HDR students

Our HDR students

Madeleine Archer

Examining the impact of regulation on decision-making about assisted dying in Belgium: holistic understandings of the Belgian regulatory space and lessons for Australian regulation.

Whilst there is much research on assisted dying in Belgium since its legalisation almost two decades ago, a holistic analysis of the regulatory influences on behaviour and decision-making in relation to assisted dying has not been undertaken. This study seeks to map Belgium’s assisted dying regulatory space, in order to identify the regulatory actors and tools which operate within this regime, and to critically analyse them with respect to their interactions and interrelationships. The findings from this analysis may have implications for improving regulation in Belgium and in Australia, where assisted dying regulation is relatively new.

Principal Supervisor: Professor Ben White
Associate Supervisors: Professor Lindy Willmott, Luc Deliens and Kenneth Chambaere

Isaac Atley

A Normative Evaluation of Access to Voluntary Assisted Dying Legislation for People with Dementia.

Dementia will soon become the most common cause of death in Australia. It causes unbearable suffering and is incurable, yet the option of Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) is unavailable due to the view that people with dementia lose their decision-making capacity too early, and therefore cannot make an informed decision. This research aims to analyse the ethical and legal arguments behind the access, or lack thereof, to VAD for people with dementia, and form a normative framework to assess whether advance health directives could overcome this issue of access. The results of the research may have implications for upcoming regulatory reviews of Australian VAD legislation.

Principal Supervisor: Professor Ben White
Associate Supervisor: Professor Lindy Willmott

Natasha Ayling

Barriers and facilitators to mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect in early childhood education.

Early childhood educators have only relatively recently become mandatory reporters of child maltreatment. Limited research has been conducted to understand the prevailing barriers and facilitators that might impact on how this child protection policy reform is enacted. This study will employ exploratory sequential mixed method design to fill gaps in current research by drawing on the perspectives of the early childhood workforce.

Principal Supervisor: Professor Kerryann Walsh
Associate Supervisors: Professor Kate Williams, Professor Ben Mathews

Maya Rose Chandra

Child emotional maltreatment and young people’s mental health in Australia: associations, influential characteristics, and implications for prevention and protection.

Emotional maltreatment may be one of the most prevalent and psychologically harmful forms of child maltreatment, yet it remains the least understood. This project will investigate the nature of the relationship between emotional maltreatment and mental health in young people in Australia. The aim of this project is to advance our understanding of the impact of emotional abuse and emotional neglect. The findings may have implications for public health prevention and child protection strategies.

Principal Supervisor: Professor Ben Mathews
Associate Supervisor: Dr Steph Jowett

Kristina Chelberg

Construction of Dementia in Australian Aged Care Public Discourse and Law.

Ageing and dementia are key health and social issues facing contemporary societies. Deficits in the Australian aged care system have been the subject of numerous enquiries and reports, including the current Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. At the same time, public discourse on ageing is frequently negative, while representations of dementia stigmatise it to be ‘all that is most feared about growing old’. This research project explores the narratives of dementia in Australia, their representation in the public discourse of key stakeholders and institutions, and finally, how these narratives may become embedded in the legislative and regulatory framework of the aged care system.

Principal Supervisor: Professor Kieran Tranter
Associate Supervisor: Professor Shih-Ning Then

Aurélie Copin

Conscientious objection to voluntary assisted dying – ethics, law and practice.

This thesis seeks to determine where the boundaries of conscientious objection (CO) to voluntary assisted dying (VAD) should be defined. This research will examine the limits that may exist to CO, the ethical acceptability of the construction of CO in current legislative frameworks and the impacts of CO on clinical practice. The findings hope to inform future legislative frameworks and processes governing practice as VAD becomes operational across Australia.

Principal Supervisor: Associate Professor Andrew McGee
Associate Supervisors: Professor Ben White, Professor Lindy Willmott

David Cusack

Critical Analysis of Institutional Conscience in the Delivery of VAD Services.

This research examines the ethical and legal legitimacy of claims of a right to institutional conscientious objection to legally permitted voluntary assisted dying (VAD) services in Australia.

Principal Supervisor: Associate Professor Andrew McGee
Associate Supervisors: Professor Ben White, Professor Lindy Willmott

Elizabeth Dallaston

The Defence of Reasonable Chastisement and Lawful Physical Punishment of Children under Australian Criminal Law.

Historically, the defence of reasonable chastisement gave husbands the right to physically punish their wives, and masters to punish apprentices. However, the contemporary law provides this excuse only in the case of children. The aim of this program of research is to analyse and evaluate the current Australian law of physical punishment from both moral and public health perspectives.

Principal Supervisor: Professor Ben Mathews
Associate Supervisor: Andrew Garwood-Gowers

Michele Davis

Disentitling conduct. Human rights and moral ambiguity: an analysis of the impact of elder abuse in family provision claims in Queensland and New South Wales.

An analysis of how elder abuse when alleged as a defence of disentitling conduct affects the resolution of family provision claims and how the principles of human rights and morality assist in the resolution of court and out-of-court disputes.

Principal Supervisor: Professor Tina Cockburn
Associate Supervisor: Associate Professor Kelly Purser

Antonia Horst

Regulation in the Face of Technological Change – 3D Printed Medical Products.

This thesis addresses the regulation in emerging technological contexts with a focus on 3D printed medical products. The thesis adopts a socio-legal perspective and combines legal doctrinal analysis with findings from stakeholder interviews, and is expected to show relevance in a 3D printing context as well as in the field of technology regulation more broadly.

