Diversity and Inclusion at MAT Health Clinic

People are the heart of what we do at MAT Health Clinic (MHC) and we believe that equality, inclusion, and diversity is a business imperative. Our goal is to create a culture that is diverse, inclusive and respects and celebrates our differences.

We acknowledge our community is multi-cultural with varied beliefs, values, religions and languages and pride ourselves on ensuring that every individual is treated with respect to their beliefs, age, gender, ethnicity, values, religion and language. We will provide an environment where our cultural awareness is not tokenistic, but integrated throughout our policies to engender real cultural standards.

What is the difference between Diversity & Inclusion?

What are the types of Diversity groups in our workplace

Here’s a list of the different types of diversity in the workplace:


So what’s culture?

Essentially, culture refers to a people’s way of life – their ideas, values, customs and social behaviour. There are a number of factors that make up different cultures, including traditional food, language, religion and customs.

Culture includes things like the way we do weddings and funerals, the way we dress and the music we like. Culture is passed down from generation to generation, and while cultural practices and beliefs change and evolve, many of the basic aspects remain the same.


Race is biologically determined. Examples of races are Caucasian, Asian, African American.


This type of diversity refers to the presence of multiple religions and spiritual beliefs.

The diversity of religions around the world creates challenges for health care providers and systems to provide culturally competent medical care. Cultural competence is the ability of health providers and organisations to deliver health care services that meet the cultural, social, and religious needs of patients and their families.

We recognise and respect our patient and staff’s religious and spiritual needs and accommodate and provide opportunities to discuss any specific needs relating to those beliefs.


Age diversity means working with people of different ages and generations.

Each generation has its own distinct differences defined by the time period people were born and the unique social, political and economic changes that occurred during their upbringing.


There are various types of disabilities or chronic conditions included here, ranging from mental to physical. Around one in five Australians has a disability. Many face significant barriers in work, study, sport, getting around and simply taking part in everyday activities.


Sex and gender can be used in the traditional sense of male and female employees. For example, you may sometimes hear the term “gender balance” used by companies trying to achieve a 50-50 balance between employees who identify as male and employees who identify as female.

Gender identity is how you perceive your gender, how you show this to others, and how you want others to treat you.

Gender expression, which may be different from an individual’s sex or gender identity, refers to the external appearance of an individual’s gender identity. Gender expression may be interpreted through clothing, hair, makeup, voice, behavior, mannerisms, interests and preferred pronouns.

Sexual orientation is also different from gender identity, gender expression and biological sex. Sexual orientation is defined as “an inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to other people.” Common sexual orientations include heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, pansexual and questioning.


Workplace diversity does not only related to gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and/or age. There is another kind of workplace diversity.

That is the differences in work style — or the way in which we think about, organize, and complete tasks.

In our workplace, there is a variety of personalities and working styles. There are times this level of diversity can lead to miscommunication or conflict, but it most often results in the development of solutions that are creative and effective.

In our office you will find four basic types of people:

  • Logical, analytical, and data-oriented
  • Organized, plan-focused, and detail-oriented
  • Supportive, expressive, and emotionally oriented
  • Strategic, integrative, and idea-oriented

By discovering your working style, you can recognize the roles and responsibilities that you excel in, allowing you to maximize your own productivity and, therefore, success. It’s also helpful to understand your own biases and tendencies because it allows you to work past them in certain situations. To determine your working style Click here


Benefits for Employees

  • All employees feel empowered to make a contribution to the workplace based on their individual talents, skills, knowledge and experience.
  • Employee well-being, morale and job satisfaction is enhanced when employees feel respected and valued.
  • Employees are confident about any disclosure, in the knowledge that MHC truly recognises and values diversity.
  • Reasonable adjustments for staff will be available.

Benefits for Employers

  • By letting potential candidates know you’re committed to diversity and inclusion an organisation can attract talented and skilled workers.
  • Employees who feel respected, valued and recognised are more likely to remain loyal to MHC which improves employee retention, and reduces costs associated with turnover.
  • Greater innovation results from a broad range of perspectives, ideas and insights being brought to policy development and implementation.
  • Research shows that more diverse workforces increase organisational effectiveness, lift morale and enhance productivity, which in turn leads to financial performance.

Policies and Procedures

Discrimination, harassment and bullying

Discrimination occurs when a person, or a group of people, is treated less favourably than another person or group because of their background or certain personal characteristics.

Federal discrimination laws protect people from discrimination of the basis of their race, including colour, national or ethnic origin or immigrant status, sex, pregnancy or marital status and breastfeeding, age, disability, or sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status.

Discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment are unacceptable at MAT Health Clinic and are unlawful.

Providing equal opportunity employment 

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) is the principle that everyone can have equal access to employment opportunities regardless of attributes such as race, gender or sexual orientation, without fear of discrimination  or harassment. Some of the pieces of equal opportunity legislation at the federal level are included in the Legal Framework list below.

