Annual DCA Debate

24 Oct 2017


Does a focus on identity help or hinder diversity and inclusion in the workplace? Moderated by Tony Jones, one of ABC's most respected journalists, our Annual Diversity Debate once again promises to be the diversity event of the year as two teams tackle this critical issue from a number of perspectives.

Annual Diversity Debate with Tony Jones

Does a focus on identity help or hinder diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Diversity Council Australia and NAB are delighted to invite you to the 2017 Annual Diversity Debate, moderated by Tony Jones, one of the ABC's most respected journalists and host of ABC TV's Q&A.

When it comes to diversity & inclusion in the workplace, many organisations have adopted an identity-blind approach where employees are treated the same, regardless of their cultural background, gender, ability or disability, age, Indigeneity or LGBTIQ+ status. More recently, an identity-conscious approach has evolved where group differences such as age, cultural background or gender, are acknowledged and emphasised.

But has too much focus on identity in D&I programs created division and led to disengagement by those who feel excluded? Have workplace programs been hijacked by the debate around identity politics? On the other hand, is it critical to recognise group difference and inequality in order to establish a level playing field?

Team for the Affirmative:

Sharon Cook, Don Elgin & Kumi Taguchi

Sharon Cook, Chief Legal & Commercial Counsel, National Australia Bank
Sharon was appointed to the new role of Chief Legal and Commercial Counsel in April 2017. She has more than 25 years' experience as a lawyer practising mainly in the field of commercial litigation.  Read Sharon’s full biography

Don Elgin, Paralympian and StarAmp Global Founder
Commentator, author and motivational speaker, Don represented Australia in athletics at four World Championships, three Paralympic Games and two World Cups before retiring in 2008 and then making a successful comeback for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Read Don’s full biography

Kumi Taguchi, Host of Compass on ABC TV
Kumi began working in media on the 7.30 Report and from there, she spent time at Triple J radio and worked for the deaf and hearing impaired at various television networks. In 2004, she moved to Hong Kong and worked for Star TV, Asia Television and NHK World and before returning to Sydney in 2010, working at both SBS and then ABC. Read Kumi’s full biography

Team for the Negative:

Peter van Onselen, Libby Lyons & Dr Sev Ozdowski

Peter van Onselen, Anchor, SKY NEWS and Contributing Editor, The Australian
Peter van Onselen is the anchor of PVO NewsDay and Sunday Agenda and co-anchor of To The Point on SKY NEWS. He is also Contributing Editor at The Australian newspaper and a professor of politics at the University of Western Australia. Read Peter’s full biography

Libby Lyons, Director, Workplace Gender Equality Agency
Libby was appointed Director of WGEA in 2015. She oversees a statutory reporting process which gathers gender equality data from over 12,000 employers and covers more than 4 million Australian employees. Prior to this, Libby had a distinguished career in corporate affairs and government relations. Read Libby’s full biography

Dr Sev Ozdowski AM, Chair of the Australian Multicultural Council
Sev is Chair of the Australian Multicultural Council, Director, Equity and Diversity at the University of Western Sydney and Adjunct Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney. He was the Australian Human Rights Commissioner and Disability Discrimination Commissioner at the then-named Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission from 2000-2005. Read Sev’s full biography

VERDICT: A focus on identity DOES help diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workplace.

PHOTOS can be found on the DCA Facebook page.

Watch the highlights video below

The rest of this content is restricted to DCA members.