Dismantling the Diversity Deficit: Towards a More Inclusive Australian Judiciary
In: Gabrielle Appleby and Andrew Lynch (eds), The Judge, the Judiciary and the Court: Individual, Collegial and Institutional Judicial Dynamics in Australia (Cambridge University Press, 2020) Forthcoming
34 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2020
Date Written: January 30, 2020
For much of its history, Australia’s judiciary has been highly homogenous — comprised of white, middle-aged males from privileged socio-economic backgrounds. In recent years, there have been calls to redress this ‘diversity deficit’, namely, the gap between the composition of the judiciary and the composition of the population at large. This chapter examines the challenges faced by this social project by asking: (1) why does judicial diversity matter; (2) what characteristics are important for a diverse judiciary; (3) how do we measure the diversity deficit; and (4) what action is needed to redress the diversity deficit? The chapter argues that we should broaden our categories of interest, guided by the underlying justifications for diversity, and understandings of the social fabric derived from the national census. The changing nature of Australian society requires us to look beyond gender and race in fashioning an inclusive judiciary that is fit for purpose in the 21st century.
Keywords: judges, judiciary, courts, diversity, representation, composition, gender, race, ethnicity, Australia, diversity deficit, population, census, data, selection, conditions, education
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