Emma Rush

Profile Dr Emma Rush is a lecturer in philosophy and ethics. She teaches professional ethics for human services, health, and creative industries students, as well as history of philosophy subjects. She is nationally recognised for her research on the sexualisation of children. She was the lead author of two papers on the sexualisation of children released by the Australia Institute in 2006 ( These papers prompted considerable public debate, ultimately leading to a Senate Inquiry into the issue. Emma continues to write and speak about the issue of the sexualisation of children to academic, professional and general audiences (links to some of Emma's media pieces appear below). Within applied ethics, Emma's other major research area is environmental ethics. Emma previously tutored across a range of disciplines (philosophy, politics, and sustainability) at the University of Melbourne and RMIT University, and has also worked in academic administration and support at University residential colleges associated with the University of Melbourne: Whitley College (2002-2004) and Queen's College (2008).
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Letting children be children: stopping the sexualisation of children in Australia

This paper explains why the current patchwork of media and advertising regulation is failing to prevent the premature sexualisation of Australian children. A number of improvements are proposed based on a review of current regulatory arrangements for the areas most responsible for the sexualisation of...

Corporate paedophilia: the sexualisation of children in Australia

The sexualisation of Australian children in the interest of corporate profit is increasing and exposes children to a wide range of risks from a very young age, according to an analysis by Emma Rush and Andrea La Nauze. Children are increasingly being portrayed in clothing...

The attitudes of Australians to happiness and social well-being

Based on a new national opinion poll, this paper explores some public attitudes to personal and national happiness and the priorities of government. The paper first considers what Australians consider to be most important to their own happiness. Next, three public aspects of quality of...

ABC Learning Centres: a case study of Australia’s largest child care corporation

Drawing on a 2005 survey of employees of ABC centres and twenty detailed interviews, Emma Rush and Christian Downie conclude that corporate chain centres provide poorer quality care on all quality aspects surveyed compared to community-based centres. They argue that the federal government should consider...

Child care quality in Australia

Recent public debate about the child care system in Australia has focused primarily on the availability and affordability of child care. Drawing on the results of a national survey of long day care centre staff, Emma Rush considers the quality of the care provided. For...