Following the Australian Publishers Association’s recent statement in support of the Voice to Parliament, one of our members Hardie Grant share what they have been doing as a company to campaign for the Voice.
Hardie Grant is proud to support the YES vote in the referendum to be held on 14 October. As our Voice to Parliament statement asserts, we’ve only done something like this once before in 25 years, and that was for the Marriage Equality plebiscite. Our full statement is provided separately; and it’s worth saying that it actually emerged after we’d publicly taken action to show our support, and had a negative response from one of our advertisers.
This gave us the opportunity to articulate why we believe it is essential for Australian businesses and individuals to publicly endorse the YES vote, and how it grew out of a longstanding commitment to Reconciliation; through our Reconciliation Action Plan, our publishing, our relationships, our First Nations employment programs and corporate giving, and our strategic objective to Make an Impact. It has been an essential process to go through as others, like the APA, will attest.
Our go-to resource is the Yes 23 website.
Initially we printed off posters and displayed them across our offices in each state. We also provided the Yes 23 email signature gif to all staff and welcomed everyone at Hardie Grant to add it to their signatures.
We are now posting information and calls to action across all the Hardie Grant imprint and business socials – including Yes 23 produced tiles (including a post promoting the Walk on the 17th of September) and Hardie Grant bespoke posts, where captions can be customised to suit the individuality of each of our imprints.
In-house and external support
Early on we held an all-staff meeting, based on the information found in our Handbook to the Voice to Parliament, including videos from the authors, Thomas Mayo and Kerry O’Brien; as well as in-person presentations from their publisher, and a Hardie Grant editor who eloquently shared the story of what support for the Voice means to her and her Aboriginal family. We gave a copy of the Handbook to each member of staff. Having the book has been very helpful in our campaigning: we also created an order form for multiple copy orders, and offered it to our networks including clients and partners. Through this action we have not only sold over 3000 copies, but facilitated the dissemination of information about the Voice to the staff and networks of unions, retailers, law firms and others.
More recently we’ve discovered the broad range of Yes 23 events going on around our offices, and encourage our staff to join in during the working week. For example, leafleting at nearby stations (armed with the Yes 23 guide to talking about the Voice), and allowing staff to use this time as part of a paid volunteer leave day available to all employees.
We are encouraging staff to attend the Walk for Yes on the 17th, and we’d love to be part of a wider contingent of publishers marching in Melbourne and Sydney to show the support of our industry.
We acknowledge that not all Hardie Grant staff will necessarily share our view, and they are not required to show public support or endorse the company stance, it is their choice. But the Hardie Grant business, as an entity, IS supporting the Voice, and very proudly. As we explained to the advertiser who took umbrage at our position, we feel we have a duty to stand up for such an important human rights issue.
If any publishers are interested in sharing their own actions and ideas, please contact Andrea Hanke at the APA. Publishers who are interested in walking together can contact Fiona Hardie (Hardie Grant, Melbourne) or Robert Watkins (Ultimo Press, Sydney).
For further resources on the Voice to Parliament, including a range of publications by members, see the APA website here.