Retired Australian Federal Police Superintendent Cath Grassick was named Out Role Model of the year, while investment firm J P Morgan and RMIT University bagged top honours for the LGBTQI Employee Network of the Year at the 2020 Australian LGBTQI Awards.

The awards luncheon, originally scheduled for May and postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was held in Sydney at the Hyatt Regency on Monday. TV host and SBS World News presenter Ricardo Goncalves and The Voice Australia 2016 winner Alfie Arcuri hosted the event. RMIT was also awarded Employer Of The Year at the preliminary announcement of the awards in a virtual event in June.

The 10th Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI)  and the second Health + Wellbeing Equality Index (HWEI) were both the basis of the awards hosted by ACON’s Pride Inclusion Programs.

“This year marks an important milestone for the AWEI, as it celebrates its 10th anniversary. Over the past decade, we have seen incredible advancements in workplace diversity and inclusion. As we progress further, it remains critical that not only efforts are acknowledged and congratulated, but pressure continues to be applied to maintain and build upon what has been achieved,” said Dawn Hough, Director of ACON’s Pride Inclusion Programs in a statement.

“The AFP is honoured to be part of the 2020 LGBTQ Inclusion Awards,” the organisation posted on Twitter. The AFP also received the 10 Year Achievement Award (public sector).

Grassick, who was named Out Role Model, has had an over three decade career with the AFP and received the National Police Service Medal, AFP Service Medal and Australia Day Medallion. Grassick was also a member of AFP’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer (GLLO) Network, which was founded in 1996.

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 In a 2017 blog on the ACT police website, Grassick had reflected on the “historical mistrust between the LGBTQI community and police (arising somewhat from when homosexuality was considered a crime)” and the connection to lower reporting of crimes like family violence.

“For me personally this issue extends beyond my job. I am a member of the local LGBTQI community. As well as myself, my family also includes members that identify as LGBTQI. It is so important that in a world of intolerance, that we work together as a community to remove the risk of violence from all of our community members,” Grassick had said.

Australia’s largest annual LGBTQI Inclusion Report was also released that involved a survey of responses by over 33,000 employees and around 600 sportspersons.

The survey results highlighted the impact of LGBTQI inclusion initiatives at workplaces as well the support it received from the leadership in the participating organisations. The report pointed to challenges of coming out at work – apprehension of non-acceptance by colleagues and not being comfortable were the top two reasons to be not out at work.

“The report also shows that LGBTQ people continue to be the target of negative commentary and innuendo as well as more serious bullying and harassment. So even as we have taken some big steps forward in improving inclusion within workplaces over the past 10 years, these results indicate that there is much more to do and no organisation can afford to become complacent in ensuring all Australians are free to be their true selves at work,” said Hough.

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 This year, Pride in Diversity that is part of the Pride Inclusion programs of ACON (also includes Pride In Sport and Pride in Health+Wellbeing) celebrates 10 years. Hough added that LGBTQI inclusion has now established itself as part of the “Australian workplace diversity and inclusion agenda and is making more of a mark in the sporting and service provider sectors every year as well.

The winners:

AWEI Awards

  • Employer of the Year: RMIT University
  • Most Improved: John Holland
  • Platinum employers: Commonwealth Bank, PwC, UWA
  • Gold employers: Brisbane City Council, Capgemini, Clayton Utz, CSIRO, Deloitte, Department of Agriculture, IBM, J.P. Morgan, NAB, QBE Insurance, SBS, Queensland Dept Education, RMIT University, UNSW, Woolworths
  • Silver employers: Alcoa of Australia, ASIO, CBRE, Deakin University, Department of Social Sciences, DLA Piper, Energy Australia, Hollard Insurance, HSBC Australia, KPMG Australia, Macquarie University, Monash University, NSW Police Force, Qantas, ScentreGroup, University of QLD, University of Sydney, Westpac
  • Bronze employers: ABC Allens, Allianz, Aurecon, Australian Federal Police, Australian Taxation Office, Coles, Department of Defence, Dept Education & Training, Department of Health, Department of Health & Human Services, Department of Industry, Innovation & Science, Griffith University, IAG, Jacobs, John Holland, Maddocks, Mercer, NBNCo, Salesforce, Services Australia, Settlement Services International, Stockland, The Star Entertainment Group, Uniting, University of Wollongong, Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning
  • Small Employer of the Year: Dentons
  • Achievement Award for Most Improved Small Employer: ADSSI Limited
  • Gold Small Employers: ADSSI, Boston Consulting Group, Clifford Chance, Dentons, McCullough Robertson Lawyers, Oliver Wyman, PageGroup
  • Small Silver employers: Deutsche Bank, Gilead Sciences
  • Small Bronze employers: Allen & Overy, Pinsent Masons, Russell Kennedy Lawyers
  • Employee Network of the Year: JP Morgan, RMIT University  
  • Trans/Gender Diverse Inclusion: RMIT University
  • Executive Leadership: Alicia Albury, Maddocks
  • Network Leader of the YearL Ben Brown, QBE, Nathan Eastwood, Clifford Chance
  • Out Role Model: Cath Grassick, Australian Federal Police
  • Sapphire Inspire: Alix Sampson, AGL Energy Meri Machin-Roberts, KPMG
  • Sally Webster Ally Award: Belinda Young, AGL Energy
  • Service Provider of the Year Most Improved of the Year: Advance Diversity Services ADSSI Ltd

HWEI Awards

  • Gold employers: Advance Diversity Services, Medibank, Uniting NSW/ACT
  • Silver employers: Flourish Australia, NADA: Network of Alcohol and Other Drugs
    Agencies, UnitingCare Qld
  • Bronze employer: ADSSI Ltd

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