Flat White

Ita fails the ABC of race relations

14 October 2019

11:06 AM

14 October 2019

11:06 AM

ABC chair Ita Buttrose laments that the Australian media landscape is “too white” and not representative of our multicultural society. She even suggests we may need quotas.

Quotas assume employers are biased because, whether they know it or not, they might be favouring one race over another.

Using quotas to ensure representation of racial groups on the telly, or the boardroom is a move in the wrong direction and could lead to more social division as merit gives way to affirmative action.

It used to be progressive to be colour-blind –  to focus on character over skin colour. But we have flipped this over: now we see race in everything.

If Buttrose wants to “better reflect the culture of Australia” she should focus on who we are — and not what colour we are.


We are a nation of larrikins who, regardless of where we were born, or our level of income, believe this is the best country on Earth.

This was a finding of the Australian Talks National Survey that Buttrose was spruiking while complaining about our pale media.

If we want a more egalitarian, liberal society we should resist blunt instruments such as quotas.

Australia has developed a harmonious, multicultural society by accepting our differences — and sometimes even making fun of them.

Historically, this has been the argument against the introduction of federal ‘hate speech’ laws. Dividing Australians by race would threaten social cohesion.

Racism is not accepted in Australia.  On the rare occasion a politician or commentator says something even remotely racist, they are swiftly mobbed and sometimes sacked. These are not the responses of a deeply racist country. They are the responses of a nation that has long been driven by a determination to move beyond racial differences.

Buttrose needs to do the same.

Monica Wilkie is a policy analyst at the Centre for Independent Studies.

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