23 May 2005

I'm sorry - What is the difference between a target and a quota?

| johnboy
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The Canberra Times has a story in which everyone agrees that it’s totally marvellous that the government is going to try and make up for it’s inadequate pay and conditions by specialising in hiring the disabled.

Half of next year’s ACT Public Service graduate intake would come from people with disabilities, Chief Minister Jon Stanhope announced yesterday.

Initially I thought I’d go soft on this issue. I thought I didn’t need the grief of the bleeding hearts, the opprobium of the dimwitted but well meaning. Then I read the following sentence.

Mr Stanhope said the Government had set a target, not a quota

Don’t get me wrong… Anyone who chooses not to hire a qualified disabled person on the basis of the disability is an idiot. But I fail to see how *this* policy is in the best interests of the general ACT community.

The Chief Minister’s statement is here

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Ahh clever, so we make a big song and dance in a minimal intake year and the Chief Minister can get a warm inner glow from meaningless statements.

Furthermore these being targets and not quota’s it’s OK if they go by the bye along the way.

Depressingly familiar.

The intake is usually in the region of 35 a year, which is being cut back in 2006.

That’s what I just said 😉

A target is something you aim for, a quota is something you have to fill.

You could argue over the difference between a target and a quota if you like, but I’m more interested in how they’re going to encourage disabled people to apply for jobs, and how they’re going to deal with the sudden change in the workplace once they’ve recruited them. It’s a good idea, even if it does mean more effort for the recruiters and office managers.

In politics, the difference between target and quota is lip service and begrudged obligation, respectively.

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