EEO in Queensland is protected by the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld).

View workplace recruitment guide here

Our Policies and Procedures

The aims of equality and diversity are simple: to ensure that everyone has access to the same opportunities and the same, fair treatment.

MHC Clinic Diversity and Inclusion Policies:

Other resources can be found here:

  • View Workplace Discrimination Fact Sheet here

Who works at MAT Health Clinic?

Born in Pakistan, Dr Jeanette Zali knew as a child that she wanted to become a GP. Dedicating all her time to study, she graduated as dux of her school which resulted in her being offered a scholarship to the prestigious Cambridge University in England. Dr Zali completed her Bachelor of Medicine at Cambridge University in 2013 and migrated to Australia in 2014. Dr Zali is proud of her Parkistan heritage and is passionate about developing the education system and in particular the research facilities in her home country.
Dr Zali is also completing her Masters in Education and is the Director of the charity ‘One World’ which aims to provide educational supplies to children in developing countries.

To meet the rest of our Medical team and find out more about them click here

The Importance of sharing knowledge

MAT Health Clinic employees have lots of knowledge that is crucial to the running of the clinic and to their colleagues. Sharing knowledge helps our team to connect, perform better, and become stronger as professionals.

Knowledge sharing in the workplace ensures that all employees have access to information. They don’t have to wait until an employee with specific knowledge returns from lunch, or spend an hour looking for the answer to their question. They can find it when they need it and apply it to their work, and perform better and more effectively.

Our employees support each other in acquiring a new skill set. This makes knowledge sharing especially beneficial for our new recruits and it helps to create an environment where everybody feels comfortable asking questions and rewarding the employees who are eager to learn.

To view our Skills, Knowledge and Experience Register click here

What does it mean to be inclusive?

Images we use at MAT Health Clinic

Visual imagery

Using imagery is a good way to help people communicate when a language barrier exists.

Have you ever heard the saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’? Well, when viewing imagery in the context of diversity, an image makes a larger impression on us. We use visual imagery at MAT Health Clinic, not as a token gesture, but as a highlight of the diversity within our workplace.

Pictures make a larger impression on us and as such, the use of imagery can be a significant tool in communicating a message.  Often, imagery can be used as a tool to relate a clear message to people who don’t speak the same language or who suffer hearing impairment, for example the images below are used around the world to symbolize a certain meaning.

A red circle with a line through it, symbolizes ‘STOP’ or ‘Not Permitted’.

An orange triangle symbolizes ‘Danger’ or ‘Warning’.

A green symbol signifies safety symbol  i.e. Emergency Exit or a first aid station.

Other examples of visual imagery that are universally recognised include:      

An often overlooked, yet extremely important area, is the visual imagery we use everywhere from our website to our marketing materials to the walls of our office.  Imagery used in promotional material is known to predominantly display images of white men, usually in business suits with often only a few token women (often secretaries) depicted.  Our aim is to use more inclusive and diverse imagery to help to convey our message. 

In our imagery we feature women taking the lead in medicine.

In our imagery we put racial and ethnic diversity on display

In our imagery we celebrate LGBTQIA+ people with pride

The images we choose can mean the difference between making potential patients or employees feel confident and welcome, or walking away entirely.

A lack of representation in images makes a statement, even if you don’t mean to make that statement. When you see a visual representation of yourself in any sort of media – whether it’s stock images, TV shows, advertisements, etc. – you instinctively feel more welcome and more comfortable.

Education Hub

Cultural Awareness

Someone’s cultural awareness is their understanding of the differences between themselves and people from other countries or other backgrounds, especially differences in attitudes and values.

Our Inclusive Practice

Multicultural inclusion is one of MAT Health Clinic’s greatest assets. We have developed an environment where acceptance of diversity, knowledge of other cultures and an understanding of relevant issues can be developed. We have a number of bi-lingual staff at MAT Health Clinic which establishes a sense of belonging for everyone. By supporting our diversity we can grow together as an organisation that values and embraces the different skills, knowledge and experience each of our staff brings to our practice.

The Cultural Atlas is an educational resource providing comprehensive information on the cultural background of Australia’s migrant populations. The aim is to improve social cohesion and promote inclusion in an increasingly culturally diverse society. View here

Indigenous Culture

It is important as a healthcare provider dealing with Indigenous cultures to be aware of the culture of community with which one is engaging. Cultural awareness shows respect for the culture with whom one is working, which can aid people working with these communities to build better relationships and be more effective in their work.

Our Inclusive Practice

This practice identifies the cultural background of our patients, particularly those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) status to assist with disease prevention and delivering culturally appropriate care.  To do this, the Practice performs the following activities:

  • Patients are encouraged to self-identify cultural background (eg Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-identification), with this information recorded in active patient health records.
  • Patients can self-identify when first registering with the practice on our new patient registration form or at any time with staff.  The Practice offers participation in the Closing the Gap Scheme CTG for patients self-identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.  We also offer ATSI Annual Health Checks.
  • Doctors to ask during consultation if patients identify with any particular type of  culture and document in patient’s medical file.

