'Dismal’ diversity among Australian business and civic leaders: Report

SYDNEY: Almost all of Australia's top executives and other senior leaders come from a European or Anglo-Celtic background, research showed yesterday, sparking calls for more diversity in positions of power.

In a country where nearly one in four citizens come from non-European backgrounds, an Australian Human Rights Commission report found only eight chief executives in the stock exchange's top 200 companies came from that group.

It was a similar scenario among the cultural heritage of federal ministers, heads of government departments, and vice-chancellors of universities, meaning white Australians run almost everything.

"There are 11 of the 372 CEOs and equivalents who have a non-European or indigenous background," said Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane.


"These are dismal statistics for a society that prides itself on its multiculturalism. They challenge our egalitarian self-image. And they challenge our future prosperity as a nation. If we aren't making the most of our multicultural talents, we may be squandering opportunities."

Of the 30 ministers on the government's front bench, none had a non-European background. In the public service, 99 per cent of the heads of federal and state government departments had white heritage.

For universities, 38 of the 39 vice-chancellors come from Europe.

Putting it into perspective, the study said 24 per cent of the Australian population had non-European roots.- AFP