Public Law – Issue 10


In this bumper Easter edition, be inspired by the first in our series of female startup success stories, about Mums & Co, and sit down for five minutes with Elizabeth Mildwater, CEO Greater Sydney Commission. We also bring you the latest on social and affordable housing with Robert Pradolin, Founder Housing All Australians, and hear about the power of mentoring and volunteering from Vanessa Aitken, Australian Business & Community Network. There’s plenty to inspire for the long weekend too, with a review of Slough House, a book by Mick Herron (touted as the next John le Carré), and try out a favourite recipe of Frank Hinoporos, partner in our Tax group.

Kathryn Howard

Kathryn Howard

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

It is hard to believe we have lived with COVID for a year now, and on this anniversary I have looked back on my greatest challenges and marvelled at the good that has followed.

I realise that when I was at my lowest, there was a silver lining in the cloud which ultimately led to blue sky and sunshine. Only I didn’t know it at the time. Heartbreak over a relationship led to a move abroad, where I lived so happily in Tokyo and London. Those experiences abroad helped shaped me into who I am today, but I doubt I would have taken the plunge had I not been nudged (shoved!) by the desire to make a fresh start.

So too with the silver linings and blue patches of sky we are beginning to see from COVID. COVID has changed the way we do business, giving greater flexibility to empower people to live their lives in a way that they do not betray their core values. I always longed to live in a rural location with horses on my own land, yet thought I would have to retire before that would be possible – until last year showed us remote working is a high performing way of doing business, and is recognised as such. So I write this to you from 10 acres in South Gippsland, with my horses grazing outside my window. And my soul sings.

That is not to say the soul does not become weary from finding the silver linings to the dark clouds. Moving abroad and moving onto acreage for the first time presented its own challenges. So many ‘firsts’ that are sometimes uncomfortable. But I was encouraged by Anne Lamott, who said ‘It’s good to do uncomfortable things. It’s weight training for life.’ How true that is. Just as we invest the time to build physical strength, so we must invest in building strength for leading our best life – however we each define it.

So for this Easter, I hope you find yourself sitting under plenty of blue sky. But if there are some dark clouds, be encouraged that the blue sky always sits behind it. We just have to build some muscle along our journey to find it.

Kathryn Howard

Kathryn Howard

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

By Jacqui Barrett, Partner, Corporate & Commercial

Carrie’s first startup was Daily Addict, an insider’s guide to what is new and notable in Australia, which she launched in 2008 and grew to a community of 100,000 people.

In 2014, while seven months’ pregnant and wrangling a toddler, Carrie co-founded Australia’s connected and empowered community of business owner mums, Mums & Co, envisioning a world where women do not have to choose between family, personal ambitions and business.

Carrie shares her experience on:

Females in startups

There are definitively more women now in the startup world than when I started. There are role models paving the way. There are women carrying the mantle and being positive about it.

It is important to see people who are like you and sound like you that can help you achieve what they achieved. It helps eliminate imposter syndrome and can give you more confidence.

Women tend to value external networks more than men in the entrepreneurial system but are less likely to have one. Our purpose is to create that network.

The role of mentors

I have a number of mentors, more women than men. They have taught me the art of influencing – anything from personal branding to business opportunities to thinking bigger and bolder.

I have a group of co-founder friends. We get together to celebrate our wins, to give each other encouragement and when we are not having great wins, we are there to commiserate.

Responding to crises

Challenges such as COVID-19 give us an opportunity to come back to our purpose.

At Mums & Co, we are banding together to help mothers plan and feel supported in the business community, so that when everything settles they are ready to go back and thrive. We have partnered with Hall & Wilcox, Women in AI and other supporters to pull together a taskforce to assist women business owners work through this crisis.

This is also a watershed moment for remote working. Flexibility is the single most important thing employees are looking for now. Everybody has responsibilities and passions outside of work and working from home can enable that.

How we view and attract people back into the workforce is having a big shift. People want to do the work but want flexibility about how they do the work. Having trust, a clear focus and clear lines of communication is essential for both employers and employees.

Top tip for women starting out

Surround yourselves with the right support network, whether that be professional advisors, peers or your partner.