We identify significant cultural groups within the Clinic and implement strategies to meet their needs including:

  • Accessing resources from the local ATSI support groups in regard to specific cultural groups and services.
  • Accessing government literature and contacts which have specific application to the cultural group.
  • Accessing patient information on health through Queensland Health in a variety of different languages.

The importance of cultural, family and kinship obligations

Like all employees, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have pressures and responsibilities relating to their home and community life. However, there are some specific cultural issues that employers need to understand, including:

  • the importance of family and kinship ties
  • cultural obligations
  • significant dates and cultural events
  • the need for time away from work for issues such as Sorry Business.

For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, responsibilities to family, community and culture are extremely important. These responsibilities can sometimes conflict with workplace responsibilities. These are serious issues, which employers should discuss with sensitivity and respect, in order to find a solution that’s best for everyone.

Due to family obligations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples may have more of a role in caring for children and elderly family members. Care may include financial care, health care and general care. This means Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples may have more responsibility outside their immediate family.

To help employees meet these obligations, employers may need to consider offering flexible work arrangements. You can find more information about flexibility in the workplace on our Flexible working arrangements page.

It’s also important to be aware of significant cultural events and dates, including key events such as:

  • NAIDOC Week
  • Sorry Day
  • National Reconciliation Week
  • local and regional events.

It’s a good idea for employers and employees to discuss these dates. Where possible, employers should encourage and support staff who want to acknowledge and participate in these events.

Sorry Business

Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples mourn the loss of a family member by following traditional ceremonies and practices, often known as ‘Sorry Business’.  When someone passes away, the whole community comes together to share that sorrow through a process called Sorry Business. Sorry Business is a period of cultural practices that take place after someone’s death.  

Within some Aboriginal groups, there is a strong tradition of not speaking the name of a dead person, or depicting them in images. This is to ensure that the spirit is not held back or recalled to this world.

Source: https://www.fairwork.gov.au/find-help-for/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-people


Social, political and economic issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people

There are many of social, political and economic issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people:

Political Issues:
Australia Day/Invasion Day – for example, while most Australians are celebrating this day, Aboriginal people are mourning their history. 26 January 1938 was the date where Aboriginal people protested Australia Day, calling it the Day of Mourning.

Economic Issues:
Low socio-economic, education and employment levels lead to poverty, homelessness, family breakdown, isolation and crime. Indigenous Australians are known to have the lowest economic status of all Australians and suffer disproportionately higher levels of domestic violence and over-representation in the justice system.

Social factors
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience high to extreme levels of racism in Australia. This directly impacts on all areas and affects their ability to receive an education, a job, health services, engage and influence society etc. This is typified historically by their exclusion from elite and mainstream power structures, as highlighted by Indigenous people not being recognised as Australian citizens until 1967.
For more information see: What are the social issues affecting Aboriginal? (sociallyspeakingllc.com)

Why do some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people feel reluctant to engage with Health Services?

Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a lot of mistrust towards the health system due to their past and present experiences. For many, being in a hospital environment brings up memories and issues with racism and mistreatment.

They may also feel reluctant to access an unfamiliar system that may treat them in a negative way, especially if they do not follow the expectations of the service such as being on time for appointments.

There are also some people who are afraid that they will never leave a hospital alive. For many Aboriginal people in the bush, going to hospital meant that you were going to die. They were used to seeing friends and relatives go off to hospital but never coming home. For them it seems that agreeing to go to hospital means agreeing their life is over.

In addition, many members of the Stolen Generation are deeply traumatised and choose not to see a white doctor or only when their condition has severely deteriorated. Statistics show that only 67 Aboriginal adult health checks were performed in an area in Queensland with more than 12,000 Aboriginal residents. Less than 0.6% had their health checks done.

Aboriginal people don’t trust non-Aboriginal nurses and midwives because they were integral to the policies that created the Stolen Generations.

Source: Making health services work for Aboriginal people – Creative Spirits, retrieved from https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/health/hospitals-doctors-health-aboriginal-people#overcoming-broken-trust–deep-seated-suspicion

Health issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

For more information please see: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-health/status-and-determinants

For information related to Government strategies, programs and initiatives to improve health and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people see: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-health

Improving Racial and Ethnic diversity in the Workplace

To effectively improve racial and ethnic diversity in the workplace, you need to understand some of the key terms and definitions including:

Racial Discrimination: Racial discrimination in the workplace can be defined as any exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose of impairing an employee’s ability to exercise their rights to equal standing in the workplace.

