Public Law – Issue 19

 

There’s something for everyone in this year’s bumper holiday edition of Public Law. We hear from Labour Minister Patrick Gorman, Acting Principal Government Lawyer Courtney Macdade and Hall & Wilcox Chair Emma Woolley, who share unique and practical insight from their careers, touching on leadership, navigating challenges and shaping Australia for the better. We unpack lessons learnt from the recent Optus outage and reveal our top tips when preparing a Will. But that’s not all. There’s a recipe that’s sure to keep you cool on a hot summer’s day, as well as our favourite entertainment recommendations to help you unwind this festive season.

Hall & Wilcox Partner Kathryn Howard headshot

Kathryn Howard
Partner
Head of Hall & Wilcox Public Sector Industry Group
and Editor of the Public Law newsletter

Kathryn Howard

Partner, Head of Hall & Wilcox Public Sector group and Editor of the Public Law newsletter

Greetings for another festive season. I have been reflecting on another year passing, |and thinking about what I can share that can be of benefit coming into this holiday season.

The word that comes to mind is connection.

We can get so busy with the – albeit important – routines of life, that we have little time left to really connect with our loved ones, near or far.

An American author I admire, David Brooks, has just published a book How to know a person, which provides practical guidance on the art of seeing others deeply and being deeply seen.

He writes of the importance of accompaniment, of simply spending time together. Think of a pianist accompanying a soloist. Make that other person shine, and linger together doing so.

Show up. Be present, play together. My goddaughters visited this weekend and we cooked together, planted the veggie patch together, cleaned stables together etc. Our form of play.

And be a conversationalist. David says studies show that only 30% of people ask questions, the rest are simply making statements at each other.

David relays practical tips about the art of conversation.

  • Make eye contact. Really look at the person in front of you; studies show that we miss an astonishing amount, much more than we think.
  • Treat attention as an on/off switch, not a dimmer. That’s a light bulb thought, isn’t it?
  • Be a loud listener. Think of amens in a Pentecostal church.
  • Encourage them to narrate a story. Don’t just ask what they believe, ask how they came to believe it.
  • Don’t fear the pause. Listen to the other person, let them finish and then give a thoughtful response.
  • Don’t be a topper. Respond to their experience, rather than switching topic to your own experience.

This enchanting game by renowned relational psychologist, Esther Perel, encourages conversation, revelation and deep connection. Perfect for your next dinner party.

This holiday season, I hope you find the joy of accompanying people who are present with you, being seen together. May we treasure those moments.

Labor Minister Patrick Gorman has held the seat of Perth, WA, since 2018. In 2022, he was sworn in as the Assistant Minister to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. In May this year, he was appointed as Assistant Minister for the Public Service. He sat down with Partner Stan Kondilios to chat about his leadership style and the satisfaction of representing the West.

You’ve contributed a great deal to politics for many years, in varied roles at federal and state levels. What led you here?

I’ve always been interested in the business of democratic engagement. The idea that democracy is this incredibly precious thing, this gift that we all get to engage in, has always excited me and that’s why I’ve spent most of my life working as a policy adviser, a party director or now as a Member of Parliament. It is in my DNA.

Mum and Dad were both primary school teachers, and both passionate about making sure everyone gets a fair shot in life. It was a natural conclusion for me to end up in politics and contribute to the community.

What about being from Western Australia influences you as a policy maker?

I love representing Western Australia in Federal Parliament.

There are unique challenges in WA around the logistics of running health and education systems. Those things are front of mind for me when you’re thinking about any policy. You want to know – not just will it work for a large regional centre, but I want to know that it’s going to work in Geraldton, Albany, Kalgoorlie, up to Port Hedland and in remote communities too.

What advice would you give to someone seeking a similar path in public service life?

It is a great privilege to serve your fellow Australians. There are many opportunities. Everything from advisory boards, where we always look for citizens to contribute, through to people who want elected office at a local, state or federal level. It requires you to be clear about what you believe in, why you believe it and what you are going to do about it. It isn’t all glamourous, but if you’re in it to make a difference, you’ll have a great time in meaningful work.

Can you recall a moment when you had to step out of your comfort zone to learn something new?

