In an earlier post reference was made to a segment on ABC’s New South Wales Stateline, 'An Ethicist Admits' (28th October), on the St James Ethic’s Centre’s Dr Simon Longstaff. The segment raised the question of whether Dr Longstaff’s non-disclosure of a financial link between the Centre and Macquarie Bank, when consulted on Macquarie’s recruitment of former New South Wales Premier Bob Carr, was unethical. The piece cast a shadow of doubt over appiled professional ethics and ethics consultancy.
Dr Longstaff readily admitted that that non-disclosure was unethical: “Firstly, in a hurry, focussing on the political dimension and also probably in the back of my mind thinking that this is not something which is having an influence on me because I don't get anything out of it personally, there is no direct obligation or duty to Macquarie. That said, there is an ethical issue and an ethical failure, which I am quite happy to mention”.
The incident raises the question of what normative principles should form the code that is applied to ethical consultancy?