In the mid-1960s, there is state-based interest and activities to coordinate and support the various professional associations.
23 October 1970
The New South Wales Council of Professions convenes a meeting with representatives of similar Councils of Professions existing in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia plus two interested individuals from Western Australia to discuss the possibility of establishing closer working relations. The meeting resolves that “it is the unanimous opinion of those present at this meeting that a Federal Council of Professions be formed, and that immediate steps be taken to implement this decision.“
12 November 1971
The Constitution for the ‘Australian Council of Professions’ (ACoP), a public company limited by guarantee, is approved – the main objectives being “to maintain and advance the standards and status of the professions in the community generally and to uphold and advance the honour and reputation of the professions and the integrity and standing of the members thereof.“
The founding member organisations are:
The Australian Medical Association
The Royal Australian Institute of Architects
The Institution of Engineers Australia
The Australian Dental Association
The Australian Veterinary Association
The Royal Australian Chemical Institute
The New South Wales Council of Professions
The South Australian Council of Professions
The Queensland Council of Professions
The Victorian Council of Professions
The Australian Council of Professions operates successfully undertaking activities supporting the concept of professionals and is described by our inaugural President The Hon Dr Derek Freeman MLC in a 4 July 1972 letter to Prime Minister McMahon as follows: “The Australian Council of Professions represents 60,000 professional persons who are generally regarded as opinion leaders in the community; who, as a group, make a major contribution to the quality of living …”
Serious introspection was an important part of ACoP’s activities from the beginning and so in October 1975 we supported a Seminar at the Australian National University (ANU) titled ‘Will Professionalism Survive?‘.
16 November 1994
ACoP is incorporated as a public company limited by guarantee. The Memorandum of Association cites objects similar to those adopted in 1971 but with the addition of the intention “to promote the interests and welfare of the Australian community through the combined influence and expertise of the professions.”
The Articles of Association make provision for the establishment of Branches of the Council in any Australian State or Territory. At the time of incorporation, the then-existing Councils of Professions in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory therefore become Branches of the Council; the New South Wales Council of Professions opts to retain its autonomy.
ACoP registers the business name ‘Professions Australia’ (PA) in every Australian State and Territory.
The Annual General Meeting adopts several significant changes, including amending the Memorandum and Articles, now called the Constitution. The changes bring in a broadening of the membership base with new membership criteria and fee structure. The AGM agrees that, when votes were taken at general meetings, small associations would have one vote, medium associations two votes and large associations three votes. This is later changed to ‘one member, one vote’…
A new logo using the trading name ‘Professions Australia’ is created.
9 March 2016
After extensive discussions and consensus-building, Professions Australia and Universities Australia sign a Joint Statement of Principles for Professional Accreditation, a landmark agreement that will deliver greater clarity on the respective roles of universities and professional accreditation bodies when they accredit higher-education courses. The Joint Statement quickly becomes the foundation for many accreditation programs and so helps ensure graduates are best qualified for the professions they seek to enter.
20 February 2017
One of the topics before the participants of our 2017 Strategic Review and Planning Day is to consider reverting to our incorporated name ‘Australian Council of Professions’ for public communications to avoid uncertainty and confusion with similarly named entities. The ‘soft migration’ from .com.au to Professions.org.au to better reflect us as an incorporated not-for-profit and public-good organisation is also discussed and both changes are approved for implementation in stages.
As the COVID-19 Pandemic starts to affect professional organisations in Australia and around the world, the ACoP Board explores the impact of the Corona Virus on the Council.
5 May 2020
ACoP initiates, facilitates and publishes a Joint Statement of Principles that higher education sector’s peak bodies believe will meet community expectations for public health and safety while mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on teaching, learning, assessment, placement and graduate mobility. Education Minister Tehan and TEQSA support the publication.
30 July 2020
The Annual General Meeting approves updates to the Constitution that the Board and Member Organisations had identified to improve governance practices, simplify operations and are forward-looking and responsive to the changing needs of member organisations and the professions as well as reflect some lessons learnt in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
28 October 2020
With the rapid developments in alternative approaches to becoming professions, many of our member organisations are exploring the future of becoming a professional association member. The >25 participants in our “Future Pathways to Professional Standing” Round-Table explore possible future pathways to eligibility for membership of professional associations.
Broad consensus on most aspects of the issue is established.
11 December 2020
In fulfilling our remit to explore the challenge of how to become a well-established profession which occupies a position of privilege and inclusion in the provision of services and lawmaking in our society, for our Members and invited guests we hold a Round-Table on Emerging Professions.
1 January 2021
Based on the experience of how in 2020 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, ACoP declares 2021 as “The Year of the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism“.
A global first, ACoP created the Chief Professionalist position – inspired by the highly valued Chief Medical/Health Officers, the Chief Scientist, Chief Economist, the Chief Engineer, Chief Data Scientist, etc. – and in April 2021 appointed Professor Deen Sanders OAM.
A Professionalist is “one who professionalises an occupation” (Merriam-Webster) and who is “an advocate of professionalism” (Oxford English Dictionary).