Ethnic Group: The term “ethnic group” refers to a group of persons whose members identify with each other through such factors as common heritage, culture, ancestry, language, dialect, history, identity and geographic origin.

Ethnic Minority: Ethnic minority does not only refer to ethnic groups that are a numerical minority. Instead, it refers to any ethnic group that is not dominant socially, economically or politically.

Implicit Bias: Also known as unconscious or hidden bias, implicit biases are negative associations that people unknowingly hold. They are expressed automatically, without conscious awareness.

Our Inclusive Practice

At MAT Health Clinic we understand the value of recruiting and retaining diverse employees, as these workers play a critical role in our clinic’s ability to adapt, grow and sustain a competitive advantage in the modern business landscape.

Inclusion: We authentically incorporate traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into our processes, activities and decision/policy making.

We have effectively communicated new policies aimed at protecting workers belonging to certain racial and ethnic groups.

Our complaints processes make it easy for workers to raise their complaints, concerns and issues surrounding diversity.

We offer translation services on request to our patients from a non-English speaking background. We can organise to have a translator by phone hook up with 24 hours’ notice to interpret a consultation.  The patient on their consent may have a third party at their consultation to assist in communicating their needs with their Doctor.

Please see below a list of web-links and phone numbers for Translation & Interpreter Services:
PH: 131 202 (Languages)

TIS – Translation & Interpreter Service
PH: 131 450 To Pre-Book: 1300 655 081

NRS – National Relay Service
PH: 1800 555 660 (Help line)
TTY/Voice Calls: 133 677
Speak & Listen: 1300 555 727
SMS Relay: 0423 677 767


Find out more about Human Rights

What are human rights?

Human rights recognise the inherent value of each person, regardless of background, where we live, what we look like, what we think or what we believe. View Fact Sheet here

The Australian Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory organisation, established by an act of Federal Parliament. We protect and promote human rights in Australia and internationally. View here

Human Rights versus Human Needs

Human Rights

Human rights cover the tangible and intangible possessions that humans are entitled to by virtue of being human and are legislated by the Government.

Human rights are universal: they are for everyone, everywhere, everyday. Human rights are based on values such as freedom, equality and dignity and seek to protect our quality of life.
Human rights include well known rights such as the right to:

  • a fair trial
  • vote
  • free speech
  • freedom from discrimination because of your sex, age, race or because you have a disability
  • protection from imprisonment for arbitrary reasons
  • protection from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
  • education
  • health
  • protection from violence

In a workplace, human rights extend to the following:

  • The right to work on an equal basis to others
  • The right to just and favourable conditions of work, including equal opportunities and equal remuneration for work of equal value, safe and healthy working conditions
  • The right to effective access to general technical and vocational training.

Human Needs

Human needs may change from individual to individual and may not be a right. Basic human needs are a right and are legislated by Governments.

Our Basic needs are as follows:

  • Psychological needs: The needs for survival ie., food, shelter, water etc.
  • Safety Needs: These include our need for personal, emotional and financial security as well as physical wellbeing.

Our Psychological needs:

  • Social Belonging: Our ability to belong, to connect with others. This can be large or small groups. It can be family. This need can be very strong ie., those in abusive relationships, that stay in them(although this is quite complex).
  • Self Esteem: This is about the need most humans have to be respected.

Our Self-Fulfilment needs:

  • Self Actualisation: This refers to the realisation of our full potential
  • Transcendence: Giving ourselves to something beyond ourselves.

What is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, it set out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected.

You can find the Universal Declaration of Human Rights here: https://www.ohchr.org/en/universal-declaration-of-human-rights

Children’s Rights

Just like adults, children have human rights across the full spectrum of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. As well as the human rights that are laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, children and young people are entitled to additional rights which recognise that young people have special needs to help them survive and develop to their full potential. Children also have the right to special protection because of their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse.

Most children and young people in Australia grow up in a safe, healthy and positive environment. However, vulnerable groups of children and young people continue to lack adequate human rights protections.

Our children, young people and families have the right to receive the best possible care. We respect the rights of our children and families and know that children receive the best care when the health service and families work together.

Children have a right to the privacy and confidentiality of their personal information.


In order to address workplace inequities potentially faced by LGBTIQ individuals, MAT Health Clinic has committed to providing a safe and inclusive workplace environment where employees can be totally comfortable being themselves, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Our Inclusive Practice

Inclusive Language Guide: View here

Inclusive Language fact sheet: View here

Gender Equality

Australia has made good progress towards achieving gender equality in recent times. However, women still experience inequality and discrimination in many important parts of their lives.

At work, women continue to face a gender ‘pay gap’ and barriers to leadership roles. Many encounter reduced employment opportunities because of the time they give to family and caring responsibilities.

Our Inclusive Practice

At MAT Health Clinic we see gender equity being achieved when people are able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities regardless of their gender. We are passionate about improving and promoting equality and outcomes for both women and men in our practice for both patients and staff.

