ACoP Welcomes Return to Fact-Based Policy-Making

The Australian Council of Professions welcomes the US administration’s return to making policies based on science and evidence-based facts. The commitments made by US President Joe Biden in his inauguration speech raise substantial hope that the United States will now be able to more effectively counter and mitigate the serious health and environmental challenges it has faced in recent times.

In his speech from the Capitol, newly inaugurated President Joe Biden committed to “the common objects that define Americans… Opportunity, Security, Liberty, Dignity, Respect, Honor and, yes, the Truth.” He further stated “And each of us has a duty and responsibility – especially as leaders – to defend the truth and to defeat the lies.

Keen to start the new approach without delay, President Biden then signed 17 executive orders, including making mask-wearing compulsory in areas of federal jurisdiction, re-joining the Paris Climate Accord and bringing the US back into the World Health Organizsation (WHO) while appointing distinguished expert Dr Fauci as head of the US delegation. Biden also rolled back many of the recent actions that disregarded science, the environment and public health experts.

I am impressed that newly-inaugurated President Biden wasted no time in actioning a substantial number of decisions based on the advice of the team of scientists and professionals that he has assembled since his election in November 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic and climate change emergencies require urgent fact-based actions.” said ACoP President Klaus Veil. “This sounds like a clear wake-up-call for politicians and the public to again listen to and take the advice of experts. What a great inspiration for our Year of the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism!

President Biden also clearly stated during the remote swearing-in of over 1000 of his staff: “If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise I will fire you on the spot. On the spot! Everybody is entitled to be treated with decency.” He also issued orders ensuring that Americans are again protected from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and/or sexual orientation. ACoP Vice-President and professionalism advocate Julie Strous observed that this sets a refreshing tone for the culture of the Biden administration. “With the demonstrated commitment to science – and evidence-based policies, this again creates an environment where truth and facts determine strategies and their implementations, not political convenience, racism and misogyny” Dr Strous said.

For more information on the Year of the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or CEO@Professions.org.au!

2021 – Professions, Professionals and Professionalism

2020 saw unprecedented challenges for Australians and their institutions. Faced with an unknown virus pandemic, the public and governments trusted the Chief Medical/Health Officers as professionals providing evidence-based and ethical thought-leadership and advice to survive this threat to lives and livelihoods.

We are celebrating our 50-year anniversary by declaring 2021 as the “Year of the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism“.  We will use our anniversary to engage with the broader community and public to advocate for the purpose and value of the professions, professionals and professionalism.

With our member organisations we will plan, coordinate and convene events large and small throughout 2021 that will exemplify the value of the professions, their professionals and professionalism.  We will also be working with exemplars of various professions to champion the importance of individuals and governments following the evidence-based advice of professionals in difficult times which includes leveraging the profile that the Chief Medical/Health Officers have gained over the last 10 months in the public eye as trusted advisers and leaders in the pandemic.

For more information on the Year of the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or CEO@Professions.org.au!

Chartered Accountants ANZ join Council of Professions

We are delighted to welcome the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) as a professional association member, further broadening our reach into the accounting profession. CA ANZ represents more than 128, 000 financial professionals, supporting them to build value and make a difference to the businesses, organisations and communities in which they work and live.

Chartered Accountants are uniquely equipped to see the bigger picture. This perspective which comes from the depth, breadth and rigour of their training, their commitment to an ethical code, their future vision and their care for the wider community.

CA ANZ promotes high ethical standards, delivers world-class services and professional education and training to members, and advocates for the public good. “We welcome the Chartered Accountants back into our community of professional associations.  They will substantially increase the accounting professionals that we represent through our member organisations.  Considering the challenges facing Australian small and medium enterprises as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting professionals are playing a vital role in Australia’s economic recovery and transformation.” said ACoP Board President Klaus Veil.

We are delighted to join the Australian Council of Professions,” said CA ANZ Group Executive of Education & Learning Simon Hann. “Our research found that accounting is one of the most trusted professions with over three quarters of the Australian and New Zealand public saying they had higher levels of trust in an accountant who is a member of a professional accounting body. “We look forward to working closely with ACoP to ensure we maintain and build trust in the profession particularly as many businesses look to Chartered Accountants to help them reset and recover from the pandemic.

Welcome Back, Chartered Accountants ANZ!

Professionalism Researcher Strengthens ACoP’s Thought Leadership

As we look into further strengthening our thought leadership in 2021, the Australian Council of Professions have engaged a key resource to help us deliver additional services to our members.

