Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Sydney's finest Asian Australian students still missing out on leadership roles

The whine below from a Left-leaning newspaper relies on the absurd doctrine that the proportion of people in every occupation should mirror the proportion of various ethnicities in the overall population -- "disparate impact", as Americans call it. So if 10% of the Australian population is Asian, then 10% of the people in management should also  be Asian. 

It's the sort of rubbish you are always getting from Leftists.  They can only think in terms of big groups.  Consideration of the individual is of no interest to them. So what they overlook is that Asians may prefer to go into the professions rather than business management or the bureaucracy.  Judging by the numbers of Asian medical practitioners I have encountered, I have no doubt that Asians are OVER-represented in the professions -- which is as it should be.  It shows that people have a choice and exercise the choice that suits their own individual preference

Another thing ignored below is that academic success is not a good predictor of business success.  Bill Gates was a Harvard dropout.  And people who are highly successful academically may not even be INCLINED to go into business or the bureaucracy. So  it is probably for that reason that Asians seem to pop up as working scientists all the time -- often making notable contributions to knowledge.  You have just got to look at the author list on academic journal articles in the sciences.  There is almost always at least one East Asian name there, no matter where the research was carried out.  Since scholarship has been highly respected in China for a couple of thousand years or so, that should be no surprise.

For the past 20 years in a row, one Sydney high school has taken out the top HSC results in the state. At James Ruse High in Sydney's north-west, an ATAR of above 99 is so expected that it became its own satire song.

"100 ATAR, 100 ATAR, 100 ATAR," year 12 students rapped in a take on Psy's Gangnam Style. "99.95, not good enough".

It is also a school where up to 80 per cent of students come from a language background other than English, most of them from Asian families, according to the NSW Department of Education.

And yet, the statistics show that despite students of Asian origin dominating the academic scale at schools like James Ruse Agricultural High around the country, few rise to the top of the political, business and academic pile.

Australians of Asian descent make up to 12 per cent of the country's population but only four members of the federal Parliament. Of the 17 government departments only one counts a leader of Asian descent as its head.

The statistics are similarly damning in the private sector. Only 1.9 per cent of executive managers and 4.2 percent of directors come from Asian backgrounds, according to a 2013 Diversity Council Australia study.

At the entry level, discrimination, conscious or unconscious, is endemic. On average, a Chinese person must submit 68 per cent more applications to gain employment than a person of Anglo-Saxon descent, according to a 2011 study from the Australian National University.

"For 30 years, James Ruse has been pumping out very clever Asians," said University of Sydney vice-chancellor Michael Spence. "Where are they?"

For Dr Spence, self-interest is a powerful incentive. His newborn son, Ted, is half-Korean. His five children from a previous marriage are of Anglo descent.

"I want to make sure that he has much opportunity as my other children," he said. "If you say mathematician you probably think east Asian in Australia - if you say leader, you probably think white man."

"We are only now beginning to say that there is a real issue to face of particular ethnicities. The disparity between the educational success and their leadership attainment is evidence of a bamboo ceiling and the university needs to do its best to overcome it. There are settled cultural patterns that need to be challenged."

The unconscious bias goes right to the top. The country's Racial Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, has been asked if he worked in IT or Finance, or most recently, as an accountant.

In 2014, Dr Soutphommasane gave a speech that said "the bamboo ceiling" was well and truly above our heads. Not much has changed.  "But conversations are starting," he said on Friday. "People are beginning to recognise there's a problem."

Across academia and business, tentative steps are being made to talk about the touchy subject of race and what is happening to the 99.95 ATAR club when they walk out the school gates. Public leaders are few and far between.

The University of Sydney has adopted cultural inclusivity as one of the central tenets of its 2020 strategy. It has engaged partnerships with PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Westpac and Telstra through its business school to set targets for ensuring Australian's of Asian origin reach leadership positions. PwC alone has a target of 11 per cent of its partners being of Asian origin by 2020.

It's the perceptions that Dr Soutphommasane, who was born to Chinese and Laotian parents, has spent his career battling against.

"Leaders are expected to be charismatic, assertive and outspoken," Dr Soutphommasane said on Friday. "At the same time, certain stereotypes of Asian-Australians persist. There is a perception that Asian-Australians are shy, timid and withdrawn.

"Put these together and you have an obvious problem. There can be an assumption that Asian-Australians make for better technicians than leaders. That they may not be able to master Anglo-Australian expectations of leadership."

