BEtter Consulting was established by the Principal when she identified a clear need for an integrity and justice consultant role. This was particularly so in relation to complex criminal cases, coronial inquests or possible miscarriage of justice matters where there is voluminous and complex evidence and lengthy and detailed police investigations. Such matters may also include forensic evidence spanning many fields of forensic science (eg. DNA, blood spatter, ballistics, forensic computing etc). She also considered there was a need to assist some people through the complaint handling process, whether to a government agency, Ombudsman or an Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) or Anti-Discrimination Commission. After some months in this role, Barbara decided to utilise her tertiary qualifications in law (an Honours law degree and a Master of Laws) and practise as a lawyer.
The legal practice focuses on areas relating to:
criminal law, including forensic science and medico-legal issues (such as coronial investigation);
animal welfare law, particularly the operational issues concerning agencies such as the RSPCA;
disciplinary matters, particularly within policing and similar organisations - including managerial action, disciplinary charges and hearings, and loss of confidence actions;
ethics, integrity, corruption and public sector misconduct matters and associated RTI and complaint handling/progression;
case preparation for other lawyers in complex criminal matters; and
post-conviction reviews where there is a possibility of a miscarriage of justice.
The integrity and justice component of her practice is a new role that Barbara is offering. It may well involve post-conviction reviews and reviews of high profile and complex criminal investigations or internal investigations. This may also involve a strategic analysis of the relevant forensic evidence. BEtter Consulting is also well placed to provide an independent review mechanism to law enforcement agencies or others who have undertaken criminal or internal investigations and want such matters independently reviewed or quality assured. The practice may also be of assistance in sensitive and complex managerial or disciplinary matters.
BEtter Consulting does NOT provide expert witness advice on specific forensic science matters. It may however be able to access and suggest appropriate forensic experts, for example.
The BEtter Consulting legal practice model includes evidence-based analyses, the appropriate, ethical and strategic use of social media and the media (with appropriate consent), and collaboration where necessary with experts from other disciplines, such as psychology, journalism and forensic science. It also provides complex case preparation for major criminal trials.
Specialist advice is provided based on extensive and relevant policing and investigative experience in various jurisdictions (NSW, NT, WA, SA and Tasmania), tertiary qualifications in science and the law, corporate governance expertise, and recent experience within an anti-corruption agency environment. Barbara closely monitored what occurred in addressing the wrongful conviction for murder of Andrew Mallard in recent years as she was then in the role of the Assistant Commissioner Corruption Prevention and Investigation with the WA Police. She is particularly interested in potential miscarriage of justice issues relating to serious crime or unexplained deaths.
The role provides an important interface between the accused/defendant and his/her family/supporters and the broader legal team in relation to the detailed analysis of material, identification of new evidentiary sources, the translation of official terms, acronyms and jargon into readily understood English, and advice on possible communication strategies.
Confidentiality is assured as is the security of sensitive documentation or information.
Whilst the practice is currently based in Hobart, Tasmania, national and international cases will certainly be considered for attention/review.
The practice can also provide advice and presentations to conferences, corporations and agencies about:
- ethical health and organisational culture;
- values, ethics, integrity and ethical leadership;
- policies and procedures;
- dealing with misconduct;
- critical incident reviews;
- complaints handling; and
- cultural reform strategies in relation to ethics and institutional integrity.
Services can be provided to individuals, government agencies, corporations, other lawyers or the media (eg. analysis of a major investigation report or annual report from an anti-corruption agency).
In the longer term, BEtter Consulting is interested in contributing to professional development within the legal profession, as well as research and law reform to prevent any future injustices. In this regard, the practice also intends to offer its services to Innocence Project initiatives.
The practice's vision is “Be Your Best – Integrity, Justice and Humanity”. This call to action applies to individuals, organisations and society in general. Terms such as “justice” are also used broadly and are not used just in relation to the formal justice system. The practice is also very aware of social justice and human rights issues and is keen to assist those who might be disadvantaged, such as Indigenous persons, CALD community members and those with disabilities and mental health issues. Barbara spent 11 years in the NT and a further 5 years in WA and has a good understanding of the issues facing Aboriginal people.
The values for the practice have been carefully considered and are:
- Moral Courage;
- Respect; and
If you are any doubt about what services BEtter Consulting can provide in your matter, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will not charge for any initial or preliminary consultation (for up to one half hour). After that period, it will be necessary for the potential client to consider a letter of engagement for any ongoing services or advice.
About the Principal, Barbara Etter APM
Barbara is passionate about integrity, the presumption of innocence and the rule of law, as well as justice and a ‘fair go’.
Chemistry – of elements and people – underpins a lifelong interest in policing and forensic science. A Pharmacy degree at Sydney University in 1979 led to her working for several years in that profession. But policing called, in the form of a career in forensic science: for the same reason, she studied law, and went on to being admitted as a lawyer in NSW, the NT, and Tasmania. She is currently a solicitor and barrister working out of Hobart.
