Power Equipment Australasia

OPINION Federal Parliament, the Marriage Amendment Act became law in December 2017. THREE LESSONS FOR INCLUSIVE CHANGE While the sausage making in social democracies is often fraught with politics, personalities and likely from the purview of privilege, its fundamental ethos is defined as “a commitment to policies aimed at curbing inequality, eliminating oppression of underprivileged groups, and eradicating poverty, as well as support for universally accessible public services like childcare, education, elderly care, health care, and workers' compensation.11” As a social democracy, Australia’s referendum on the Voice has only revealed the need for a much wider lens through which to consider inclusive change for First Nations people as a component of furthering the ideals of a social democracy. Following the power of the No vote, here are three lessons for inclusive change: 1. Policies reflect people Not as a reflection in the mirror, but recognising in each other the vastness of possibilities emanating from different perspectives and experiences as a prerequisite for developing inclusive policy. Australia’s mosaic is either limited by our own bias or enhanced by our willingness to embrace what is less well known. Whether in Parliament, corporate headquarters or the shop at the end of the street, we should seek to develop policies that are inclusive and reflective of all of us. The test of inclusivity isn’t a list of who is included or benefits from policy, but to ask the question to what extent have others been excluded, and what if anything has been taken away from being fully inclusive of and participants in the benefits of policy. 2. Democracy is responsibility Democracy is defined as “a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.”12 However, what democracy doesn’t require of its voting population – even when voting is mandatory – is expertise on budget and economic strategy, immigration and refugee laws, urban development or sustainable waste policies among other topics critical to a well-run democratic society. Instead, voters elect people that either have relevant expertise, ideas that are similar to their own in areas deemed important or both to garner their vote. Referendums and plebiscites give the mandate and voluntary inclusion, respectively, in a democracy directly to the voter and bypass the elected representative. Through this approach, the responsibility of voters should include due diligence, research and fact-checked information to make informed decisions. There is likely to be a strong relationship between the probability of referendum or plebiscite passage and the extent to which voters are objectively informed about the question at issue. 3. The power of change The Voice has put Australia on global blast, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The referendum process – pre, during and post – uncovered everything from what people know about First Nations people, where voters get their news and information and the influence of social media campaigns, to the lure of negative headlines, provocative soundbites and the importance of knowing the difference between real and alternative facts. But more than anything, the power of the No vote has given Australia a realistic opportunity to a look at itself through the eyes of the rest of the world. Not through international sports figures, vaulted movie stars or music phenoms, but by what we stand for as a country. To some, it’s just another vote. And fair enough; voting is indeed a mandated privilege. At the same time, however, it’s an opportunity to witness and take note of the courage of the leaders we elect to do nothing, kick the can down the road or use their power to make inclusive change. ______________________ 1 Whiteman, H. (2023, October 14). Australians vote No in referendum that promised change for First Nations people but couldn’t deliver. https://www.cnn. com/2023/10/14/ 2 Arab News (2023, October 15). Australia rejects Indigenous referendum in setback for reconciliation. https://www.arabnews.com/node/2391461/world 3 Allam, L. (2023, October 14). Rejecting the voice shows Australia is still in denial, its history of forgetting a festering wrong. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/ commentisfree/2023/oct/14/ 4 The Age (2023, October 16). No shame in voting No to an ill-judged referendum. https://www.theage.com. au/national/victoria/no-shame-in-voting-no-to-an-illjudged-referendum-20231016-p5ecie.html 5 Thomas, M. (2017, 25 May). The 1967 Referendum. https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Library/ FlagPost/2017/May/The_1967_Referendum 6 Australian Government (2023, October 14) https:// voice.gov.au/#:~:text=Referendum%20outcome,The%20 referendum%20did%20not%20pass. 7 Williams, B. (2021, November 22). How Australia’s financial gorilla was born. Australian Financial Review https://www.afr.com/policy/tax-and-super/howaustralia-s-financial-gorilla-was-born-20211117-p599sv 8 Britannica (1996). Port Arthur Massacre. https://www. britannica.com/event/Port-Arthur-Massacre 9 A timeline of the National Disability Insurance Agency. https://www.ndis.gov.au/about-us/history-ndis 10 McGuirk, R. (2017, December 8). Australian prime minister rushes gay marriage into law. Associated Press https://apnews.com/article/ f99a0972daf043a5b2e7be7deb3d5d0d 11 Report on Promoting Empowerment of People in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and full employment integration and full employment and decent work for all. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Division for Social Policy and Development. 12 What is Democracy. https://www.igi-global.com/ dictionary/transforming-a-country-through-effectivenation-branding/7193 ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dr Wesley Payne McClendon is a chief executive, board advisor and thought leader with global experience in professional services as a Managing Director, Partner and Practice Leader, board chair and non-executive director in government, higher education, start-ups, peak professional bodies and private sector businesses, and Professor of Human Capital Management in Asia, Australia, Europe, Middle East, United Kingdom and United States. Dr McClendon is Executive Director, McClendon Research Group, Board Director, Australian Institute of Architects Foundation (AIA), formerly, Independent Director, Chair, People & Culture Committee, AIA, Chief Transformation Officer, Diversity Atlas, Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Victoria Graduate School of Business, and Adjunct at Macquarie Graduate School of Management and SP Jain School of Global Management. Previously, he was Professor, Edinburgh Napier University Business School, Associate Professor, Melbourne Business School, Fellow, Birmingham Business School and Lecturer, Leeds University Business School. He researches, teaches and supervises student research projects on a range of topics including strategic human resource management, leadership, strategy, organisation behaviour and change management. NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2023 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 27