The 2021 local government elections in New South Wales (NSW), Australia delivered a record 39.5% female representation, up from 31.2% in the previous election. The increased number of women elected to councils can be read as evidence of the success of a diversity strategy centred on encouraging and equipping women, and other under-represented groups, to stand for election. However, without detracting from the value of these initiatives, their capacity to achieve a councillor body reflective of the general population is limited. People of non-European ancestry, particularly women of â€˜colourâ€™ remain grossly underrepresented, while the gains in womenâ€™s representation will fail to reach gender parity unless the practices that sustain male overrepresentation, particularly by Anglo and other â€˜whiteâ€™ European men, are challenged. This article draws upon qualitative interviews with councillors to offer fresh readings of conventional explanations for a lack of diversity in Australian local government, while also underscoring the importance of addressing issues that are currently neglected in â€˜technicalâ€™ approaches.