The broad purpose of the AAPAE is to encourage awareness of applied ethics as a significant area of concern, and to foster discussion of issues in applied ethics. It provides a meeting point for practitioners from various fields together with academics with specialist expertise. It welcomes everyone who wants or needs to think and talk about applied or professional ethics. The AAPAE also attempts to foster connections with special interest groups. The AAPAE does not endorse or support any particular viewpoint, but rather aims to promote a climate in which different and differing views, concerns, and approaches can be expressed and discussed.

The formal aims of the AAPAE, as stated in its constitution, are:

  • To facilitate networking between individuals and institutions working or interested in the area of professional and applied ethics.
  • To foster community discussion of issues related to professional and applied ethics.
  • To encourage a focus on the teaching of professional and applied ethics.
  • To facilitate research into ways to strengthen ethical practice.
  • To facilitate the organisation of conferences, meetings and other events in order to fulfil the above aims.
  • To develop and distribute publications, including a newsletter and conference proceedings.


Ethics has had a high profile in Australia over the last few decades. There is now a growing recognition of applied ethics as a multidisciplinary field, encompassing a wide variety of disparate areas, investigation of which has an important role to play in public, academic and professional life.


The AAPAE is an incorporated body administered by an executive committee under a constitution. In addition, a Conference Committee is appointed to organise an annual conference. The AAPAE aims to have office bearers from throughout Australia.


The Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics (AAPAE) grew out of a conference on Teaching Applied Ethics held in Sydney in 1992. Academics and professionals from many different backgrounds met together, found a great deal of common ground, profited from their interchanges, and were eager to meet again on a regular basis. The next step was to form an association which could bring together people normally separated by traditional discipline boundaries. Hence the formation in 1993 of the AAPAE, a non-partisan, non-profit national umbrella organisation for all those concerned with applied ethics in its many forms.

Executive Committee

  • Alan Tapper

    John Curtin Institute of Public Policy Curtin University, Perth WA 6102 +61 (0) 428 153 315

    Alan is an Adjunct Research Fellow at the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy at Curtin University in Perth. He has taught philosophy and ethics for over 20 years in Perth universities. With Stephan Millett he is the author of three secondary school textbooks, entitled Philosophy and Ethics. His other academic interests are in the Enlightenment in Britain, philosophy in schools, and Australian family policy matters. His current writing is mainly on the Australian welfare state.

  • Bligh Grant

    Institute for Public Policy and Governance University of Technology Sydney +61 (0) 2 9514 4901

    Bligh Grant is Associate Professor at the UTS Institute for Public Policy and Governance and UTS Centre for Local Government. He is Course Coordinator of the Master of Local Government program at UTS. Much of Bligh’s work brings expertise in politics, political economy and applied ethics to public policy. He enjoys teaching a range of social science disciplines and working with scholars, practitioners and HDR candidates to produce academic research outputs and broader outcomes.

    Bligh has held positions as Lecturer in Business Ethics and Lecturer in Local Government at the UNE Business School, University of New England and Associate Lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Southern Queensland. He has taught Philosophy, Politics, Sociology, Asian Studies, Political Economy and Business Management at UNE. He contributes regularly to media on Australian politics, particularly on local government matters.

  • Charmayne Highfield

    Enya-Lea Pte. Ltd. +65 9146 9520

    Charmayne received her PhD from Charles Sturt University in 2013 for investigating fairness in the workplace for Australian accountants. She began her accounting career in public practice before moving into management within the private health administration sector in 1994, and later lecturing in accounting and management at universities in Australia and Singapore. Her current work and research interests focus on promoting excellence in accountancy education.

