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Disability in the Australian workplace: corporate governance or CSR issue?

Belinda Rachael Williams (Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Australia)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 18 April 2017




The purpose of this paper is to determine the current state of play for workplace diversity disclosures, specifically disability by investigating the recently revised Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations.


Case study methodology using documentary analysis techniques.


With gender diversity recommendations introduced in 2010 based on the business case perspective, the process of revising the ASX Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations provided an opportunity for the ASX to expand its diversity focus, with disability diversity specifically identified in the draft third edition. However, the key amendments were subsequently removed when the approved edition was released in 2014 with justification provided on the grounds that disability is a social issue, not a corporate governance issue. Through a widening of the corporate governance lens beyond the business case perspective, this paper calls for a re-imagining of corporate governance to incorporate an ethical viewpoint on diversity.

Social implications

Disability diversity disclosure is merely the first step towards reform in helping to bring about deep change within organisations. Without both administrative reform and institutional reform, any future revisitation of the disability disclosure recommendations may become little more than a “tick the box” approach.


The paper is unique in reviewing the ASX Corporate Governance developmental processes towards workplace disability in its recently revised edition.



Williams, B.R. (2017), "Disability in the Australian workplace: corporate governance or CSR issue?", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 36 No. 3, pp. 206-221.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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