Part of the problem lies in the limited number of public faces of Asian identity on our most public platform, television.

Bing Lee and Victor Chang are often rattled off as icons, but you are more likely to find that the public faces of Asian Australians are given as TV chefs like Poh Ling and Adam Liaw.

The ABC's outgoing managing director, Mark Scott, publicly acknowledged last week that the ABC had not done enough to promote cultural diversity on the public broadcaster.

"On broader diversity, we have a way to go, frankly," Scott told Buzzfeed. "I draw a parallel to the BBC: when I watch and listen to the BBC when I'm in the UK, I think the on-air talent really represents a diversity of modern Britain and I'm not yet sure we represent the diversity of modern Australia."

Dr Soutphommasane agrees. "Sadly, the issue doesn't appear to be treated with any urgency within Australian television," he said.

"The proof is in the programming: what you see on screen doesn't remotely reflect the reality of modern Australia. And you still have parts of Australian television that appear comfortable in their periodic fits of casual racism."

Dr Soutphommasane warned in 2014 that if the situation was not addressed the nation would create a class of professional Asian-Australian coolies in the twenty-first century.

"It would be neither just nor good to have a country where people may comfortably believe that a class of well-educated, ostensibly over-achieving Asian-Australians are perfectly content with remaining in the background, perennially invisible and permanently locked out from the ranks of their society's leadership," he said.

For Dr Spence, diversity starts with education. He is canvassing the idea of race targets in his faculties. "That will be challenging," he said. "Compared to gender, talking about race is much more problematic in the lucky country.

"But a diverse and contemporary Australia must be the country that lives up to our rhetoric. We have boundless plains to share, we need to make sure we live up that national anthem."


Group of Australian university students demand apology from Human Rights Commission in race case

A female administrator barred some students from a university facility on racial grounds but she now whines about the students calling her a racist.  So the students are being sued!

Two students accused the Human Rights Commission yesterday of “recklessly” breaching their human rights in a row stemming from a $250,000 damages claim brought by a worker who barred white students from a room at the Queensland University of Technology.

Jackson Powell and Calum Thwaites, who lodged separate complaints with the commission, are seeking a formal apology and compensation for their costs in defending racial hatred claims.

They say the commission has treated them with “flagrant indifference” because they are “white Anglo-Saxon heterosexual citizens who maintain a male gender identity”, have no criminal rec­ord, no outspoken political opinions and no record of participation in trade unions or religious sects.

Their lawyer, Tony Morris QC, said the commission’s conduct in managing the case had been “illogical, irrational and ­patently bizarre”, leading to gross unfairness to Mr Powell, Mr Thwaites and other students.

The Brisbane men, who strenuously deny being racist, have appealed to politicians to revisit section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act, which has been used to restrict freedom of speech.

Commission president Gillian Triggs is expected to personally investigate the formal complaints from the students as the legislative framework prohibits her from delegating to another member.

The students say their rights were infringed because the commission failed for at least 14 months to notify them they were being accused of racial vilification under section 18c.

The delay meant that while QUT, its staff and its lawyers had 14 months to prepare a defence to the claims by QUT staffer Cindy Prior, Mr Thwaites was told of the serious complaint days before he was told to go to a conciliation conference ordered and run by the commission. He had no funds and little time to get legal advice or achieve a resolution before the case escalated to the Federal ­Circuit Court.

The racial vilification case was lodged in the commission in late May 2014 by Ms Prior, who ­alleges she was severely traumatised by Facebook posts from students responding to her action in preventing the men using QUT’s Oodgeroo Unit in May 2013.

The unit has been described as a “culturally safe space” for indigenous students, but there was no sign suggesting it was off-limits to white students who wanted to ­access computers that were not in use.

Ms Prior has been unable to work for 2½ years and wants $250,000 from QUT and the students. The students have insisted their posts were innocuous, harmless and a legitimate ­expression of their freedom of speech.

The FOI documents show that Mr Thwaites and other students were not told they were accused of racial vilification in the commission until late last July.

A file note by commission officer Ting Lim on July 28 states she advised the university’s solicitor that QUT “has known about this complaint for over year … it’s not the fault of the commission that the QUT has waited a week before the (conciliation conference) to notify the students.

“If a student is notified and wants to attend next week, they will have to make time”.

Federal Circuit Court judge Michael Jarrett has reserved his decision since a March 11 hearing in which the students sought to have Ms Prior’s racial vilification case dismissed.


