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

  • Dr Hugh Breakey

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

    Hugh is a Senior Research Fellow in moral philosophy at Griffith University’s Institute for Ethics, Governance & Law. He has extensive experience in the application of ethical, legal and political philosophy to challenging practical fields, including peacekeeping, safety industries, institutional governance, integrity systems and corruption, climate change, sustainable tourism, resource and common property, professional ethics and international law. As well as his academic contributions, with more than fifty research publications, Hugh has consulted for several Australian government agencies, including ASIC, FASEA and the Professional Standards Councils.

  • Dr Alan Tapper

    John Curtin Institute of Public Policy, Curtin University WA +61 (0) 428 153 315 [email protected]

    Alan taught philosophy in Perth for about 20 years, mainly at Edith Cowan University, and has worked as a public policy researcher at the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy, Curtin University, for about 10 years. His interests include social policy, philosophy in schools, moral philosophy, professional ethics, and 18th century intellectual history. His recent work has been on the Golden Rule and on social practices.

  • Dr Ian Gibson

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

    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.

  • Dr Charmayne Highfield

    Enya-Lea Pte. Ltd. +65 9146 9520 [email protected]

    Charmayne is a Chartered Accountant and 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. In addition to promoting excellence in accounting education, her current research interests include ethics education, human capital, organisation value creation and the future economy.

  • Dr Bligh Grant

    University of Technology Sydney & Clarence Valley Council, NSW [email protected]

    Bligh is Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Built Environment, University of Technology Sydney, and Governance Officer at Clarence Valley Council, NSW. Much of Bligh’s work brings expertise in applied ethics, politics and political economy to public policy and professional practice. He enjoys the challenge of governance in a professional setting after teaching a range of social science disciplines over many years.

    Bligh has held positions as Associate Professor at the Institute for Public Policy and Governance, University of Technology Sydney, 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.

  • Dr Joseph Naimo

    Researcher in Philosophy and Professional Ethics, Activist and Advocate for Disability and Mental Health +61 (0) 413 575 270 [email protected]

    Joseph recently retired after seventeen years of service as a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Postgraduate Ethics at the University of Notre Dame Australia. Joseph now devotes his time in the service of both the disability and mental health sectors engaging, consulting, and advocating for change to address misguided abuse and neglect among other questionable practices occurring within these sectors. As a father of a young man living with autism, Joseph brings much experience and passion to the table to address broad scale systemic issues plaguing these sectors.

  • Dr Leila Toiviainen

    School of Humanities University of Tasmania +61 (0) 419 235 805 [email protected]

    Leila was born and went to school in Finland. She did her nursing and midwifery training in England, and then worked as a registered nurse in England, New Zealand and Australia. She did her philosophy degree, including a doctorate in philosophy, at the University of Tasmania, her dissertation was on Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. She has taught philosophy and applied ethics at the University of Tasmania for twenty years and is currently an Adjunct Researcher in Philosophy, with her main focus as a philosophy supervisor of doctoral dissertations.

  • A/Prof Michael Schwartz

    Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology [email protected]

    Michael is a recently retired Associate Professor of business ethics in the School of Economics, Finance & Marketing at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He is a past president of the Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics. He is a joint editor of Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations. His research has been published in Australasian Journal of Information Systems, Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing, Electronic Journal of Business Ethics & Organization Studies, Australian Journal of Professional & Applied Ethics, Journal of Military Ethics, Australian Journal of Social Issues, Ethics & Education, Business Ethics Quarterly, Business Ethics: A European Review, Journal of Management Education, Journal of Business Ethics, Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations, Business and Society Review, Journal of Beliefs & Values and Business & Professional Ethics Journal. He continues to wonder if morality is possible.

  • Dr Jacqueline Boaks

    Ethics and Sustainability sub-discipline, School of Management and Marketing, Curtin University, WA [email protected]

    Jacqueline is researcher and lecturer in ethics and leadership, and is a founding faculty member in the Ethics and Sustainability sub-discipline at Curtin University’s School of Management and Marketing. She is also a member of Curtin University’s ‘Sustainability in Business and Law (PRME)’ working group. Jacqueline has experience teaching ethics to medical students, principles of responsible management and ethics to business students at the UWA School of Business, leadership and ethics to MBA and business students at Curtin University and to high school students as part of the University of Western Australia’s high school outreach program. She has previously worked in the private sector in telecommunications, member based organisations, and consulting work.

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)