We will ensure equal rights and opportunities for our people through regular remuneration reviews to identify any gender pay gaps, attract and develop female talent and educate our people leaders about gender equality.

Addressing Ageism

Ageism, stereotyping and discrimination against individuals or groups based on their age. Ageism can include prejudicial attitudes, discriminatory practices, or institutional policies and practices that perpetuate stereotypical beliefs.

Age discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably, or not given the same opportunities as others in a similar situation, because he or she is considered to be too old or too young.

A mature age employee is defined as aged 50 years and over. Research shows that over a quarter of the Australian workforce is a mature aged worker. It is important to encourage experienced workers to stay in the workforce and pass on their skills and knowledge to others.

Our Inclusive Practice

At MAT Health Clinic we have found that our workforce becomes more valuable as they age. Those lived experiences are treasured and we have found that their perspectives and talents have improved our organisation. We have developed a long-service-leave program that rewards our employees above and beyond what their award entitlements would be. Our patients enjoy seeing a familiar face at the practice and our long-term employees make significant contributions to our organisation.

Be Self-aware

Ageism is pervasive and often difficult to detect. Staff need to be aware of their own ageist attitudes, language, and behaviours. Staff are encouraged to avoid exclusive and discriminatory language against older and younger adults and children.

Speak out against ageism

Staff are encouraged to speak out against ageist attitudes expressed by others, including Management, co-workers and guests of the clinic. Many people are not aware of ways their language and behaviours negatively portray others.

Elder Abuse

Who can be affected?

Abuse can be experienced by men and women from all cultures and races and by both rich and poor. An abused older person may live on their own or in a household. They could be taking care of themselves, caring for someone or being cared for by someone. The person doing the abusing is often someone the older person knows and should be able to trust; such as a daughter or son, grandchild, spouse, other family member, carer or friend. 

Types of abuse

Financial abuse – the illegal or improper use of an older person’s money or property, including the misuse of an Enduring Power of Attorney document.

Psychological abuse – causing mental anguish, fear of violence, feelings of shame, humiliation and powerlessness.

Physical abuse – inflicting pain or injury. It includes hitting, slapping, restraining or over/under medicating.

Social abuse – preventing a person from having social contact with family and friends or accessing social activities.

Neglect – in intentional or unintentional failure by a carer to provide necessities of life to a person who depends on them.

Sexual abuse – sexual assault, rape or any activity that makes an older person uncomfortable about their body or gender; for example unwanted text messages. 

Our Inclusive Practice

Health professionals are in an important position to help identify elder abuse and to support patients who may be experiencing it. Medical staff are trained to identify the warning signs of elder abuse, know where to refer the patient, and how to best respond sensitively and confidentially.

Understanding Disability

Understanding disability

Our Inclusion Practices

MAT Health Clinic’s focus is on ability – not disability. We are committed to building an accessible and welcoming environment for all patients and staff. We are proactive about ensuring that our facility is accessible to patients and staff who may have disabilities.

Employing People with Disability

Interviewing People with Disability

Evacuation procedures

Workplace Practice Adjustments

Also referred to as a ‘reasonable adjustment’, a workplace adjustment is a change to a work process, practice, procedure or environment that enables an employee with disability to perform their job in a way that minimises the impact of their disability. As an example, reasonable adjustment assisting those with a visual impairment to participant in a workplace would include speech recognition software or large print business documents.

Our access for patients with disabilities

  • wheelchair access is provided to reception, toilets and consulting rooms
  • designated disabled parking is provided in close proximity to the entrance
  • the practice is located within a shopping centre, we are located on ground level
  • Pictorial signage is provided to assist patients with a physical or intellectual disability

To communicate over the phone with a person who is Deaf, hard of hearing or who has a speech impairment, assistance will be offered through the National Relay Service.

How to hold an inclusive Meeting

An inclusive meeting is when each person in your team feels like they have the chance and confidence to take part. When you run an inclusive meeting, you’ll get more diverse opinions, which may lead to better outcomes.

Here are some ideas you can try out to make your meetings more inclusive.

Ask people what they need

When you send out your meeting invite, put a line in there like this: “If you need any support to take part in this meeting, let me know.” This gives people a chance to let you know if they need any adjustments or have specific needs.

Have an agenda and send it early

Write an agenda for all your meetings. Don’t just list generic topics. Be descriptive about what you want to discuss and hope to achieve for each agenda item. Send your agenda to your participants as early as you can. This shows respect and gives people time to reflect on what you want to discuss.

Keep the size small

Only invite people if they’re needed as per your agenda. If a meeting has a lot of people in it, this makes it harder for everyone to contribute. Some people may feel nervous speaking in front of large groups, but not in small groups.

What is an Acknowledgment of Country?

