Professions Australia welcomes Action

The appointment by CPA Australia of a panel to review claims relating to the use of CPA Australia members’ funds has been welcomed by the nation’s peak professional body, the Australian Councel of Professions. ACoP President of Brenda Aynsley OAM said this action to address claims and criticisms made by some CPA members was an appropriate response. “It’s important for CPA Australia and its members that the review addresses these matters and ensures that both members and the public continue to have confidence in the accounting profession and in all professionals working in any capacity in our community,” Ms Aynsley said. “Professions Australia as the peak body for professional associations works with our members to encourage the highest professional standards by all professionals and continued good governance on the part of organisations working to protect the public.

See Press Release.

Trust in Professions Survey 2017

Health professionals continue to be Australia’s most trusted profession with Nurses again being seen as the most highly regarded, followed by Doctors and Pharmacists.

In the Roy Morgan Image of Professions Survey 2017 released today, 94% of Australians (up 2% from 2016) rated Nurses ‘very high’ or ‘high’ for their ‘ethics and honesty’. Nurses have topped the annual survey for 23 years running since being included for the first time in 1994.

Nurses are followed by Doctors on 89% (up 3%), Pharmacists on 84% (down 2%) and Dentists on 79% (up 4%). Only School Teachers on 81% (up 4%) and Engineers on 80% (up 2%) prevent a clean sweep at the top for healthcare professionals.

ICT Manager Wins YPY 2016 Award

Yohan De Silva, a member of our Member Association Australian Computer Society (ACS), was awarded our Young Professional of the Year Award for 2016.


Accepting the award, Yohan said, “It’s an absolute honour to be named the Young Professional of the Year for 2016 and be recognised at the highest level by Professions Australia, the peak body representing professional associations in Australia.
Being a professional is not just about doing your job – it’s about contributing to your community whether that’s local, international or global and sharing ideas with your colleagues across the professions.

Please see our joint media statement with the ACS


If you have any questions about the YPY, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or CEO@Professions.org.au.

The Heart of Professionalism

A recent poll of the ethics and honesty of 30 occupations supports the high standing of professions who have professional standards, ethical behaviour and on-going professional development at heart.

The annual Roy Morgan telephone survey on the Image of Professions conducted last week (4-5 May) asked 655 Australian men and women aged 14 and over to rate 30 occupations on their honesty and ethical standards. Ninety-two per cent of respondents ranked nurses as the most ethical and honest profession in 2016. This was the 22nd year in a row that nurses have achieved this top ranking. High ranking professions in 2016 included: Doctors 86% (up 2%), Pharmacists 86% (up 2%), Engineers 78% (up 4%), School Teachers 77% (down 1%), Dentists 75% (up 4%), Police 72% (up 3%), High Court Judges 71% (up 3%) and State Supreme Court Judges 70% (up 1%). The professions who increased their score in this poll from 2015 included Engineers 78% (up 4%), Accountants 51% (up 6%) and Lawyers 35% (up 4%).

Read the full report here.

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.

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.

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.