Ethical Concerns on Artificial Intelligence

The game-changing promises of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to do things more efficiently, faster and at a lower cost have recently been tempered by concerns. Can these complex, opaque AI systems do more societal harm than economic good?

Artificial Intelligence systems that neglect humans as a core design principle have the potential to challenge ethical decision-making for professionals across all sectors.  We only need to look at the notorious Robodebt debacle, the discourse about Facebook, YouTube, Google, etc. algorithms serving and featuring unsubstantiated COVID-19 information and Queensland Health’s payroll failures in 2010 to become concerned.

Our expert Round-Table on 28 September will explore these aspects and how the ‘Professional in the Loop‘ can offer a safeguard.

Our experts are:

Dr Simon Eassom – ex CPA Australia and ACoP Director

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Prof. Kerryn Butler-Henderson – Director & Researcher Digital Health, RMIT

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Prof. Peter Leonard B.Ec.(Hons) LLM – NSW Govt AI Advisory Committee

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Philip Argy BCom LLB FACS FRI MAICD – Arbitrator, Mediator, Expert Determiner and Barrister

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Dr Julie Strous BVSc PDM GAICD – ACoP Vice-President and Professionalism & Ethics Portfolio Co-Chair

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Questions our experts will discuss with you at the Round Table include:

  • As a society, what should we tolerate in the face of advancing efficiencies and cost saving in business models?
  • How do machines impact human-human versus human-machine interactions in areas of professional advice?
  • Can we guard against error and who is responsible for error in machine-managed information (e.g. in legal decisions)?
  • How do we protect against unexpected consequences in areas such as medicine and law?
  • How do we guard against unplanned and unintended inbuilt bias?
  • What happens to all the people employed in the professional sector whose jobs become automated?

For more information on this Round-Table, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or

International Consultant’s Day: Thursday 3rd June 2021

Many of our Member Organisations have special events where they promote their profession to the public. ACoP is delighted to join our Member Organisation Institute of Management Consultants (IMC) in celebrating International Consultants Day 2021.

International Consultant’s Day is celebrated on the first Thursday of June each year – in 2021 this is Thursday, June 03. It is a time for us to celebrate!
We are a global profession, some 60,000 strong, with over 8,000 of us accredited as Certified Management Consultants – THE global standard in management consulting that shows our dedication to consulting as a profession.
With 50 Institutes covering over 60 countries, and our Global Institute ICMCI providing virtual services everywhere else in the world, this is truly a global profession.
With our Common Body of Knowledge, and our Code of Conduct and Ethics, we have reciprocity of our CMC certification everywhere in the world. That alone is something to celebrate.
In addition, we have breakthrough programs, such as our Global Directory for CMCs, the global rollout of ISO 20700:2017, and a range of professional development programs for management consultants at all levels of experience together with collaboration programs that link all of our Institutes to each other, these are the hallmarks of a thriving profession.
“ICMCI and its member Institutes are the leaders in the development of management consulting as a profession that drives social and economic success – congratulations! And let’s take a moment to celebrate our profession and the work that we do.” – Dwight Mihalicz FCMC, Chair ICMCI

International Council of Management Consulting Institutes

IMC National President and Board Chair Steve Turner MIMC CMC agrees. “IMC Australia, a founding member of the ICMCI, is recognised as the professional institute representing the profession and all management consultants in Australia. Our mission is to promote excellence and standards in the management consulting profession and to improve the knowledge and skill of management consultants.

Plotting the Journey to Professionalism for English Teachers

ACoP was invited to present at the 2021 Annual Conference of the English Language Teachers organisation NEAS on the profession’s journey to trust and professionalism.

Trust in and regard for teachers as professionals is high but differs across countries and cultures. Teachers of non-English speaking background students are privileged to join doctors and scientists as the third-most-trusted profession. Titled “Teachers of Speakers of Languages other than English – a Journey to Trust and Professionalism“, the presentation will reflect on how the unique professional journeys of leaders, teachers, practitioners, professionals and students nurture, maintain and merit this privileged position with the speakers taking ACoP’s vantage point and remit of advancing Professions, Professionals and Professionalism.

From a perspective of transformation stimulated by intercultural exchange, ACoP’s Head of Professionalism Dr Ruth Ferraro will speak to her personal observations of her own journey towards trust and professionalism and the transformation that she pinpoints as her ‘brightest’ enlightenment through research on professionals and professionalism.

ACoP President A/Prof Klaus Veil will contribute his remarks from the viewpoint of an organisation celebrating its half-a-century anniversary by designating 2021 as the Year of the Professions. Professionals and Professionalism and tasked by its member associations to enhance community confidence in the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism and guide a transformation whose time has come towards science- and evidence-based policy-making.

