Need help in starting a conversation about an ethical issue?

Friday 1 August, 2014
by Kathleen Gilbert
Kathleen Gilbert, the Ethi-call Coordinator, writes of the temptation to take the easy way out when faced with a difficult ethical dilemma. In such situations, she suggests the service offered by Ethi-call, a free and confidential ethics counselling service facilitated by St James Ethics Centre. On behalf of Ethi-call, Kathleen supports the BFO in providing useful guidance to individuals who might be struggling with an ethical dilemma.


All of us make ethical choices every day. Most of the time we don’t have much trouble deciding what the right thing to do is, but sometimes the picture can look rather grey and the right path not so obvious.

When choices are difficult, there are always pressures — to take the easy way, to do what others want us to do, to keep quiet when we feel we should speak out, or to do what ‘is always done’.

When the warning lights of ethical discomfort start to flash, Ethi-call can help. Your issue might be a large one, or you might be feeling just a small niggle that suggests things aren’t quite right. Regardless, attending to that small niggle or large ethical issue can often make a very big difference to the outcome of your decision.

Similar to the Banking and Finance Oath, which offers a community of support for ethical conversations and dilemmas – so too does Ethi-call offer an avenue for support for people to deal with ethical issues.

Ethi-call is a free and confidential ethics counselling service offered by St James Ethics Centre. The service is independent and non-judgemental. Counsellors don’t tell callers what they think is the ethical thing to do. Instead, they offer a reflective space to help callers think through all aspects of the situation, looking at the rights and duties of all stakeholders, the caller’s own values and principles, and the consequences of different courses of action. At the end of the session, callers are usually in a better position to decide on a course of action they feel is the best available in the circumstances.

Ethi-call supports the BFO community as it supports anyone anywhere in Australia who is facing a difficult decision or thinking through an ethical challenge.

If warning signs of ethical discomfort were heeded from the outset by individuals starting a conversation about ethics, then down the track the same individuals might not be facing the much more monumental ethical dilemma of whether or not to blow the whistle on what they know could lead to, or is, widespread unethical practice.

When you need it, Ethi-call can help you start the conversation. Call 1800 672 303 – free from anywhere in Australia.

See our website for more information.

Kathleen Gilbert - Ethi-call Coordinator

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The Oath

  • Trust is the foundation of my profession.
  • I will serve all interests in good faith.
  • I will compete with honour.
  • I will pursue my ends with ethical restraint.
  • I will help create a sustainable future.
  • I will help create a more just society.
  • I will speak out against wrongdoing and support others who do the same.
  • I will accept responsibility for my actions.

In these and all other matters;
My word is my bond.

The Vision

A banking and finance industry that meets the community’s needs and has its full confidence thereby fulfilling its integral role in society.