Her 30 years of distinguished police service led to the award of the Australian Police Medal (APM) in the 2008 Honours List. She served with the NSW Police, the NT Police and the WA Police, as well as nationally as Director of the then Australasian Centre for Policing Research in Adelaide. She undertook secondments to the NSW Ombudsman's office and the NT Attorney-General's Department. From 2004 to 2010, Barbara held WA Assistant Commissioner positions in Strategy and Performance, Corruption Prevention and Investigation, Traffic and Operations (including specialist support such as Forensic, Communications, Prosecutions, etc), and Professional Development (including the WA Police Academy). She also acted as Deputy Commissioner on many occasions.
Barbara was CEO in 2010-11 of the Tasmanian Integrity Commission. This position and Corruption Prevention and Investigation management in WA, including exposure to correcting the high-profile Andrew Mallard matter (where he spent nearly 12 years in gaol for a murder he did not commit), have provided her with invaluable experience in all aspects of reviewing cases, guarding integrity and exposing corruption...as well as training people and organisations to impart her accumulated expertise.
Academically, she is Adjunct Professor in the School of Law and Justice at Edith Cowan University; a Fellow of the Australasian College of Biomedical Scientists (FACBS); and Honorary Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Policing (FAIPOL). She maintains currency in policing and forensic science by continuing professional development, research and consultation. For example, in September 2012, she attended a two-day course on Death Investigation and Forensic Pathology while attending the ANZ Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS) International Symposium in Hobart, where she gave a keynote address to the 800 delegates from 34 countries. She also presented a session entitled ‘Just How Ethical Are You?’ on the importance of ethics in forensic science and in court.
Barbara has authored numerous journal articles and co-edited a book with former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Palmer, ‘Police Leadership in Australasia’, Federation Press 1995. (There is a list of her publications on the Presentations page of this website). She has recently completed an 95,000 word manuscript on a high-profile, true crime in Tasmania which is awaiting legal developments before being published).
In October 2006, Barbara won the WA Telstra Businesswoman of the Year, after also winning the Community and Government category. In February 2014, she was inducted into the Australian Businesswomen's Network Hall of Fame, along with Australian icons like Maggie Beer.
Barbara is a keen advocate of social justice, including gender equity and social inclusion. Personally, she is committed to her integral values of “integrity, justice and humanity”. A person of enormous determination and well-developed time-and-self management skills, she is also adept at handling complex matters and cutting to the chase, using an excellent eye for detail and lateral and critical thinking skills. Combined, her careers and personal attributes mean she is adept at dissecting complex investigations and highlighting possible gaps and deficiencies for further exploration, particularly in possible miscarriage of justice cases. Barbara appeared on ‘60 Minutes’ and a "A Current Affair' in 2013 over her work on one such crucial review in Tasmania.
She can also help organisations adopt and embrace integrity as a critical organisational value, and advise them on corporate governance, the handling of misconduct, and internal corruption prevention and investigation. She is available to deliver presentations, as well as training and education workshops, on ethics, values, integrity and ethical leadership.
Barbara works in both the public and private sectors. Discretion is her byword.
B. Pharm (Sydney University)
LLB (Honours) (UTS Sydney)
LLM (Charles Darwin University, Darwin)
MBA (Charles Darwin University, Darwin)
Adjunct Professor, School of Law and Justice, Edith Cowan University
University Fellow, School of Law, Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory
AICD Company Directors Diploma; Fellow of the AICD (FAICD)
Fellow of the Australasian College of Biomedical Scientists (FACBS)
Honorary Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Policing (FAIPOL)
Member of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences Inc
Member of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (Tasmanian Chapter)
Member of the Asia Pacific Coroners' Society Incorporated
Member of the Women Chiefs of Enterprises International
Member of Civil Liberties Australia
Member of Amnesty International
Barbara is committed to ongoing professional development. Details of her Continuing Professional Development can be found on the presentations and publications page of this website.
The meaning of the peacock feather business logo:
Peacocks are a deeply symbolic bird and their feathers have become steeped in meaning. The feather was chosen as it is often regarded as a symbol of incorruptibility and denotes the bird’s ability to thrive in the face of suffering, as peacocks are known to eat poisonous plants with no ill effects. In Ancient Greece, the peacock was the patron bird of the Goddess Hera. According to myth, she placed “eyes” on its feathers, symbolising all-seeing knowledge and the wisdom of the heavens. Hindu mythology associates peacocks with the God Lakshmi. The feathers thus represent his qualities of kindness, patience and good fortune (Vaux 2012).
Evan Whitton in his 2009 book "Our Corrupt Legal System" also points out that Maat, the Goddess of Justice in Egypt c.2700, had a feather in her cap. It is said to have symbolised justice, truth and morality.
The symbolism of the feather seemed very appropriate to the practice's “end values” of integrity, justice and humanity. It also seemed a very suitable symbol in relation to what is required by those striving to overcome miscarriage of justice issues.
The material on this website does not constitute legal or other professional advice. While reasonable care has been taken in its preparation, BEtter Consulting does not make any express or implied representations or warranties as to the completeness, reliability or accuracy of the material on this website. This website should not be used or relied upon as a substitute for professional advice or as a basis for making critical decisions. To the extent permitted by law, BEtter Consulting excludes all liability for any loss or damage arising out of the use of the material on this website.
Any links to third party websites are provided for convenience only and do not represent endorsement, sponsorship or approval of those third parties, any products or services offered by third parties, or as to the currency or accuracy, of the information included in third party websites.