The Speech Pathology Australia Code of Ethics outlines the principles and values speech pathologists aspire to in ethical decision making.

Members of Speech Pathology Australia (the Association) are required to abide by the Code of Ethics within all professional activities. It is fundamental to the professional responsibilities of speech pathologists that they observe the highest standards of integrity and ethical principles.

The Senior Advisor Ethics and Professional Issues provides support to members and the general public regarding ethical issues or queries, and is available to discuss the ethical and professional conduct of speech pathologists.

Review of the Code of Ethics

Speech Pathology Australia initially developed a Code of Ethics (the Code) for members in 1976 and has regularly revised the Code, in 1987, 2000 and 2010. The 2000 revision resulted in a marked departure from the previous Code, taking a plain English, aspirational approach rather than that of previous versions which were prescriptive.

The Association regularly reviews the Code, to confirm currency and relevance for the profession and broader community. Regular reviews also ensure that the role and function of the Ethics Board and the Association’s Ethics Procedures are consistent with the Code of Ethics.A project is underway during 2019 to review the Code, for publication of the new version in 2020. To date the project has completed:

  • Appointment of an independent facilitator
  • Completion of a brief Scoping Review of other professional codes and review processes
  • Member survey during March 2019, with 750 responses

Focus Groups

The next phase of the project is to hold focus groups across Australia, for members, consumers and other key external stakeholders to contribute to the review.

State Date
Victoria HELD
Queensland 4 June (@ National Conference)
South Australia 26 June
Tasmania 2 July
Western Australia 22 July
Australian Capital Territory 29 July
New South Wales 30 July
Northern Territory 9 September
Videoconference meetings for rural / remote, external stakeholders 19 August / 29 August


Members are encouraged to sign up now to attend the focus group in their state, places are limited. Alternatively, members can contact the Association’s Manager Ethics and Professional Issues, with questions about the sessions.

Once member and stakeholder consultation has been completed, the Ethics Board will use the information collected to draft a new version of the Code. There will be opportunity for further member review of the draft when it is released in early 2020, before publication and launch of the new version at the 2020 National Conference.

Code of Ethics Interpretation statement

As a self-regulating profession, the Code of Ethics assists and supports speech pathologists to aim for the highest levels of professional practice and deliver appropriate and effective health services.

Maintenance of a high level of professional competence and practice is essential for provision of speech pathology services, and for maintaining the standards of the profession and upholding the provision of evidence based practice.

Speech Pathology Australia members commit to upholding the Code of Ethics in their practice annually as part of their membership renewal, thereby ensuring the services they provide are safe and effective. New graduate members are required to complete the Ethic Education Package within the first year of membership to achieve full Certified Practising Speech Pathologist status.

As a self-regulating profession, the Code of Ethics is used by speech pathologists to:

  • establish and maintain the highest standards of professional practice
  • support speech pathologists to guide professional decision making and fulfil their professional obligations and responsibilities
  • protect clients and the public by identification of inappropriate professional practice and minimise harm
  • support a culture of professionalism and ethical practice
  • provide informed choice for clients.