand for and vote in Federal elections. Arguments at that time against giving women the vote were that women would not be capable of focusing on such complex matters as politics, because they were weak, emotional, and unable to make decisions. And, of course, they'd also be consumed with domestic and trivial matters. Another objection raised was the giving the vote would mean married men would in effect get to votes, something that was seen as unfair to single men. [laughter] the idea that wives might vote independently and not in line with their husbands wishes was apparently inconceivable. It was not until 1921 that that a woman, Edith Cowan, was elected to an Australian Parliament. At age 60 she was elected to the WA Parliament. And although she only served one term, she pushed for reform across a number of important areas including child endowment, infant health centres, the welfare of migrants, legal and political rights of all women, the introduction of sex education in the state schools and the introduction and passing of the Women's Legal Status Act, enabling women to practice law. It appears that much of what she and other political activists at the time were arguing for remains as relevant today as it was nearly a century ago. Prior to entering Parliament, Edith Cowan campaigned for amongst other things day nurseries for working mothers. She was a member of the North Fremantle Board of Education, one of the few public office is available to women at that time, the first woman appointed to the bench of the Children's Court and Founding Secretary of Advisory Board of the newly established Women's Hospital. But I do wonder which she be considered board ready for one of the ASX 200 boards today? Further legislative reform gained momentum in Australia in the 1970's, following on from political activity in the U.S. and the U.K. Changes were not necessarily easily won, nor were they always intended. Louise Thatcher Ulrich in her book, "Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History", tells of the conservative United States southern Congressman who in 1964, hoping to defeat a comprehensive Civil Rights Act, introduced an amendment on the basis of sex as well as race. He assumed that his addition was so ridiculous it would induce these northern Congressman to vote no to the whole bill. Now, the "Wall Street Journal" was aghast at this proposition because if the government actually tried to enforce such ridiculous law employers needing typists might be forced to advertise for people with small nimble fingers, then higher the first male midget with unusual dexterity who showed up. The "New York Times" in response to the passing of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1971 scolded the nations lawmakers for paying more attention to the ladies' gallery then for sober lawyers who predicted chaos should the amendment pass. This seems to echo with the level of debate that we have at times seen in the media and Australia when issues such as equal opportunity, affirmative action, or indeed quotas on boards are discussed. for example, the International Women's Year in 1975 so headlines in the age such as two million for Sheila's, surprisingly it's not a joke or the Year of the Bird, which was the headline in the "Sydney Sunday Telegram." The "Sydney Daily Telegraph" reporting on a women's conference ran the headline, "Mums the Word as the Big Gap Begins." So whilst there may be some improvements regarding journalistic professionalism, Gisela Kaplan notes in her book, "The Meagre Harvest" that in the 1990's Bronwyn Bishop's hairdo and Joan Kirner's polka dot dress gained more media coverage than all comments made on all male politician's appearance put together in the entire post World War II period. [ Dishes clanging ] Many of you may have seen the Ernie award winners that were announced earlier this year. The Ernie Awards are named in honour of former Labor Council President, Ernie Ecob, who was known for his sexist remarks. The Elaine Award, which is for comments least helpful to the sisterhood was won this year by ABC Radio presenter Genevieve Jacobs for an interview she had with the then Minister for Women's Interest, Kenya Plavasek in which she asked, "Do you feel bad that other people are raising your children?" One wonders how many million leadership have been asked that question. In case we think that attitudes towards women have changed dramatically, and Jacob's comment was the exception, it's perhaps helpful to just pause and look at recent gold and silver Ernie winners. The gold Ernie this year went to a group of university students at St. Paul's College in Sydney for setting up a pro-rape Facebook page. The college's defined statutory group defined itself as pro-rape and anti-consent. Not surprisingly, it was condemned by women's groups, the government and police when it came to light last November. There's been a similar incident reported from Yale University as well about a similar sort of page being set up. Tony Abbott was nominated eight times this year for comments he made about women and on a political silver Ernie. He also won the Clinton award. That's the award for repeat offenders. [ Laughter ] In 2009 the gold Ernie was awarded to the Catch the Fire Ministries who blamed the Victorian bushfire tragedy on the state's abortion laws. So, let's move back to legislation. Australia passed the Sex Discrimination Act in 1984. The act based on the United Nations Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, was introduced by Susan Ryan, firstly as a private members bill in 1981, where it was adjourned without a vote, and it was then reintroduced in 1983 minus it's affirmative action provisions by the then newly elected Labor Party within which Susan Ryan served as a minister. And she also presided over the passage of the Affirmative Action Equal Opportunities for Employment Act for 1986. At the time the bill was being debated there was six women in the Senate. All were labor, and only 13 women in total across the two Houses of Parliament. Reading about debate in Parliament, if indeed it can be called debate, can certainly result in some rye amusement. It is wonderful to think that all we needed to destroy civilisation as we know it was the introduction of a fairly conservative piece of legislation that aimed to provide some equality to women in the public sphere. Imagine what might happen if we did indeed introduce laws that related to quotas to address counting balances on boards and in the executive ranks of Australian organisations. Margaret Thornton and Trish Locker in their review of the passage of the Sex Discrimination Act included a number of comments by politicians that highlight both paranoia about the proposed changes. And as an aside ASIO had actually devoted resources to spy on women's liberation groups in the 1970's, but also the contempt in which female politicians were held. Michael Hodgman, a member of the liberal party stated that the proposed legislation was an appalling piece of legislation. And when announcing his intention to vote against the bill, which by the way did have bipartisan support, stated was conceding that there are parts of the bill with which I have no quarrel whatsoever. I have to say that the legislation as a whole is tainted with the pseudo-intellectualism of selfish and unrepresented feminism, and doctrinaire Marxists socialist precepts on of contrived to quality defying even the laws of nature. So the member for Franklin at that time, Bruce Goodluck, a liberal MP, stated that he'd investigated the women's electoral lobby and found that most of the members were given up Catholics, women who had problems, and women who had something against men. He also stated that he'd looked at the four women on the government side and I quote, "They are nice ladies, but they are all the same. They are always campaigning to save the cats, save the dogs and save the whales. They are antinuclear and pro-abortion. They are anti-the flag and anti-the dad. That is predominantly what Labor Party women are like. But they can talk; they are dashed good