You need a whole ecosystem to support you on this journey which is hugely rewarding but can also be challenging.

In anticipation of our female-focussed Frank Lab for 2021, led by Partner Jacqui Barrett, we will profile a number of inspiring female-led businesses throughout the year.

Frank says an omelette is his regular go-to for a quick and easy dinner. It’s also a healthy alternative for those who have overindulged on hot cross buns and chocolate during Easter.

4 eggs

1/4 cup milk 150g mushrooms 1 cup spinach

1 tomato (diced) 1/2 onion (diced)

2 garlic cloves (crushed)

1 tbs butter

1 tbs olive oil

1 tbs dried oregano 1/2 tbs turmeric Fresh coriander Salt and pepper

2 frying pans

Mixing bowls


Lightly sauté the onion, mushrooms and garlic in butter and olive oil until brown. You may wish to add the tomato and spinach at this point if you prefer it well cooked.

Whisk eggs and milk in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add salt, pepper, turmeric and dried oregano to the mix.

Pour the egg mix into a large saucepan

on low heat. Cook partially until the omelette

is solid, but not fully cooked.

Using a spoon or spatula, place the onion and mushroom mix on one half of the omelette. If you have not already done so, add the tomato and spinach. Add fresh coriander.

Flip the omelette in half so the filling is fully or partially covered. Cook for a little longer.

Garnish omelette with coriander and enjoy!

For added protein and ‘bite’, add a 95 gram can of Sirena chilli tuna to your mix

By Kitty Vo, Partner, Property & Projects

When on holiday and checking into a hotel, do you promptly study the emergency exit maps and the emergency assembly point in case of a fire? Probably not – thoughts are more likely on sightseeing, dinner and relaxing.

Likewise, new commercial leases bring the promise of excitement and anticipation, and tenants often fail to properly consider their emergency exit strategy – an issue which has been exacerbated by COVID-19.

Following a year of working from home, many tenants have reduced office space. A recurring question I have been asked is: 'Can the lease be terminated early?'

If there is no early termination clause in the lease, then the short answer is 'no'.

Unlike other commercial contracts, leases do not generally contain clauses that entitle the tenant to exit before the expiry date (unless a clause was specifically negotiated into the lease). As such, landlords and tenants are often required to negotiate lease exits involving one of the following options:

  • assignment of the lease to a third-party tenant;
  • subleasing the premises to a third-party tenant; or
  • surrendering the lease, whereby the tenant completely exits and is released from the lease.

Assignments and subletting

Check the lease for all criteria the tenant must satisfy before an assignment or subletting arrangement can take effect. This includes criteria connected to the incoming tenant (eg the incoming tenant’s financial standing and business experience, the provision of personal guarantees and the replacement of bank guarantees).

Surrender of lease

If a tenant wishes to surrender the lease, then both parties will need to factor in potential surrender fee payments, and must carefully consider how existing obligations under the lease should be dealt with. Will there be any deviations from the existing obligations? For example, the tenant may wish to negotiate a payment in lieu of performing its make good obligations under the lease (ie removal of the tenant’s property).

Where to next?

To help facilitate a smooth exit, the terms of the lease must be reviewed carefully to ensure that each parties’ rights and obligations are properly understood when a tenant wants to unexpectedly exit the lease early.

From a tenant’s perspective, this step is crucial to formulate a lease exit strategy.

Landlords must understand their rights and the tenant’s obligations to respond and to issue the necessary legal documentation to effect the desired outcome.

Partner Meg Lee sat down with Elizabeth to hear about her experiences leading GSC.

What excites you about the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC)?

The enormous, phenomenal, once-in-a-century opportunity Sydney has right now. The Metropolis of Three Cities model was a marvellous structure for Sydney’s future, it has now been adopted and proven itself fit for the future. Our response to COVID has been really solid and given Sydney a real advantage and profile on the international stage. If we focus and crystallise the opportunity, we can accelerate our economic advantage, become an attractor for smart jobs across our three cities, and balance out the three cities, making Greater Sydney a more productive and equitable city. And, of course, a truly great place for everyone to live.

