The 19th annual Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics (AAPAE) conference was held at St. John’s College at the University of Queensland, June 28-July 1, 2012, and was hosted by Rev. Professor John Morgan. This was the third time that John Morgan hosted an AAPAE conference. The Association is very grateful for his support.
The theme of the conference was ‘Ethics, Values, and Civil Society: Ethical, historical, professional and political perspectives’. Papers from a wide spectrum of topics and approaches were presented. Presenters were invited to submit their papers for possible inclusion in a Proceedings volume of REIO (Volume 9). This is the first year that REIO has been the primary location for selected papers from the AAPAE conference; and this year REIO is the exclusive location for AAPAE conference papers. Of the papers that were submitted for refereeing for possible inclusion, seven are published in the volume.
In an essay drawn from his keynote address, ‘Trust Me, I’m a Professional: Exploring the conditions and implications of trust for the professions’, Daniel Wueste discusses the importance of trust in a profession’s being what a profession is, and in a professional’s being what a professional is. The essay argues that this critical element requires recognition that the role morality required of a professional should not be regarded as absolute, and that acute awareness needs to be paid to morality plain and simple, as well as to the purpose of trust in what the professional is.
In ‘The nexus of employee safety, professional integrity and ethics: Applying stakeholder theory to university researchers’, Susanne Bahn, Michelle Greenwood, and Harry J. Van Buren III call attention to the ethical perils of university researchers, particularly those who are less senior; and they point out that this aspect of ethical concerns about university research has been very much neglected.
Michael Segon, Chris Booth, and Tim O’Shannassy consider the literature about managers’ propensity to take or to offer bribes, and their attitudes toward corruption in general in their organisations. Their essay, ‘Australian and Malaysian managers’ perceptions of unethical practices’, goes on to compare the general findings in the literature with the authors’ own survey of Australian and Malaysian managers’ perceptions of these things.
In ‘Australian business leadership and the promotion of civil society in China’, Michael Schwartz argues that Australian business should emulate Winston Churchill’s use of moral imagination in May, 1940, in his determining Britain’s reaction to Nazi Germany. Australian business should emulate this in recognising China’s treatment of its citizens and foreign nationals, and reaching a view about how to deal with China. To date, Schwartz argues, this has not been the case, and Australian business’ attitude toward China has, for this reason, not exhibited a laudable moral stance.
In ‘The world of news since the end of The News of the World’, John Harrison explains the regulatory regimes for news media, particularly in Australia, and discusses whether there have been any significant changes as a result of recent appalling behaviours, in particular since the end of The News of the World. Along the way, he points out shortcomings and types of shortcomings in current and past regulatory regimes.
Judith and Michael Kennedy discuss the problematic procedure concerning organ donation, ‘Controlled Donation after Cardiac Death’. In ‘Politics of the new pathway to organ donation’, they explain what is ethically problematic about this new – and unpublicised – procedure and how this procedure has managed to make it through current ethical review mechanisms, to the status of guidelines and protocol.
In their ‘Values based approach to ethical culture’, Michael Segon and Chris Booth explain the nature and appropriateness of a values-based approach to ethical requirements within an organisation. In this paper, which is part of a wider project, they then proceed to offer a case study as an example.