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You’re the voice and CA ANZ understands it


Members are bound to disagree on the issue but the body remains committed to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, it says in wake of referendum loss.

By Philip King 10 minute read

CA ANZ will keep supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart despite the failure of the Voice referendum and says disagreement between members on the issue is just the “tension that exists in any membership organisation”.

The accounting body, which signed the Uluru document last year and declared support for the Voice ahead of the vote, acknowledged the referendum result yesterday but said it was still “committed to walking with Australia’s First Nations people”.

“In September 2022, the CA ANZ board accepted the invitation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart to walk with First Nations people in a movement of all Australian people for a better future and to support a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice to parliament,” said chair John Palermo and CEO Ainslie van Onselen.

“CA ANZ remains fully committed to walking alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people because our profession is stronger when it includes the best and brightest talent drawn from the widest possible cross-section of society.”

The body said it appreciated there would be a wide variety of views among its 136,000 members and denied instructing members how to vote.

“It is important to note that CA ANZ did not tell its members how to vote in the upcoming referendum,” it said. “Rather, CA ANZ is focused on how we can listen to, and empower more, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to join our profession.” 

“Not all members agree, and that’s the tension that exists in any membership organisation. However, 72 per cent of our members surveyed in our annual inclusion and diversity survey told us they want CA ANZ to advocate on issues relating to inclusion and diversity and that they want our profession to be attractive and relevant to next-generation talent.”

CA ANZ said it would keep working to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in accounting from its current level of just one in 200.

It said its work to advance First Nations inclusion in the profession included:

  • Support for the Australian Business Dean’s Council Indigenous Summer School Program as a founding partner.
  • Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander scholarships.
  • An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Member Panel that advocated for First Nations members and shared insights on widening participation and inclusion.
  • Addressing the issue of “you can’t be what you can’t see” by raising the profile of First Nations chartered accountants so that Indigenous youngsters had role models.

Rival body CPA Australia said it also supported the “overarching principles” of the Uluru Statement from the Heart but chose not to actively participate in the Voice debate.

“Ultimately, the decision of whether to endorse an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to parliament was with the Australian public,” a spokesperson said. “We respect the outcome.”

“CPA Australia remains committed to encouraging indigenous involvement and representation in the accounting profession.”

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Philip King

Philip King


Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

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