“Traditionally Australian fairness was based on ‘the best person for the job getting the job’. Now identity-based employment quotas are destroying not just fairness, but also the efficiency and safety of essential public services. The 50:50 gender quota at Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) has weakened training and recruitment standards. Experienced firefighters say it’s only a matter of time before there’s a tragedy, with some female recruits lacking the size and strength to do the job properly. One Nation will abolish employment quotas and return the FRNSW to 100 percent merit-based recruitment. We will always put public safety ahead of so-called diversity.”
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation is opposed to social engineering: attempts by political elites to impose their values and beliefs on other people. Like the great majority of Australians, we believe in freedom and fairness. We reject Left-wing attempts to manipulate the basic laws of human nature.
Take, for example, the question of physical strength. Nature has made our species so that men are stronger than women. This is a reality we accept in most parts of life. In the world of sport, for instance, who would pretend that female footy players could match it with men? Why then, in jobs dependent on the exercise of physical strength has there been a political push to recruit women in equal numbers to men?
In NSW, it is Fire and Rescue policy to apply a 50:50 gender quota to the recruitment of firefighters. Regardless of physical power and prowess, for every man who gets a job there must be a corresponding woman. A male applicant who narrowly misses out on a position can have test results far superior to the weakest female recruit yet still be excluded. Merit has gone out the window.
With large, well-paid Australian employment sectors now enjoying majority female representation (such as GP doctors, vets, lawyers, office managers, teachers and public servants) why do we need to reserve spots for women in emergency services?
If your family is trapped in a car accident, you want the best available firefighter to rescue them, not a gender quota. If you are overcome by smoke inhalation in a burning building and need to be carried out, you want a strong man for the job, not someone hired on the basis of XX chromosomes.
This is the reality of life-and-death situations. PC-diversity is being allowed to jeopardise public safety. If elected to NSW Parliament on 23 March, One Nation will seek to abolish quotas in FRNSW and restore full merit-based selection. This is an essential safety measure.
FRNSW has been unable to justify its employment policies in any logical way. In announcing the new recruitment system in 2016, Commissioner Greg Mullins said, “Merit selection will determine the best candidates for the job, regardless of gender, but we will deliver equity in the number of male and female firefighters.” How can the selection process be merit-based if gender-based ‘equity’ outcomes have been pre-determined? Mullins was peddling Orwellian doublespeak.
His successor Paul Baxter has been no better, declaring, “We don’t have a specific goal but we now have 50:50 recruiting”. He has also claimed that, “Organisations that have good gender balance are more innovative, competitive and are better places to work”, without any supporting evidence. That’s because there is none. The qualities driving successful organisations (dynamic, purposeful and cooperative work cultures) have nothing to do with gender.
Weaker Training Safety Standards
To meet the demands of its 50:50 quota, FRNSW has watered down its training and testing benchmarks for job applicants. Otherwise women could not be recruited in equal numbers with men.
The Physical Aptitude Test has been reduced from a 90kg dummy drag over 20 metres to the relatively easy task of carrying a 30kg weight for 10 metres. This is supposed to simulate a requirement for new recruits to “drag a collapsed firefighter to safety on their own”. It’s nowhere near physically equivalent.
Official safety standards require “the use of fire rescue ladders which are 10.5 metres long, 49kg and awkward to manoeuvre, requiring a high degree of upper body strength”. Yet the ladder test has been watered down, with one participant describing it as “a hopeless joke that even weaklings can pass.” In a further concession to female applicants, the separate test component for Mechanical Reasoning has been removed, as has the Shuttle Run Assessment.
This drop in standards is risking safety, both for firefighters and the general public. It’s a natural instinct for male fire fighters to look out for their female partners and concentrate less on their own jobs, putting them at risk of injury. As an experienced officer explains, “If I’m partnered with a smaller-framed female and need her in a crisis, I’m worried if she’s capable of rendering urgent assistance, such as dragging a full 70mm hose under pressure on her own; or holding the ‘jaws of life’ in a position to cut open a trapped person in a car. Some small-framed females absolutely struggle with a full Breathing Apparatus set on their back.”
The State Government’s gender warriors are trying to overcome the way in which past tests have exposed big differences in male and female physical performance (as one would expect). Ironically, their quota system has been harmful to some women. It downgrades the achievement of female recruits who actually made it into FRNSW on merit. Instead of lauding their achievement in passing the tests as well as any man, they are saddled with the stigma of being ‘quota recruits’.
The reality of emergency services is that none of us know when we might need them. This is why Fire and Rescue should never be a political plaything. The only policy that matters is the selection of the best applicants and the creation of the very best fire brigade for saving lives and property. Radical gender theory should never be a consideration.