An Acknowledgement of Country is an opportunity for anyone to show respect for Traditional
Owners and the continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to
Country. It can be given by both non-Indigenous people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander people. Click here

Lay some ground rules

Set some basic meetings rules at the start, such as:

  • put your mobile phones away
  • no speaking over other people
  • stick to the agenda
  • there are no silly ideas

Call out behaviour against your team’s values

If you see any behaviours that break your ground rules, politely call these out. For example, if you see someone talking over the top of someone else, reiterate your ground rules again. If the person keeps doing it, have an informal chat with them after the meeting. They may not be aware of how their behaviour impacts others.

Don’t let one person dominate

A lot of teams have a mix of people with different communication styles. If you’ve got someone who dominates a conversation, try asking them to take notes or scribe. This will refocus their attention from talking to listening. You can also use the concept of a ‘talking stick’, which you hand from person to person. Only the person with the ‘stick’ can speak.

Ask people what they think

If someone isn’t taking part in the meeting, you can:

  • ask the group to write down a response to a question and each share their written answer with the group
  • directly ask the person not taking part what they think, but be careful this doesn’t make them uncomfortable

Send out minutes or a summary

After the meeting, send out minutes or list of key decisions with:

  • actions and who is assigned to do them
  • request for anyone who wants to discuss any of the items to get in touch

Watch video below

Campaigns and awareness days for inclusion of people with disability at work

MAT Health Clinic celebrates the diverse nature of our team. Cultural activities can be anything from asking each member of the team to cook a meal from their own country, Listening to music or reading a book suggested by other team member to raise awareness.

Plan for and contribute to key global and national campaigns for inclusion of people with disability in 2021. 

Body Language

Body language is a type of nonverbal communication in which physical behaviours, as opposed to words, are used to express or convey the information. Such behaviour includes facial expressions, body posture, gestures, eye movement and touch and the use of space.

It’s not always easy to notice, but body language tells a lot about how interested you are in an outsider’s involvement in a conversation or a meeting. If you and your colleagues are standing close to one another, shoulders practically touching, it becomes especially difficult—perhaps impossible—for another person to feel comfortable “breaking-up” that seemingly exclusive conversation.

There are many ways to display a more inclusive body language. Simply taking a step back and opening up the circle so as to allow others to join creates the impression that you’re eager for others to participate in your conversation.

View this useful video on body language below:

Legislation and Ethical Consideration affecting Diversity

There are Federal laws to protect people from discrimination and from breaches of their human rights. We have responsibilities under these laws to investigate and conciliate complaints of discrimination and human rights breaches.

The following links provide information about the laws that protect people from discrimination in employment, education, the provision of goods, services and facilities, accommodation, sport and the administration of Commonwealth laws and services.

  • Age Discrimination ACT 2004 – Makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone on the grounds of their age in areas including work, education and access to premises. To remove barriers for older people participating society and change negative stereotypes about older people
  • Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 – Provides an avenue of redress for those alleging discrimination and provides for the rights of these persons.
  • Carer Recognition Act 2010 – To increase recognition and awareness of the role Carers play in providing daily care and support to people with disability, medical conditions, mental illness or who are frail aged.
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992 – Makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone on the grounds of a disability (including disease).
  • Fair Work Act 2009 – Provides a safety net of minimum terms and conditions of employment through the National Employment Standards (NES).The Fair Work Act 2009 is one of the primary pieces of legislation that govern the employment relationship in most of Australia’s private workplaces. It is the foundation of all minimum standards and regulations for employment that fall within the national workplace system. The Act is something that employers in all industries and with all business sizes that fall within that system should be familiar with.
  • Racial Discrimination Act 1975 – Makes it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of race, colour, national or ethnic origin.
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1984 – Makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone on the basis of a person’s sex, marital status, pregnancy or potential pregnancy or to sexually harass another person
  • Work Health and Safety Act 2011 – Requires that employers and employees must maintain a secure, healthy and safe workplace environment; and an employer must take practicable precautions to prevent harassment.
  • Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 – Provides a regulatory framework for the Australian Government to assist employers to improve gender equality outcomes within their workplaces.

In addition to the legal requirements that workplaces must adhere to when working with diversity, there are a number of other important frameworks that can provide guidance on how to respond in an ethical way to diverse groups within a workplace. Ethics is concerned with social responsibility.

Ethical considerations around diversity would include ways to make a workplace more inclusive to people from diverse backgrounds. These might include, providing a prayer room for Muslim staff, a room for breastfeeding mothers, flexible working arrangements for working parents, equal opportunities and equal remuneration for work of equal value, reasonable adjustments to working environments in order to reduce or eliminate barriers for workers who have a disability.

Features of Diversity in Australia

Australia is home to the oldest continuous cultures in the world, and this multiculturalism, along with the many dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, and religious and political affiliations, has resulted in a diverse population. Australians identify with more than 270 ancestries. Since 1945, almost seven million people have migrated to Australia.

