After the one-woman 2020 Summit steering committee sparked controversy, Professor Glyn Davis was vigilant about avoiding future messes.

Announcing the chosen ones, he noted, “The 1,000 who will be there are very representative of the Australian people. There’s 51% female. They come from every state and territory. They are from a whole range of professions.”

So who are these 1,000, or should we say 890, people? (890 is the number of seats left vacant at the summit after accounting for federal and state politicians, governors, bureaucrats and youth summit delegates.)

At first look, the list of names feels Baby Boomer-heavy with a tendency for high profile WASPs who already have a voice. But perhaps that’s just the names we recognise catching our eye.

51% women was a miraculously aligned figure. How did the steering committee go matching other Australian demographics for the 890 Summiteers?

Here are the attendees by age, compared with the national age profile.*

Age National proportion (%) 2020 proportion (%)
15-19 8.5 0.6
20-24 8.5 2.1
25-34 16.8 11.7
35-44 18.5 22.3
45-54 17.4 35.4
55-64 13.8 23.2
65-74 8.6 3.7
75+ 7.9 1.0

And here’s the state-by-state breakdown.**

State Proportion of Delegates (%) Proportion of the National Population (%)
ACT 10.08111 1.631978
NSW 30.35921 32.98455
VIC 26.30359 24.84186
QLD 13.44148 19.66496
WA 7.64774 9.866822
SA 6.488992 7.626865
NT 3.707995 0.971525
TAS 1.969873 2.399764

Looks like all the brains are in Canberra…and that’s before we account for the full 1,000 delegates, with its remainder of pollies and bureaucrats. The ACT only has 1.6% of the population but makes up 10.1% of the delegates.

NT is also well represented, presumably due to the Indigenous section of the Summit. Queenslanders have been noticeably snubbed — or perhaps fewer applied to join the fray.

Unfortunately, a socio-economic comparison isn’t feasible, but given Summit attendees mostly need to pay their way, it’s evident that it would be significantly skewed. And the heavy Canberra contingent wouldn’t help — the average weekly household income there is almost $500 more than the national average.

*268 attendees were too shy to provide their age on the Summit form (!). We have drawn our figures only from those who fessed up. Possum only counted those 15 and over in the national profile since that’s what the Summit used.

** The figures only account for 863 delegates because the rest only provided an email address/are currently overseas/reside in multiple states.  

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.