I’d been in Parliament just over a year-and-a-half when the pandemic hit. I was very eager. I was determined to get things done. I had my checklist of things I wanted to achieve for my electorate and nothing, not even a pandemic, was going to stop me from pursuing those goals.  But I recognised sometimes you just have to stop, listen, learn.

On that, how do you go about interrogating expert views given to you, so you are comfortable making decisions?

Be comfortable asking questions and saying what you don’t understand. Make sure you understand the advice you’re acting upon. You are often synthesising different, competing views on the same topic.

Consider is this a sustainable decision? Will others be able to understand why it was made? Some people will be unhappy. Can you explain why it was the right call, connecting to the broader agenda of government?

Can you share with us how you’ve developed strategies to manage stress and your own wellbeing in the context of the work that you do in our community?

A large part is processes. Making sure the people that work around you, work for the style of work that you have, and tap into the huge capability in the public service. I try to be good at blocking off time to do the things that only I can do with the family. There’s a lot of things that other advisers can do but only I can take my kids to the Royal Show, which is what I did recently.

What tip can you leave us with?

When you get those opportunities from time to time to educate a politician about something that you personally know about, it might help them make better decisions in the future.

It’s those little gems that you learn from people, just along your travels, that stick with you. They help in those times when you are trying to make a difficult decision on something that you weren’t expecting.  Anyone who has got the opportunity to educate a politician, embrace it. We embrace learning.

Few Australians would have escaped noticing that on 8 October 2023, Optus had a nation-wide outage that lasted approximately 14 hours.

It was reported that approximately 10 million Australians were left without network connectivity and the operations of a number of businesses and government bodies were significantly impacted.

Hall and Wilcox’s James Deady, Partner and Technology and Digital Economy Co-Lead, along with Basimah Memon, a lawyer specialising in technology matters, discuss some of the contractual and legal issues that can arise with these types of significant outages.

Outages

Outages and downtime can occur in relation to almost any technology or telecommunications systems. Some outages or downtime are planned (for example, for scheduled maintenance) or may only have a minor impact (such as short-term outages that are resolved quickly).

However, significant and ongoing outages such as the recent Optus outage can be a major issue for public and private sector organisations.

Managing outages and downtime will often be primarily a technical and systems issue. However, there are some contractual and other legal protections that public sector organisations can consider to manage risks regarding outages and downtime, particularly for the technology or telecommunications systems outsourced to third party providers.

Contractual and legal protections

Some of the contractual and other legal protections that we recommend organisations consider regarding outage and downtime risks include:

Service levels: Having clear, binding and enforceable service levels, for example minimum performance requirements regarding availability, uptime, issue resolution and other similar standards. Avoiding service levels being ‘best endeavours’ or another similar less enforceable standard. Often the service level regime will also include fee credits, rebates or other financial remedies for the organisation if the service level is not met.

BCP and DR: Imposing obligations on service providers to have and maintain appropriate business continuity plans (BCP) and Disaster Recovery (DR) plans, including obligations to implement those BCP and DR plans if an outage or other significant issue occurs.

Reporting obligations: Obligations on service providers to promptly report to the organisation on outages, including timely and accurate updates on the timing for resolution of the issue.

Performance improvement plans: Where significant outages or downtime occur, having contractual rights to require the service provider to develop and implement a performance improvement plan.

'The recent Optus outage does reflect the importance for public sector organisations in considering how they would manage risks relating to a significant system outage.'

Termination: While termination can be an extreme step, organisations should consider having rights to terminate for cause where significant or recurring outages or downtime occur.

Liability and exclusions: Considering whether the liability exclusions and limitations in the contract would allow the organisation to recover appropriate compensation in the event of a significant outage caused by the service provider.

These are just some examples of the contractual and other legal protections that public sector organisations may want to seek regarding downtime and outage risks. The exact scope of the protections required will often vary depending on the nature of the technology and the specifics of the arrangements with the service provider.

However, the recent Optus outage does reflect the importance for public sector organisations in considering how they would manage risks relating to a significant system outage.

The Measure by Nikki Erlick

Melinda Woledge
Marketing & Communications Manager

If you received a box on your front doorstep, inscribed with the phrase ‘The measure of your life lies within’, would you open it? And if you did open it and it revealed a single string, would you know what it meant?

