Mater’s Musings #49: Hmm…ok…okey dokey.


Ok, let’s see if I understand the basic premise of this Government video.

In its drive to eradicate discrimination and bias from its hiring practices, the Federal Government undertakes a trial of a recruiting process designed to remove it.

The trial does indeed identify discrimination and bias in the public service hiring practices, just not the ‘incorrect’ type.

In a response to the unexpected result, the government cancels a plan to instigate this anti-discrimination process, warning everyone that it might actually remove discrimination (the ‘correct’ type).

In a final master stroke of double speak, despite finding reverse discrimination, the government assures us that we are still guilty of the ‘wrong’ sort of discrimination, they just haven’t found it…yet!

Be assured though, they’ll keep looking for the problem that results in their predetermined ‘correct’ answer.

The only surprising aspect of this whole thing is that it was authored in 2016, not 1984.

The whole report:

https://behaviouraleconomics.pmc.gov.au/projects/going-blind-see-more-clearly-unconscious-bias-australian-public-service-aps-shortlisting

43 thoughts on “Mater’s Musings #49: Hmm…ok…okey dokey.”

  1. Sure glad I retired. I used conscious bias every time I hired a new employee over a 45 year career , pretty sure I would not survive in business now.


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  2. Bizarre. All that video does is bolster the notion that assumed bias in government recruitment (towards non euro, male candidates) does not exist.

    Take away: Recruiters in government departments are already biased to hire female pocs

    Amazing! Who knew?


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  3. can I ask those folks who were regularly employing people, what are the outcomes of bias you saw or indulged in?

    my own experience, is that bias gets you the kind of person you want in a role.

    I have been reported to management in a former life, for employing someone absolutely perfect for the role (from outside the organisation) by someone who felt they were entitled to it (by time spent inside the organisation). I had a lot of explaining to do to HR and it remained on my record at that organisation for the rest of my time there. The outcome for me was a person was hired who enhanced the work area and the person overlooked would have needed years of training and experience to even come close to the level of competence required. We increased our throughput and the hire-in greatley enhanced our organisation with the skills they brought in.

    If I had done the expected, politically correct hire, it would have been to the detriment of the organisation, but to the satisfaction of one individual and HR of course.

    To be honest, I see the outcomes of this type of behaviour constantly in organisations.

    it’s not a good thing, and possibly why we’re not such a smart country anymore. Good bright people are passed by for mediocre but correct people.

    The video confirms what I expected, that people now are biasing their behaviour to people of “interest”, rather that people of merit.


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  4. I’m glad the research was was done but the underlying premise (to increase female success rates in gaining entry to the PS) was flawed.
    Already, the APS is 60% female.
    Additionally, promotion rates for women are steadily climbing, with women equalling and exceeding male numbers in all categories up to EL1.
    (APS Emplyment data 2020)

    Women are doing very well indeed in the APS thank you very much.


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  5. callisays:
    June 22, 2022 at 2:23 pm
    I had a conscious bias in recruitment.

    I wanted someone who could do the job with the least amount of grief.

    I ran into so much trouble in my last job because I just wanted to turn up, work to make the day go past, and leave. If there wasn’t anything obvious to do I’d ask, and I’d generally keep myself occupied doing something useful.
    Don’t get me started on the times I got in trouble for using a bit of smarts to doing things better, rather than drag it out for overtime. Or on landing in trouble for telling someone to their face they were shit, spending too much time bignoting themselves and playing on their phone instead of working.


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  6. Look at the design of the video.
    The baby bobble heads. The infantilizing cartoon symbols- the school whiteboard, the speech bubble, the brain cloud. The condescending slow pace.
    The Lizard People want to infantilize everyone. Children are easier to push around.


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  7. Old School Conservativesays:
    June 22, 2022 at 2:43 pm
    I’m glad the research was was done but the underlying premise (to increase female success rates in gaining entry to the PS) was flawed.
    Already, the APS is 60% female.
    Additionally, promotion rates for women are steadily climbing, with women equalling and exceeding male numbers in all categories up to EL1.
    (APS Emplyment data 2020)

    Women are doing very well indeed in the APS thank you very much.

    Sounds like it’ll be functionally impossible to downsize the APS then. Labor powerbase, and Liberals won’t touch it because women.


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  8. Nelson_Kidd-Playerssays:
    June 22, 2022 at 1:44 pm
    Mater’s first since January! Good to see you back!

    How big would the PS need to be if it was truely stripped to the bone?

    No more than 50% of current strength, but not the 50% that the “managers” would retain.


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  9. billie

    it’s not a good thing, and possibly why we’re not such a smart country anymore. Good bright people are passed by for mediocre but correct people.

    Correct. For confirmation, see most politicians, political staffers, and senior management anywhere.


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  10. So they find out there is no bias in recruiting.

    Yet are still convinced there is and want to find out where.

