'Finding my way' reconciliation story by Kylie Hill
For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Australia’s colonial history is marked by land dispossession, racism, and violence. But over the past 50 years, significant steps have been made towards reconciliation, both by governments and private companies alike across the continent.
At its core, the goal of reconciliation is to strengthen relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and non-Indigenous people for the good of all Australians. Since 1996, the country has celebrated an annual National Reconciliation Week as a time for all Australians to learn about shared cultures and histories and understand how to contribute to achieving reconciliation.
This year, the National Reconciliation Week theme, “Be Brave. Make Change.” is a challenge to all Australians—individuals, families, communities, organisations, and government—to tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation. Being brave acknowledges that the path to reconciliation, as with many forms of anti-oppression work, is a journey that requires vulnerability and self-reflection.
For Palladium, the next step has included publication of the company’s Reconciliation Action Plan – commonly referred to in Australia as a “RAP”.
“We’re proud to be on this journey and have reached one of many Reconciliation milestones in the publication of our Reconciliation Action Plan,” says Sally Falls, Palladium Asia Pacific Director and lead on this work. “As the name suggests, this is our opportunity to reflect on our journey as an organisation and as individuals to understand where we are, and what action we plan to take in our pursuit of reconciliation.”
According to Falls, this means recognising and reflecting on each individual’s personal experiences with reconciliation, as well as understanding Palladium’s corporate history and the impact the company has had on the places in which employees have worked, the organisations they have interacted with, and the land on which offices operate, including corporate offices in Brisbane (Meanjin), Sydney (Gadigal land), and Adelaide (Kaurna land).
“We have taken a very personal approach to reconciliation and have committed to creating intentional spaces for our people to congregate, share experiences and build our pool of shared meaning around the spirit of reconciliation,” Falls adds. “Our goal is to empower our people to reflect and challenge existing assumptions, beliefs, biases, defaults, social stigmas and positions, and modes of thinking about our relationships with Indigenous peoples and organisations.”
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
The commitment, as indicated in the RAP, is to turn these reflections into real change through practical, actionable activities that increase engagement and enhance the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, suppliers, corporate partners, and beneficiaries of Palladium’s work.
“Palladium, in our design, development, and delivery of positive impact, is well-placed to engage with Indigenous people and organisations, and have outlined several ongoing partnerships and strategies in our RAP,” explains Falls.
Many of the commitments made within the RAP fit squarely within Palladium’s broader approach to equity, diversity, and inclusion. “For our wider business, the act of reflection extends to the Indigenous populations of the countries we operate in and complements the commitments our projects make to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” says Dr. Rosanna Duncan, Palladium Chief Diversity Officer. “One of the mechanisms we have in place to create space for reflection is our annual Race, Ethnicity and Culture Month.”
Held each August, Duncan explains that the month involves Palladium employees around the world sharing personal experiences on topics from office culture to decolonisation in their development work, creating space for shared meaning and allowing critical self-reflection as the first step towards meaningful change – “because creating a diverse and inclusive organisation is everyone’s job”.
From building stronger relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through trust and respect, to offering opportunities to be a part of achieving company and client goals, the challenge of “Being Brave, Making Change” is one Palladium proudly accepts.
Download Palladium's REFLECT Reconciliation Action Plan and contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.