'This book is both heart-breaking and thought-provoking. Would you want to know how long your life will be?'

This is the fate that greets the world in Nikki Erlick’s book, when one morning everyone wakes up to find this box. It varies on only two counts – each one bears the name of its individual recipient and each string inside measures a different length.

Scientists soon establish that ‘long-stringers’ will lead long lives and ‘short-stringers’ will die soon. That’s when trouble starts. Lives are changed: a couple who thought they would spend their lives together now face different fates and a doctor can’t save himself from his short string.

Short-stringers are denied health insurance coverage and bank loans or are sacked from jobs. Crimes are committed by short- stringers with nothing to lose: shootings in shopping malls, hacking into banks or taking revenge on those who had wronged them. Long-stringers sympathise with the anger and grief of short-stringers, but they can’t help growing fearful.

As people struggle to adjust to this new world, a US presidential candidate spies an opportunity to ride the fear all the way to the White House. Or will he ignite a powder keg that will change everything?

This book is both heart-breaking and thought-provoking. Would you want to know how long your life will be? And what is the measure of a life anyway? Is it one measured in years or in contribution? The questions raised by this book will remain with you long after you finish.

Courtney Macdade, Acting Principal Government Lawyer, FEG Recovery Program at Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR).

Initially not sure what path her career would take, Courtney Macdade has found success, and her passion. Through her work with the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) Recovery Program, Courtney is helping vulnerable employees of insolvent businesses receive the entitlements they deserve.

Special Counsel Ann Watson learns how Courtney is helping to hold businesses to account and shape Australian corporate practices for the better.

Tell us about your path to government and why you made the switch from corporate?

I was a little lost after university. I thought I wanted to work in foreign affairs, so got a research clerk role with the Malaysian High Commission. I returned to Brisbane from Malaysia without much of a career plan and got a job in commercial litigation at a small law firm.

A few years later, I joined the insolvency team at Colin Biggers & Paisley where I worked on a litigation matter with the FEG Recovery Program. We had a fantastic outcome and, after settlement, I was approached to join the FEG Recovery Funding team.

I never saw my move to government as putting the foot on the brake of my career – it’s been quite the opposite. I have worked on more interesting and challenging litigation and developed more relationships with practitioners and decision makers across government than I could have ever dreamed of in private practice.

What does the FEG recovery program do?

DEWR administers the FEG scheme, which provides financial assistance to people who lose their jobs through the insolvency of their employers.

When payments are made under FEG, the Commonwealth stands in the shoes of employees and is entitled to receive a dividend from the liquidation or bankruptcy as a priority creditor.

In 2015, there was a peak in payments made under the scheme – in the order of $300 million. The Government wasn’t receiving much of a dividend from liquidations, so the FEG Recovery Program was created to improve returns to the Commonwealth and preserve the FEG scheme as a safety net of last resort.

'Ultimately, the path that led me to where I am today was the product of keeping myself open to opportunities and being willing to try new things.'

We run litigation which clarifies laws affecting the industry and sets expectations for corporate behaviour standards.

We’re hearing less of ‘It’s ok if we don’t pay employees their entitlements – the Government will pick up the bill’ and more of ‘We’d better make sure those entitlements are paid, otherwise we’ll have FEG Recovery to worry about.’

What qualities are essential for success in your field?

It’s important to be inquisitive and try to understand the broader strategy of the division, department, and government, and how different areas interact and can benefit each other. You often engage with a far broader array of people and skillsets than private practice – it takes some getting used to.

Working alongside policy teams and engaging with our department and with other agencies is such a good thing because you realise that politics and debate is alive and well and there is value in it.

Don’t dismiss the public sector; it has some of the hardest working people I’ve ever come across. That passion for the job certainly rubs off on you.

What is one thing you wish private practitioners understood about working with government?

In a law firm, you are provided a situation, a set of facts and you respond with an advice or strategy. It is often in the hands of the client to consider accepting the advice and implement any practical steps. In my role, I am making core decisions on matters, how the Program operates and considering legal and policy implications.

Given we are operating a program using taxpayer funds, we are extremely accountable for our decisions and outcomes.

