Go to top of page

AIHW Ethics Committee

The AIHW Ethics Committee is established under section 16(1) of the AIHW Act. Its main responsibility is to advise on the ethical acceptability or otherwise of current or proposed health- and welfare-related activities of the AIHW, or of bodies with which we are associated. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (Ethics Committee) Regulations 2018 prescribe the committee’s functions and composition and can be found at www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2018L00317.

The committee is recognised by the National Health and Medical Research Council as a properly constituted human research ethics committee, and an annual report of its activities in each calendar year is provided to the council.

Subject to the requirements of the AIHW Act and the Privacy Act, we may release personal health and welfare data for research purposes with the written approval of the committee, provided that release is consistent with the terms and conditions under which the data were supplied to us. The committee also approves the establishment of new health and welfare data collections.

AIHW Ethics Committee. Front row (left to right): Damien Tillack, Margaret Reynolds and Tim Driscoll. Middle row (left to right): Barbara Anderson and Barry Sandison. Back row (left to right): Owen Bradfield, Nicholas White, Wayne Jackson, Amanda Ianna and Maryjane Crabtree.

Committee members

Information about individual board members is current as at 30 June 2019 and includes qualifications, current positions and professional affiliations. Information on attendance at Ethics Committee meetings is at Appendix 2: Meeting attendance—AIHW Board and AIHW Ethics Committee, and outgoing members.​​​​

Wayne Jackson PSM
Wayne Jackson PSM BEc (Hons)
Chair

Terms: 1 July 2013–30 June 2016; 1 July 2016–30 June 2019; July 2019–30 June 2022

Mr Jackson is a retired Australian Government public servant, having served as deputy secretary in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the (then) Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA). He chaired a wide range of interdepartmental and corporate committees, including the FaHCSIA Risk Assessment and Audit Committee and the Research Committee, and was a member of the Australian Statistics Advisory Council.

He was awarded a Public Service Medal in 2006 for outstanding service in the development and implementation of social policy. He served as a Board member of Aboriginal Hostels Limited from 2009 to 2016.

Barry Sandison
Barry Sandison BBusMgt, FANZSG
Chief Executive Officer

See Chief Executive Officer for CEO's biography.

Barbara Anderson
Barbara Anderson BPsych (Hons), MPsych (Clinical)
Person experienced in the professional care, counselling and treatment of people

Term: 27 June 2019–26 June 2022

Ms Anderson is a clinical psychologist with 16 years’ experience, currently working in a community youth-based mental health service and a private practice in Townsville.

Owen Bradfield
Owen Bradfield MBBS (Hons), BMedSc (Hons), LLB, MBA, FRACGP
Person experienced in the professional care, counselling and treatment of people

Term: 27 June 2019–26 June 2022

Dr Bradfield is a registered medical practitioner and lawyer.

He is Deputy Chairperson of the Patient Review Panel, a Lawyer Member of the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services Human Research Ethics Committee and a member of the Suitability Panel. He is a former Chairperson of the Health Law Committee of the Law Institute of Victoria.

Tim Driscoll
Tim Driscoll FAVOEM, FAFPHM, PhD, MOHS, MBBS, BSc (Med)
Person experienced in areas of research regularly considered by the committee

Terms: 1 July 2016–30 June 2019; 1 July 2019–30 June 2022

Professor Driscoll is an occupational epidemiologist and a specialist physician in occupational and environmental medicine and public health medicine. He is a Professor in epidemiology and occupational medicine in the Sydney School of Public Health at the University of Sydney and is Director of the Master of Public Health.

Amanda Ianna
Amanda Ianna GradCert- ChangeMgt, AGSM
Nominee of Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages

Term: Ex-officio appointment

Ms Ianna has extensive experience in the field of civil registration, organisational change and leadership. She is currently the 17th Registrar (since 1856) at the New South Wales Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages which she commenced in 2014, one of only two women to hold this position.