talkers. We have a few liberal women who crosses lines and who are called trendy. But the majority of liberal women are quiet and do not say much and support their husbands. I have nothing against labor women personally, but they all seem to take up this role. And I'm afraid that everyone is starting to think that role is the norm. We have to fight back. These women have it all their own way. If we do not fight back they will take over." Well I guess Mr. Goodluck can rest easy, because despite his fears women are far from taking over in the public or private spheres of life in Australia. A further note on Mr. Goodluck, he served eight terms as an MP, seven in the Federal Parliament, one as an independent in the Tasmanian State Parliament. And he's best remembered according to the "Examiner" newspaper in Tasmania, for walking into Federal Parliament wearing a chicken suit. He was awarded an AM in the Australia Day's honest list in 2000 for his services to the community and to Federal and State Parliaments and was by his own admission a controversial liberal who crossed the floor several times and was well known when campaigning for pretending he wasn't a liberal. On a perhaps more comforting note and professional note, Susan Ryan on the other hand is best remembered for her groundbreaking work for women in the community and in the Australian Parliament and was awarded an AO in the 1999 Australia's Day honest list. Having managed to get the Sex Discrimination Act passed, attention then turned to the Affirmative Action Act, which was passed in 1986 and is now the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act. At one of the meetings regarding the introduction of affirmative action, the then Deans of Science at Australian Universities, they were 19 and they were all male, told Senator Ryan that the introduction of legislation would not redress gender inequities overnight. Those of us working in universities, and as the Vice-Chancellor pointed out, know how true that statement is. The deans noted that the number of women applying for academic posts remain disappointingly low and precious few posts to appoint them to anyway. An argument that appears to echo reasons given as to why there are so few women on corporate boards and in executive roles in organisations. But not all sort of legislation is a bad thing. The Business Council for Australia, of Australia, for example, established the Council for Equal Employment Opportunity as a means of helping businesses to address gender in equity and to improve business productivity. What I'd like to do now is just come back to equal pay. Female participation in the labor market has increased rapidly, particularly over the last forty years and women have gone from earning around half the male wage in 1990, 1919 when women were first included in male market legislation to around 84 percent of men's wages in 2009. And if we look at equal pay cases in the late 60's and early 70's we can see that it was legislative and regulatory changes that brought about rapid improvements for women at that time. It's interesting to note that of the organisations that report or EOWA, less than 40 percent reported conducting an annual gender pay equity analysis. And EOWA noticed that the pay gap appears to widen exponentially throughout women's careers. A report in 2009 by KPMG for the Diversity Council Australia found-- again found that a large component of the wage gap could be attributed to sex discrimination. Mary Gaudron, Australia's first female Judge in the High Court of Australia famously stated following the 1972 Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value case and I quote, "We got equal pay once. Then we got it again, but we still haven't got it." How right she was. So whilst the gains of legislation are modest, they have produced a framework for action that has delivered positive outcomes for women in Australian society. However, we remain one of the most six segregated workforces in the OECD. And it's only in 2011 that we had the introduction of paid parental leave at a national level. And considering the Australian position, and what we might do to bring about further change, it's helpful to look at some of the gains that have been made elsewhere. Internationally, particularly over the last decade, there's been a livelier and more far-reaching conversation about the need not only to increase the number of women but also the diversity on corporate boards. In Australia there is still relatively little discussion about diversity other than the need to have a range of ages and experience. However, experience is narrowly defined and for some diversity means having members for more than one private police school represented on the board. So what is happening internationally? There's been an increase in monitoring the number of women on boards by organisations such as Catalyst in the U.S., Cranfield University's International Centre for Women Leaders in the U.K. and EOWA here in Australia. One action that's resulted in changing generated considerable publicity has been the introduction of quotas in Norway. And this is being followed by a number of other countries who've introduced or who are considering introducing similar legislation. So let's return to Norway. In 2002 the then Administrator for Trade in Industries, Ansgar Gabrielsen, in a secret meeting told one of the country's most senior political reporters that he intended to change Norway's boards. The day after that meeting the front-page headline was, "Sick and Tired in the Old Men's Club." The story gave details of the countries leading companies showing that of 611 companies 470 had no female board members and overall just six percent of all board positions were held by women. The story also informed organisations and the government, who were not aware of the minister's proposals. I do think there would've been some interesting phone calls that morning to the minister's office, but legislation and prosecution of noncompliant companies would follow if a target of 40 percent of all board positions in companies listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange were not held by women within five years. As the minister said, "If I had told them before the initiative would've been queued by one committee after another. Now I had to employ terrorist tactics. Sometimes you have to create an earthquake, tsunami to get things done, to get things to change. If a left-wing feminist had come out with something like that it would've been dismissed as just another scream in the night. But because I decided I knew people would take notice." And I think he's absolutely right when he said that because he was male, a male politician, people would take more notice of his proposal. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, given that for many of us Scandinavia was seen as a model of agenda equity, business leaders and employers and, indeed, his own conservative party opposed the proposal warning of dire consequences in terms of company performance and loss of investor confidence. There'd been ongoing discussion regarding the need to address the gender imbalance on boards and private sector organisations and groups had argued that whilst public safety organisations could lead the way with equal status objectives, the private sector should deal with such issues for negotiations and voluntary campaigns. Now the law in Norway is not without problems and some companies have changed their status from publicly listed companies to privately listed companies to avoid legislation. However, the number of women on boards has increased dramatically with all the major companies reaching the 40 percent target. Many had argued that there would be not enough suitably qualified and experienced women to meet the quota requirements. One chief executive on software company went so far as to suggest the companies would have to recruit escort girls to meet the target. One wonders where he spends his time. [laughter] Perhaps more importantly, the sky hasn't fallen in nor has the economy collapsed because of this legislation. Analysis