Case study: Bonner Committee

by ABC
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Australia's national public broadcaster. The ABC has offices in every Australian state and territory, and employs the equivalent of approximately 4300 full-time employees.

The Bonner Committee was first established in 2002. Its name is a mark of respect for the late Neville Bonner AO, who was Australia’s first Aboriginal Senator and the ABC’s only Aboriginal Board Director to date.

The Committee is the ABC’s primary advisory and representative body on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, content, and communities, with a specific responsibility for monitoring progress against the ABC’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). Its membership is a mix of Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff, from content and administrative support, located in all parts of Australia. In choosing members, the Bonner Committee seeks expressions of interest from staff who have knowledge and interest about Indigenous and diversity issues and would like to be members.

The Bonner Committee has six primary objectives:

  • Providing expert advice to the Managing Director and the Executive on Indigenous matters, including the concerns of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and strategic and commercial opportunities.
  • Monitoring and reporting on progress against the ABC’s RAP and coordinating the process of updating and refreshing the RAP. The ABC’s current & fourth RAP has been developed as an Elevate RAP under Reconciliation Australia’s RISE (Reflect, Innovate, Stretch, Elevate) framework. The Elevate RAP includes a major new commitment to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, voices and names within ABC’s vocabulary and style, so that they may, in turn, become an everyday part of the vocabulary of the nation.
  • Sponsoring and organising Indigenous initiatives, both internally and with external partners, and generating ideas to enhance positive Indigenous outcomes for the Corporation. This includes the continual use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nation names in content, incorporating local languages on radio of the location from where they broadcast and Indigenous language lessons.
  • Promoting cultural awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, issues, and services internally and externally.
  • Assisting in developing strategies for increasing Indigenous participation and opportunities, particularly job recruiting, retaining and career pathways, in partnership with the People and Culture Team.
  • Serving as the Corporation’s representative voice on Indigenous matters and assisting in the development of ABC relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.


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