    Like trying to put a manual truck in gear without using the clutch, just brace yourself against the back of the cab and push as hard as you can with both legs, you’ll get it but probably not too serviceable as a result.


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  11. Trying to get another Job when I was in my early 50s was so difficult. The bias was obviously my age. Gov’ments bang on about supporting Older Workers and do SFA to help. How many new employees over the age of 50 years do they employ? Not many at all and not that I would ever have wanted to have been employed by any of them anyway. However, the hypocrisy is breathtaking. Blah, blah, blah………………


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  12. Let me get this straight.
    The only bias they uncovered was against white dudes.

    There must have been some smoke and grinding noises from the cognitive gearboxes as the tried to spin that result.


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  13. At least 50% of the APS could disappear tonight and no difference noticed. They do and know nothing but take up space. The management system is once an SES most of the time is spent furthering the next promotion. Very few are technical people so just clog up the system with the latest buzzwords and hinder any meaningful outcomes. Failure is rewarded by no sackings and success grasped greedily by those with no ability who never had or very little input. Everyone gets a ribbon.


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  14. Good to see you back, Mater. And a damn fine opening salvo to mark your return with. 🙂

    Like GreyRanga said, so much of the Australian Public Service could disappear at a stroke and the average punter would never see the difference.

    Particularly given that so much of the bureaucracy exists solely to police and comply with its own rules.

    I suspect some HR person somewhere was told by a previous Minister or Executive Director that the whole bias and discrimination thing was becoming a public relations problem. But at the same time, all the HR people involved in this study and report were perspicacious enough to see that all their careers (and their enablers- PR staff, clerks, cleaners, IT, assorted other services contractors, all the managers of same and so forth) were in jeopardy if their findings acknowledged the reality that all new hires and promotions were being done as per the book.

    They couldn’t possibly arrive at any other conclusion than the one they did, if they wanted to retain their comfortable positions, benefits and salaries…


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  15. I see that the Qld government is on a hiring spree of (IIRC) 8000 more what I saw lately labelled as “expensive stationary objects”


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  16. another ian says:
    June 22, 2022 at 6:38 pm


    what I saw lately labelled as “expensive stationary objects”

    Immigrants from da sinking Sri Lunka will fix ewes useless Queensland folk.

    When are you changing the state name?

    or ewes are all queens up in da Deep North?


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  17. A tad like the false Catholics down in the Southern Deep thinking State called after another queen… Victoria…

    Where the most famous statue is to Tommy Bent.


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  18. The only surprising aspect of this whole thing is that it was authored in 2016, not 1984.

    Courtesy Martin Parkinson and signed off by Maladroit Blight Trumble Esq.


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  19. Here’s my conscious bias:
    -must be best for the job
    -must be Australian citizen
    -preferably white
    -preferably male
    -preferably Christian
    -not an SJW


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  20. Wally Dalí says:
    June 22, 2022 at 2:50 pm

    Look at the design of the video.
    The baby bobble heads. The infantilizing cartoon symbols- the school whiteboard, the speech bubble, the brain cloud. The condescending slow pace.
    The Lizard People want to infantilize everyone. Children are easier to push around.

    Graphic design, production, “animation”, editing, the list goes on, all paid by the public purse.
    To tell us something doesn’t exist.

    And to this day they are still out there, doing their surveys and experiments and creating their useless videos, telling us it does exist, it must exist.
    That’s the scary bit.


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  21. Sure glad I retired. I used conscious bias every time I hired a new employee over a 45 year career , pretty sure I would not survive in business now.

    Never been so happy to have retired in Feb 2020. Worst part of owning a business was employees, closely followed by government requirements/regulation. Putting up with all that and then having the community zeitgeist being anti-profit in general, well, why bother.


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  22. Public service used to hire people on the basis of their results on a written exam; couldn’t get “blinder” than that.

    I’m guessing that’s precisely why it was scrapped.


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  23. The Australian policeman BoN linked to sure has a sense of humour:

    Staffieri was also investigated over his public criticism of the government’s decision to cancel Australia Day and Anzac Day celebrations last year, but allow the Gay Pride March in St Kilda to proceed.

    “So the next time Australians are sent out to fight a war, maybe we can send out the 8000 that marched today….and try to stop the enemy by waving feathers and brightly coloured boas at them,” Staffieri posted on May 17, 2021.


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  24. Particularly given that so much of the bureaucracy exists solely to police and comply with its own rules.

    That’s not correct. I know the person responsible for making and policing the rules. Only a few staff. The rules are made according to Legislation. Each Department and Agency do whatever they like and when the poo hits the proverbial duck for cover. Rules are arbitrarily followed and a lot of energy expended into trying to force rule changes to suit the incumbent government of both persuasions. Hate to say it but the Liars have a better record for enforcing the rules than the SFL.


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