Social Justice Initiative


Director Profile: Dr Jeremy Moss

My main research interests are in political philosophy and moral theory. Current research interests include projects on egalitarian approaches to climate justice and health as well as ethics and energy security. Much of my recent research has been focused on developing an account of why equality is valuable, what it means and its scope in theories of justice. I have also written papers on mutual obligation, responsibility and Amartya Sen’s capability approach to equality.

I am currently an Australian Research Council Future Fellow

I am the recipient of the Eureka Prize for Ethics, the Australasia Association of Philosophy Media Prize and several Australian Research Council Grants including: ‘Egalitarian Approaches to Climate Justice’, ‘Health, Freedom and Equality’ and ‘Disability, Welfare and Work'. I chair the UNESCO working group on Climate Ethics and Energy Security.

Recent Publications

• "Egalitarianism and the Value of Equality" Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, September 2009.

• Climate Change and Social Justice, ed., J. Moss, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2009.

• "Against Fairness", Journal of Value Inquiry, 41, 2007.

• "Mutual Obligation and New Deal: Illegitimate and Unjustified?", Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Vol 9/1, 2006.


ARC Future Fellowship 2010-13, "Climate Justice" $686,000

The aim of this project is to provide a new framework for how to fairly distribute the costs of responding to climate change. The project will examine current philosophical accounts of how to distribute the burdens of climate change between and within nations, and develop a new account of who should pay for the costs of responding to climate change. The project will offer a philosophically defensible version of climate justice, assess impacts of climate change on the disadvantaged and, provide a framework to guide institutional and policy developments on a national and global level. The project will also offer significant insights into the effects of climate change and adaptation policy on the key area of rural well-being and energy use. The project will be able to gauge whether current and proposed carbon trading schemes are just and how in particular, Australia"s climate policy interacts with the Pacific region. In addition, the project will also consider the important political issue of whether democratic participation in the formation of climate policy is required and in what ways.

Collaborating partners include:

• Oxford University

• McGill University


Climate Change, Energy and Justice in Timor Leste.

This project provides a scoping study of the technical, policy, and social justice challenges of meeting the energy needs of Timor Leste. The project focuses on these challenges as they apply to the energy needs in the district of Ainaro, located in the southwest of Timor-Leste and nationally. The project provides a survey of the opportunities available in the region for utilising sustainable generation and transmission infrastructure and an account of the important social justice questions that must be considered when identifying energy needs and determining how they are to be met. A particular concern of the project has been to consider these questions within the context of an egalitarian response to climate change, given the role that considerations about the impacts on climate change play in the choice of energy infrastructure.

'Disability, Welfare and Work': G Marston and J Moss. ARC Linkage $167,000: Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne

This project will offer significant insights into the experiences of people with a disability in the context of welfare-to-work policies. The project will be able to gauge the extent to which the significant amount of public funds invested in the new welfare-to-work measures is effective. In 2002/03 the Australian Government invested over $300 million in Open Employment assistance. The applied research into conceptual questions such as the correct model of disability, the relation of obligation to our understanding of citizenship and associated ethical issues will assist in policy development around disability issues.

Current Partners:
• ACE National Disability Network
• University of Queensland


'Health, Freedom and Independent Contracting': J Moss and KN White. ARC Linkage: $234,432: Facuty of Arts, University of Melbourne

This project will assess the impact of insecure work on the health and wellbeing of rural Australians. While there has been research done on these issues that considers impacts on the urban workforce, this project will be the first to explicitly consider the impact of insecure work on the rural workforce. This is particularly important given the crisis in rural health and the important changes in the labour market brought about by independent contracting.

Current Partners:
• Vic Health
• Australian National University

Media Articles

• The Duel Life appeared in The Age A2, April 28, 2007.

• The Ethicist: Should we Keep Religion and Politics Seperate? appeared in The Sunday Age, March 4, 2007.

• The Ethicist: What Does a "Fair Go" Mean? appeared in The Sunday Age, December 31, 2006.

• The Ethicist: Who is Responsible for our Water? appeared in The Sunday Age, December 3, 2006.

• The Ethicist: Is Australia's Welfare Policy Biased? appeared in The Sunday Age, October 29, 2006.

• When Silence Greets a Final Cry for Help appeared in The Sunday Age, June 28, 2006.

top of page