What challenges you at the GSC?

I came to the GSC from the Transport cluster. At Transport, my relationships were largely about the ‘vertical’, not solely, but largely. The GSC is a small team (about 70). We achieve great outcomes by influence, rather than control. That means a continued focus on relationships both within and outside of state government, and within state government it’s largely about the ‘horizontal’ relationships. But this is why I was interested in the role. It really challenges me to constantly think externally, outside of the GSC. For an introvert, this is quite a challenge. But I do love being outside of my comfort zone.

Who or what inspires you?

Inspiration comes in a couple of ways. At work, I get really inspired meeting staff and hearing what they do. Whether it’s the front-line service staff or people completely dedicated to a particular field of planning or strategy, it constantly inspires me. People are so proud of their work and usually thrilled that someone wants to spend time with them and learn, but they inspire me with their dedication and service. Every day I meet great people doing great things for the people of NSW.

Outside of work, I get inspired by going to concerts and completely immersing myself in the music. In Sydney, the Brandenburg Orchestra is a complete addiction. I have watched and followed them since the 90s, soon after they started. I admire their dedication to performing Baroque music and the absolute perfection they achieve. They also seem to have a fair bit of fun – a perfect combination. I lose myself completely in the whole performance. It’s just magic.

How do you wind down?

I love being outdoors and active – riding a bike, paddling, swimming, even just walking the dog. We are just so lucky in Sydney that we can do this all year round. After being away from Sydney, and NSW, for more than 20 years, I’m really enjoying exploring again. We have a house at Minnie Water, in northern NSW, so getting there is my ultimate relaxation. There are about 70 houses in the village and life moves at a different pace. I love walking the dog on the beach early in the morning. Nothing but us, the dog and dolphins. It’s magic.

Which cities around the world do you most admire?

Oh. This is a tough question. I’m not an expert by any means. The cities I love tend to blend a bit of history, a bit of the modern, things work, but there’s also some chaos. I like a good public transport system and somewhere you can walk a lot. I admire cities that make a determined effort to change – London, New York and Paris have all made determined effort to address the car problem in different ways and I really admire that. It takes real guts, vision and perseverance to re-imagine and reallocate road space. Ultimately, when our space is constrained, that’s what we need to do. And speaking of constrained, I probably most admire some Asian cities, such as Tokyo and Singapore. In different ways, they deal with constraints of population and geography, and make the most marvellous places.

By Karl Rozenbergs and David Catanese

Whether an employer can mandate its employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine is a multi-faceted issue. Assuming a COVID-19 vaccine is readily accessible, safe to use, and effective in achieving its purpose, the answer depends heavily on the circumstances.

The Fair Work Ombudsman and Safe Work Australia have provided guidance indicating most employers will not be able to mandate the vaccine – at this stage. But it’s not quite that simple.

For example, if legislation or a public health order is introduced enabling employers to require vaccination for particular industries, the Fair Work Ombudsman and Safe Work Australia’s general position may not be appropriate.

Similarly, the position may be altered by a lawful term in an applicable registered agreement, such as an enterprise agreement or an employment contract.

If no law, agreement or employment contract permits a particular employer to require its employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the central question will become whether the employer’s direction to vaccinate is lawful and reasonable.

Whether a direction is ‘lawful and reasonable’ will depend on the particular circumstances. For example, reasonableness in the context of a public health or aged care facility may differ greatly from reasonableness in the context of an office environment. The following factors will be influential:

  • The employer’s workplace health and safety obligations: Safe Work Australia has commented that ‘most employers will not need to make vaccination mandatory to comply with the model WHS laws’ that apply in some states.
  • Potential discrimination of the sort prohibited by Australia’s anti-discrimination regime: for example, persons with a diagnosed allergy to the vaccination cannot be required to take it, and the employer must make reasonable adjustments to the employee’s role to accommodate their circumstances prior to potentially dismissing them or excluding them from the workplace – ‘reasonable adjustments’ may include allowing the employee to work from home until a sufficient proportion of the workforce has been vaccinated.
  • Whether reasonable exemptions to the direction are available, including effective alternatives to vaccination such as the use of personal protective equipment. Applicable human rights legislation such as Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities.

