Ipsos establishes landmark Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisory group

Leading market research company Ipsos has announced an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group to advise its new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Unit on ethical and culturally sensitive research projects.

Ipsos formed the Research Unit in February this year, headed by its Aboriginal staff member, Sharon Barnes. In partnership with Indigenous research company Winangali, Ipsos will jointly conduct market and social research studies including evaluation, community consultation and engagement.

The new Ipsos Advisory Group was formed due to the great diversity among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and societies in Australia, each with its own mixture of cultures, customs, laws and more than 120 surviving languages. Membership of the Advisory Group is comprised of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a diverse knowledge of culture and understanding of ethical guidelines to support and share knowledge with Ipsos.

Co-chaired by ANU’s Professor Michael Dodson AM and Professor Maggie Walter from the University of Tasmania, Advisory Group members include: Dr Blaze Kwaymullina (WA), Dr Lawurrpa Maypilama (Elcho Island NT), Ms Vanessa Davis (Central NT), Ms Denise Foster (Central NT), Ms Eunice Yu (Broome WA), Ms Debra Reid (TAS), Mr Roland Wilson (SA), Ms Katrina Fanning (ACT), Mr Eliziah Wasaga (Horn Island/Townsville QLD), Mr Noel Niddrie (QLD), Ms Sharon Barnes (ACT/NSW, Ipsos staff member) and Professor Jakelin Troy (NSW/ACT). Ipsos CEO Simon Wake, Ipsos Public Affairs Managing Director Mark Davis, Ipsos Director of Public Affairs, Queensland Kylie Brosnan and Ipsos Research Manager Julia Knapp also sit on the Advisory Group.

The inaugural meeting of the Advisory Group was held at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) in Canberra last month.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Unit has been commissioned to undertake several large research projects in partnership with Winangali for both Federal and State Governments.

As well as the formal partnership with Winangali and the Advisory Group, Ipsos has completed a reconciliation action plan to demonstrate its commitment to working with First Nations people.

Professor Michael Dodson, former Australian of the Year, said: Economic participation is the pathway to self-determination.” Professor Maggie Walter, who chaired the meeting last month, said: “Maybe corporate Australia is one of the answers to increasing the value and validity of Indigenous research for Indigenous peoples in Australia.”

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Unit’s role is to oversee and advise on all research and evaluation conducted by Ipsos that involves Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Ipsos Australia and New Zealand CEO Simon Wake said: “Our vision for the unit is to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander economic participation through employment opportunities, procurement spend and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and organisations. Economic participation is an essential step towards improving life outcomes and empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, families and communities in Australia.”