On the brink of politicisation: Reflections on ethical dilemmas in impact assessment practice
International Association for Impact Assessment.
School of Arts and Humanities
Like any other profession, impact assessment (IA) practice has its problematic aspects. Some of the pitfalls associated with IA practice relate to uncomfortable ethical issues with political undercurrents. This paper discusses an ethical dilemma encountered while carrying out an IA of the Australian federal government’s proposed university fees deregulation policy on regional West Australians in 2015–16. The article describes the political undertones around the research topic vis-à- vis the need to publish the findings during the politically charged atmosphere of the time. The manner in which these sensitivities were managed is also presented briefly, to serve as a guide for early career public policy IA practitioners who may find themselves in similar ethical quagmires.