of the profile of women who've been appointed shows that they are more highly qualified than the average board member, their slightly younger than the majority have had distinguished professional careers prior to their board appointment. In March this year, Iceland introduce legislation to prevent gender equality on the boards of publicly listed companies with 50 or more employees, requiring 40 percent of each gender by September 1, 2013. The introduction of the law followed a period of voluntary reaction by companies, but this was insufficient to address current gender imbalance. Finland has also introduced legislation, although there's is a little more modest requiring listed companies to have one woman on the board. But, what else is happening in Europe? Spain is passed a similar law requiring within seven years for out of 10 board positions to be held by women. Germany has proposed a voluntary charter and the Netherlands is also pledging commitment to increasing the number of women in senior positions. Italy has legislation drafted and other countries are said to be considering a similar move. The proportion of women on boards and top European companies is 12 percent, up from eight percent in 2004. If the current rate of increase is maintained, and that's a rate of 21 percent every two years, parity could be reached in 16 years; still a long time to wait in my book. Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain, Belgium and France have more than doubled the number of women on their boards. So what has caused this increase? It is the introduction of corporate governments codes together with equal access legislation currently being discussed as well as the increased shareholder and media scrutiny that's help to promote the increased number of women being appointed. 2007 McKinsey study of the largest European companies found that those with at least three women on their executive committee significantly outperformed their sector in terms of average return on equity by about 10 percent. Operating profit was nearly twice as high. The study stopped short of attributing this performance to a critical mass of women but found the companies with pronounced gender diversity at the top tended to rank highly in terms of management equality. In the U.S. there are no quotas, but public companies in mutual funds must disclose whether or not diversity is a consideration when directors are named, how diversity policy is being implemented and how its effectiveness will be evaluated. In the U.K. companies must pay due regard for the benefits of diversity on the board including gender. So, let's come back to Australia. I'm going to come back briefly to the 2010 EOWA census. The first census of women in leadership in corporate Australia was conducted in 2002. That showed that women held just over, sorry, that showed that women held just 8.2 percent of board directorships of ASX 200 companies. In 2010 it's only 8.4 percent. The 2008 census also measured executive key management personnel, which showed that women held just 7 percent of these positions. In 2010 it stands at 8 percent. As the report notes, of greater concern is the lack of change in women of pipeline positions considered pathways to executive roles. There was no change between 2008 and 2010. The data shows an almost static picture with little change across the range of measures taken and the sectors examined. The 2010 result of 8.4 percent compares with other 2009-10 data which shows that women hold 15.2 percent of comparable board positions in the U.S., 16.6 percent in South Africa, 14 percent in Canada, 8.7 in New Zealand and 9 percent in the top 250 U.K. companies. Longitudinal analysis of the data indicates that there are no significant changes in Australian boards that will lead to increases in the number of women holding board positions. It is hard to feel optimistic when 54 percent of the top 200 ASX companies have no women on their board of directors and only 4.1 percent of women are in line of key executive management positions. As Catherine Fox of the capital AFR has noted, it's a sad reality that most organisations are doing little more than talk about this issue rather than making any real effort to unblock the pipeline into the executive suite where big decisions are made and careers are forged. The Australian Institute of Company Directors noted that outcomes had improved since the census date used for the EOWA report and that women currently represent 10.1 percent of directors of ASX 200 words. Forty women as we heard earlier have been appointed so far this year, compared to only 10 for the whole of last year and 27 percent of directors appointed so far this year have been female compared to only 5 percent in 2009 and 8 percent in 2007. However, only 13 women share those 40 appointments. So whilst this increase is encouraging, and perhaps not surprising given the ASX changes to reporting requirements and increased focus on boards, much remains to be done. So having been told that we can be optimistic that change is occurring, it is useful to focus on some of the initiatives that have happened over the past 12 months that may be contributing to the increase in the number of women on boards. I'd like to focus on these before concluding with what I see is the next steps we need to take. In 2009 the Australian Securities Exchange, the ASX, issued a press release announcing proposed changes to its corporate government's principles and recommendations. The formal commencement of the recommendations is 1 January 2011 and applies to all companies listed on the ASX. The recommendations require the companies disclose what they are doing to increase diversity on their boards. And if they don't have anything in place to explain why not, if not why not approach, non-compliance can result in a breach of the ASX listing rules. The Australian Institute of Company Directors has launched a mentoring scheme designed to increase the number of women on boards. The year-long program involves 56 senior directors mentoring 63 women who've been identified by an advisory committee as ASX 200 board ready. I do wonder if the same advisory committee identifies men who are ASX 200 board ready. According to the AICD the mentoring program and I'm quoting from them, "was designed to identify experienced and skilled women who are ASX 200 board ready. They include women who already have experience on boards of ASX 200 companies and other listed companies. Unlisted public companies, larger private companies, government bodies and not-for-profits as well as senior executive women within ASX listed companies and other appropriately qualified women from professional and other backgrounds. The Business Council of Australia has also launched a 12-month long pilot mentoring program known as a C-Suite project. Project conducted in partnership with the Australian Human Resources Institute involves CEOs who are BCA members mentoring high achieving women employed by other BCA member companies. The aim is to identify talented women open up pathways for them to reach the top of the corporate ladder and into the boardroom. Whilst I'm generally an advocate of formal mentoring programs, I do have concerns that the approaches being taken are designed to fix women rather than addressing systemic issues such as the lack of transparency regarding board appointments, boardroom dynamics, the lack of opportunity for women to gain online management experience, and I have concerns about how the number of women on boards will be increased of some of them are already serving board members. It should not be about the same women being appointed to multiple boards anymore than it should be about the same men being on multiple boards, but about more women being on more boards when I listed companies. Common to these initiatives is there voluntary nature and a need to be already in the circle to participate. There appears to be an absence of programs or initiatives and boards themselves and how they operate. And it raises the question of what to do if the rate of change remains slow and how long should