Presentation details are at

For access to the recording of the Presentation, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or at

Sydney Uni Researches Professional Ethics

Professionals encounter ethical challenges in their work.  Sydney University PhD student Anne Quain is seeking to find out what support is accessed by professionals when navigating these situations, and what kind of support is offered by professional associations.

As part of her research, Anne has developed in consultation with ACoP a survey for members of professional associations around the ethical challenge of noticing suspected ethical misconduct by a colleague: The survey is completely anonymous and will take 5-10 minutes.

The findings will be used to inform ACoP and professional associations how they can best support their members who are experiencing ethically challenging situations.

If you would like more information about the survey or the underlying ‘Guiding for Professionalism‘ project, contact us on 1300 664 587 or

Professional Organisation Development Expert joins ACoP

To further enhance our capability to support the professionalising of communities of practice, in particular the development of a framework to assist the development of Professional Associations, we have engaged a renowned expert in developing professional associations.

Mark Lowy MBA MPM BSc PMP PgMP has joined our Office of the CEO to advance the professionalisation of emerging professions, with an early focus on the development of a framework that emerging professions can use to plan and progress their efforts to be more formally recognised as a profession. “With over 25 years as project management practitioner, along with formal education and several certifications in project management, I have gained a deep insight into the life-cycle and maturity of project management as a profession and other professions more broadly.” says Mark.

President Klaus Veil is delighted about this enhancement of ACoP’s capability. “Many of our Member Organisations have asked how we can support them in attaining the levels of privilege and inclusion that well-established professions occupy.  I am delighted that Mark has been able to join us to share his deep experience in developing professional associations.” he said. “We expect that our professionalism maturity assessment framework will become the foundation for the ability to better recognise the authority and value of professionals and their professions. In challenging times where people ask “Who can we Trust?” this will be essential to halt the trust-erosion and redefine the authority and value of professional advice.” said Professor Veil.

One of Mark’s first activities will be to progress the development of the professionalism maturity assessment framework as prioritised in our 2021 Operational Plan. Read more about Mark’s backgound at

Welcome Mark!

ACoP delivers Invited Workshop on Ethics in Data Analytics

In its Year of the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism, the Australian Council of Professions was invited to deliver a Professionalism and Ethics Workshop at the Health Informatics and Knowledge Management Conference (HIKM 2021) within the 2021 Australasian Computer Science Week (ASCW).

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing upsurges and urgencies in collecting and analysing health data, the issue of managing and using this data in a professional and ethical manner arises. It is necessary to both comply with current privacy legislation and to maintain the public’s confidence and willingness to provide information. The Workshop explored these questions and posited suitable strategies that support these collection requirements while maintaining ethical and professional standards.

Key discussion points were:

  • New health data collection requirements due to COVID-19
  • New types of data collected due to COVID-19
  • New uses of the collected data
  • Issues posed by these new requirements, types and uses of health data
  • Overview of applicable existing legislation and regulations
  • Overview of applicable ethical and professional best practices

Hosted by the University of Otago, New Zealand, the Workshop was well-attended and the topical discussions were lively and very interactive. The Workshop presenters ACoP President Klaus Veil and ACoP Head of the Professionalism Portfolio Dr Ruth Ferraro outlined a number of practical ethical problem situations and answered the many questions from the audience.

Workshop details are at

For access to the recording of the Workshop, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or at

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!

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 science-based, ethical and responsible 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.

Activities have included:

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

Emerging Professions Round-Table

Well-established professions occupy a position of privilege and inclusion in the provision of services and lawmaking machinery of societies. It is a desirable position to which communities of practice aspire, however realising this status presents a dilemma for the entities representing neo-professions, emerging professions, sub-specialisations, occupational groups and para-professions.

In fulfilling our remit to explore this challenge with our Members and invited guests, we are holding a Round-Table on this topic.

The programme is:

  • Opening, Introductions, Purpose and Rules of the Round-Table
  • The Story so far – Mark Lowy M.Sc MPM MBA, Imm Past President Project Management Institute
  • Demystifying Professional Schemes, Advances for Occupational Groups – Roxane Marcell-Shaw, CEO Professional Standards Authority
  • The Route to Professionalisation – Dr Ruth Ferraro, Fellow of ARPI GAICD
  • Open Discussion on the Topic
  • Identifying Points of Consensus
  • Next Steps & Close


Roxane Marcelle-Shaw
CEO – Professional Standards Authority

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Dr Ruth Ferraro Fellow ARPI GAICD
Head, Professionalism Portfolio – ACoP

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Mark Lowy M.Sc MPM MBA
Imm. Past President – Project Management Institute

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For more information, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or

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 to head the Professionalism Portfolio.

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, etc. 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 in difficult times all the more important” said President Klaus Veil.

Read more about Ruth’s background at

Welcome Ruth!