Is there anything in the broader FEG pipeline that you’re excited about?

The Government is focused on reform and policy development in the employment and workplace relations and corporate insolvency areas. That is creating a huge cross-section of potential policy and legislative reform that affects the Program.

We have also had some big legal decisions come through the courts recently, including a favourable decision from the High Court that overturned a decade-long line of authority to the contrary.

We have many more decisions on the way providing clarity about the treatment of assets in corporate trust scenarios, asset freezing powers, and the priority of employee entitlements.

How important is it to you to promote and mentor other women in your industry?

Australia’s insolvency industry continues to be male dominated.

I have been a member and president of the Women in Insolvency and Restructuring Queensland committee for many years. They are a talented and passionate group of women (and men) doing fantastic work to promote women and diversity in the industry.

Organisations like WIRQ provide women with opportunities to develop their networks and share information and expertise.

I benefited from incredible mentors and champions in my career and credit them for where I am today, so I look for every opportunity to provide that same support for other women.

If you could tell your younger self one thing about your career, what would it be?

Not to worry so much. Ultimately, the path that led me to where I am today was the product of keeping myself open to opportunities and being willing to try new things.

What does fun look like for you?

I’m a keen gardener and was born with the ‘how hard can it be’ gene. It’s rare that I don’t have multiple projects underway, building garden beds and laying pavers, fixing fences, trying my hand at plumbing, or restoring the latest piece of furniture.

If I’m not in the shed with power tools, I’m playing footy or planning our next hiking holiday.

Emma Wooley made history last year, becoming the first woman to chair the Hall & Wilcox Board in the firm’s 106-year history. Despite the enormity of the role, she also has time to maintain an active practice working with family offices and family estate planning and actively contribute to our communities, including acting on the board of a Victorian football club. After her first year in the role as Hall & Wilcox Chair, learn how this trailblazer is making the most of her time, inside and outside office.

What does it mean to you to be the first female chair at Hall & Wilcox?

I was delighted to be appointed and thrilled to take on the challenge. I have been a member of the Hall & Wilcox Board for a few years. When the opportunity came up to put my name forward to be chair, I didn’t hesitate.

It was also a chance to demonstrate to the broader legal and business community that we take diversity seriously and ensure that opportunities are available to all within our business, including our credentialed, confident and capable female lawyers and staff.

What makes you proud to be a leader at Hall & Wilcox?

The culture, the clients, and the commitment that we have to our communities is something of which I’m incredibly proud. It is a great responsibility to ensure our people have the best possible experience where they work and have every opportunity to succeed. I’m a perfect example of this commitment. I joined this business 18 years ago as a foreign qualified lawyer, not knowing a single person in this country. While it has taken a lot of hard work to get to where I am, the rewards have been great. Taking on the Chair gives me a chance to continue to support our next generation of leaders.

The firm has undergone significant growth over the past few years. How do you protect culture during rapid expansion?

Culture is so important, as it is the bedrock of everything that we do. How do we treat each other and how do we behave in our communities? It’s vital to maintain culture and I think the key to that for us is people. The people that benefit from it are the people that create it. So it means we are very careful and deliberate about who joins us, particularly when we appoint new partners, either from within or externally. We need to make sure that their values are truly aligned with ours and understand our purpose. We are an organisation with a clear purpose, which I think is good. People like to work somewhere where there is a clear purpose.

We’ve got to trust that we’re culturally capable of growing and I think we’ve proven that so far with the extraordinary national growth we have seen in a relatively short time.

Tell us what challenges women leaders face?

We should be seeing a 50/50 split of leadership roles occupied by men and women. It is especially true in the legal profession, where women make up so much of the industry. There is, however, some catching up to do. Having more women in leadership positions is happening too slowly and we need to see more positive steps being taken.

I think fear of failure holds people back significantly and that is unfortunate. My view is that women will hold back more often than men. They won’t put themselves forward because they may not consider themselves qualified or capable, whereas many men are prepared to put their hand up and give it a go. I really hope to help women change this perception and see us catch up more quickly.

What is your approach to leadership and mentoring?

You need to make sure that you’ve got people that are developing at a rate that’s appropriate by making sure that you introduce them to the right people and that you expose them to the right sort of work, so they get the confidence and experience.

