What is government's role in regulating and fostering socially responsible behaviour from Australian companies?


A free public seminar in Melbourne proudly presented by IPRIA in association with the Melbourne Business School.

Over the last two decades, there has been increasing pressure on companies to display socially responsible behaviour. Some of this pressure comes from within the companies themselves, some comes from consumers and other stakeholders, and some comes from government. At one extreme, government can impose behaviours on firms through regulatory activity. At the other extreme, government can leave matters entirely in the hand of the companies themselves.

This panel discussion will push the debate past such a simple voluntarism/legislation dichotomy, and ask what government can and should do to encourage and shape socially responsible practices without resorting to explicit regulatory activity. The panel will examine questions such as: 

  • should the government be the arbiter of what is deemed socially responsible? 
  • should the government facilitate industry codes of conduct, and if so how?
  • what are the implications of such codes of conduct for the competitive position of businesses, both domestically and internationally?


Judith DownesJudith Downes is Non Exectuive Director at bankmecu. Prior to this she was Chief Financial Officer, Alumina Limited where she was responsible for finance, accounting, treasury, investor relations and taxation.

Judith has extensive financial experience gained during her career at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, and prior to that in public accounting. Prior to joining Alumina Limited in 2009, Judith was the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, Institutional Division, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) and Group General Manager Finance of ANZ. She joined ANZ Bank Group in 1996.

Judith is a member of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Advisory Council of International Accounting Standards Board. Judith was a former member of G100 Executive (Australia). She is a past Director of ING Australia and member of the Audit and Risk Management Committees, past member Australian Accounting Standards Board and Australian Urgent Issues Group and a past Director of Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute.

Andrew JohnAndrew John is Associate Professor of Economics at Melbourne Business School. He received his undergraduate economics degree from The University of Dublin, Trinity College, in 1981 and his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1988. He has been on faculty at INSEAD, the University of Virginia, and Michigan State University and held visiting appointments at the University of Michigan, the Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration, and the University of Texas (Austin). He joined MBS in 2009.

Andrew has consulting experience in economics, marketing, and strategy. He has worked with clients in Australia, Europe, and throughout the Asia-Pacific region, specializing in the pharmaceutical industry and in corporate social responsibility. He is an occasional contributor to ABC News Breakfast.

Andrew has taught MBA students at MBS, INSEAD (France and Singapore) and the Helsinki School. He has taught in executive programs at MBS, INSEAD and the Scandinavian International Management Institute in Denmark and was Director of two INSEAD executive education programs.

Andrew's published research is widely cited. It has appeared in the leading business and economics journals, including American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Monetary Economics, Management Science, Sloan Management Review, and Journal of Marketing. He is co-author of Economics: Applications and Theory, a Principles of Economics textbook (FlatWorld Knowledge, 2011).

Shelley MarshallShelley Marshall is well-respected internationally for her expertise on corporate accountability. She has published widely on the topic, particularly as it intersects with company law and labour law. She is the recipient of a number of grants that explore different mechanisms for enhancing corporate accountability, including a major Australian Research Council grant. She is co-editor of Fair Trade and Corporate Accountability: Experiments in Globalising Social Justice (Ashgate, 2010) and is co-author of Law, Corporate Governance and the Management of Labour: A Study of Australian Regulatory Style and Business Practice (Ashgate 2011). She has also written numerous journal articles on similar topics including ‘Shareholder Primacy and Director’s Duties: An Australian Perspective’ in the Journal of Corporate Law Studies and  'Corporate Social Responsibility and the Management of Labour in Two Australian Mining Industry Companies' in Corporate Governance: An International Review. Her latest book is New Visions for Market Governance: Crisis and Renewal (Routledge, 2012).  She is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Business Law and Taxation at Monash University, Australia. - View presentation

Nigel RidgwayNigel Ridgway is Group General Manager for Compliance Operations within the ACCC. With qualifications in law and public policy and experience in running a small business before joining the ACCC, Nigel has a particular interest in working with industry to ensure that the ACCC's regulatory work is informed by market experience and to encourage businesses to make compliance with the law a part of their business as usual.

Nigel's responsibilities beyond industry compliance, include the ACCC's product safety, consumer protection, small business, industry codes functions. He is also responsible for the ACCC's information centre which responded to in excess of 40,000 contacts in the last three months.


Continuing Professional Development

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Wednesday 14 November 2012
6pm - 7:30pm

Refreshments from 5:30pm

Coles Theatre
Melbourne Business School
200 Leicester Street

Event Flyer


This is a free public event, registration is required.

register online


Ms Lyn Buchanan
Ph: +61 3 8344 2153
Fax: +61 3 8344 2111
Email: info@ipria.org