we wait for real change to occur. I agree with Elizabeth Broderick, the Sex Discrimination Commissioner who was made a number of statements on the need for a more proactive approach. Our recommendation is contained in the Gender Equity Blueprint for increasing the number of women in senior decision-making roles, call for amongst other things a minimum target of 40 percent of each gender on Australian government boards to be achieved within three years. A minimum target for the Senior Executive Service and a target of 40 percent representation of each gender on all publicly listed boards in Australia to be achieved over five years. If progress is not made them Broderick recommends the Australian government to consider legislation. As an aside, those targets are lower than targets that were established in 1992 around the same issues. So, where to from here? Well, we need to move beyond arguments of tokenism. The current 10 percent is tokenism. We need to change the current system. So, does that mean we give all these current initiatives? No. But we do need to recognise that based on international experience that on their own they are unlikely to achieve a dramatic increase in the number of women on boards. So what might a reform agenda look like? For a start, we need to redefine merit and we need to reevaluate women's worth, areas that Clare Burton examined in the 1980's. We need to get serious about monitoring what's happening in our organisations and set realistic timelines for change. If the changes to slow in coming, then we need legislation. We do what needs to be done and the time to start doing it is now. So, let's start with merit. I'm drawn to comments in Clare Burton's monograph redefining merit. She writes of Everett Hughes, a renowned sociologist, who argued in 1944 that an individual could possess all the legitimate criteria for appointments will position, but be excluded from consideration because of lack of other characteristics associated with the traditional incumbents. What he's operating is a second set of characteristics that facilitates the establishment of a relationship based on mutual recognition and trust. So if we are to avoid the homosocial reproduction that Hughes spoke about nearly 70 years ago, we need to seriously question the issue of merit. But surely we've got better at defining merit. Not according to Mary Gaudron who in a 1997 speech to women lawyers and you'll note that I have enormous respect for her and what she-- the work she has done said in relation to the lack of women at senior levels in the law and I quote, "I have for example been told that women with merit will inevitably be granted silk and get the briefs they deserve. This is a theory I might accept if there were evidence that merit is the universal yardstick for the granting of silk to men or even for the success of male barristers." Perhaps of more concern when we think about merit is the ongoing research finding that identical CVs where the only difference is the name at the top. In other words it's John Smith or Jane Smith produced very different outcomes. John Smith is always rated more highly and more suited to leadership roles despite as I've said having absolutely the same skills, qualification and experience as Jane Smith. So, we need to ask serious questions about who is defining merit? Who is able to meet that seemingly neutral criteria that are applied in the name of merit and how this needs to change if we wish to achieve a different outcome. We need to know what's happening in our organisations and our board rooms. Currently EOWA conducts its census every two years on the top 200 listed companies. What about the rest of corporate Australia? With the new ASX guidelines we'll go some way to address the current lack of monitoring particularly in relation to women on boards. The McKinsey report on increasing gender diversity in top management positions found that real progress can be made when there is visible monitoring by the CEO. We need to stop making excuses that actually knowing what is happening to the people in our organisations is unnecessary burden. We need to not only monitor what happens but also to publicly reported as a way to increasing transparency and accountability at all levels. We need to have a much better understanding of boardroom dynamics in order to challenge some of the beliefs and myths relating to effective board performance. We need to understand what, and more importantly who, makes an effective board member. We need to learn from the experience of women directors and potential directors. We need to challenge the current process that sees directors drawn from a narrow pool of potential candidates, so narrow that in many instances the only way to be appointed to board is to be known and trusted by other board members. And while Smith and Jane breach make the point of having access to the right networks, you know, is the most critical factor for both males and females in achieving board appointment as is already holding one or more board memberships. So it's time to challenge the who you know and already being there as a central criteria for gaming board appointments. The rate of change that's required to increase women's representation will, in my view, require legislative intervention. I don't think that such legislation is without problem, but disruptive change is needed. Norway achieved its rapid increase in the number of women as a result of legislation. They too had in place mentoring programs, voluntary targets and registers of women who wanted to be considered for board appointments. So when we moved to quotas, which I expect we will need to do, then we can look at best practice in terms of establishing an ideal quota law. This includes a full implementation plan including appropriate resources to execute the plan, strong punitive measures and political will. First steps have been taken by a number of leading companies and a range of professional organisations. But will it be enough to fix the system? If organisations are serious about increasing the number of women on boards without the help of the quota law and there is a real window of opportunity now in Australia. However, the recently released McKinsey report moving women to the top stated that whilst the majority of executives believe gender diversity and leadership is linked to better financial performance, companies take few actions to support women in the workplace. So in conclusion, in preparing for this lecture I read again the previous Clare Burton lectures and I do want to thank WEXDEV for publishing the first 10 lectures as a book last year; it's a fantastic read. It was enjoyable, but then again, it was very worrying. It was worrying because we've been arguing for change for women for a very long time. Clare herself was a storage campaigner for change. However, despite outstanding efforts by talented and courageous women the rate of change across so many indicators remains unbelievably slow. And gains that have been made appear fragile rather than embedded in practice. It's time for radical reform giving up the excuses that have been used to explain women's absence and men's presence at senior levels and to address organisational cultures that are masculinist, exclusionary and narrow in focus. When we start to value different things change happens. So the question ought not to be how long should we wait for change but how soon can we get started? Thank you. [ Applause ] >> Thank you Dr. Lord for that very informative, thought-provoking and entertaining address. It's now my pleasure to ask the Director General Department for Communities, Ms. Jenny Perkins to come and give the votive thanks after which Dr. Lord has indicated she'll be available to take questions from the floor. Thank you. >> Thanks Miranda. The Department of Communities Women's Interest had a long-term partnership with Curtin University around these lectures and it's pleasing that this year's lecture has been less thought-provoking and inspiring, if not, somewhat sobering than previous years. I agree very much that we need to start now. Robyn