'Having more women in leadership positions is happening too slowly and we need to see more positive steps being taken.'

I’ve had really rewarding experiences in mentoring where people have gone on to progress within the business and, hopefully, the time that I spent with them has assisted them in progressing. I don’t mean that I got them there, as the reality is, they’re always going to get there. I hope that

I made it easier and perhaps enabled them to get there quicker. I see mentoring as a responsibility of leadership, which is good for me because it is something I really enjoy. I have got a great deal out of the experience, both formal and informal.

So how do you switch off from all of this?

In my view, there is no real work life balance, because you can’t get to a situation where you can feel that you are in the right place for the right people, all the time. These are demanding jobs and when you get these huge opportunities it comes with compromise that you have less time than you would necessarily like. If you accept that compromise has to be part of the job and work with it, then you are going to be much more comfortable. But you need to make the best use of the time that you have. Enjoy the simple things. For me it’s as simple as walking the dog!

Do you have a recommendation for either a book, show or a podcast?

I enjoy a good podcast and recently I have been working my way through episodes of Radiolab. It is a US podcast and there is a particular episode which I would highly recommend on the Galapagos Islands – very interesting and entertaining.

By Sam Baring and Bianca McCormack 

As one of the certainties of life, death is something that can be planned for. Here is a list of tips and some key matters to consider when instructing a lawyer to prepare your will.

Your executor(s)

Turn your mind to who you would like to have administer your estate. This person (or people) will be your executor(s). You are permitted to appoint multiple executors to act jointly. You are also permitted to name alternate executors, in case your first choice for executor(s) is unable or refuses to take on the role. If you intend to appoint multiple executors to act jointly, we suggest you consider the relationship between these executors. It is important for joint executors to be able to cooperate when administering an estate.

Your family and relationships

Carefully consider any relationship you are in. For example, unless otherwise provided for in your will, your marriage may revoke your existing will. If you prepare a will while in a de facto relationship, knowing that you may marry your partner, then you should speak with your lawyer regarding whether you want your will to remain on foot, despite your future marriage. Divorce is often another appropriate time to revisit your wishes regarding your estate.

If you plan to have a child and you wish to ensure that child (and any other children you have) are provided for in the terms of your will, you should let your lawyer know. It is possible to provide for future children in a will.

Your assets

Turn your mind to the location of your assets. Have you lived interstate or overseas? It is important for your will to address all of your assets, no matter their location (or alternatively ensure that if you do have assets in a foreign jurisdiction that they are sufficiently dealt with by a will which meets the requirements of that foreign jurisdiction).

Similarly, consider how your assets are held. Do you have any trusts? Do you own a business? Are succession plans in place for these structures, as they will not necessarily be dealt with by the terms of your will?

You have the option of preparing a will that establishes a trust, known as a testamentary trust. The testamentary trust would receive some or all of your assets on your death, for the benefit of one or more persons, as an alternative to gifting the assets to that person directly. Testamentary trusts have many benefits and we recommend you raise this option with your lawyer.

Persons who expect to benefit from your will

Consider anyone who may expect to receive a distribution from your estate, such as a child. Do you intend to make provision for them in your will? If not, we recommend you consider including an explanation as to why you have not provided for a particular person (who would otherwise expect to receive something on your death). This matter could be dealt with in an affidavit prepared at the time of executing your will or a non-binding ‘letter of wishes’, each to be stored with your will. The goal of this is to assist your executor in defending a claim by a person seeking further provision for themselves from your will.

Beyond your will

Estate planning goes beyond the preparation of your will. We recommend you consider the following other matters with your lawyer:

  • superannuation falls outside your estate. Do you have an up-to-date binding death benefit nomination?
  • would you like to appoint someone as your enduring power of attorney, to make financial and legal and personal decisions on your behalf during your lifetime, if you are unable to make those decisions?
  • would you like to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf regarding medical treatment, if you are unable to?

With the festive season upon us, Partner Emma Leys shares with us her go-to recipe that is a hit with both kids and adults.

