The Ethics Centre

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The Ethics Centre
Formation November 1989
Founded at Sydney, New South Wales
Type NGO
Legal status Charity
Purpose Ethics; ethical decision-making
Executive Director
Dr Simon Longstaff AO
Formerly called
St James Ethics Centre

The Ethics Centre (formerly St James Ethics Centre) is a fully independent not-for-profit organisation which provides a non-judgmental forum for the promotion and exploration of ethics and ethical decision-making. The Ethics Centre works with business, professions, community groups, governments and individuals to encourage and assist them to include the ethical dimension in their daily lives.[1] It is based in Sydney, Australia.


The Ethics Centre was launched in 1989 by The Anglican Parish of St James' Church, Sydney in order to work with business in the city to promote ethics and ethical decision-making. In 1996, St James Ethics Centre became entirely independent from the church. It is now a secular organisation, open to those of any or no faith.[2]

Activities and purpose[edit]

Today the Centre is simply named "The Ethics Centre" and still works extensively with business in Sydney, however, its work expands well beyond this sphere, going well beyond the business world and working throughout Australia and occasionally undertaking projects overseas.

The organisation is widely known within and extensively supported by the business community in Australia. It receives no government funding and relies very heavily upon support from business and individuals to provide its services.

The Centre's Executive Director, Simon Longstaff AO, often appears in the media in Australia to discuss ethics-related issues in the media and ethics more generally.[3]

One of the Centre's most notable services is its Ethics Counselling Service which provides free counselling to anyone who may be facing an ethical dilemma. It is believed to be the only service of its kind in the world and is the reason for the Centre's classification as a public benevolent institution.[4]

The Centre is the trustee for the Corporate Responsibility Index in Australia, partnered by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

In 2011, The Ethics Centre became the initial approved provider of 'Special Ethics Education’ for NSW schools.[5]

The Ethics Centre presents the Festival of Dangerous Ideas along with the Sydney Opera House starting in 2009. In June 2014 FODI announced a lecture by Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Uthman Badar entitled Honour Killings Are Morally Justified.[6] Following negative responses from the community, the lecture was cancelled with Longstaff saying the "Islamophobes" have won the day[7][8] and Badar saying it shows the extent and depth of Islamophobia in Australia.[9]


The Centre is financially supported by individuals, families, corporations and organisations. As of 2016, its principal media partner is The Saturday Paper and its principal technology partner is Telstra. Organisational supporters include AMP, ABC, the Centre for Existential Practise, Australian Unity, Banjo's, Beppi's, BHP Billiton, the City of Sydney, CTPartners, DevotionDigital, Ernst & Young, Gilbert + Tobin, the GPT Group, Greatorex Foundation, Grocon, IM, ISPT Super Property, Jones Day, LaSalle Investment Management, Macquarie Group, Manly Selective Campus, New Philosopher, Origin Energy, Professional Public Relations, the Rita Hogan Foundation, Santos Ltd and Balasz, Lazanas & Welch lawyers.[10]


  1. ^ The Ethics Centre – official website (retrieved 11 June 2006)
  2. ^ "History of St James Ethics Centre" (retrieved 9 September 2007)
  3. ^ Longstaff, Simon (5 October 2002). "As Socrates said to the redneck" (Interview). Interviewed by Catherine Keenan. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 9 September 2007. 
  4. ^ Ethics Counselling Service of St James Ethics Centre (retrieved 9 September 2007)
  5. ^ "Special Ethics Education – Information for Principals". NSW Department of Education and Communities. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  6. ^ Meares, Joel (23 June 2014). "Pussy Riot, Rushdie coming to Sydney". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  7. ^ Carswell, Andrew (25 June 2014). "Radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir says Australia and the US should be labelled terrorists for their Middle Eastern 'invasions'". Daily Telegraph. Australia. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  8. ^ Henderson, Gerard (28 June 2014). "Dangerous ideas — Fraser's Lebanon Concession, for example — should be handled with care". The Australian. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  9. ^ Davey, Melissa (25 June 2014). "Cancellation of Muslim speaker's lecture 'reveals deep Islamophobia'". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  10. ^ "The Ethics Centre – The Ethics Centre". Retrieved 2016-06-23. 

External links[edit]