This question comes from a paramedic with SA Ambulance but it’s not a paramedic or a SA question, but it’s relevant given forthcoming registration of paramedicine. Today’s correspondent says:
I noticed one of our staff members uses the title Dr. (Holding a PhD). I have a PhD from an overseas university with no affiliation with Australian universities. Am I legally entitled to preface with Dr…. (PhD)?
As noted in earlier posts (see The use of protected titles by students and others (January 30, 2018)) it is an offence to use a title that is protected under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law. For medical practitioners the only protected title is indeed, “medical practitioner”. The term ‘Doctor’ is not a protected title indeed because it used by people other than medical practitioners. Dentists, vets (http://www.vsb.qld.gov.au/policygeneral.html#title) and, of course, the holders of doctoral degrees, PhD, SJD etc.
The use of the term Doctor (or title Dr), even by medical pracitioners is an honorific and use of the title is really governed by convention alone. The only limit is one should not use the title in a way to mislead or deceive others, so if you use the title in circumstances where you hope to obtain a benefit or other advantage, or improve your standing or credibility by making people believe you are something you are not, then you may be committing an offence (eg under Fair Trading law about not engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct in trade or commerce; or criminal law with respect to obtaining a benefit by deception).
If you got your PhD by buying it from a US mail order company perhaps not, but if you hold a PhD from a genuine overseas (or Australian) university you are absolutely entitled to call yourself ‘doctor’.