I'm waiting. First of all I'd like to sort of think the organisational unit at Curtin University of work so hard to bring together today this event that's run so smoothly. So, very much a thank you to Janice and Cheri who have been part of that work. [applause] so I'd like to formally thank Dr. Lord for sharing her research and knowledge with us in what has been a very excellent and informative speech and give this very small token of appreciation. >> Thank you very much. >> And thank you all for being here today around what is such an important agenda and as I said really the time is now for us to all go and start doing what we need to do. Thank you. [ Applause ] >> Thank you very much. As I've indicated, Dr. Lord has indicated she is available to take questions from the floor and we do have a couple of roving microphones around the room. So, if you have a question, if you just like to raise her hand. One down here. Yes, there's a microphone coming to you now. Thank you. >> Thanks Dr. Lord, that was an excellent presentation. I thought I just roll the audience's attention to another program which the AICD is just beginning to pilot in Western Australia and I think it's interesting it is in Western Australia. Things often change here before the rest of the country. But it's a pilot program called the Pipeline Program and it's just in the process of being launched at the moment and that is aimed at creating a pool of women available at the next level down for company directorships. And the idea of the program is that organisations put forward two or three, were arguing for three, of their senior women to participate in the program which is then-- creates networking between organisation's training programs for women and introductions to boards. So, I think that's going to that next level below and is only just launching. The other thing I'd say is that the boards that I'm on there is definitely a consciousness when you're looking for new board members. The list is put together and priority of the boards that I am on given to the women candidates, but the pool isn't big enough to always select and it's a very small pool at the moment. And a lot of the women who you ask say that it's too much of a commitment, because they're already on others. So it's changing, but I do agree with you that radical change needs to happen but there are some things happening in Western Australia, which are not in the rest of the world. Thank you. >> Dr. Linley Lord: Thanks John and can I please ask that you call me Linley. I find that Dr. Lord is just wee bit too formal. Look, in terms of I think it's really important that were also working within our organisations, come back to these figures in the EOWA report, 4.1 percent of women in those positions that lead through to the CEO. So it is about getting that line management experience. I'm encouraged by what the AICD are doing, but I don't want to focus just to be on women. What's happening to the board members and where were they looking for those women? And certainly when we had the experience in one of the classes that I was teaching earlier this year, someone talked from a mining company and I've heard it said from other directors of mining companies there's no women around. It seems to me to be quite a few here today, so perhaps we need to look in different places that were currently looking to expand that pool. So, I think we need to. [ Applause ] [ Moving around ] >> Hello Linley. >> Dr. Linley Lord: Hi. >> Enjoyed it very much. >> Dr. Linley Lord: Thank you. >> Just on the aspect though of developing the right experience profile and getting the right background, the issue of real part-time jobs that give you that I experience profile when you're trying to balance raising your children and so on seems to me a lot of lost ground there and it's hard to make up later. >> Dr. Linley Lord: But I think you're right, and I always find it interesting the penalty that women pay taking out what the research shows to be relatively short periods of time over a working career. But there's this mortal sin, my Catholic background, of having children we commit this dreadful thing. There are some companies that I'm aware of here in Perth that are, or one in particular, in the resources sector that is really working very hard with part-time women managers and it's not saying to them will work with you until you're serious about coming back to full-time work. They're saying you have got skills that we want. How do we make this work? We want you. And so it's not been tolerant or accommodating, it's recognising the skill. We need much more of that to be occurring in our organisations and we need to start challenging you know, the damage that having children does to women's careers. There's just no excuse for it in terms of our attitudes towards it. >> Thank you Linley for a very stimulating excellent address. You've worked in universities for a long, long time, and I don't mean that rudely. Is there something that we in university should be doing to position women for the sorts of board placements that you've been talking about? In other words, should we be doing more in getting our female employees up to the mark? >> Dr. Linley Lord: Thanks Robyn. We need to be doing more not only for our employees, we need to be looking at what we're doing with students, as well. There's a number of times that all go through reading list just to see what were asking and as you know I work in the postgraduate area where we don't put any research by women in front of her students. Those sorts of things, the case studies that we use to ensure women in leadership roles. I think in terms of we also need to, there are two things in terms of employees. Yes, we need to be looking at the women who want to go through and on to boards, what are we doing to make sure that they've got effective line management experience and we need to be doing like I said-- there's three things. We need to be doing the research about what's effective in terms of board appointments. The argument I can use is that women go into the service roles, marketing, human resources, etc., open any annual report what is our most valuable asset? It's our people, but we don't want anyone on our board who's got that strategic human resources experience. So, I think we need to challenge those sorts of things and we've got to be very good at putting women forward to these positions. Women sometimes are reluctant to try and claim that space in one of the things that we can do in terms of area mentoring and support for other women is give them a gentle nudge or at times a really big push into some of those roles. >> Thank you Linley. Excellent presentation, as usual. >> Dr. Linley Lord: Thank you. >> We tend to pig out when it was 16 percent nationally and it's around 26-27 percent in Western Australia. You've said that 90 percent corporate boards in Australia are made up of male, 10 percent female. I just wonder what the ratio is in Western Australia given the gender pay gap. Is it a similar correlation? >> Dr. Linley Lord: My-- thanks Allison. My understanding is that it's around two percent for women on boards in Western Australia. And the excuse given all the time is that it's resources. And to me that's just the sort of thing we have to constantly be challenging and asking different questions. So comes back to the point that John was making when these programs are being put together it's actually asking the questions of those boards. Not why are there so few women on your board, why are there so many men when you're board. We have to start off asking some different questions around this and I think we have to stop asking not why are there 10 percent women on their boards, but why are their boards in the top 200 ninety percent male? It's a very different question and it will lead us to some different answers. >> I would just like to make one comment. It's very interesting listening to your lecture and I wonder what place to aboriginal women have in this world I guess? I mean in terms of making pathways for them to come through, giving them the opportunity