We would like to introduce you to Ruth Ferraro PhD Fellow ARPI GAICD who has joined our Office of the CEO.

Ruth’s interest in the phenomenon of professions and professionalism was sparked in the early 2000s where she undertook a “Can we Educate for Professionalism?” project for the emergent financial planning profession. Ruth then undertook PhD research at the Work-based Learning Institute, Middlesex University UK entitled “From the intransitive to the transitive – emerging the Australian tax profession as a profession in its own right” which she intends to utilise in a number of our projects. “With over 25 years in executive roles in education with 20 of those years spent in membership bodies for a wide range of professions: medical sub-specialisation, law, accounting, financial planning I have gained a deep insight into the life-cycle and maturity of professions.” says Ruth.

One of Ruth’s first activities will be to lead the Emerging Professions initiative, which we have created following conversations with existing and prospective members. This input has highlighted that new professions and professionals moving into new areas of practice have created interesting challenges. Ruth’s other activities will be to create and action high-level communications in the domain of professionalism as well as assisting ACoP in its thought leadership and engagement with high-level individuals and organisations.

I am delighted that Ruth has joined us at a time where the purpose, value and maturity of professions has very much moved into the public eye. The emergence of the concepts of ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’ as well as the healthcare and climate challenges in the last 12 months make the public’s clear understanding of the role and value of professionals, their ethics and professionalism to Australians in difficult time all the more important” said President Klaus Veil.

Read more about Ruth’s background at www.linkedin.com/in/dr-ruth-ferraro-gaicd-fellow-arpi-1074408/

Welcome Ruth!

Geoscience Professionals join Council of Professions

The Australian Council of Professions is delighted to welcome the Australian Institute of Geoscientists (AIG) as a professional association member, further broadening and strengthening our membership and reach.

The AIG is a dynamic, member-focussed professional institute that represents more than 2,500 professional geoscientists: geologists, geophysicists and other Earth scientists working in industry, government, education and research across Australia.

AIG President Mr Andrew Waltho welcomes AIG being accepted as a member of ACoP.  “The AIG board recognises that geoscience in Australia is not alone in facing a number of challenges in areas including professional accreditation and recognition, maintenance of educational standards both through formal university studies and continued professional development and education (CPD/CPE) and enhancing public confidence in professionals through enforceable standards of professional practice and ethics.” Mr Waltho also said that by joining ACoP, AIG seeks to both bring in an understanding of the professional issues facing Australian geoscience and learn from the experience of other ACoP members in their respective fields of practice.  “Many professional issues facing AIG are not unique to geoscience” Mr Waltho said.

We welcome the geoscience profession to our community of professional associations, they will further broaden the scope of professions that we represent.  Working in the resources sector, geoscientists are an important part of our exporting industries and will play a vital role in Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.” said ACoP Board President Klaus Veil.

Mr Waltho also noted that the current ACoP policy areas of education, accreditation and employability, professionalism and ethics and diversity and inclusion are directly relevant to AIG’s members and central to the future of the geoscience professions in Australia. “We are looking forward to a mutually beneficial and productive relationship through being able to share ideas and experiences with other ACoP members” he said.

Welcome Australian Institute of Geoscientists!

ACoP Appoints new Director

We are pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has appointed Dr Julie Strous as a Director of the Australian Council of Professions. A veterinarian and executive director of the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council, Julie fills the casual vacancy created by the resignation of Catherine Garvey in April.

Prior to her twenty years with the AVBC, Julie worked in veterinary practice and also pursued her interest in natural and agricultural environments by establishing the Methodist Ladies College wilderness campus near Mallacoota.

Julie has been a co-chair of our Professionalism and Ethics Portfolio Committee since 2018.  As a plenary speaker on ethics at the World Organisation for Animal Health 2016 conference in Thailand, Julie outlined the emerging pressures on professionals to put business interests before public interest.  As such, her focus and passion for the ethical conduct of professionals is on-going and will be a well-regarded voice on the ACoP Board. “I am delighted that Julie is joining the Board – in a time of ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’ our focus and advocacy of evidence-based policy-making has become vital to ensure that Australians survive challenges such as the disastrous bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic” said ACoP Board President Klaus Veil.

A graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Dr Strous has several career strands that come together for her role on the ACoP board: governance, professionalism and achieving change through managing people. “I believe that culture is core in ensuring a board maintains its integrity.  Board members need the curiosity and courage to delve into issues and ask questions whilst maintaining a collaborative team environment.” says Julie, “And in a rapidly changing environment, this enables a Board to effectively respond to the challenges facing professionals and their professionalism.”  Julie’s term runs through to the 2021 Annual General Meeting.

