Peter Bowden

Peter Bowden researches, writes, & lectures in institutional & organisational ethics & public interest disclosures (whistleblowing). He holds a BE with credits, in engineering, University of Sydney; Post Graduate Diploma in Financial Management, Securities Institute, Sydney; MSc with distinction, in Politics and Administration, London School of Economics; and a PhD from Monash University (on institutional monitoring and evaluation). For his international multidisciplinary work in over 30 countries, see separate CV here

Research interests

Moral philosophy; teaching/ training in ethics, institutional & organisational ethical practices; codes of ethics; public interest disclosures (whistleblowing).

Contact details

Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney
Postal address: 6 Teakle Street, Summer Hill, NSW, 2130;
Phone: (h) 02 9797 6459 | (m) 0418 166 577
Email: |


  • BE with credits, University of Sydney;
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Financial Management, Securities Institute, Sydney;
  • MSc with distinction, in Politics and Administration, London School of Economics;
  • PhD, Monash University (on institutional monitoring and evaluation).

Current work (2003 – now)

  • Research Associate, Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney;
  • Lecturer in ethics, Faculty of Engineering, University of Sydney;
  • National Secretary, Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics.


  • In the Public Interest. Protecting Whistleblowers and Those Who Speak Out, Tilde University Press, Melbourne, 2014.
  • Editor, Applied Ethics, Tilde University Press, Melbourne, 2012.
  • With W.J. Byrt, Public Management, Macmillan, Sydney, 1989.
  • National Monitoring and Evaluation, Gower, London, 1988.
  • Organisation and Strategy, McGraw Hill, Sydney, 1985; (used on MBA programs throughout Australia)

Book chapters

  • “Adopting a Social Responsibility Strategy within a University”; Chapter in Management Education for Corporate Social Performance. Information Age Publishing, Charlotte, NC, forthcoming, 2018.
  • “Harm to Others”. Chapter in “Applied Ethics. Remembering Patrick Primeau” Research in Ethical Issues in Organisations.Vol 8 Emerald Publishing, 2012.
  • “Codes of Ethics”. Chapter in Corporate Ethics, Krishna C S (ed.) ICFAI University Press, (Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India) Hyderabad, 2010.
  • “Ethics, Good Governance and Whistleblowing” Chapter in Corporate Governance, Suzanne Young (ed.), Tilde University Press, 2009.
  • “NGOs, Governments and the Development Agencies”, Chapter in Education and Development, J. Lynch, C&S Modgil (eds.), London, Cassell, 1997.

Conference papers & presentations

  • 2017. Understanding Conservatism. University of Sydney
  • 2017. Is Conservatism moral? Australian Business Ethics Conference
  • 2016 “ An Overriding Ethical Guideline” Conference Proceedings, Australian Business Ethics Conference; Brisbane, submitted to the Australasian Journal of Philosophy
  • 2016 Assertion V’s Evidence: Philosophy’s Black Hole, Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics, working paper
  • 2015 “Toward a more Ethical World” Conference proceedings; Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics.
  • 2015 “Why do Philosophers Argue? Submitted to the British Journal for the History of Philosophy.
  • 2014. “Why I am Still a Utilitarian”Australian Ethics.
  • 2013. “A Comparison of Whistleblower Effectiveness – The US, the UK and Australia” Conference Proceedings; Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics.
  • 2013. Empiricism, Moral Philosophy and Ethical Behaviour Philosophy Study. Vol.3, No.2.
  • 2012. “Building Ethical Behaviour”.Australian Ethics.
  • 2012. Strengthening Ethical Practices.Conference Proceedings; Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics.
  • 2011. “Do politicians have ethical obligations?"Australian Ethics.
  • 2010. "Stopping Corporate Wrongs - The effectiveness of Australian whistleblower reforms" Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics. Vol. 12 Nos, 1 & 2.
  • 2010. "Evolution in the teaching and practice of ethics"Australian Ethics.
  • 2010. "Teaching Ethics to Engineers – A research based perspective"European Journal of Engineering EducationVol 35, No 5.
  • 2009. "Whistleblowing: The ethical priority".Australian Ethics.
  • 2009. “Priorities in Teaching Ethics” 4th.Asia-Pacific Conference on Educational Integrity University of Wollongong.
  • 2009. “In Defence of Utilitarianism”. Conference Proceedings: the Australian
  • 2009 “What is the key question for public sector ethics?” Australian Ethics
    Association of Professional and Applied Ethics, Charles Sturt University, Goulburn NSW.
  • 2009. With Vanya Smythe, “Ethics, Good Governance and Whistleblowing,” inContemporary Issues in International Corporate Governance. Suzanne Young Editor. Tilde University Press.
  • 2008. "Institutionalising Ethical Behaviour" Australian Journal of Professional and Applied EthicsVol 10 Nos, 1 & 2.
  • 2008. with Vanya Smythe. "Making Codes of ethics effective",Keeping Good Companies,/ Journal of Chartered Secretaries, Australia.
  • 2008. with Abbas El-Zein, David Airey, and Henriikka Clarkburn, “Sustainability and ethics as decision-making paradigms in engineering curricula”International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education Vol. 9, No. 2 pp. 170-182.
  • 2008. with Vanya Smythe, “Codes Of Ethics” Keeping Good Companies.Journal of Chartered Secretaries, Australia. Vol 60, No. 10 pp. 584-588.
  • 2008. with Vanya Smythe, “Theories on Teaching Ethics”Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies, Vol.13, No.2 pp.19-26.
  • 2007. “Institutionalising Ethical Behaviour”Conference Proceedings: Australian Association of Professional and Applied Ethics, RMIT University.
  • 2007. ‘Structure and Creativity. A Civil Service Hypothesis’ Public Administration, April.
  • 2006. “Underpinning a discipline-specific ethics course”Conference Proceedings: Australian Association of Professional and Applied Ethics, University of NSW.
  • 2006. “A Comparative Analysis of Whistleblower Protections”Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics. Vol. 8 No 2.
  • 2005. “Virtue Ethics, Aristotle and Organisational Behaviour”,Conference Proceedings; Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics.

