Recognise: Acknowledging and celebrating our First Peoples

RecogniseEventWhen the Australian Constitution was written in 1901, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples had lived here for more than 40,000 years, sustaining the oldest living culture in the world.

Yet the rights of our First Peoples were forgotten when the federation of the colonies were formed after a decade of consultation, planning and voting.

The exclusion of this vital chapter in our national history is behind the Recognise campaign, which is building awareness of the need to recognise Australia’s First Peoples in our constitution and to remove racial discrimination from our founding document, such as the section that says people can be banned from voting based on race.

“IAG supports the Recognise campaign and its plan to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are included in the constitution,” says IAG Chief Executive for Personal Insurance, Andy Cornish, who also chairs IAG’s Reconciliation Steering Committee.

That commitment will see the country’s largest general insurer support the campaign in the lead up to a proposed referendum in 2017.

IAG also supports Recognise by educating its 11,000  Australian employees about why the issue is vital to the future success of reconciliation in our country.

During National Reconciliation Week last year, IAG held an employee forum at its main Sydney office, linking to other locations by video. Recognise Campaign Director, Tim Gartrell, spoke at the event about the challenges and opportunities ahead with the national referendum required to make constitutional changes.

IAG was also involved in the inaugural Recognise Gala Dinner by donating a prize and purchasing a table. Director of Operations at Recognise, Clare Toepfer, says the involvement of businesses such as IAG “helps to galvanise the broad community and institutional support for meaningful recognition”.

As part of its Reconciliation Action Plan, IAG will continue to provide more opportunities for our people to better understand the Recognise campaign.

“Supportive voices and actions will be crucial to a successful referendum,” says Clare.

Since May 2013, the Journey to Recognition relay has travelled through 232 communities, held 305 events and meetings and engaged more than 22,704 people. There are currently over 283,000 Australians signed up in support.