Corporate Citizenship

Described in 2006 by former Prime Minister, the Hon Bob Hawke as “….without any question one of the most public spirited organisations in Australia …”, Harmers has achieved a high level of corporate citizenship as an inherent part of its wider business plan.

Harmers desire to promote fairness among Australian workplaces translates into our wider, more global goal to promote fairness, social justice and equity among the disadvantaged, predominantly in Africa and indigenous Australia.

Our simple business plan is to do worthwhile work in the pursuit of justice in Australia, and to invest the returns of that work in the pursuit of global justice. On average, between twenty and thirty percent of the firm’s profits has been invested in social justice causes. The firm of approximately 45 people thus achieves an extremely high per capita contribution to worthwhile ends and a high level of corporate citizenship.

Some historical examples of the firm’s overall contribution in this area include the promotion of community centres, schools, children’s homes, medical and famine relief in Africa (principally in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya and Ethiopia); the promotion of educational projects amongst the Australian indigenous community; and the promotion of human rights via a number of avenues.

Projects which have been undertaken by the Sincerutty Committee of the firm, which coordinates the firm’s work in this area of corporate citizenship, include:

  • funding the building of a uniquely designed form of indigenous housing in consultation with a local indigenous community in the Northern Territory;
  • the ongoing management and funding of the Kip Keino Children’s Home in Zimbabwe (a home built by the firm), which caters in particular for children orphaned as a result of the AIDS pandemic or otherwise unable to be catered for in the wider community due to illness or abuse;
  • funding the initial primary school stage of the Kip Keino school in Kenya and assisting in the building of some 14 schools in Zimbabwe;
  • the funding of doctors at a hospital servicing 100,000 citizens in an impoverished district of Zimbabwe;
  • the funding of a community centre and village in Zambia which caters for a large number of orphans; provides schooling for hundreds of children; and assists with famine relief and AIDS education throughout a significant district of Zambia;
  • the monitoring of the progress of a number of “Granny Clubs” designed to provide support to grandparents looking after orphaned grandchildren as a result of the impact of AIDS in Kenya;
  • the provision of funding to “Project Australia”, which is designed to facilitate the work of a large number of charities via web-based initiatives; and
  • ongoing funding and sponsorship to the Australian Institute of Employment Rights (“AIER”). Informed by an expert panel of industrial relations practitioners, lawyers and academics, the AIER works in the areas of legislation, research, education and advocacy to champion the fundamental rights and responsibilities of employers and workers, and to create positive workplaces.

The firm also has a strong pro bono/hardship practice which equates to approximately twenty percent of the firm’s revenue (opportunity costs) each year.

MEDIA LINKS:

Kip Keino to receive Olympic Laurel distinction
Kip Keino (Ken) is the first ever recipient of the Olympic Laurel, a distinction created by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to honour an outstanding individual for their achievements in education, culture, development and peace through sport. Keino received his trophy during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

Touched by little stars
Six months after being embroiled in a sexual harassment case with David Jones, Kristy Fraser-Kirk travels to Africa to help a charity set up by her lawyer.
The Sydney Morning Herald, March 6 2011.

Working for Justice
Antonella Gambotto-Burke profiles Michael Harmer, the legal crusader and philanthropist back in the spotlight with the David Jones sexual harassment allegations.
The Australian, July 16 2010.