  • Hugh Breakey

    Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law Griffith University, Nathan Campus, Brisbane QLD 4122 +61 (0) 7 3735 5189

    Hugh is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law at Griffith University. His PhD work in political philosophy at the University of Queensland researched the ways natural rights limit intellectual property. His current research focuses on philosophical issues in international relations, international law and the protection of civilians, as well as continuing research on the nature of rights, especially security, intellectual and property rights, and various topics in applied ethics. His first book, Intellectual Liberty: Intellectual Property, was published in December 2012 by Ashgate. His publications include articles in top law, philosophy, ethics, and international policy journals, including The Modern Law Review, The Philosophical Quarterly, Social Theory and Practice, and Global Responsibility to Protect.

  • Ian Gibson

    Victorian Government General Counsel, Victorian Government Solicitor's Office, GPO Box 1692, Melbourne VIC 3001 +61 (0) 417 580 851

    Ian has worked as a lawyer in the Victorian public service for the past thirty years, for twenty of those as head of the in-house legal service of the state’s Treasury Department. In Amnesty International, he has held elected (volunteer) roles nationally and internationally during the same period, including four years on the International Executive Committee. In the Anglican Church, he is Advocate of the Diocese of Melbourne and a member of the Standing Committee on the General Synod and of its Executive Committee. His postgraduate qualifications are in law, professional ethics, and organisation dynamics.

  • Joseph Naimo

    School of Philosophy & Theology University of Notre Dame, Fremantle WA 6959 +61 (0) 8 9433 0141

    Joseph is a senior lecturer in Philosophy and Undergraduate Coordinator at the University of Notre Dame Australia, within the School of Philosphy and Theology at the Fremantle campus in Western Australia. Joseph has expertise in teaching philosophy (metaphysics, logic, and ethics) and is the author of several publications with the areas of metaphysics and ethics.

  • Kay Plummer

    School of Accounting and Finance Charles Sturt University, Bathurst NSW 2795 +61 (0) 2 6338 4447

    Kay is a senior lecturer in Accounting at Charles Sturt University. Before joining CSU, Kay lectured in financial accounting and auditing for six years at the University of Technology, Sydney. She has held senior positions in TAFE NSW, worked for the Corporate Affairs Commission and audited for a Big 4 Chartered Accounting firm. Kay has worked in an honorary capacity for a number of charitable organisations and has undertaken two volunteer assignments with the Australian Executive Overseas Program.

  • Michael Schwartz

    Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology GPO Box 2476, Melbourne VIC 3001 +61 (0) 3 9925 5515

    Michael is an associate professor at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. His research in business ethics has appeared in the Journal of Business Ethics, Business Ethics Quarterly, Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations, Australian Journal of Social Issues, Australian Journal of Professional & Applied Ethics and Business Ethics: A European Review. He is a member of the editorial board of Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations.

  • Sunil Savur

    School of Management University of South Australia +61 (0) 8 8302 0878

    A lecturer at the University of South Australia, Sunil teaches ethics related and other general management courses in UniSA’s School of Management. Following completion of his PhD in ethical decision making in Australian SMEs, Sunil has continued to investigate ethical decision-making processes in general and particularly in SMEs.

  • Vandra Harris

    School of Global, Urban and Social Studies RMIT University, Melbourne VIC +61 (0) 3 9925 2960

    Vandra is Discipline Leader of Global Studies, in RMIT’s School of Global, Urban and Social Studies. Her research focuses particularly on the interface between different actors in humanitarian spaces, especially militaries, police and NGOs, and local and international development actors. She has a special interest in humanitarianism(s), and in ethics in everyday practice.

    Vandra’s most recent research project addressed NGO-military interaction complex emergencies and disasters, funded by the Australian Civil-Military Centre. She has previously worked on ARC research projects on Australia’s international policing and on youth recidivism in Australia.

Past Presidents:

  • Stephen Cohen (2012)
  • Betty Chaar (2011)
  • Michael Schwartz (2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Howard Harris (2006, 2007)
  • Chris Provis (2004, 2005)
  • John Morgan (2002, 2003)
  • Bruce Langtry (2000, 2001)
  • Stephen Cohen (1998, 1999)
  • Noel Preston (1996, 1997)
  • Simon Longstaff (1994, 1995)