Newsletter – October 2016

A Message from the Chair

Welcome to the October edition of Primary Ethics News. Whether you’re a volunteer, donor, parent, or general supporter of ethics education, we are exceptionally happy to have you on board.Bruce Hogan Thank you for your support.

In this edition, I am pleased to announce the appointment of The Hon Nick Greiner AC to the Board of Primary Ethics.

Nick GreinerNick brings a wealth of experience in corporate governance to the board, with Nick’s other recent and current tenures including Chairman of the European Australian Business Council (EABC) and Member of the Board of Governors, Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA). He is also a member of the Advisory Committee of the Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law; the Advisory Board for the John Grill Centre for Project Leadership; and the Harvard Business School Asia-Pacific Advisory Board. Please join me extending a warm welcome to Nick.

Another important development for Primary Ethics is the new website which was launched this month. If you haven’t yet taken a look, visit We hope you’ll easily find the information you’re after, and recommend it among your networks. website-liveThe site provides clear and extensive information on the organisation, ethics education and how to be a part of educating tomorrow’s decision-makers in critical thinking and collaborative inquiry.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank David Staume and the team from Loqium for their service and generosity in providing us with our original website which served us well for the first five years of Primary Ethics’ operation. Over this time, many of our volunteers and other stakeholders regularly gave suggestions about what they would like to see on the website and how it could be presented. So the result is the new site that you can see today, built largely in-house using free software by our resourceful General Manager Alisa Kelley and content-managed by Heidi McElnea, who returns as Communications Manager after a period of work elsewhere in the charity sector. Thank you to other staff and volunteers who contributed.

With term 4 upon us, I would like to thank all of our ethics coordinators, ethics teachers and regional managers for the superb job they have done in providing ethics classes to over 32,000 students in 2016. We look forward to an even greater 2017.

Bruce Hogan AM – Chair

Regional training boosts local programs

Millthorpe ethics teacher training

Ethics teacher training at Millthorpe in the Central West. Photo: Kelby Mason

Welcome to those who’ve joined us as volunteer ethics teachers after completing training recently in Wagga Wagga and Millthorpe. These freshly-minted teachers are starting new ethics programs in Parkview Public School (Leeton region), Kooringal and Lake Albert Public Schools (Wagga region) as well as providing more comprehensive stage coverage and replacing teacher turnover in schools with existing programs in the Central West and Wagga regions.

Other regional teacher training took place recently in Wollongong and Newcastle, and trainers are headed up to Coffs Harbour this weekend to deliver the two day workshop.

Welcome all, we hope your teaching adventure gets off to an exciting start.

Our first 5 years – celebrating our foundation volunteers

We’d like to take a moment to thank those precious volunteers who are retiring this year (or moving to casual or occasional volunteering) after an extended period of time as ethics teachers, ethics coordinators and regional managers.

Of particular note are a small group who’ve been with us since ethics classes were rolled out across the state in 2011. Thank you for being instrumental in establishing ethics programs in your schools and regions.



In 2010, Jill Hennessy retired after 35 years in the NSW public service. She felt her retirement was an opportunity to give back to her local community through volunteer work.

During her career she had worked on matters of integrity and corporate governance in a number of industries and she was attracted to the idea of trying to develop values of integrity in young people.

Jill initially applied for a role as an ethics teacher at Penshurst West Public School, underwent the training and commenced teaching ethics at the school in June 2013. jill-awardAfter being a volunteer teacher for Primary Ethics for about a year,  she says she became totally committed to the concept of establishing ethics classes in primary schools as an alternative for those children doing colouring in or watching a movie in non-scripture.

Jill took on the additional and more influential role of Regional Manager for the Sutherland Region in May 2014. Still not content that she had filled up her week with voluntary activities, she also became the Regional Manager for St George. When the regions inevitably became too large for one person to manage she ‘surrendered’ Sutherland in 2015. She now has responsibility for managing over 60 volunteers in 18 schools with approximately 850 students in ethics classes in the St George region.

Rob Harden, Volunteering Manager-South (on left) and Leonie Johnson, CEO (right) joined Jill (centre) at the award ceremony.


Win a double pass to the next IQ2 debate at the City Recital Hall, Angel Place on Tuesday 25 October 2016: Privacy is not for children. Email your name and contact phone number to by 5pm Sunday 23 October to go in the draw.



The Ethics Centre is also offering Primary Ethics volunteers and supporters a members’ discount to this event- a saving of $10 per adult ticket. For more information and to buy tickets please visit:

To apply your member discount:

1. Enter ETHICS as the promo code at the top of the booking page.

2. Choose the number of tickets from ‘Member: The Ethics Centre’ in the drop down menu.



Dr Simon Longstaff launches his new children’s book ‘The Spider’s Song’ on Friday 11 November, 12:30 – 2pm.
The $70 cover fee includes a copy of the book and a champagne lunch to enjoy.

Dr Longstaff is a Director of Primary Ethics and Executive Director of The Ethics Centre. Book tickets here.


Ethics in the classroom: Lessons from the first five years was the topic of last week’s public forum hosted by the Newcastle Institute. John Beach, retired principal of Newcastle East Public School, spoke of how the introduction of ethics education has been extremely beneficial to many young students used to passing time in ‘non-scripture’. Two former students, now in year 10, spoke of their experience as ethics students. Primary Ethics CEO Leonie Johnson discussed how ethics is taught in schools and the importance of developing evidence based ethical reasoning skills.

Ethics [taught] me to think and explore situations or issues on a deeper level rather than jumping to conclusions based on other people’s ideas, societal norms, media reports and any otherwise influencing factors.

Emily, year 10 student and ethics ‘graduate’  

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