Annual DCA Debate 2018

20 Nov 2018


Moderated by Tony Jones, one of ABC's most respected journalists, the 2018 Annual Diversity Debate was a fabulous occasion as two teams argued the pros and cons of bringing your whole self to work.

Watch the highlights video:


DCA members can access the full video and full transcript from Members Area at the bottom of this page.

Annual Diversity Devate: Is it really a good idea to bring your whole self to work?  Major Sponor: NAB; Supporting sponsors: Optus & accenture; Associate sponsors: Bloomberg & Hall Wilcox Smarter Law


Our VIPS - DCA CEO Lisa Annese; the Negative Team including Alan Kirkland, Jack Heath and Effie Stephanides; with moderator Tony Jones; and the Affirmative Team including Lawrence Leung, Lorraine Murphy & Karen Mundine; with DC Chair David Morrison

Diversity Council Australia and NAB were delighted to once again have the fabulous Tony Jones,  one of the ABC's most respected journalists and host of ABC TV's Q&A, back to moderate our Annual Diversity Debate in 2018.

Pictures of Tony Jones with Effie (aka Mary Coustas); Tony at the Lecturn; Tony laughing at our talent debaters; Tony in the Moderators Arm Chair in front of DCA "Your Partner in Diversity & Inclusion" signage.

The Debate was an entertaining and closely-fought contest, with the Negative team wrestling the lead from the Affirmative team who had started out ahead in early audience polling. The final vote from 450+ audience was in favour of the Negative team by 57% to 43%. 

Photo looking down the room from a balcony at the end.

Thank you to proud Wiradjuri woman Donna Ingram who in welcoming guests to the land of the Gadigal people on behalf of elders past and present, explained, "My wish for my grandchildren is that they grow up happy and healthy in a society that offers them equal opportunities regardless of their identity, their sexuality or their gender, and that they feel free to take their whole self to work."

DCA CEO Lisa Annese took the opportunity to express her sincere personal gratitude to Effie for making the whiff of continental condiments emanating out of her lunchbox, less motifying for one of the few ethnic girls growing up in The Shire in the 80s. Because of course everyone else had a Vegemite sandwich.

On behalf of major sponsor NAB, Drew Bradford spoke of the work his bank has done in the past and continues to do to improve diversity and inclusion in their workforce and stressed that the benefits go well beyond the bottom line. "If everyone's the same, we're going to look at the same problem all in the same way, and our chances of solving it are limited."

DCA Chair David Morrison thanked all the speakers and sponsors and DCA membership for supporting the event and made special mention of Tony Jones' eighth appearance as our moderator. "We've shared the fact that we are born in the same year so I know that he's doing it on some creaking knees, but he's still upholding his own and bringing his whole self to every single occasion."

Four photos of individual photos at the lectern: Lisa Annese, Donna Ingram, Drew Bradford & David Morrison.

Our Teams: 

 Two photos of the teams on stage

For the Affirmative:

Well done to the team for the Affirmative for some excellent arguments as to why it is a good idea to bring your whole self to work. As well as quoting some well respected management experts and academics, also drew on popular music lyrics to drive their message home.

Lorraine Murphy, Chief People Officer, National Australia Bank. Read Lorraine’s biography

Lorraine closed her argument asking audience members to follow the lead of the "great philosopher Katy Perry who sings, I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath, scared to rock the boat and make a mess.  So I sat quietly, agreed politely and I guess that I forgot I had a choice.  You hear my voice, you hear that sound, like thunder going to shake the ground."

Lawrence Leung, Comedian, screenwriter and speaker. Read Lawrence’s biography

Lawrence summed up with "the immortal words of the great Chrissy Amphlett, who said, I love myself.  I want you to love me.  When I feel down, I want you to above me.  I searched myself, I want you to find me.  I forget myself, I want you to remind me.  I don't want anybody else.  When I think about you, I touch on the notion of bringing my whole self to work."

Karen Mundine, Chief Executive Officer, Reconciliation Australia   Read Karen’s biography

Karen drew her final inspiration from "that well known feminist philosopher and friend of Katy Perry's, Sara Bareilles, who sings, Say what you want to say, and let the words fall out. Honestly, I want to see you be brave."

Three photos of Affirmative Team members  Lorraine Murphy, Lawrence Leung and Karen Mundine.

For the Negative:

Supremely confident from the outset, the team for the Negative stressed that while bringing your whole self to work might be nice in the future, the risks are too great at present for many people to bring their whole self to work.

Jack Heath, Chief Executive Officer, SANE Australia   Read Jack’s extended biography

Jack called on everyone to focus on bringing their common humanity to work. "There’s a push to segregate, separate, oppose, generate fear and conflict.  And if I leave you one thing today, tonight, it's that our common humanity is the container that celebrates, that cherishes, and enhances our diversity." 

Mary Coustas performing as Effie, Writer, performer and comedian Read Mary’s extended biography

Effie explained it's not always easy but it is not fair on others to burden them with your whole self. "Look at me.  I'm hot, I'm Greek, I'm gifted.  That's more than enough to bring to work.  Anything more than that is intimidating and unfair to others.  What a sacrifice I've made, to show only a fraction of my abundance.  That's called discipline.  That's called selflessness.  That's called professionalism."   

Alan Kirkland, CEO, CHOICE   Read Alan’s extended biography

Closing the Negative argument Alan focussed on current reality. "Full workplace equality, diversity, inclusion...  are a dream, a really lovely dream.  But we're a long way away from realising it.  That's why the DCA exists.  That's why we're all here tonight.  So if you believe the dream, you've also got to realise that we're not there yet, which is why nobody should be forced to bring their whole self to work."

Three photos of members of the Negative Team: Jack Heath, Effie Stephanides and Alan Kirkland

The Annual Diversity Debate would not be possible without the support of sponsors and supporters, NAB, Optus, Accenture, Bloomberg and Hall & Wilcox.  It was also great to see so many of our members booking full tables and thoroughly enjoying the evening together.

Group photos of guests and sponsorsGroup photos of guests and sponsors

Group photos of guests and sponsors

More photos can be found on our Facebook Album.

See the post event media release.

The rest of this content is restricted to DCA members.