Newsletter – June 2017

A Message from the Chair

In the lead up toward end of financial year, let’s look at some recent key developments in the Primary Ethics program which, over the past year, has helped skill 35,000+ young people to think things through, discuss ethical issues with their peers, and make well-reasoned decisions.

Bruce Hogan

The long awaited report from the 2015 review into Special Religious Education and Special Education in Ethics was finally released in April. The report compliments Primary Ethics volunteer training and authorisation processes, and found that Primary Ethics has created high quality curriculum and teaching methods.

Read more about the report here, and our response to the recommendations here.

As a result of the release of the report, we are currently working with the Department of Education to, wherever possible, remove the obstacles parents face when wishing to access ethics education for their child.

With thanks to our volunteers and donors, Primary Ethics is now teaching in 469 schools, up from 403 last year, with an additional 744 new teachers trained in this financial year.

On that note, too, I’d like to emphasise that Primary Ethics is a charity and not-for-profit, and all donations are tax deductible. We are seeking $360,000 to meet our projected operating deficit for next year, while also seeking contributions for a future fund that will ensure this important program can expand without the limitations of funding inconsistency.

I urge each of you to tell three people in your networks this week about the exciting learning opportunities of ethics classes, and encourage them to consider a donation prior to June 30.

Making a tax deductible online donation will only take a few minutes, but will help meet our goal to provide ethics as an option for every parent of every child in NSW public primary schools. Please consider making a donation here.      


2016 Annual Report

We invite you to read our 2016 Annual Report. With many thanks to volunteer Julia Reingold for her elegant design work, it offers an overview of the program, and is a useful source of information for both those familiar to ethics education and to those seeking an introduction.

Lastly, I am saddened to announce the resignation of Leonie Johnson from her position as Primary Ethics CEO to support her daughter’s sporting career. Leonie will be continuing with Primary Ethics training and curriculum support, but we will miss her leadership within the organisation.

Over the past year, Leonie has implemented a number of measures to strengthen and expand the Primary Ethics program, and I congratulate her on her extensive contribution. I also wish to congratulate Leonie’s daughter, Annabelle, who has joined the Australian Youth Sport Climbing team and will be representing Australia at a number of international championship events over the next 12 months. We wish Leonie and her family well in this exciting next chapter of their lives.

With many thanks for your support,

Bruce Hogan AM – Chair of Primary Ethics


Our inaugural Primary Ethics conference will be held on October 28 this year, and we’re looking for a dynamic individual to work with stakeholders to make it an unforgettable day of learning, development and inspiration. Our new staff member would also be working hard to build relationships with volunteers, donors and the general community over a one year term, with possibility of extension.

Could this be you or someone you know? Read the position description and apply here.


L-R: Volunteering managers Rob Harden & Maria McCarthy, Ray Williams MP and regional managers Dick Harfield and Allan Lotfizadeh

During Volunteer Week in May, we launched a recognition scheme inviting volunteers to nominate a colleague for their extraordinary efforts as an ethics teacher, ethics coordinator, regional manager, classroom support team member, or a combination of these roles. We have received around 130 inspiring nominations, which we are collating for submission to the Centre for Volunteering’s Volunteer of the Year Award. Primary Ethics also had a presence at the Minister’s morning tea held at NSW Parliament House during Volunteer Week to acknowledge the importance of volunteering in our communities. Thank you to those who represented Primary Ethics at the event.



Hon Nick Greiner (left) with Jihad Dib (right) and Earlwood school captains Andrew and Poppy.

Shadow Minister for Education Mr Jihad Dib MP joined former Premier and Minister for Education (and Primary Ethics Board Member) the Hon Nick Greiner in a bipartisan show of support for ethics education. The pair recently visited Earlwood Public School to watch a stage 1 ethics class. A strong supporter of local public schools, Jihad Dib recognises the role that community plays in making a thriving school environment, and believes volunteering as an ethics teacher is a great way to be involved in a school. Read more


Doing harm without meaning to, Good reasons, Being vain and more – term 2 edition of PrimaryEthics@Home is out now. PrimaryEthics@Home gives parents and carers background on the topics that are being covered in their child’s ethics class, so they can continue the discussion at home.


We’ve hosted two talented and friendly interns from Boston University this term. Marie Thumbnail 2Mickley is passionate about education and is currently assisting with several key projects including volunteer recognition, class data, and research involving high school ‘graduates’ of ethics class.

Hal Edwards joined us in March to complete his internship. Hal worked on several photo and video projects, including editing of this footage shot at Hunter School of Performing Arts.


Dr Simon Longstaff has been invited by the Australian Museum to speak on how books can be a practical way for parents to stimulate ethical discussions with their children.

He’ll be giving parents insights into how to answer those tough ethical questions kids often ask. For more information visit:


The Ethics Centre has generously donated a double pass to the next debate for a Primary Ethics supporter. Email your name and contact phone number to by 5pm June 30 to go in the draw.

The debate ‘Prison Works’ will be held on August 1 at the Sydney Town Hall. Read more and buy tickets here. The Ethics Centre offers Primary Ethics volunteers and supporters a members’ discount to this event. To apply your discount, enter PRIMARYETHICS as the promo code at checkout and you’ll receive 10% off.