  • A Christian church
    Religion & Spirituality - 22/02/2017 - 15 comments
  • My country, my shame
    Society - 28/11/2016 - 12 comments
  • Softening Australia's position on refugees
    Law & Liberties - 30/09/2016 - 41 comments
  • Would abolishing 18c be moral?
    Political Philosophy - 16/08/2016 - 49 comments
  • Australia could take many more refugee families
    Law & Liberties - 5/08/2016 - 69 comments
  • Turnbull's error
    Domestic Politics - 13/07/2016 - 32 comments
  • The big questions: sexual abuse in the Catholic Church
    Society - 7/03/2016 - 5 comments
  • Whither Catholicism?
    Law & Liberties - 23/10/2015 - 38 comments
  • The ethics of a murder suicide. Law & Liberties - 16/10/2015 - 23 comments
  • Lessons for history from an Australian prime minister
    Society - 14/09/2015 - 70 comments
  • Gough Whitlam with very faint praise
    Domestic Politics - 30/10/2014 - 4 comments
  • News of the World: Why whistle blowers don't blow the whistle and why ethics aren’t ethics
    Media - 12/07/2011 - 7 comments
  • Was it whistleblowing?
    Law & Liberties - 11/04/2011 - 25 comments
  • Religion: is it forever?
    Religion & Spirituality - 22/07/2009 - 37 comments
  • Naked children, moral philosophy and photographs
    Political Philosophy - 15/08/2008 - 93 comments
  • Moral acceptability
    The Arts - 3/06/2008 - 64 comments
  • God, atheism, and human needs
    Religion & Spirituality - 18/01/2008 - 81 comments
  • Philosophy’s dilemma: the institutionalising of ethics
    October 2004 Feature - 11/10/2004 - 1 comment
  • January 29, 2015
    How do we decide if offending someone is unethical or not?
  • August 28, 2014
    Telling right from wrong: Why is utilitarianism under attack?

Philosophy Café talks (

  • April 10, 2017 Causes of War. And their Possible Solutions,
  • September, 12 2016 An Overriding Ethical Guideline
  • April 27, 2015 A Review: Jonathan Haidt, 2013 . The Righteous Mind, Why Good People are divided by Politics and Religion,
  • August 1, 2013 Wikileaks - Right or Wrong?
  • May 2, 2013 Ethics for a Dinner Party
  • May 1, 2012 The Failure of Moral Philosophy
  • July 6, 2010 Was Julia Ethical? (
  • May 29,2007 Dawkins on God
  • August 2006 Existentialism (
  • April 27,2005 Religion. Is it forever? (
  • June 2, 2004, Evolutionary Psychology
  • February 19, 2004 God, Atheism, and Human Values

