I’ve seen the future … and it’s still a boys’ club. Imagine if we had a female Prime Minister/President… now imagine if she put together an über think tank to develop ideas for the future direction of the country and everyone on it was a leader in their field… and everyone also just happened to be female.. except one, George Clooney. Might men feel a little marginalised by that? — blue milk

You call that innovation? The PM has made a big blunder here. He and Melbourne Uni vice-chancellor Glyn Davis, will be co-chairs of the summit. Otherwise six out of the 10 panel co-chairs from the government side will be women. But that leaves only 7 women out of 22 in total and a major impression that women really are not among the top brains in the country. Not only that, but Kelvin Kong and Penny Wong will be the ONLY representative of the non-anglo culture! As Eva Cox said: “For an innovation summit, they ha[ve] not shown a lot of innovation in the selections.” — Motorcycle Diaries

To being miffed, I say “me too”. Like Eva Cox, I’m p-ssed off about how severely under-represented women are on the ‘independent steering committee’ for the 2020 ideas summit. If there’d even been three women, it might have felt like less of a slap in the face, but clearly they don’t give a f-ck. I do concede that she’s hot enough for at least three women, but that’s probably not the point. — I Am Alert (but not alarmed)

Not token? Oh yes they are. Readers below protest that other minorities haven’t been included by token appointments, either. Not so: One of the 10 is Kelvin Kong, the first Aboriginal surgeon. While his story is inspiring, and the man himself may have great sense, it’s also true that he qualified as a surgeon just two years ago. That said, I’d much rather have him there than one of the usual rent-seeking representatives who have for too long dominated Aboriginal politics. — Andrew Bolt blog

True representation won’t bring best outcomes. “The best and brightest” will doubtless realise that, say, individual health issues will be different for women and men, and take that into account — whether they themselves are male or female is irrelevant. A “best and brightest” who happened to be a woman of Lebanese background, say, would still realise that her role at the Summit is to think about how we can run the health system best for all Australians . And she’d realise that some of those Australians would be men concerned about testicular cancer. If she can only think, “I am a woman, I can only discuss women’s health”, then she’s hardly the “best and brightest” and doesn’t deserve a place at the table. We’re looking for people with imagination, empathy and vision, are we not? I’m not convinced that “representative” is necessarily the best approach. I understand that, say, men and women might have different thinking styles, and perhaps the groups might best take that into account. But I’m not convinced that the best way to plan for the future is to assemble a microcosm of Australian society. Taking the microcosm approach to the logical conclusion, 1 in 20 adults is functionally illiterate. Is having 50 illiterates at a planning summit all that useful? Stilgherrian.com

Let’s insult marginalised groups everywhere. This is a serious conference, they’re not talking about hairspray, or tampons. Children make up about 30% of the population, I didn’t hear them crying out. I’m surprised gays and lesbians haven’t demanded representation though. That’s about 70% of the population right now. Now, who else can I make angry…. Oh, those Muslims, how were they represented? We have the ‘Anglican Everywhere’ on the panel!! Damn surprised the Australian of the Year hasn’t been selected, we probably needed a theme song. And where are The Wiggles!!! — Kennas, AussieStockForums

Peter Fray

Help us keep up the fight

Get Crikey for just $1 a week and support our journalists’ important work of uncovering the hypocrisies that infest our corridors of power.

If you haven’t joined us yet, subscribe today to get your first 12 weeks for $12 and get the journalism you need to navigate the spin.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey