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Media Release - Asian Australian Lawyers Association welcomes landmark 24% CALD target forCommonwealth senior public servants

30 April 2024

The Asian Australian Lawyers Association welcomes the landmark announcement by the Australian Public Service Commission that it will introduce a “reportable benchmark” of 24% for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) representation in the Commonwealth Senior Executive Service (SES).

While approximately 25% of Australians and 25% of Commonwealth public servants have a CALD background, only 11% of the Commonwealth SES come from a CALD background.

The 89% of the Commonwealth SES who have a non-CALD background is similar to the statistics for ASX300 directors recently published in the 2024 Watermark Search International Board Diversity Index, which showed that 90.5% of ASX300 directors had an Anglo-Celtic background in 2017, increasing to 91.2% in 2024.

Section 10A(1)(g) of the Commonwealth Public Service Act 1999 states that the Australian Public Service “recognises the diversity of the Australian community and fosters diversity in the workplace.”

AALA National Vice-President, Belinda Wong, said: “The low level of multicultural representation in the upper echelons of the Commonwealth public service does not reflect the rich cultural diversity of Australia.

“It is vital that public servants in our national government, particularly the Senior Executive Service, General Counsel and senior legal staff, are drawn from the wide variety of cultural backgrounds in the Australian community.

“A more representative public service would not only better reflect the Australian community – it would also strengthen our democratic institutions and contribute to the improvement and adaptation of laws and public policy to suit that community.

“Senior multicultural public servants bring their lived experience, cultural backgrounds and linguistic capabilities to their roles, contributing their unique perspectives, strengthening government decisionmaking and increasing the community’s confidence in public administration.

“AALA commends the Australian Public Service Commission for setting a landmark CALD target for senior Commonwealth public servants and looks forward to its implementation across government agencies.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Belinda Wong,

240430 AALA Media Release - APS CALD Target 2
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