Did you know:

  • One in every four Australian was born overseas.
  • Twenty percent of the population speaks in a language other than English.
  • Among 46 percent of the population, one parent was born outside the country.
  • Australia cohabitants speak more than 200 languages, excluding English.
  • Most Australians (86 per cent) support action to tackle racism in Australia.
  • Most new migrants say they feel a strong sense of belonging to Australia and that this feeling deepens over time.

Download human rights face the facts


Definition: Diversity is the range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs.

Concept of Diversity: Diversity in the workplace means the acceptance and inclusion of employees of all backgrounds. A diverse workplace is an important asset, since it acknowledges the individual strengths of each employee and the potential they bring.


Social benefits of cultural diversity

The importance of cultural diversity in Australian society is extensive. It helps in:

  • Stopping racial discrimination.
  • Developing and sustaining a positive public image.
  • Creating a healthy work culture.
  • Promoting innovation and creativity.
  • Upgrading work skills.
  • Supporting the local community and its economy.
  • Expanding new business ideas to new markets
  • Filling immediate job vacancies

Economic benefits of cultural diversity

Recent studies indicate how cultural diversity benefits Australian society via its economy. Not only in the areas of tourism, education, and global linkages but also with the less obvious yet valuable assets of general community vibrancy, resilience, and adaptability.

  • increased skilled labour
  • Job generation
  • new international trade links
  • increased and new clients / community reach

Individual benefits of cultural diversity

How does cultural diversity benefit me as an individual? It can assist individuals in:

Being more accepting
Promoting diversity is the first step to not just “tolerance” but true inclusion and acceptance. Through growing contact with, exposure to, and communication between people who are not like us, we can learn how to relate to difference in a way where difference doesn’t have to be a problem, a barrier, or a threat.

Developing socially 
You can learn the skills to communicate and interact with communities, concepts, and belief systems that you are unfamiliar with and therefore gain a more worldly, balanced, and informed perspective. Not only will you enhance your own social development, but you will also increase your true understanding of the world.

Learning new perspectives
Hearing about another’s experience can provide you with a new perspective. When you contrast your struggles, needs, and values with someone else’s, you can really begin to comprehend where an individual is coming from and empathetically understand their attitudes, behaviours, and beliefs at a deeper level.

Increasing life Experiences
Without diversity we invite limited viewpoints and perspectives. We need new ideas, views, and practices to stimulate and inspire us.


By improving the representation in government of the different social groups, diversity plays a part in maintaining core public values, increasing managerial efficiency, improving policy effectiveness, raising the quality of public services, and enhancing social mobility.

Please review the following information to find out more:
Australian politics should be as diverse as its people (cpsu.org.au)


What diversity brings to a workplace

Diversity builds productivity, creativity and solutions. A diverse workforce is a more productive workforce. The workplace can benefit from different perspectives, improved community relations and more innovative ideas.


  • Increased productivity
  • Improved creativity and innovation
  • Improved employee engagement
  • Reduced employee turnover
  • Improved company reputation
  • Wider range of skills
  • Improved cultural insights


There has been significant progression in business and community thinking about diversity and inclusion over the last few decades.

Australia has also seen developments with a rapid increase in women’s workforce participation, the Mabo Case (recognised the land rights of the Meriam people, traditional owners of the Murray Islands), legal protections for lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, the concept of reconciliation, and discrimination laws to protect people with disability – all of these things have fundamentally changed our perception of diversity and the way we respond to diversity in Australia.

Women’s workforce participation

Women’s participation in paid work has increased considerably over the past 50 years. Women made up almost half the paid workforce in Australia in 2020, compared to around 30% in 1966.

In addition to participating in paid work at much greater levels than in the past, women are also working longer. This has changed across the generations – particularly at the ages when women usually have children.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

On 3 June 1992 the High Court of Australia recognised that a group of Torres Strait Islanders, led by Eddie Mabo, held ownership of Mer (Murray Island).

In acknowledging the traditional rights of the Meriam people to their land, the court also held that native title existed for all Indigenous people.

This landmark decision gave rise to important native title legislation the following year and rendered terra nullius a legal fiction.

This decision was an important part of the reconciliation process for Indigenous Australians. In order to show respect for Traditional Owners and the continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to Country, an Acknowledgement of Country is stated at every official meeting in schools, government and community settings.


Over the past quarter of a century, the Disability Discrimination Act has contributed significantly to social change for people with disability and has been used to fight against discriminatory practices in many fields, including employment, education, access to transport, goods, services, facilities and more.


Marginalisation occurs when certain groups of people get denied access to areas of society.

Marginalised people don’t necessarily belong to one particular demographic: Marginalisation occurs due to ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, socioeconomic level, and age.

Types of Marginalisation

Marginalisation puts people in powerless positions based on one or several dimensions of exclusion:

1. Economic marginalisation: Economic marginalisation refers to individuals lacking opportunities to gain wealth or get a job.