to come through, knowing the probably in the workforce aboriginal women probably are at the lowest level of be at the corporate ladder or business letter. >> Dr. Linley Lord: So, I think you're absolutely right it's-- if we think it's hard for white women to get on to boards then there are considerably much greater challenges for aboriginal women to get through the systems that we've created. What I see overseas that I don't see here is a much richer and deeper and more thoughtful conversation around diversity, which means that boards to talk about why are there not aboriginal people on these-- on this board and what do we need to do? Were not having that conversation yet here in Australia. One of the things that hopefully you can take away from this today is to start these sort of conversations around why-- why do we have the current situation? Why is it not changing and challenging our organisations, both government and publicly listed, to make change. I don't have an easy answer in terms of the pathways through. I'm sorry I can't, I can't give that. >> I really didn't expect a clear answer, but I would like to say is there ever an opportunity that will begin to start that discussion. If it's at an international level, why aren't we hearing about it here then in this little country? >> Dr. Linley Lord: Yeah. I think that were on the start of that and I think we-- one of the things that's useful is to take that back to organisations like the Institute of Company Directors, the BCA better running their mentoring programs and ask who are they mentoring? And what does that group look like and who's included in that and who's excluded in that as a way to starting to put a little attention on that issue. So I think we just need to start being radical really. >> [inaudible audience comments] >> Dr. Linley Lord: Yeah. >> I just like to get back to the question about part-time work because it seems to me that this is a quandary you know we face often in their careers and through our society. And it's really a question of not how do we accommodate women who want to work part-time because of family commitments, but how do we spread family commitments across the entire family unit so it's not necessarily the women who's the one who needs to take part-time work throughout her career or-- and it's not only take care of children. A lot of us in this room are at a point where were taking care of parents. And again, that tends to always generally affect a woman's career. I'm not saying the men don't help, but it's much rarer that they're going to be working part-time because they have those, those issues. And until the people we're competing with to move up the ladder face the same kind of demands and constraints you do, it doesn't matter how many times, how flexible we try to make it. The reality is there going to have more time to network. They're going to have more experience and they're going to do better. And so until we as a society shift that responsibility to the entire family unit, I think we're pushing rocks uphill. >> Dr. Linley Lord: I think there's some interesting research that's come out of the U.K. around flex work. And I agree with you Robyn. And what that showed is that women absolutely use the flexible work provisions. They needed to clear that they could leave at four o'clock on a Wednesday afternoon, whatever it was. When the men were asked it was no, they didn't use flexible work provisions. They just took the time off when they needed it. [laughter] So, they were in more senior roles and they could go and take their elderly parents of the doctors appointment or see their child get there certificate at the school assembly. What happened was that they didn't ever name that as flexible work. And so, out of structural level, what you see is if we look down the lists oh well women are always taking time off, but the men aren't. So, there are some of the practices that we need to illuminate and to name. And the men were doing it you know it wasn't a big conspiracy. They just didn't see as what fitted in the policy because they didn't do it every Wednesday. Now you know, the solution might be we might make them do that but in the absence of that I think we have to have conversations around what are the work practices and what gets seen in organisations and what gets, if you like, the tick of approval. Because even in the Scandinavian countries it's more difficult and they got some legislation to force men to take time off to be with their children, because of the impact on their career. So, we need to be looking at that at our senior levels in the organisation and making some challenges around that. >> Oh hi Linley. Thank you very much for your excellent lecture today. I was just tweeting some of your really great quotes while we were there. I didn't mean to be disrespectful. But I had a comment which flowed on quite nicely from that last question where someone responded and said I support more women on boards and empowerment, etc. I'm just really sticked that many women have other priorities. My response was do you not think that men have other priorities? And I was just wondering what your thoughts are in addition to the structural changes, which also is going to be a big fight, what are your thoughts about what we need to do in terms of a cultural change in every aspect of all our lives? Big question, I know. >> Dr. Linley Lord: Yeah, so that's a small question I'll just think about. I think part of what we need to do is to maintain the conversation. I think what we meant to do is to maintain the conversation. I think what's happened around issues of equal opportunity affirmative action and issues relating to women we've been told that it's being done. And there's almost a reluctance to say well no, hang on a minute, we haven't got there. And for some all the change has meant is that we're working full-time, we're caring for children and caring for a household. In terms of time use surveys, the very worst category you can be in is a married woman with children. It's actually better to be a single parent in terms of unpaid work. So, this cultural change which we need to look at comes back to Robyn's point that she was making. I think we've got to be brave enough to have the conversations around this. We tend to shy away from it because people feel quite passionately about it. People will argue, well we can't make changes because it'll just be token appointments and women don't want to be tokens. That's the wrong place to focus that argument. We need to say why are we paying board members the money that we're paying them if they're going to make token appointments? Why are we letting them earn 200, 300 thousand a year as board members to make those decisions? So, we've got to ask different questions all the time. We've got to lobby our politicians. We've got to lobby the media and if we're shareholders, we've got to go to those meetings and ask, why are there so few women and not be fubbed off with well we looked, but we couldn't find any that we liked, because that's not good enough. So, I think it's about conversation and there's some work being done around race that talks about courageous conversations and I think it's that same thing. We need to have courageous conversations about women and their role in not only corporate Australia but in our universities, in our not-for-profit sector and in our government sector. So, it's keep the conversation going. >> Thank you very much Linley. Could all please join me in thanking Linely for her time here today? [ Applause ] >> Dr. Linley Lord: Thank you. That concludes our lecture for today. We do have tea and coffee and biscuits to follow. In closing, I'd like to acknowledge the work of Janice Bermaz and Cheri Anos for their coordination of the event. I think you'll agree it's been a wonderful experience here today. And as you leave, may I ask you to assist us in our recycling efforts by placing your name badges in the box located at the exit. Thank you all very much for joining us here today and please enjoy the rest of the afternoon. [ Applause ] [ Music ]


