Primary Ethics volunteers recognised at State Reception

Tuesday 27 February 2018

Almost 100 of Primary Ethics’ longest serving volunteers were recognised for their service to community at Government House Sydney earlier this month.

On Thursday, February 8 His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), Governor of New South Wales and Mrs Linda Hurley hosted the reception for volunteers, some of whom travelled from across the state to attend.

In his address, the Governor extended his thanks to those invited for donating their time to teaching ethics to the children of NSW.

“Primary Ethics volunteers are enabling children to engage in an important tradition of ethical inquiry, established by Socrates,” the Governor said. “These skills help young people with the increasingly difficult decisions they must make.”

It has been seven years since Primary Ethics classes were first rolled out across the state, after a successful pilot in 2010.

The not-for-profit trains and supports 2,500 volunteers to organise and deliver the weekly discussion-based program which assists children with skills in critical thinking and making well-reasoned decisions.

His Excellency also referred to the international recognition received by the Primary Ethics program when it was singled out in the US Bioethics Committee report to President Obama in 2016 for its contribution to ethical literacy.

In response, Primary Ethics CEO Evan Hannah thanked the Governor and Mrs Hurley for their interest in the program and their generosity in recognising volunteers.

A retired primary school teacher and Patron of Moorambilla Voices, which provides opportunities for talented young singers in regional, rural and remote areas to fulfil their dreams through music, Mrs Hurley ended the formalities of the evening by leading everyone in a song, setting a lighter scene for the rest of the reception, as volunteers met others involved in the program and shared experiences.

Ethics programs have begun for the year in over 470 NSW primary schools with more than 37,000 students currently enrolled. New volunteers are welcome and are encouraged to apply via the website


Caption: (L-R) Natasha Russell, Jill Hennessy and Emma Doran were among those recognised for their service to the community as Primary Ethics volunteers. Thank you to Government House Sydney.

View the full photo gallery here:

Photos by Mark Muirhead

Media enquiries:

Heidi McElnea, Communications Manager, Primary Ethics

02 8068 7752 or 0420 514 653

About Primary Ethics:

  • Established in 2010 at the request of the NSW Government
  • Comprehensive volunteer teacher training program
  • Structured curriculum designed for kindy to year 6
  • Currently 2500 well trained community volunteers deliver ethics classes in 470 schools.
  • Classes held during the Special Religious Education/ Special Education in Ethics timeslot
  • Children from any religious background, or from none at all, are invited to participate
  • Children learn how to think for themselves and make well-reasoned decisions