2. Political marginalisation: Politically marginalised communities struggle to participate in parts of the political process, like voting or gaining access to their political representatives.

3. Social marginalisation: When someone can’t participate in everyday leisure activities, it’s known as social marginalisation. Denial of access to clubs and organisations is an example of social marginalisation.

Why certain groups of people feel marginalised in society


Minority groups may not be treated equally and do not have the same rights as the majority of people in society.


Minority groups may experience prejudice and discrimination in society when the majority of people isolate or exclude minority groups because they have a different culture/religion/race/ethnic background.

An unfair treatment of people

Minority groups may not have access to the same opportunities as those in the majority in society and so may be disadvantaged and lack opportunities.

There is a lack of representation

Minority groups may not be represented or their views may not be taken into account when decisions are being made, for example when laws are made by the government.

There is media bias

The views of minority groups may not be represented by the media or the views presented may be biased and not represent people of different cultures/religions/races fairly.

Causes of Marginalisation

Marginalisation can result from intentional campaigns that exclude certain people (like ethnic groups) from society. It can also occur unintentionally due to structures that benefit some members of society while making life challenging for others.

1. Discrimination and bias: Social forces, like racism, sexism, and religious hatred, can lead policymakers or community members to create structures that keep certain groups from participating fully in society. Apartheid is an example of this, as are institutional boundaries like the prohibition of marriage between people of the same sex.

2. Poverty: Poverty is a major contributor to marginalisation. Impoverished people often don’t have the time or resources to advocate for their interests, either because they live in marginalised communities and lack access to necessary resources or spend excessive time and energy trying to provide for themselves and their families. The outsized effect money has in the political system exacerbates this situation. For example, many people burdened by homelessness cannot access mental health services or other social benefits that could improve their lives.

3. Structural disadvantages: Sometimes, society marginalises people by denying them the space or accommodations they need to advocate for their needs and make their voices heard. For example, the lack of accessible housing for people with disabilities has increased poverty levels for this group.

Effects of marginalisation on minority groups

Issues of marginalisation can make life challenging for underrepresented and disadvantaged communities. Treating people as insignificant or excluding them from society can impact their physical, mental, and emotional health.

Marginalised groups experience social exclusion where they are unable to fully participate in all aspects of economic, social and cultural life. This in turn leads to marginalised groups not having equal access to opportunities for education, employment or housing.

In addition, marginalised groups are at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing health care and treatment which has major implications on mental health. Members of marginalised populations suffer increased stress and anxiety, increased likelihood of poverty, and low self-esteem. Without access to mental health resources, these conditions can become more severe.

On an emotional and psychological level, individuals can feel isolated from the social fabric of their larger communities and can feel a sense of paranoia, which is a function of how they might be perceived and treated by others. They can feel invisible, as though their concerns are not significant enough to be heard, and self-doubt and frustration are common psychological responses. Some marginalized groups are also at higher risk for suicide and self-harm.

Risk factors of marginalised groups

Risk factors are characteristics at the biological, psychological, family, community, or cultural level that precede and are associated with a higher likelihood of negative outcomes.

People in minority groups are at great risk of feeling the effects of marginalisation. This includes:

  • additional health problems
  • higher rates of violence and crime
  • higher rates of poverty and limited educational and economic opportunities
  • higher unemployment rates
  • easy access to drugs and alcohol leading to addiction
  • unstable housing and where people move frequently
  • families frequently experience food insecurity
  • higher levels of social and environmental disorder
  • higher rates of suicide and mental health conditions

Protective factors of marginalised groups

Protective factors are characteristics associated with a lower likelihood of negative outcomes or that reduce a risk factor’s impact.

Some factors that can assist in protecting minority groups from the risk of the effects of marginalisation can be accessed through the government, community and business groups.

Protective factors accessed through the Government:

  • access to economic and financial help
  • access to medical care and mental health services
  • access to safe, stable housing
  • access to nurturing and safe childcare

Protective factors offered through community and business groups

  • access to safe, engaging after school programs and activities
  • work opportunities with family-friendly policies
  • communities with strong partnerships between the community and business and other sectors
  • access to support groups
  • engagement and connections to cultural communities

Words and what you say matters.

Walk the Talk

MAT Health Clinic is a member of:

  • The Australian Network on Disability – a national, membership based, for-purpose organisation that supports organisations to advance the inclusion of people with disability in all aspects of business.
  • Pride in Diversity the national not-for-profit employer support program for LGBTQ workplace inclusion, specialising in HR, organisational change and workplace diversity.
  • The Diversity Council of Australia – the independent not-for-profit peak body leading diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
  • JobAccess – a national hub for workplace and employment information for people with disability, employers and service providers. Through our partnership we utilise the National Disability Recruitment Coordinator and commit to supporting and recruiting people with disability in a barrier-free process.