Indigenous Voice referendum: should insurers publicly support it? | Insurance Business Australia
Diversity & Inclusion
Indigenous Voice referendum: should insurers publicly support it?
“We’re at a pivotal moment in history,” says insurance broker
Diversity & Inclusion
The Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese has reiterated his commitment to holding a referendum later this year on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. This follows last week’s vote in the Senate chamber that approved the legislation by 52 votes to 19.
Should insurance companies, given their proactive involvement in support of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), announce their public support? Just weeks ago, Insurance Australia Group (IAG) and Bupa were among the nation’s big insurers publicly supporting National Reconciliation Week.
“Earlier this year, during National Reconciliation Week, we saw some insurers advocate for their commitment to First Nations People under the theme: Be A Voice for Generations,” said Daniel Berry (pictured above), partner and insurance broker with Dudgeon Berry Insurance Group. “We’re at a pivotal moment in history where that voice matters.”
Another step towards reconciliation?
Berry, whose firm is based in Lismore, sees the Indigenous Voice to Parliament as another step towards reconciliation – a journey that many insurers already directly support.
“I see introducing an Indigenous Voice to Parliament as a welcome step in this country’s journey towards reconciliation with its First Nations people,” he said.
Berry said as he watched the legislation being debated and voted on in parliament, his thoughts turned to his mother.
A broker with First Nations’ ancestry
“She is an inspiration to me,” he said. “Our ancestry comes from the Dharug people whose area spans to include the Hawksbury up to the Blue Mountains.”
Berry said his mother grew up in La Perouse.
“She tells me stories of happy memories growing up in this community but also of the traumatic events of the stolen generation,” he said. “Mum was alive for the 1967 referendum which gave her recognition as an Australian citizen.”
Bank and mining companies, so why not insurers?
Berry said there are precedents for insurance companies to follow.
“I believe we have already seen some mining companies, banks and major retailers announce their position,” he said. “Many insurers already have a documented response to reconciliation so I would see any stepping forward as an affirmation of those views that they hold.”
According to news reports, some of Australia’s biggest companies are supporting the referendum’s ‘Yes’ campaign, including BHP, Rio Tinto, Woodside Energy and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA).
The Voice will advise “on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples”
According to the Australian Government website, at the referendum, Australians will be asked whether to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
This proposed alteration of the Constitution involves adding a new chapter, says the website, which, if the referendum is approved, will have a section calling for the establishment of a group who will advise parliament on indigenous issues:
“The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” says the addition.
The statement refers to the ancestral tie between the land and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty,” it says. “It has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown.”
The statement goes on to say that substantive constitutional change and structural reform will ensure “this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.”
Are you an insurance professional? Do you think insurance companies should publicly announce their stance on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament?
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