Kyogle Mayor Danielle Mulholland, Lismore deputy mayor Darlene Cook and Byron Shire deputy mayor Sarah Ndiaye.
Kyogle Mayor Danielle Mulholland, Lismore deputy mayor Darlene Cook and Byron Shire deputy mayor Sarah Ndiaye. Contributed

Are quotas in local government such a bad idea?

QUOTAS allowing better female representation in local government has been an idea floated around for years.

Recent data published in The Northern Star highlighted how on the Northern Rivers, out of the total 61 councillors representing the Lismore, Ballina, Byron, Richmond Valley, Kyogle, Tenterfield LGAs, only 18 of those people are female.

The question was put to The Northern Star readers to see what they thought about possibly introducing a quoata and the answers were quite decisive.

Most people think it's a bad idea, including Judy Fitzsimmons: "Should be the best person for the job I believe".

Bill Cravigan wrote: "Surely the best person for the job will prevail. Quotas are to elevate mediocrity."

Meanwhile, Michael McCaughey worried that quoatas would be harmful in the long-run for those elected.

"If a quota is installed, a person will never truly know whether they were the best person for the job or just there to make up the numbers," he said.

Peter Klaus said it all depends if they are qualified or not.

"You can't vote someone in just because you need to be politically correct and even up the sides," Mr Klaus said.

Craig Ellis agreed that quotas would not work in local government.

"You need to put in position by your ability to serve the local area. If more women are able to serve the local community good, but no, you just don't make it equal for the sake of being equal," he said.

However, June Price disagreed stating she believed women deserved a chance.

"If we had the available positions divided equally between males and females then I believe we would end up with the best people for the job," she said.

"We are so used to males pushing their way to positions of power that women feel they cannot compete with the tactics men use.

"If women knew there were positions for them, then they could strive for them against each other rather than give up on playing the man's way.

"Once women are in these positions we may see government processes run a little differently. Just imagine that."