Welcome Julie!

Accreditation Expert joins ACoP Leadership

We are delighted that a further well-regarded leader of a professional accreditation body has joined us in taking our organisation forward in a time when higher education and the accreditation of professional courses is facing ongoing COVID-19 pandemic-related challenges.

We welcome Michael Carpenter BEng(hons) MBA GAICD, CEO of the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council, who joins Lynette Harris M.Ed (Director – Navitas Professional), Dr Ash Jones (Head – ACoP Education & Accreditation Portfolio), Dr Nick Tate FACS CP CEng (Chair – ACoP Strategic Advisory Council) and Mark Lowy M.Sc MPM MBA (Imm. Past President – Project Management Institute, Melbourne) as co-opted members of our leadership team, separate to our elected Directors.

Michael joined APAC as its CEO in September 2017.  Prior to that he was the Director of Accreditation at the Australian Dental Council and the Director of Regulation and Review at TEQSA, the Federal Government’s Higher Education Regulator.  He has also worked at the British Psychological Society, in international leadership development and management consulting.

Michael’s valuable expertise will assist the Australian Council of Professions in achieving the strategic goals and projects that our Member organisations have recently re-affirmed us to focus on:


Welcome Michael!

Higher-Education Sector Response to COVID-19

The Australian higher education sector has agreed to take a joint approach to effectively and successfully manage the coronavirus pandemic. In a Joint Statement published today, the sector’s peak bodies outline the principles they believe will meet community expectations for public health and safety while mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on higher education teaching, learning, assessment, placement and graduate mobility.

The shared concern of the Australian higher-education sector that effectively managing during the COVID-19 pandemic is key to the well-being of a fair, equitable and prosperous Australia led to the Joint Statement outlining consensus-based principles for adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic in the following areas:

  1. Accreditation Flexibility and maintaining Course Quality
  2. Maintaining Quality during changed Teaching and Learning
  3. Supporting Online Assessments while maintaining Rigour
  4. Mitigating a reduced availability of Professional Placements
  5. Flexibility on (Re-)Registration/Accreditation of Professionals
  6. Maintaining International Accords for Professionals’ Mobility

The Joint Statement authors were also mindful that in managing the post-COVID-19 pandemic situation, the learnings from the many innovative approaches taken should not be lost so that the sector can effectively benefit from the rich substrate of experiences gained during the pandemic.

The following peak bodies are signatories to the Joint Statement:

The Australian Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) was directly engaged with the creation of the Joint Statement. The Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) welcomes and supports the creation of a joint statement of principles to guide professional accreditation during the COVID-19 pandemic and will refer to the statement in its own course accreditation activities.

Minister for Education, Skills and Employability Tehan has welcomed our initiative to develop a Joint Statement, in particular at a time when it is important to maximise flexibility and reduce regulatory burden wherever possible. Writing to ACoP, the Minister notes that it is pleasing that we also covered the impact on students regarding the availability of placements, practicums and/or work experience opportunities. The Minister also invites updates and feedback from ACoP on the implementation of the Joint Statement including how Government might be able to assist or address any particular matters of concern.

We understand that Minister Tehan has also written to ~100 accreditation bodies noting our initiative, encouraging adoption of the principles outlined in the Joint Statement and referring to our web site.

The Australian Council of Professions is delighted to have found sector-wide support for our initiative to develop the Higher Education COVID-19 Joint Statement” said ACoP President Klaus Veil. “This broad consensus ensures that the education, work experience, graduation, registration and mobility of Australian Professionals is maintained in these difficult times.

The Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) is pleased to support this Joint Statement as it highlights the impact of the COVID pandemic on work integrated learning (WIL) and particularly the reduced availability of professional placements” said ACEN President Franziska Trede when announcing their support. “The new solutions emerging due to the pandemic are already evidence of stronger collaborative partnerships between universities, industry and professional accreditation bodies and the advancement of WIL”.

We agree to work in partnership with each other and with government to adapt higher education courses and registration/accreditation to mitigate and minimise the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic while upholding the continuity, integrity and reputation of Australian higher education and recognising its indispensable contribution to Australia’s well-being and prosperity.

Joint Statement of Principles for the Higher Education Sector COVID-19 Response, 5 May 2020

Download the Joint Statement here


If you have questions on the Joint Statement or wish to provide comments and/or feedback, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or CEO@Professions.org.au.