• CSU
  • University of Melbourne

This research centre ceased operation on 31 December 2016. This website is archived. There will be no further updates to this site.


Economics and Innovation

The program focuses on central ethical issues arising in the economic sphere. These include the justice of national and global economic arrangements, such as taxation, fiscal, labour and property law, and financial and trading regimes. Specific areas include markets in education and the economics of climate change. The program also examines corporate responsibilities in the spheres of finance, profitability, sustainability and human rights, and distributive justice. It aims to make a major contribution to the ethical understanding of innovation and technology. Program members realize that technical, scientific, legal and social science expertise is vital, and work with practitioners in the relevant professions.


Research in this program examines a range of issues that arise from the nature and value of the natural, and also the artificial environment, and our relationship with them. These include issues of justice and responsibility in relation to possession of, access to, and exploitation of land, water, and other (renewable and non-renewable) natural resources, ethical issues in climate change mitigation and adaptation, including those involving geo-engineering, and the human role in the anthropocene. 


This program addresses issues in bioethics, healthcare ethics, and public health ethics. This includes conceptual work on the ethics of procreation, the ethics of providing medical treatment to vulnerable groups such as children, dual use issues in the biological sciences, and the distinction between medical treatment and human enhancement. It also includes work on practical ethical issues arising in healthcare, including moral and regulatory challenges of experimental therapies, difficulties facing medical research ethics committees, and the problem of determining when conscientious objections are legitimate in healthcare.


This program addresses a variety of conceptual and practical ethical issues that are generated for the most part by the phenomena of war, humanitarian intervention, terrorism, crime and corruption. These include the nature and application of Just War Theory, morality and self-defense, principles of criminal liability, justification for police use of force, ethics of counter-terrorism tactics, anti-corruption systems and ethical issues in cyber-security.


2015 Annual Report [.pdf]

CAPPE Events

Seminar 28th September

Norvo Lo - La Trobe University

This paper discusses social attitudes towards feeding neighbourhood wild birds. It connects different and often opposing attitudes on the issue to three schools of philosophy regarding animals and nature. These include animal liberation ethics, wilderness preservation ethics,and anthropocentrism. 

Contact CAPPE for more information.


Professor Seumas Miller

Institutional Corruption and The Capital Markets  More

Fixing the Fix - Benchmark Reform and the Future of Financial Regulation  More

Designing-in-Ethics: A Compulsary Retirement Savings System  More

Dr Stephen Clarke

On Religious Violence, ABC Western Plains 'Mornings', radio interview  More

Past media events

Business and Professional Ethics

Program manager – Professor Tom Campbell

The aim of this program is to make a major research contribution to business and professional ethics from a distinctively philosophical standpoint. Members of the program are in touch with the realities of commercial and professional life through discussion with people working in business and the professions. Our task is to illuminate practical experience with relevant theoretical argument generated by using well-developed skills and techniques of contemporary analytical philosophy.

In and beyond our Core Projects the program addresses the ethical aspects of a range of key issues confronting business and the professions, including the governance of corporations as it impacts on stakeholders, corruption in business and professional life, the moral obligations arising from human rights, the role of occupational associations in promoting appropriate behaviour by their members and the certain specific responsibilities of key professional groups.

Core Projects

  • Corporate Responsibility for Economic and Ethical Sustainability
  • Regulating Communication in the Professions

Program members

Recent Program Highlights

The Business and Professional Ethics Program brought successfully to completion two important projects during 2006. The book Human Resource Management: Ethics and Employment, published early in 2007 by Oxford University Press is the culmination of the Human Resource Management project. The Report Professionalisation, Ethics and Integrity Systems: The Promotion of Professional Ethical Standards and the Protection of Clients and Consumers, presented to the Professional Standards Council of New South Wales, is the major outcome of a joint project on the professionalisation of occupations.

A major step forward was taken in the field of business ethics with the arrival, late in the year, of Dr Justin O’Brien, from Queen’s University Belfast, who has been appointed to a chair in Corporate Governance within the Program. Professor O’Brien, who is energetically engaged in studies of financial sector ethics and regulation, rapidly initiated plans for a number of important projects.

Core Project – Ethics of Human Resource Management (HRM)

HRM remains a central field of study for Dr Rob Macklin and Dr David Ardagh, both of whom have major chapters in Human Resource Management: Ethics and Employment, to which Tom Campbell, Adrian Walsh and Sheena Smith also contributed. This book, co-edited by Rob Macklin, Tom Campbell and Professor Ashly Pinnington of Robert Gordon’s University, Aberdeen, Scotland, is expected to have a significant impact in this field of ethics. Rob Macklin continues his empirical study of attitudes to free speech in the workplace. Employee interests also feature in a study of corporate social responsibility being conducted by Tom Campbell in conjunction with the College of Law at the Australian National University and the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies in the University of Oxford. Jeremy Moss and Robert Young (La Trobe) are in the second year of their ARC-funded project on problems with casual labour and unemployment.

Core Project – Codes of Ethics for the Professions

This year Codes of Ethics were the subject of investigation with respect to a number of different occupations: Dr David Ardagh and Dr Rob Macklin dealt with occupations relating to business persons, Professor Tom Campbell with the judiciary, Professor Seumas Miller with lawyers and accountants, Dr Dean Cocking with the professionalisation of occupations generally, Andrew Alexandra with engineers and estate agents, Margaret Coady with child welfare and Dr Edward Spence with journalists and advertisers. Professor Miller and Mathew Ward undertook a related consultancy with the Legal Services Commissioner concerning multi-profession firms for whom they produced the report: Solicitors: Incorporated and Multi-Disciplinary Legal Practices.

Dr Dean Cocking took the lead in collating the interviews and developing the research work on ethical professionalism undertaken with the Professional Standards Council (PSC) and contributed to by Professor Miller, Professor Campbell, Andrew Alexandra, Professor John Weckert, Margaret Coady, Michael Bowern, Mathew Ward, and Kevin White (Sociology, ANU). In the report on this project, Codes of Ethics feature as an essential ingredient of ”Cover of Excellence” provisions as part of the PSC. Margaret Coady continued to serve on several Ethics Committees, and Andrew Alexandra worked with The Australian College of Ambulance Professionals.

Other Program Highlights

In addition to a very large number of seminar presentations in a wide range of countries, this year saw the publication of two significant books by members of the Program. Edward Spence, Ethics Within Reason: A Neo-Gewirthian. Approach, is a major study of the work of the influential applied philosopher, Alan Gewirth. Tom Campbell, Rights: A Critical Introduction, examines the strengths and weaknesses of addressing social and political problems through the discourse of rights. Ed Spence did much to publicise the work of the Program through his many newspaper articles, broadcast interviews and dramatic performances.