Provisions of the Act

The Act was originally very short, having only five sections. The main provision was section three, which provided that electors in a federal election are naturally born British subjects over twenty-one years of age, male or female, married or single, who have lived in Australia for at least six months, and are on the electoral roll in any federal electoral division.

At the time whoever was considered a British subject was determined by rules of English commonwealth law, as an independent Australian citizenship was not introduced until 26 January 1949, with the coming into effect of the Australian nationality law, Australian Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948.

Section 4 of the Act made a range of disqualifications from the general definition in section 3. People who had at any time been convicted of treason could not vote. A person who was under sentence or awaiting sentence for any offence which could be punished by imprisonment for one year or longer (under the law of Australia, or of the United Kingdom, or of any other Dominion of the Empire) was also not allowed to vote. People of "unsound mind" were also disqualified. Indigenous people from Australia, Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands, [excluding New Zealand and 'aboriginal native of Australia' entitled by Section 41 of the Constitution to vote in State Government elections], were not entitled to enroll to vote in an election of the Parliament of the Commonwealth.

Section 41 of the Constitution provided in short that 'No adult person with a right to vote at an elections for a State Parliament can be prevented by any law of the Commonwealth from voting at elections for the Parliament of the Commonwealth'.

For Example:Indian people were therefore not allowed to vote, even though they were citizens of the British Empire, unless they had voting right in the State in which they were resident.