What you will need:

  • 26-28cm springform cake tin
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Baking paper
  • Large spoon/spatula

Ingredients

  • 3-4 litres of vanilla ice cream (I use Peter’s vanilla original)
  • 2-3 packets of Oreo cookies
  • 400g box of Maltesers (or you can use more Oreos if you prefer)
  • Any other chocolate/cookies you like

Method

  1. Take the ice-cream out of freezer and let it soften (not melt, just soft enough so you can mix your choice of chocolates or cookies through).
  2. Line a springform cake tin with baking paper (this makes removing the cake from the tin easier).
  3. Completely fill the bottom of the tin with either Maltesers or Oreos (or a combination of both). This will become the top of your cake so make sure to completely fill the bottom of the pan.
  4. Place Oreo cookies side-to-side, standing them upright on their sides, around the whole inside-edge of the cake tin. These will form a border around the edge of your cake once you pop the springform tin off.
  5. In a separate mixing bowl, semi-crush up your choice of chocolates and/or cookies and then stir this through the softened ice cream. You can put as much or as little chocolate/cookies into the ice-cream mix – to your taste.
  6. Carefully spoon the ice-cream mix into the cake tin, on top of the Oreos or Maltesers that are already lining the bottom and edge of your tin. Completely fill the tin with the ice cream mix, compress it all down with a flat spoon or spatula, and smooth out the top. Make sure to press the ice cream into the tin to fill it completely, to form a ‘solid’ cake. Any extra ice-cream mix – eat it now, or place in separate container and re-freeze for eating later.
  7. Place another sheet of baking paper over the top of the cake/tin, then also cover it with either Glad Wrap or foil before freezing.
  8. Place the cake into the freezer, for long enough to allow the ice-cream to re-freeze.
  9. When ready to eat, pop the edge of the springform pan off the cake, peel the baking paper off top, flip the cake over onto a big plate and carefully remove the bottom of cake pan (and paper) from the top of cake. You can then decorate the top of cake with any extra treats, decorations or candles, and then serve immediately before it melts.

*You can tailor this to your taste and imagination, depending on what chocolate or cookies you like.

Court guidance on privilege and cyber forensic reports in Australia

By David DickensEden Winokur and Sarah Stamp

On 10 November 2023, the Federal Court ruled that Optus cannot claim legal privilege in a forensic report prepared by Deloitte following the September 2022 cyber-attack and data breach.[1]

The law regarding legal privilege is well established. As the Court said,[2]

'Under the common law, legal professional privilege applies to confidential communications made for the dominant purpose of the client obtaining legal advice or for use in litigation or regulatory investigations or proceedings. The protection is confined to confidential communications made for the dominant purpose of giving or obtaining (including preparation for obtaining) legal advice or the provision of legal services, including legal representation in litigation or other proceedings (our emphasis).'

The linchpin of Optus’ difficulty in this case was that the carefully prepared evidence of its general counsel/company secretary regarding the dominant purpose of the report sat uncomfortably with evidence of other contemporaneous events at Optus. These other events included:

  • A press announcement stating Deloitte has been appointed on the CEO’s recommendation to conduct an external review of the recent cyber-attack and their security. The announcement did not state that the review was recommended by any lawyer or that it was being done for legal purposes.[3]
  • Circular resolutions provided to the board for approval to engage Deloitte, referred to various purposes for the report, none of which stated it was to assist in the provision of legal advice.[4]
  • Although Deloitte was formally engaged via Optus’ external legal advisers, the various purposes of the report referred to in the engagement letter were not in relation to legal advice.[5]
  • Subsequent press announcements in relation to the status of the report, again referred to the report as an ‘independent review’.[6]

The Court concluded that Optus has not satisfied it that the requisite dominant legal purpose can be distilled from the multiplicity of purposes in play. Optus will now be ordered to produce the report, and likely any supporting documents relating to the creation of the report.

Takeaways

To maximise the prospects of privilege applying, the engagement of IT forensic providers and any report prepared must be for the dominant purpose of a lawyer advising the company in respect of legal risk.

The timing of engaging lawyers is critical. As Justice Beach remarked ‘Channelling material through lawyers or having lawyers make the retainer, belatedly, cannot cloak material with any privilege that it did not otherwise have’.[7]

In addition, it is not uncommon in Australia for large companies and governments to quickly announce the commissioning of an external review. This may be done to give assurance that they are committed to improvement and ensuring those responsible are held accountable, and to try to move out of the daily media cycle. In relation to legal risk, the independent and external review may lead to the creation of documents (eg interview reports) which would not otherwise have existed.