Although most employees are expected to voluntarily obtain a COVID-19 vaccine once available, there are likely to be some who choose not to be vaccinated. Ultimately, the decision to mandate or not to mandate vaccination will present unique risks to each employer, depending on the environment of each workplace.

Robert Pradolin is Founder and current Director of private sector initiative and NFP, Housing All Australians (HAA). HAA represents a private sector voice in the national housing and homeless discussion and engages corporate Australia to address Australia’s chronic affordable housing shortage.

Rory O’Connor, Hall & Wilcox Property & Projects partner, caught up with Rob on affordable housing, surprising facts about homelessness, and a documentary sure to be a national talking point.

Hall & Wilcox has significant experience acting on behalf of community housing providers, financiers and developers to deliver secure and affordable housing to those in need, and has been involved in a number of major social housing projects and National Disability Insurance Scheme projects, particularly in Victoria and NSW.

With your property development background, what fuelled your passion in trying to address Australia’s homeless?

I was exposed to social housing through my involvement developing both the Commonwealth Games Village and the Carlton Public Housing Estate. But it wasn’t until I started to read reports on the long term costs to the economy that highlighted a much more serious issue. As the

private sector, we focus on things that are economically viable. Like many Australians, I assumed government provided shelter for vulnerable Australians. But they don’t and this is leaving a slow burning, but huge economic time bomb for our children to face.

Without safe shelter, people experience unintended human consequences that manifest into mental and physical health issues, family violence, policing, justice and long term welfare dependency. If we extrapolate the polarisation that is currently happening in society, we are heading for civil unrest.

What is the most surprising thing about homelessness in Australia?

It just takes a ‘sliding doors’ moment. There are many people just one pay cheque away from homelessness. I heard about a recent Rotary event where they discussed homelessness, and a woman in the audience said ‘that’s me now. I’m actually sleeping on someone’s couch. I haven’t got a home.’ The presenter was floored because she looks ‘normal’. This is Australia’s hidden homeless.

Could things like inclusionary zoning make an impact on affordable housing stock?

Inclusionary zoning needs to happen, but there must be sufficient lead time for industry to factor the cost into the purchase. Affordable housing needs a subsidy, but imposing new requirements on developers who have purchased a site, in good faith, based on a set of agreed rules, risks more costs being passed onto the consumer, which doesn’t help affordability.

How are you getting your support from the corporate sector?

There is so much goodwill in the corporate sector. We are focusing on corporate philanthropy, but ‘in kind’, not cash. In 2018 we helped refurbish an empty 30 bed aged care facility with the property sector’s goodwill. The YWCA received the complex fully furnished and in the subsequent 18 months, they had helped 78 women stabilise their lives in a previous empty building. Over $300,000 of value was provided ‘in kind’.

But our Pop Up Shelters are not a solution. We need to build more housing and government must engage the private sector because the capital requirements are too big for any government. We are also creating an affordable housing model that aligns both local government and the private sector interests in helping those that are struggling.

Tell us about Under Cover

Middle class women over 50 are the fastest growing group of homeless in Australia. An important documentary on this issue is currently in development, titled Under Cover, and the film producers need our corporate support. This is going to become a national talking point. 

Robert Pradolin was involved in a recent Hal & Wilcox panel discussion that brought together leaders in the field to discuss 'Getting social infrastructure right in NSW and Victoria – a social and affordable housing perspective'. Among the issues discussed was what can be done to incentivise private sector investment in the sector. This webinar is available on demand.

Meg Lee, a partner in the Environment & Planning team, caught up with Vanessa Aitken, Program Manager, Australian Business & Community Network (ABCN), to discuss her work and career, the power of mentoring and volunteering, some inspirational results, coping with mental health challenges, and remembering to breathe.

Vanessa, perhaps you could start by telling us a bit more about your role at ABCN.

I look after a suite of our member companies (of which Hall & Wilcox is one) and I help plan, coordinate and deliver the programs that each of our member companies would like to offer to our partner schools.

