Indigenous workers at some of Australia’s top banks are being offered paid leave to recover from the Voice referendum result.
National Australia Bank (NAB) is offering cultural leave and counselling to Indigenous employees after Australia voted No in the referendum on Saturday.
Westpac and ANZ also have ‘special leave’ that could allow Indigenous staff to take time off to recover from the fallout, while accounting giant KPMG is offering to hold ‘yarning circles’ for Indigenous employees to discuss the result and ‘heal in a culturally safe space’.
‘KPMG Australia encourages all First Nations employees to take cultural leave and additional paid leave where required to help process the result of the referendum,’ a spokesperson said.
NAB Group chief executive Ross McEwan told The Australian the referendum was a challenging loss for some staff but it respects the democratic result.
‘The people of Australia have voted,’ Mr McEwan said.
The announcement comes after Daily Mail Australia revealed a university had given extensions to Aboriginal students to cope with the emotional toll of the No vote.
Several banks around Australia have offered Indigenous staff paid leave and counselling after Australia voted against a Voice to Parliament and Indigenous recognition in the Constitution on Saturday (pictured, Yes supporters reacting to the result)
Suncorp, based in Queensland where almost 70 per cent of voters opposed the Voice, does not offer cultural leave but suggested staff could use personal leave.
The leave is not specific to Indigenous staff.
In a message online, Suncorp Diversity and Inclusion leader Catherina Behan wrote that a Yes result would ‘have helped to restore even the smallest amount of trust in the people and systems that have inflicted ongoing trauma and violence for centuries.’
‘Imagine the devastating blow to hope, the very loud message of rejection, the overt refusal to even come to the same table,’ she said.
Ms Behan later said the post was her opinion, not a representation of Suncorp.
Commonwealth Bank has not commented on whether leave is available for Indigenous staff following the referendum.
Insurance Australia Group (IAG) has offered free 24/7 counselling for staff as well as Indigenous specific support.
National Bank Australia (above) is offering cultural leave and counselling to Indigenous employees
‘IAG is a longstanding 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 peoples, businesses and communities to help achieve this,’
However, it’s not just the financial sector looking to support Indigenous Australians.
Brisbane’s Griffith University is offering Indigenous students an extension on their assessments to help cope with the No result.
The university has not offered any exemptions to any students affected by the Palestine-Israel conflict.
Professor Carolyn Evans, vice Chancellor and president of Griffith University wrote to its 55,000 students last Thursday in an email subjected ‘responding to national and international events’.
The email, seen by Daily Mail Australia, expressed sympathy for those who have ‘friends and family in regions impacted by natural disaster or armed conflict, including Afghanistan, Israel, Gaza and Myanmar’.
‘Nationally, we have for some weeks seen ugly, 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 extensions to their assessments in light of the toll the Voice debate might be taking on them.
Griffith University (above) offered assessment extensions to Indigenous students but controversially didn’t extend the offer students affected by the Palestine-Israel conflict
‘The University is offering assessment extensions to students identified as Australian First Peoples for certain assessment types due between now and 18 October 2023,’ Professor Evans wrote.
‘Any assessment item due between these dates may be submitted anytime up to 12pm (noon) on 19 October 2023.’
Those students who have been impacted by events outside of the Voice to Parliament’s failure were told they can apply for an extension via the normal route.
Daily Mail Australia contacted Griffith University for comment.