It’s an interesting time to talk diversity (or the lack of) in our industry. As it is National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June), which celebrates both the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision. Fittingly, this year’s theme is “Don’t Keep History A Mystery: Learn. Share. Grow”, which invites us to explore history hidden beneath the surface and educate ourselves on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories.
We all know Australia is highly multicultural, with over 49% of Australians either born overseas or have one or both parents who are born overseas (2017 ABS Census). However, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in Australia accounts for less than 3%, and when we look at the number of Indigenous Peoples within media agencies, the figure is nearly zero.
This is a huge gap in our industry’s diversity and inclusion agenda, especially when considering how much further advanced other stakeholders in the industry are (I’m thinking of broadcasters and the film industry here, which have been working on enhancing opportunities for Indigenous Australians for decades now).
Getting to know what we didn’t know.
As a leading member of the team that developed Omnicom Media Group’s first Reconciliation Action Plan, I am incredibly proud of the work we have done as an agency group over the past two years. However, this is also a time to reflect on how much more there is to go until we can honestly say we’ve turned a corner.
Back in 2016, armed with little more than the information available on the Reconciliation Australia website, I threw myself into this project with the enthusiasm of a complete rookie and I thought, “We can definitely do this!”