Critics’ Reviews

Two of Australia’s leading practical ethicists, … drawing on a decade of personal experience in researching, assisting and advising the Queensland Government on initiatives to encourage ethics and prevent corruption, set forth their blueprint for a best practice integrity system or “ethics regime”.

The book is divided into three parts: a theoretical and conceptual framework for an ethics regime; an examination of the place of the individual within a world of institutional ethics; and an outline of the Queensland governance reforms following the Fitzgerald Inquiry.

This is essential reading for anyone concerned about integrity and ethics in any institution, private or public. – National Institute for Governance Newsletter, No 2(4), May 2003

A welcome addition to the Australian literature … brings together a critical history of the post-Fitzgerald reforms to Queensland governance with a more general analysis of design principles relevant to public-sector ethics. The account of Queensland is used as something of a test case …

The theme is that ethics can and should be made the heart of governance reform, if the reforming elite has the will to extend public accountability to cover compliance with legitimate democratic values. … The argument in support of this case is … something called ‘institutional ethics’ [which] is contrasted with ‘individual ethics’ … The challenge then becomes how to institutionalise character.

The merit of an institutionalised approach is that it sees the problem in systemic terms with individuals repsonding to institutional cues about what is proper according to public-sector context rather than simply their private conscience. … Codes of conduct emerge as favoured institutions but the book has no hard evidence on the power of codes to institutionalise official conduct. The final chapter sensibly favours as many checks and balances as one can imagine, again placing ‘virtue’ in a solid institutional setting. … – John Uhr, Australian Journal of Political Science, Vol 38(3), November 2003

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