Companies must recognise the rewards and risk of an external review, and clearly decide upfront whether it is for legal purposes (and so privileged) or for broader purposes (and so not privileged).

Internal and external legal teams are generally mindful of the principles of legal privilege and can prepare engagements accordingly. However, they are not the sole controlling minds. Everyone, in particular the CEO, board and publicity team, must be aligned in their understanding and statements regarding reports. Companies cannot rely on ‘legal’ to cloak reports in privilege.


[1] Robertson v Singtel Optus Pty Ltd [2023] FCA 1392
[2] at [87]
[3] At [30]
[4] At [43]
[5] At [52]
[6] At [56]
[7] At [129]

Are you looking to stay up to date with the latest issues in public law? Take a look at Hall and Wilcox’s 2023 Public Law Webinar Series. The seven-part series covers hot issues including employment law and psycho-social hazards, debt recovery for state governments, and much more. Register and view the series online.

Stay tuned for the Hall & Wilcox NSW Public Sector Webinar Series taking place in 2024 ... more to come. If you are looking to stay ahead of the risks facing boards and executives in Australia, take a look at the Hall & Wilcox Beyond Compliance series, which includes training relevant to leaders in both the public and private sectors.

Are you looking for a way to forget the inbox this summer? The team at Hall & Wilcox has a host of recommendations to help you relax over the holidays. Take a look.


Rory O’Connor, Partner

Documentary – Rose Gold

I can highly recommend Rose Gold, a documentary about the recent Olympic campaign of the Boomers (the Australian basketball team), culminating in their bronze medal win at Tokyo. It is compelling viewing. Five stars!


Alison Choy Flannigan, Partner

Film – Sully

Sully's story is one of dedication, hope, and preparedness, revealing the important lessons he learned through childhood, in his military service, and in his work as a commercial airline pilot.


Nathan Kennedy, Partner & Head of Pro Bono and Community

Netflix Series – The Crown

I am looking forward to catching up on the last season of The Crown. I also want to try a Christmas movie tip of watching Die Hard immediately after Love Actually.


Audrey Leahy, Special Counsel and Head of Irish Practice

Book – Migrations

My recommendation is a book called Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy. The book is an ode to a disappearing world and is an absolute page turner – you will be hooked until the end!


Lloyd Miller, Law Graduate

Netflix Series – Last Stop Larrimah

A two-episode mystery focusing on the disappearance of one of the residents of Larrimah – a town of 11 people, approximately 450kms south of Darwin.

The story has many twists that you won't expect, and provides a moving insight into a small town that's been forgotten in time.


Ebenezer Assibev-Bonsu, Senior Associate

Podcast – Diary of a CEO

Audiobook – Mandela, The Lost Tapes

Album – Never Enough by Daniel Caesar


Amy Robinson, Business Development and Marketing Advisor, Public Law

Apple TV Series – Joanna Lumley’s Spice Trail Adventure

Joanna Lumley’s Spice Trail Adventure is a great way to explore beautiful locations across the world without having to leave your couch. I haven’t seen her Silk Road Adventure yet, so this is definitely one for the holidays.


Klara Herz, Lawyer

Book – Lessons in Chemistry

One of my favourite reads of 2023 is Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. It is a beautiful story, which has now been adapted to an equally beautiful series on Apple TV+. It’s worth both the read and the watch.


Melissa Grant, Financial Controller

Book – The Dictionary of Lost Words

This is a beautifully written novel by Pip Williams with characters who draw you in and keep you wanting to learn more about their stories.

I’m excited to read Pip Williams’ next book The Bookbinder of Jericho over our end of year break.

Contact

Kathryn Howard

Kathryn leads the Public Sector industry group at Hall & Wilcox, and is a commercial dispute resolution practice partner.

Related Event

2024 National Public Sector Webinar Series

Hall & Wilcox is delighted to bring you a series of webinars that will explore and offer practical insights on a range of key issues facing the National public sector.

Event Details

20240227

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