AFR Client Choice Awards 2016

As a sponsor of the prestigious AFR Client Choice Awards since their inception in 2004, our President Michael Catchpole presented the 2016 Best Professional Award in front of an audience of more than 300 professional services attendees.

The award category winners were:
– Martin Jones (Ferrier Hodgson)
– Quentin Digby (Herbert Smith Freehills)


For more information on our support of the Client Choice Awards, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or CEO@Professions.org.au.

Modern Professional Practice and its Future

Today we attended the UNSW “Modern Professional Practice and its Future” Conference hosted by Allens in Sydney which was an outstanding program. It was great to see many of our ACoP members there.

Professor Richard Susskind, via video-link from London, outlined the arguments of his co-authored book “The Future of the Professions”. He contends that there will be a steady decline in the need for human professionals over the next 20-30 years, that machines will become increasingly capable taking on new tasks and decision-making, and that para-professionals with empathetic listening skills will rise in importance.
Other panel commentators Graham Greenleaf, Lyria Bennett-Moses, and Deen Sanders did not paint such a bleak future for the professions, instead contending that Richard Susskind is overly optimistic about the role of machines (“Artificial Intelligence”) and that humans will always have a need for trusted advice/professional engagement.

The one-day conference showcased the ARC linkage research on professions, professional obligation and regulation in the 21st century by a team combining academics from leading Australian and overseas universities and professionals from the Professional Standards Councils.

The conference explored topics such as:

  • Professional Indemnity Insurance: Compensating Consumers and Regulating Professionals?
  • Structural Types of Professional Regulation – Comparative Examples from Australia and the UK
  • Inventing the Future: Professions and Digitally Enabled Work.


Professions Australia (ACoP) is leading the discussion around the future of the professions – read about our November 2015 Forum on the Future of Professions and Professionalism.

New Horizons – The Future of Professions and Professionalism

Professions Australia members and their guests met in Sydney on 4 November to explore and discuss the Future of the Professions and Professionalism in the Age of Digitisation – a compelling and crucial topic for the professions.

Mr Alex Malley delivered the keynote address on the Future of the Professions and Professions Australia President, Mr Michael Catchpole, led a thought-provoking panel discussion with special guest panellists:
– Dr George Beaton, Executive Chairman, Beaton Research + Consulting
Ms Brenda Aynsley OAM, President, Australian Computer Society


Read the ACS press release here.
Read the ACoP press release here.

Accreditation Dialogue between Unis and Professions

Professions Australia hosted a member forum on 1 April 2015 to progress work on the Universities Australia and Professions Australia draft Joint Statement of Principles for Professional Accreditation.

Chaired by former Professions Australia Board Member, Mr Rupert Grayston, the forum saw constructive and robust dialogue between the universities’ and professions’ representatives.

However, the open and frank nature of the discussions were seen as a good basis for progressing the content of the Joint Statement.


For details of the Joint Statement, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or CEO@Professions.org.au.

Professions Australia 2009 AGM elects New Board

Following its AGM, Professions Australia today announced the composition of its newly elected Board.

Mr Don Larkin, Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, has been elected as the new President taking over from Mr Frank Payne who steps down after two years in the position and will serve as Immediate-Past President.

The AGM also elected the following Board members:

  • Senior Vice President: Ms Monica Persson, Audiological Society of Australia
  • Junior Vice President: Mr Chris Whennan, Australian Institute of Radiography
  • Honorary Treasurer: Ms Bozenna Hinton, Institute of Actuaries of Australia
  • Board Member: Mr Graham Meyer, Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia
  • Board Member: Mr Robert Boyd-Boland, Australian Dental Association

Professions Australia would like to thank its outgoing Board member, Dr David Thompson from the Australian Dental Association for his considerable contribution to the Board over many years.

Professions Australia is a national organisation of professional associations. Professionals make up about 20 per cent of the Australian workforce and they play key roles in developing and maintaining the economic, social and environmental well-being of Australia.

Professions Australia’s role is to be the champion for professions in the service of the community and its voice to government by:

  • promoting the interests and welfare of the Australian community through the combined influence and expertise of the Professions;
  • maintaining and advancing the standards of the Professions consistent with the public interest; and
  • promoting and advancing ethical and responsible behaviour to foster community confidence in the integrity of the Professions.

