As a union we look out for each other and we are here to support you. As unionists, we have a responsibility to support our co-workers. Employers have a duty of care to minimise risk – including when it comes to your psychological safety.
Please make time to reach out for help if you need it.
- If you have a concern about cultural load or safety for yourself or a colleague, it is important to let your employer know. All workplaces will have an incident and hazard reporting tool – some workplaces also have specialised support teams where you can also raise concerns.
- You can also contact your employers’ Employee Assistant Program (EAP) for individual assistance. While these programs are confidential, the theme is generally reported to management so they can identify if there are patterns of concern.
- Let your CPSU delegate or organiser know, and you can contact the CPSU Member Service Centre on 1300 137 636 for advice.
- There is also 13YARN - a free service that offers support with trained Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Crisis Supporters. Contact 13 92 76 (24 hours/7 days) or see their webpage for more detail.
- Consider taking a break from work if you are in the position to do so.
In case you missed it, below is the message from the APSC, NIAA and PMC to all APS staff sent on Monday 16 October.
Subject: A message to all APS staff on the referendum
On Saturday 14 October, Australians were asked to vote in a referendum on whether the constitution should be changed to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing a body called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. The referendum did not pass.
The referendum was a significant event, and the vote will be a cause for reflection for many. In this context we would like to talk with you about three matters.
First, we acknowledge the emotional costs of a long and sometimes acrimonious public debate, regardless of any citizen’s personal view on the proposition before the Australian people. You and your colleagues may be experiencing many different emotions. At times the referendum debate has been confronting, and for some distressing. There will be colleagues in the APS, their families or communities, who experienced racism, discrimination and harassment. The impact will be felt far beyond the vote.
We ask that we treat each other with empathy, kindness and respect. Please don’t assume your colleagues want to talk about the referendum but, if they do, please listen with an open heart. If you are struggling or need support please ask for help. Various wellbeing services are available through your Employee Assistance Program. Leave provisions including personal, miscellaneous or cultural leave may also be available. Please contact your people team for information or visit www.apsc.gov.au.
Second, we are keen to acknowledge, and express our thanks for, the manner in which every part of the public service conducted itself during the referendum. Some of you worked directly on the referendum, assisting the essential work of a fair and open national vote. Throughout the process the public service retained its impartiality and that deserves respect. Thank you. Through the referendum campaign the APS has lived and honoured all the APS Values. Such actions create public confidence in the integrity of the APS, by treating the community and each other with appropriate professional standards. We commit to continue upholding these values of impartial advice, service for the Australian people, and an accountable Service which is respectful and ethical.
Finally, the referendum was about changing the constitution. The outcome of the vote does not affect work already underway across the APS to create better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, including the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and other reforms. These and other initiatives are a priority and must endure. Our work together will continue to highlight the significant contribution of First Nations Peoples to Australian society and values, our economy and environment.
We are committed to an APS in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees thrive in fulfilling careers and culturally safe workplaces. This will be amplified through new initiatives such as the SES100 Indigenous leadership initiative, increasing the number of First Nations employees in the APS to five per cent, and strengthening cultural capability through the Cultural Capability Hub.
Thank you for your ongoing work and support.
Ms Jody Broun
Chief Executive Officer, National Indigenous Australians Agency
Professor Glyn Davis AC
Secretary, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Dr Gordon de Brouwer
Australian Public Service Commissioner