Australia is saying goodbye to our first female Governor-General, Her Excellency Ms Bryce AC, and swearing-in General Peter Cosgrove AC MC (Retd) as the new Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. By the end of the day, one will be a Dame and one a Knight.
In the remaining minutes of our current Head of State’s term, I think it is worth reflecting on the current Governor General’s thoughts on the lack of Indigenous Australians in the accounting profession. Typed below is the dispatched Vice Regal (hand written) message to a roundtable on the issue from late 2011.
Described as a “serious issue” and a “grave disadvantage”, Her Excellency stated it was “vital to ensure that talented young ones in particular are given every encouragement and every opportunity to prepare for a career in accounting.” Hence the importance of role models, but also noting it is “essential to business operations, leadership hopes and aspirations and secure futures.”
Two and a half years later, Australia and it’s a major accounting bodies, corporations and every accountant should reflect and ask: have we done enough, can we do more, should we have done more?
I think having very few Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, less than 100, is a sad reflection on our past, a warning for the future, but also an exciting opportunity for energetic and passionate Indigenous Australians make to their mark as business accounting role models and leaders.
The accounting bodies, educational institutions, individuals and others are actively working on the issue… slow but steady. Can we do more to address this “grave disadvantage” to Indigenous Australians?