Navigating the Voice referendum

Take time to pause and reflect

DCA acknowledges the outcome of the Voice referendum with enormous disappointment. While the result is not what we had hoped for, this is a time to take a moment to hold space. Most importantly, we would like to express our ongoing solidarity with First Nations Australians.  Please be mindful that First Nations Australians who campaigned for the Voice to Parliament have called for a week of silence across the country to grieve and reflect.

As we collectively navigate the outcome of this historic referendum, many organisations across Australia are looking at how to best support their teams throughout this time. DCA has collated helpful resources and tips to help ensure your teams and stakeholders are well-supported, informed, and mindful of the cultural load experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues, suppliers and networks.

A helpful place to start is our recent event First Nations Identity Strain and Cultural Load at Work, which covers what organisations can do to support their people. This has now been made publicly available for all to view. 

Please see our tips for inclusivity during this time below.

Please note that DCA is not an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led organisation, and cannot provide specialist advisory services relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and knowledge. However, we can provide general advice and guidance to assist you in this area, as well as encourage you to speak with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and community groups who specialise and lead the way in this space.

Tips for inclusivity during this time

1. Offer support

  • Offer time and space for people to talk about what they are experiencing, should they choose to, making sure this is optional  
  • Be mindful and sensitive to each individual’s needs: take the time to listen to and support your colleagues, but also respect their choices if they prefer not to discuss, or need space 
  • Ensure your workplace is culturally safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and take action to address workplace racism.

Along with your Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, please also remember to consider your efforts can extend further to suppliers, customers and the broader networks you interact with.

2. Recognise and minimise cultural load 

  • Recognise identity strain and educate non-First Nations staff about how to interact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues in ways that reduce this 
  • Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees to engage in self-care, including the freedom to ‘opt out’ of conversations, meetings, and processes 
  • Remember that cultural leave is an important way for organisations to respect and support the cultural needs and responsibilities of their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander team members.  

3. Provide access to resources 

  • Provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees with access to Elders, EAPs and counselling services who can create safe spaces 
  • See a comprehensive list of resources below, which you can draw on to inform your work 
  • These resources may also help support your external communication, in line with your commitment to diversity and inclusion.

DCA Resources to draw on in your work

Guides for inclusive workplaces

Addressing racism

Using respectful language

Inclusion and flexibility

Past events to help inform your thinking

First Nations Identity Strain and Cultural Load at Work: Event recording and presentation

RAPs, Reconciliation and the Referendum – DCA: Event recording and presentation

Learn more

External Resources