Read the full press release here.

The new Board of Professions Australia (incorporated as the Australian Council of Professions – ACoP) looks forward to continuing to serve its member organisations by promoting, advancing and maintaining the integity and influence of the Professions.

Expert Evidence

The Federal Court of Australia has produced Guidelines for Expert Witnesses in Proceedings.  These are available at www.fedcourt.gov.au/digital-law-library/judges-speeches/justice-middleton/Middleton-J-200710.rtf.

The guidelines are not intended to address all aspects of an expert witness’s duties, but are intended to facilitate the admission of opinion evidence, and to assist experts to understand in general terms what the Court expects of an expert witness giving opinion evidence. It is also hoped that the guidelines will assist individual expert witnesses to avoid the criticism that is sometimes made (whether rightly or wrongly) that expert witnesses lack objectivity, or have coloured their evidence in favour of the party calling them.

The Australian Council of Professions had previously published basic Guidelines on Role and Duties of Expert Witnesses.

Blueprint for National Registration of the Professions

The Blueprint for National Registration of the Professions has been developed by Professions Australia and its member organisations.  Our objective is to promote and facilitate the implementation of national registration arrangements for those professions currently subject to state andterritory based regulation.
The Blueprint acknowledges that Australia is a single integrated market, exposed to domestic and international competition.  National registration arrangements for individual professions are a logical step to promote competition and enhance the mobility of the professional workforce.

Professional Skills Development

Reflecting our concern about the longer term economic and social impacts of ongoing professional skills shortages, Professions Australia has been working with our member associations to better understand the nature of these shortages (or in some instances – oversupply) and to explore possible approaches to better matching supply and demand over the longer term.

Our Education Committee has prepared a discussion paper “Skills Mapping: Assessing Australia’s Longer Term Requirements for Professional Skills”, which outlines some of the issues and makes recommendations on a possible way forward.
Professions Australia considers that a critical input into better matching the supply and demand for professional skills over the longer term is more comprehensive, robust and forward looking information on Australia’s likely future requirements for these skills, or “skills mapping”.

The objective of skills mapping would be to identify professional workforce issues, challenges and opportunities facing Australia over a 5-10 year timeframe to support broader based priority setting on a national level.  In our view it is an essential input into a more cooordinated approach by all stakeholders to professional workforce planning and policy development.

Our paper has been circulated widely including to relevant Ministers and Opposition spokespeople.

For more information call 1300 664 587 or contact CEO@Professions.org.au. Thank You!

Role and Duties of an Expert Witness

When called upon to act as an expert witness, a member shall conduct her/himself in accordance with the ‘Role and Duties of the Expert Witness’ set out by the Australian Council of Professions, which states:

  • The role of the expert witness in litigation is to assist the court in the administration of justice by providing an opinion or factual information based on the expert’s competence in a subject which is outside the knowledge, skill or experience of most people. It is founded in the need for a court charged with the resolution of a matter for access to knowledge relevant to the matter which it does not possess of itself.
  • It follows that the opinion is only useful if it is based on the expert’s area of competence, includes all relevant matters and is impartial and dispassionate.
  • Thus the primary duty of an expert is to the court because of his or her role in the process as defined above. An expert is subject to the normal duty in respect of evidence of fact to be complete, accurate and truthful.
  • The expert owes a second duty to the body of knowledge and understanding from which his or her expertise is drawn. This implies recognition of its limitations and the humility which should flow from such recognition, since the outcome of litigation is likely to influence the practical application of such knowledge and understanding in the future. It also implies dealing with the opinions of other competent experts in a respectful manner. It is important to the overall process that the integrity of the processes by which knowledge is acquired and understanding developed should not be degraded. Thus the secondary duty of the expert witness is to the body of knowledge and understanding.
  • The expert witness owes a third duty to the party which has sought his or her advice. That duty is to provide the advice in the context of the first and second duties above, which implies that the expert should not be an advocate for a party. This is a tertiary duty.

See also the Federal Court of Australia’s Guidelines for Expert Witnesses in Proceedings.