Principal Supervisor: Associate Professor Fiona McDonald
Associate Supervisor: Dr Stephen Whyte

Laura Fiona Ley Greaves

A longitudinal study of medial practitioners’ experiences following the commencement of Voluntary Assisted Dying in Queensland.

A longitudinal study of medical practitioners regarding voluntary assisted dying (VAD) has not been explored in Australia. This project looks to understand the perspectives and experiences of medical practitioners involved with VAD, and how these might evolve from the initial implementation and early practice stages, through to a more established practice in Queensland.

Principal Supervisor: Professor Ben White
Associate Supervisor: Professor Lindy Willmott, Dr Rachel Feeney

Ruthie Jeanneret

Patient and Family Perspectives of Voluntary Assisted Dying in Canada and Australia.

Little is known about the role that patients and families play in regulating voluntary assisted dying (VAD). This project aims to advance an understanding of the role that patients and families play in the regulation of VAD, how they interact with other regulatory actors, and how regulation can be improved.

Principal Supervisor: Dr Eliana Close
Associate Supervisor: Professor Ben White, Professor Lindy Willmott

Steven William Pidgeon

Investigating how the concept of dangerousness is constructed in psychiatric evidence, and how this informs medicolegal decisions involving involuntary hospitalisation, forensic orders and continuing detention orders for sexual offenders.

The power of the State to detain persons is a serious matter, for which a whole range of checks and balances have been developed to limit it. When the State asserts its power to detain persons in a preventive way (whether to protect the person from themselves, or to protect society from things a person might do), it raises even more serious political, legal and ethical dilemmas. Decisions related to involuntary hospitalisation and preventive detention are informed by, among other things, psychiatric evidence. This study will involve Foucauldian discourse analysis of legislation, policy documents, and case reports related to medicolegal decisions, in understanding the construction of the concept of dangerousness and risk in psychiatry, how this informs legal decisions, and how in turn the discourse of law shapes psychiatric discourse.

Principal Supervisor: Dr Sam Boyle
Associate Supervisor: Professor Matthew Ball

Sinead Prince

The patriarchy and the post-enhanced world: will women finally be equal?

This project will analyse the ethics of genetic enhancement from a fresh perspective: feminism. Much of the current literature analyses the ethics of genetic enhancement from equality, well-being, libertarian, or utilitarian perspectives, without any attention to the perspective of women and their position in a post-enhanced world. Legal regulators must see the future of genetic enhancement with an inclusive vision and move beyond the patriarchal assumption that the ethics of enhancement are within the confines of what is ethical for the enhanced male.

Principal Supervisor: Associate Professor Andrew McGee
Associate Supervisor: Dr Sam Boyle
Mentoring Supervisor: Professor Shih-Ning Then

Agalya Rajendra

The application of Guardianship and Restrictive Practices Laws in Australian Aged Care facilities

Adults in aged care facilities without capacity to provide informed consent to restrictive practices must be appointed a substitute decision-maker. Australian laws dictate who can be appointed a substitute decision-maker for restrictive practice purposes. This research explores the evolution of guardianship and restrictive practice laws in Australia within an aged care setting, the disparity between national requirements and the operation of state and territory laws, human rights issues concerning authorisation and informed consent, and the regulation of restrictive practices from an ethical standpoint.

Principal Supervisor: Associate Professor Shih-Ning Then
Associate Supervisor: Dr Katrine Del Villar

Himani Sabharwal

Precision Medicine: Patent Law, Medical Diagnostics, and Sustainable Development

Precision medicine and diagnostic tools provide for better prognosis, diagnosis and treatment than traditional medicine. Therefore, this research would advocate the need for expanding statutory subject matter eligibility to include inventions pertaining to precision medicine and diagnostics for encouraging developments and investment in this field of technology. It would be a comparative study to analyse whether the existing patent subject matter eligibility sections and clauses in legislations and regulations adequately include precision medicine in Australia, US and Europe. Additionally, the research would suggest reforms in existing patent legislations or recommend new guidelines to incentivise and spur developments in the precision medicine field in India.

Principal Supervisor: Professor Matthew Rimmer
Associate Supervisor: Dr. Muhammad Zaheer Abbas

Anne Walsh

Regulation Research Integrity

This research will examine the implications and consequences for research integrity regulation in Australia and articulate principles that could guide further regulation or regulatory frameworks. Any future regulatory framework must balance the public’s expectations for accountability whilst fostering the underlying value of trust imperative for scientific conduct.

Principal Supervisor: Associate Professor Fiona McDonald
Associate Supervisors: Professor Shih-Ning Then, Dr Peta Stephenson

Amanda Ward

Evolving the forfeiture rule to address the abuse and exploitation of older people.

Despite an increased awareness of how ‘inheritance impatience’ can fuel elder financial abuse, there is little examination of what role succession law can play in disincentivising abuse and safeguarding the human rights of older people. This project uses a human rights lens to consider whether Australia’s forfeiture rule could be utilised to disinherit perpetrators of elder financial abuse, as demonstrated by the United States’ analogous expanded slayer rule.

Principal Supervisor: Associate Professor Kelly Purser
Associate Supervisor: Professor Tina Cockburn
External Supervisor: Professor Bridget Crawford

Julie Witham

A human rights examination of the barriers and enablers which impact police investigation into alleged financial abuse of older Australians.

Financial elder abuse ranges from innocent mismanagement to substantial criminal conduct victimising older people and is recognised as a significant social problem in Australia. This research will examine police responses to allegations of criminal conduct in relation to the financial abuse of older Australians.

Principal Supervisor: Professor Tina Cockburn
Associate Supervisor: Associate Professor Kelly Purser