Our mentoring programs are designed to inspire students to achieve their employment potential. Our corporate mentors play a huge role in these programs by supporting the development of students’ skills and mindsets, confidence and aspiration, so they can achieve more than they thought possible.

How have you seen the COVID pandemic affect the lives of those you work with?

COVID accelerated our plans to digitise our programs, and this allowed mentors and students to stay connected in a turbulent and difficult time. Disadvantage was compounded during COVID-19 for a lot of our students and I think particularly for those who were learning remotely, our programs provided a sense of connection to a bigger world than just the walls of their home.

How did you come to be in your current role?

I had my own business working with young people experiencing stress and anxiety. I loved it but it took too much time away from my family and it was lonely working by myself. I made the decision to work as part of a team again, and for an organisation that really made a difference.

Now I know you have also done a professional life coaching course – can you tell us about that?

Yes, I did. It was a great opportunity and the course really kick-started my desire to understand human behaviour and personal transformation. I’m still continuing my education in this field – I find it fascinating how we operate as humans!

What was the single best life lesson you took from that course?

It would have to be that your thinking is not an accurate reflection of who you are. Don’t take your thinking too seriously.

What inspires you to get up each day and do your job?

For me it’s all about connection and making a difference – ABCN allows me to feel connected to my team, our mentors, our corporate champions and our students. On a daily basis I get to see the difference that our programs and mentors make to the lives of young people. It’s very moving.

What stories from mentors you’ve worked with have warmed your heart?

One which stands out to me occurred between a Hall & Wilcox mentor and a Victorian student. Prior to the program the Year 11 student was at times a school refuser and at risk of dropping out of school. She somewhat reluctantly joined the Aspirations program and was grouped with her mentor, who listened to her hopes for the future, saw her potential, and encouraged her to take steps towards her career goals in the Defence Forces – which she did. A short while after the program, the Year 11 coordinator from the school contacted me to say that her student had made a commitment to finish her schooling, had connected with the Defence Forces, saw her own leadership potential and went on to apply for a school captaincy role – and got it! It was a wonderful example of how our students raise their aspirations as a result of working with our mentors.

Have you had some influential role models and mentors in your life?

I’ve been surrounded by some fantastic people throughout my life. People who have shown me better ways to operate and conduct myself professionally, and people who have shown me ways to be a better person. And this has a ripple effect – it positively impacts me directly, but then it also positively impacts the people that I go on to interact with.

You’ve always worked in the community sector, including mental health. You must have dealt with some difficult situations that drain and sadden you or make you angry – how do you cope?

Initially, I didn’t cope at times and as a result I suffered. I learnt pretty quickly to leave work at the office. I had a routine of walking out of the office building at the end of the day and visualising leaving my day’s work there. It worked.

Can you share some of your coping mechanisms and strategies?

I meditate; I find ways to connect to a bigger picture than just myself and my immediate surroundings – when we focus on ourselves and our problems, we contract. When we look beyond ourselves and our immediate environment, we expand and relax.

Breathing correctly is key to stress relief. Slow, deep abdominal breaths activate our ‘rest and digest’ parasympathetic nervous system, which calms us down. When we’re stressed our breath is short, coming from the chest only, or perhaps we’re even holding our breath! This activates the sympathetic ‘fight or flight’ response and makes us more stressed. Breathe slow and from the belly to change your breathing, and your state of mind.

Many of our clients and contacts may feel that they are too busy to get involved in volunteering. How do you balance the juggling act?

Mentor time commitment varies within our programs, from one hour to around 10 hours, spread over many weeks. We have programs that fit most people’s time restrictions.

What are your thoughts on the benefits of making time to be a volunteer (whether ABCN or otherwise)?

Volunteers make a big difference to the people or organisation they are supporting. Research shows volunteering increases mental wellbeing and a sense of connection. I highly recommend people taking the time to volunteer – it feels good and is good for you.

Find out more about ABCN's programs.

How are you finding this new environment?

My international practice requires input from various specialists across the firm, so I am really enjoying how accessible Zoom is making the world and I am settling in well to the welcoming and collegiate atmosphere of Hall & Wilcox.

What is your perfect Saturday morning?