Nicholas White
Nicholas White BA (Hons), GradDipEd, PhD
Person who is a minister of religion

Term: 12 December 2017–11 December 2020

The Reverend Dr White is a social anthropologist and Anglican priest, currently Archdeacon for Diocesan Partnerships with the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne. Dr White has held social policy roles in the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Department for Victorian Communities.

Dr White also serves on the Ethics Committee of the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

Maryjane Crabtree
Maryjane Crabtree BA/LLB, GAICD
Person who is a lawyer

Terms: 14 April 2016–13 April 2019; 14 April 2019–13 April 2022

Ms Crabtree was a partner of Allens Linklaters, until her retirement in 2016. She is currently the President of the Epworth HealthCare Board of Management, Deputy Chair of the Racing Analytical Services Board and a member of Chief Executive Women, the Victorian Legal Admissions Board, the Board of Ormond College, the Coronial Council of Victoria and the Board of Rugby Victoria.

Damien Tillack
Damien Tillack BA, BEd (Grad)(Sec)
Male representing general community attitudes

Term: 28 March 2019–27 March 2022

Mr Tillack is a primary school principal. His most recent appointment is principal at Townsville Central State School. He has been an educator for over 20 years and is currently completing a Master of Educational Leadership at the University of Queensland. Mr Tillack’s previous appointment was principal, Vincent State School.

Margaret Reynolds
Margaret Reynolds BA, Dip Special Ed
Female representing general community attitudes

Terms: 17 August 2011–16 August 2014; 17 August 2014–16 August 2017; 17 August 2017–16 August 2020

The Hon. Margaret Reynolds has had a career in education and social issues public policy. She is a former senator for Queensland and served as minister for local government and the status of women.

She was CEO of National Disability Services in Tasmania and was an inaugural member of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation.

Work of the committee

The committee met 5 times in 2018–19. It provided approvals regarding the ethical acceptability of 257 new or modified projects and data collections.

New project applications

In 2018–19, the committee considered 58 new project applications compared with 76 and 62 in the previous 2 years. Of these, 45 were approved and 2 were declined.

Of the 58 new applications, 46 were submitted by researchers from external organisations, such as departments and research centres affiliated with universities or large metropolitan teaching hospitals. For example, applications were received from the University of Queensland, University of Tasmania, the Centre for Big Data Research in Health (University of NSW), Curtin University, the University of Melbourne, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, the Fiona Stanley Hospital and other major Australian universities.

The committee also received applications from research organisations such as the Kirby Institute, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and various government agencies, including Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Australian Government Department of Health and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. The AIHW submitted 12 new applications.

There were 33 applications that sought approval for linkage to the National Death Index (NDI) which is held at the AIHW.

Increasingly, researchers are requesting NDI linkage with MBS and PBS data.

Other AIHW-held databases to which access was sought included the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection, the National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse and hospitals data.

Monitoring projects

The committee monitors approved projects to their completion, and considers requests for modifications to previously approved projects. Researchers submitted 402 annual monitoring reports in 2018–19.

Requests for modification or extension

In all, 213 requests for amendment were considered during the year (Table 4.1). Approximately 57% (121) were requests for an extension of time and/or proposed research staff changes.

Table 4.1: Research project applications considered by the AIHW Ethics Committee, 2018–19

Considered

Approved

Rejected/

Withdrawn

Decision pending

Applications for approval

AIHW

12

12

External researchers

46

33

2

11

Subtotal

58

45

2

11

Applications for modification or extension

AIHW

19

19

External researchers

194

193

1

Subtotal

213

212

1

Total

271

257

2

12

Finalised projects

To ensure that research outcomes are freely available, the committee requires public dissemination of the results of approved projects. In 2018–19, it received 21 final project reports accompanied by associated research results, most of which were published in peer-reviewed journals or other publicly available reports.

There are some limited exceptions where results are not released into the public domain: an example is when data are provided to a government department to enable it to create a model for internal use. In this situation, it is expected that any learnings are shared among other interested government agencies.