Section 44 of the Constitution disqualified a range of people from being elected to the House of Representatives or the Senate, such as any person with an allegiance to a foreign power (such as a citizen of another country), or anyone who was bankrupt or insolvent. However, these people were not prevented from voting by the Act.

Section 5 provided that no person could vote more than once at an election.

Amendments to the Act

In 1906 the 1902 Act was amended to allow postal voting. In 1908, a permanent electoral roll was established and in 1911, it became compulsory for all eligible voters to enroll on the electoral roll. Compulsory enrolment led to a large increase in voter turnout, even though voting was still voluntary.[1] From 1912, elections have been held on Saturdays.[1]

History of the Act

Before Federation of Australia in 1901, Australia consisted of six colonies, each with their own voting systems and franchise. Section 41 of the Constitution of Australia governed how the first federal election in 1901 was to be conducted. It provided that any person who was enrolled and eligible to vote in a State election could also vote in a federal election. Each state had a different system, with different criteria to determine who could vote. In South Australia and Western Australia, women could vote, and in Western Australia and Queensland, Indigenous people were specifically barred from voting.

The 1902 Commonwealth Act created a uniform voting system for federal elections across the country. The original bill was introduced into the Senate by Richard O'Connor, the Vice-President of the Executive Council, and later in the House of Representatives by the Minister for Home Affairs, William Lyne. It is unusual for being one of the few major pieces of legislation to be introduced in the Senate before the House.

In 1918, the 1902 Act was repealed and replaced by the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918. Many of the present features of the Australian electoral system were introduced after the 1918 Act came in force. Instant-runoff voting was introduced for the House of Representatives in 1918, compulsory voting was introduced in 1924, and the single transferable vote was introduced for the Senate in 1949. Indigenous Australians were granted the right to vote at federal elections in 1962. The qualifying voting age was lowered to 18 in 1973.

Women's suffrage

Because of Section 41 of the Constitution, women in South Australia and Western Australia were able to vote at federal elections. Although the original distribution between the states of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the number of male voters in each state, it was possible that later distributions could proportionally increase the number of seats given to South Australia and Western Australia, since they had proportionally more enrolled voters than their percentage of the population.

Many politicians were concerned that allowing women to vote would discriminate in favour of married men, since, in the words of Sir Edward Braddon, "the married man, happy in his family, whose wife's vote is one which he can command… will have two votes."[2] Others, such as William Sawers, argued that because there were more women living in the cities, rural areas would become under-represented. Much of the opposition to the granting of women's suffrage in the Act was grounded in the belief that, in the words of William Knox, "the main ambition of a woman's life should be to become the wife of an honorable and honest man."[3] However, there was much support for granting the vote to women, and the bill was approved by large majorities in both Houses of Parliament.

Non-white people

The White Australia policy, or at least the ideas behind it, had been very strong since long before Federation. Although the Immigration Restriction Act 1901 was established to prevent non-white people from migrating to Australia, significant numbers of foreign citizens, particularly Chinese people who migrated during the Victorian gold rush, were already living in Australia, and many politicians were keen to prevent them from having any political influence. Politicians also wanted to prevent Indigenous people from voting. Although Indigenous men had the right to vote everywhere except Western Australia and Queensland, and Indigenous women also had the right to vote in South Australia, this was not because it had explicitly been given to them, but because it had not explicitly been denied to them.

Preventing non-white people from voting was an idea grounded in the philosophy of eugenics and scientific racism, which were popular ideas at the time.[citation needed] Whereas most Indigenous peoples were excluded from voting, Māori living in Australia were allowed to vote. During the parliamentary debates over the Act, King O'Malley (a radical and "colourful" politician) said that "An Aboriginal is not as intelligent as a Māori. There is no scientific evidence that he is a human being at all."[2]

In line with the attitudes of the time, the Act disqualified some Indigenous Australians, Asian people, African people and Pacific Islanders (except New Zealand Maori) from voting, even if they would otherwise be qualified as British subjects. In relation to Indigenous Australians, the Act providing that "No aboriginal native of Australia ... shall be entitled to have his name placed on an Electoral Roll unless so entitled under section forty-one of the Constitution".[3] Section forty-one of the Constitution provided that all those entitled to vote in state elections under the state franchise could vote in Commonwealth elections. It was not clear whether that section was intended to be an ongoing provision, or only an interim measure for State electors enrolled at the time of Federation. The first Permanent Head of the Attorney-General's Department, Robert Garran, gave it the second, narrower, interpretation.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Commonwealth of Australia, Parliamentary Debates, House of Representatives, 23 April 1902, p11937.
  2. ^ Commonwealth of Australia, Parliamentary Debates, House of Representatives, 23 April 1902, p11941.
  3. ^ "Commonwealth Franchise Bill, second reading". Australian House of Representatives Hansard. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  4. ^ "The Fifth Parliament". Adam Carr's Electoral Archive. Archived from the original on 17 July 2005. Retrieved 14 July 2005.


  1. ^ "Australia's major electoral developments Timeline: 1900 - Present". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  2. ^ "Commonwealth Franchise Bill, second reading". Australian House of Representatives Hansard. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  3. ^ Documenting a Democracy, Museum of Australian Democracy, retrieved 13 October 2011
  4. ^ Re Pearson; Ex Parte Sipka

External links

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