Welcome to episode 17 in Season 2 of Real Democracy Now! a podcast. Today I’m talking with Dr Simon Longstaff the Executive Director of The Ethics Centre, based in Sydney, Australia.
Simon began his working life on Groote Eylandt (Anindilyakwa) in the Northern Territory where he worked in the Safety Department of the then BHP subsidiary, GEMCO. He is proud of his kinship ties with members of the island’s Indigenous community. Following a period studying law in Sydney and a brief career teaching in Tasmania, Simon undertook postgraduate studies in philosophy as a Member of Magdalene College, Cambridge. Simon commenced his work as the first Executive Director of The Ethics Centre in 1991. Simon is a Fellow of CPA Australia and in June 2016, was appointed an Honorary Professor at the Australian National University – based at the National Centre for Indigenous Studies. Formerly serving as the inaugural President of The Australian Association for Professional & Applied Ethics, Simon serves on a number of boards and committees across a broad spectrum of activities. He was formerly a Fellow of the World Economic Forum.
The Ethics Centre (previously known as St James Ethics Centre) is an independent not-for-profit organisation that has been working for over 25 years to help people navigate the complexity and uncertainty of difficult ethical issues. The Ethics Centre delivers innovative programs, services and experiences, designed to bring ethics to the centre of professional and personal life, and align actions with values and principles.
I speak with Simon about how democracy and ethics interact, both ideally and in practice. Simon argues that “any divorce between ethics and politics completely destroys the capacity of democracy and particularly representative democracy to operate as it ought to do.”
The next episode of Real Democracy Now! a podcast will be the last in Season 2 and will be part 4 of the ‘one change to democracy’ set.
After that, I’ll be taking a break to put together Season 3, which is all about elections, voting and alternatives.