In 1992 in Queensland the Equal Opportunity in Public Employment Act was passed. It required State government departments to develop and implement Equal Employment Opportunity management plans to ensure that appropriate action was taken to promote equal employment opportunity for, and to eliminate unlawful discrimination against, members of target groups in employment matters (Equal Opportunity in Public Employment Act 1992:7).
Employment matters as defined in the legislation included recruitment procedures, selection criteria, promotion, transfer, training, staff development, terms and conditions of service and separation and any other matter relating to the employment (Equal Opportunity in Public Employment Act 1992:4). Target groups included the indigenous people of Australia and the Torres Strait Islands, migrants whose first language is not English, people with a physical, sensory, intellectual or psychiatric disability and women (Equal Opportunity in Public Employment Act 1992:5).
The legislation followed a series of government attempts in Australia to address discrimination, beginning in 1966 with South Australian legislation concerned with race discrimination (ANZ Law and Practice 1988:3032-3033). At federal level, the Australian Sex Discrimination Act of 1984 and the Affirmative Action (EEO for Women) Act of 1986 sought to remedy structural discrimination through public accountability (ANZ Law and Practice 1993:3041). The current Queensland legislation similarly seeks to eliminate discriminatory structures. In the four years since its enactment, it has been implemented in all State departments.
This dissertation focuses specifically on the way the legislation has been implemented with respect to women's employment. It draws on policy implementation and equal employment opportunity (EEO) literature and seeks to identify impediments to the implementation of public policy in the area of equal employment opportunity. .......................