Indigenous workers at some of Australia’s biggest banks are being offered paid leave to recover from the Voice referendum result.
National Australia Bank (NAB) is offering cultural leave and counseling to Indigenous employees after Australia voted no in Saturday’s referendum.
Westpac and ANZ are also benefiting from “special leave” which could allow Indigenous staff to take time off to recover from the fallout, while aAccounting giant KPMG is offering to hold “thread circles” for Indigenous employees to discuss findings and “heal in a culturally safe space.”
“KPMG Australia encourages all First Nations employees to take cultural leave and additional paid leave when necessary to help process the referendum result,” a spokesperson said.
NAB Group Managing Director Ross McEwan said The Australian the referendum was a tough loss for some staff, but he respects the democratic result.
“The Australian people have voted,” Mr McEwan said.
The announcement comes after the Daily Mail Australia revealed a university had given extensions to Aboriginal students to deal with the emotional toll of voting no.
Several banks in Australia offered paid leave and counseling to Indigenous staff after Australia voted on Saturday against a vote in Parliament and recognition of Indigenous people in the Constitution (photo, Yes supporters react to the result)
Suncorp, based in Queensland where almost 70 per cent of voters opposed Voice, does not offer cultural leave but suggests staff use personal leave.
The leave is not specific to indigenous staff.
In an online post, Catherina Behan, Suncorp’s head of diversity and inclusion, wrote that a positive outcome “would have helped restore even the smallest amount of trust in the people and systems that inflicted trauma and violence continued for centuries.
“Imagine the devastating blow to hope, the very strong message of rejection, the clear refusal to even come to the same table,” she said.
Ms Behan later said the post was her opinion and not a representation of Suncorp.
The Commonwealth Bank did not say whether furlough was available for Indigenous staff following the referendum.
Insurance Australia Group (IAG) offered free 24/7 advice to staff, as well as Indigenous-specific support.
National Australia Bank (above) offers cultural leave and counseling to Indigenous employees
“IAG has been a long-standing supporter of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recognition and reconciliation,” a spokesperson told The Australian.
“We will continue to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, businesses and communities to achieve this,”
However, the financial sector is not alone in seeking to support Indigenous Australians.
Brisbane’s Griffith University is offering Indigenous students an extension of their assessments to help them cope with the No result.
The university has not offered any exemptions to students affected by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Professor Carolyn Evans, vice-chancellor and president of Griffith University, wrote to her 55,000 students in an email last Thursday titled ‘response to national and international events’.
The email, seen by Daily Mail Australia, expressed sympathy for those who have “friends and family in areas affected by natural disaster or armed conflict, including Afghanistan, Israel, Gaza and the Myanmar.”
“Nationally, we have witnessed, over the past few weeks, abominable racist abuse directed at many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders in the context of The Voice,” Professor Evans added.
She said in the email that Indigenous students would be granted an extension on their assessments in light of the adverse consequences the Voice debate could have on them.
Griffith University (above) offered assessment extensions to indigenous students, but did not extend the offer to students affected by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
“The University is offering assessment extensions to students identified as Australian First Peoples for certain types of assessments due by 18 October 2023,” Professor Evans wrote.
“Any assessment items due between these dates may be submitted at any time until 12 p.m. (noon) on October 19, 2023.”
Students who have been affected by events other than the failure of Voice to Parliament have been informed that they can apply for an extension through the normal route.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Griffith University for comment.