Magazines & newspapers; working papers

  • Magazines & newspapers; working papers
  • “The Argument for more protection”, Canberra Times, December, 2008 (on public servants speaking out)
  • “Concerns about workmanship head ethics challenges” Engineers Australia March 2006
  • “Not in the Public Interest “, Federal Gallery, Journal of the Association of Former Members of Parliament, March 2006,
  • “A Practical Role for Philosophy”, Philosophy Now, Aug/Sept. 2005
  • “The Ethics of Whistleblowing”. The Whistle, Whistleblowers Australia, January, 2003,
  • “On Lies” Living Ethics Forum, The St James Ethics Centre, Summer, 2003
  • “The Failure of Ethical Philosophy”, Living Ethics, The St James Ethics Centre, Sydney, Winter, 2002
  • “Health through Theatre in the Pacific”, Development Bulletin No. 50, October 1999,
  • “NGOs in Asia. Issues in Development”, Public Administration and Development, Vol 10,1990.
  • Training Materials Handbook, 1991, Economic Development Institute of the World Bank: Washington, DC, as below:
    - The Appraisal of Management Effectiveness, in French and English, Document 285/007, Shelf No. EO 269, World Bank, Washington DC,
    - Central Monitoring and Evaluation, in French and English, Document 580/005, Shelf No. EO 608, World Bank, Washington DC,
    - Problems of Implementation, in Chinese and English. Document 605/010, Shelf No. EO 623, World Bank, Washington DC.
  • “Institutional Assessment: A Framework for Analysis”: World Bank, Washington DC, Country Economics Department Working Paper, July 1989 (mimeo).
  • “Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship: What We Know”. Working Paper, Department of Management, University of Newcastle, 1986.
  • “Problems of Implementation” Public Administration and Development, Jan. - March 1986.
  • “Problem Oriented Training”, Training and Development, March,1986
  • “Strategy in the Service Industries” The Practising Manager, March, 1985.
  • “Papers on Development Administration”, Australian Development Assistance Bureau, Department of Management, University of Newcastle, 1985:
    - “National Economic Planning”, “Budgeting in the LDC’s”, “Program Budgeting”,
    - “Assessing Budget Priorities”, “The Central Evaluation of Development Programs”,
    - “Project Management Systems”.
  • “Graduate Education in Public Administration”, Teaching Public Administration, University of Manchester, Volume 4, No. 1, Spring 1984.
  • With M. McCracken (Eds.) “Lobbying: The Persuasion of Government”. Proceedings of the 19th Annual Conference of the Management Systems Council, Monash University, December 1982 (mimeo).
  • “Developments in Program Budgeting”, Department of Administrative Studies Working Paper, Monash University, November 1982. (The research for this paper was partially funded by the World Bank for the 1983 World Development report).
  • “The Management of Development Programs” (2 vols.), Department of Administrative Studies, Monash University, 1981, funded by the World Bank.
  • Have also undertaken Radio Interviews (5); Appearances before parliamentary inquiries (4)

Book Reviews

  • Ethics in Practice. Moral Theory and the Professions Andrew Alexandra and Seumas Miller, UNSW Press, 2009, in Australian Ethics, May 2010.
  • Right & Wrong, How to decide for yourself, Hugh Mackay, Sydney, Hodder Headline , 2004. On The Ethics Network
  • Corruption and Anti-Corruption, An Applied Philosophical Approach. Seumas Miller, Peter Roberts, and Edward Spence: New Jersey, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004. Also on The Ethics Network
  • “Who rules the world”, Noam Chomsky Hamish Hamilton, 2016

Employment history

  • 2005 to now: Independent research, writing and lecturing on ethics and public management.
  • 1988-2005: Independent consulting and advisory work with the international agencies – the World Bank, United Nations, the Asian and African Development Banks, and directly with a number of governments, on overall economic and social development strategies.
  • 1976-1988: Professor of Administration at Manchester University in the UK, previously Sr. Lecturer on the MBA program at Monash University, Coordinator of the MBA program in 1983.
  • 1973-1976: Sr. Planning advisor with the World Bank. Assignments undertaken in India, Pakistan, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya, plus several countries in the Pacific.
  • 1975: Obtained MSc in Politics at the London School of Economics, with distinction.
  • 1967-1973: Director, Stanford Research Institute in Australia.
  • 1963-1967: Sr. consultant, later managing consultant, with Management Systems Corporation, a management consulting firm under the direction of Prof. J Sterling Livingston of the Harvard Business School. Projects undertaken in California, Washington DC, Delhi, and Jordan. Was team leader of a group of US consultants on the Delhi assignment.
  • The years after graduation in 1956 were spent on engineering work with the Snowy Mountains Authority in Australia, with Taylor Woodrow in the UK, and Ontario Hydro in Canada. With this last organisation became responsible for long term planning of engineering works – a capability that opened up the management consulting work.