Eco-Fascists now harassing insurance companies

Climate activists are targeting the role of insurance companies in the expansion of fossil fuel production, highlighting the impact of extreme weather events on their bottom line.

“We’ve already targeted banks and super funds, so insurance companies are the next frontier,” said Dan Gocher from the financial activist group Market Forces.

On Monday it hijacked the insurer QBE’s branding in Sydney, plastering the slogan “Made possible by QBE” over images of coalmines and natural disasters.

At about 8am on Monday morning the Market Forces team hung the posters from the QBE headquarters in Sydney’s CBD. Julien Vincent, executive director of Market Forces said they were removed by security after about 10 minutes.

“It’s about highlighting their role in the perpetuation and expansion of the fossil fuel industry, which is contributing to climate change,” said Gocher, who worked for QBE until 2015. “Because as their slogan tells you, they make it possible.”

The activists’ imagery is very similar to one produced by QBE a few years ago. In 2012 the its annual report printed “Made possible by QBE” on the cover, over an image of an operating coalmine.

In that report, the company boasted it was “a major insurer of the mining sector in Australia” and insured “coalminers in the Queensland Bowen Basin and New South Wales Hunter Valley”.

Finding out exactly how much insurers were underwriting coal and other fossil fuel projects was difficult, Vincent said. “The way you learn about it is when there’s been a disaster,” he said.

When the world’s largest oil leak occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, it was revealed BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil extraction was insured by QBE.

Gocher said the group would target other insurers, but QBE was an obvious place to start because it had revealed some of its involvement in the sector.

Insurers also held large investment portfolios, Gocher said. Australian insurance companies managed about $200bn worth of stock, $35bn of it held by QBE.

Some other insurers have begun to move away from fossil fuels. The French insurer AXA and Germany’s Allianz divested from thermal coal because of climate change.

Overseas insurers and reinsurers (companies that insure other insurance companies) have played a significant role in public discussion of climate change after recognising they were particularly exposed to the effects of extreme weather events.
How to free your investment portfolio from fossil fuels
Read more

In 2015 Munich RE said: “We are convinced that there are particular regions and hazards where climate change is already having a definite influence on losses. Significant effects have to be accounted for in risk management approaches of the insurance industry.”

But despite being hit with large payouts, Australian insurers lagged behind their foreign counterparts, not divesting from fossil fuels and not playing a role in the public discussion, Gocher said.

Annual reports show QBE paid US$76m for storms that battered the New South Wales coast in 2014; US$144m for storms Desmond, Eva and Frank in the UK in 2015; US$108m for cyclone Pam, which hit Vanuatu in March.

Market Forces has asked Australian insurers to divest from fossil fuel in their investment portfolios, begin withdrawing from underwriting fossil fuel companies and play a role in the public conversation about climate change.

Gocher said withdrawal from underwriting could not be done overnight, but companies could immediately cease underwriting new projects.


Pauline Hanson rails against compulsory preferential voting

PAULINE Hanson has railed against the voting system that could have secured her a place in the Queensland Parliament.

While the LNP’s Ian Rickuss narrowly retained the seat of Lockyer by fewer than 200 votes, the story could have been different had compulsory preferential voting been in place.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has come under fire for Labor’s surprise scrapping of optional preferential voting.

Assuming Lockyer electors whose votes were exhausted would have preferenced similarly to those whose votes weren’t exhausted, Labor and Katter’s Australian Party preferences would have helped get Ms Hanson over the line.

But Ms Hanson accused Labor of having “underhandedly taken away the voting rights of the people” over the move. “I don’t agree with it,” she said.  “You’re forcing people to send their preferences where they don’t want it to go.”

Mr Rickuss said the idea that Ms Hanson could have won the seat through compulsory preferential voting was a “big hypothetical”.

“Had this system been in place, the thought of the public might have been different, of course,” he said.  “It is a very hypothetical question.”

Mr Rickuss described the scrapping of optional preferential voting as a “cynical” move.

Ms Hanson said One Nation planned to stand candidates in every seat at the next state election. But she would not be drawn on whether she planned to recontest Lockyer, should her current Senate bid fail.  “That’s further down the track and I’m running for the Senate in Queensland – my full focus is on that and I’m not going to say ‘OK, I’m jumping here, there and all over the place’ – no,” she said.

“I’m going out now to win the (Senate) seat and I’m determined to win it.”


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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