Because this account of some recent experiences with institutional ethics committees (IECs) will have a critical flavour, I feel the need to begin by reassuring you, or perhaps myself, that I regard ethical issues as an integral aspect of life and work. My concerns about research and ethics go back to 1968, when I wrote a chapter in my PhD thesis reflecting on ethical aspects of the clinical physiology experiments which formed the basis of the research project—something which, in retrospect, probably accelerated my shift to a different research methodology. Since then I have been a member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Human Bioethics at Monash University, a member of the Queen Victoria Medical Centre Research Committee and a member of the Monash Medical Centre Ethics Committee.