I am a keen dinghy sailor. Almost every Sunday of the summer my son and I leave early to sail at Narrabeen Lakes Sailing Club where I teach the learn to sail program. The smiles on the kids’ faces and my son’s enthusiasm for the sport that I love makes every Sunday pretty perfect.

Best advice you have received?

It’s a working life analogy to help me focus on the important tasks first: ‘You have a jar and some pebbles and sand. If you put the sand in first the pebbles will not fit. If you put the pebbles in first then the sand will find a space’.

What is the most rewarding career moment you have had?

There have been a number of great moments. When I was working at a ship management company in Hong Kong we sold a fleet of seven VLCCs (Very Large Crude Carriers). The day we closed the deal (which was an excellent deal for the shareholders) was a great day and a relief after a lot of hard work. I recall an excellent Hong Kong banquet lunch to celebrate!

What is your favourite book/movie?

One of my favourite books is Gweilo by Martin Booth, a charming memoir of a Hong Kong childhood. I read it when I started my own adventure in Hong Kong. I also enjoyed Born to Win, a book about John Bertrand and Australia’s epic 1983 America’s Cup victory. For movies, I really enjoy a good James Bond film.

What is one thing you would tell your younger self?

Be confident in who you are and stop comparing yourself with others.

By Andrew Banks, Lawyer, Pro bono

Following the 2017 Australian Law Reform Commission report, Elder Abuse – A National Legal Response, there is an ever-growing focus on elder abuse in Australia.

Elder Abuse has been defined by the World Health Organisation as ‘a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person’. Elder abuse can take many forms including financial, physical, psychological and sexual, and neglect.

Although a relationship where there is an expectation of trust extends beyond the family unit, (for example, to carers) elder abuse is often committed by a member of the older person’s family.

Hall & Wilcox was able to assist Maurice, one of the many older Australians subjected to elder abuse at the hands of their families each year. Maurice was particularly vulnerable as he is elderly, vision-impaired and lives alone.

By the time Maurice approached us, he had been duped by his son into paying more than $200,000 as 10 years’ ‘rent in advance’ to Maurice’s ex-wife, who owned the property Maurice lived in. Maurice was concerned that he did not have a written lease or any evidence of the money he paid. He was fearful at the prospect of needing to move into aged care before the lease term expired, and potentially losing his money.

Before our involvement, Maurice’s ex-wife had refused to provide him with a written lease. More recently, she had started making threats to evict him.

We provided Maurice with legal advice on his rights, and managed to negotiate with Maurice’s ex-wife to secure a written agreement to reflect the money Maurice had paid, and which would also enable him to move out early (and obtain a refund, pro rata, of money he had paid) if he needed to move into aged care before the end of the 10 year period.

If you or someone you know has been affected by elder abuse, contact the national 1800ELDERHelp (1800 353 374) hotline.

This story originally appeared in our Respect respect Pro bono report 2020.

Hall & Wilcox celebrated International Women’s Day by presenting a webinar with a panel of inspiring and powerful women in leadership. We asked: How do we make it easier for women to stay in the workforce?

Close the pay gap

Journalist Marina Go said many women chose to stay at home not due to traditional reasons but because their husband/ partner earns more. Employers need to close the salary gap early, ensure they are paying women equally, and offer the same promotional opportunities. This makes it easier for women to stay in their careers, and easier for men to consider issues such as parental leave.

Unlike behavioural change, which can take a long time, remedying pay disparity in ‘like for like’ roles is something we can quickly and objectively administer, observed James Morvell, Chair of the Hall & Wilcox Diversity & Inclusion committee.

Women need to be HEARD.

Melissa Dean, the Managing Director of Accenture, acknowledges it is hard to find females who are willing to advocate and speak out about thought leadership – employers must make sure all voices are heard, especially the quiet ones.

Education is key

Gayann Walker, a barrister at Dawson Chambers, voiced concerns on the prevalence of unconscious bias, and argued that training on sexual harassment and diversity should be compulsory for all lawyers to set minimum standards of behaviour. Such training should be a priority given that women consist of 52.59% of the legal workforce.

Interestingly, the Women’s Barristers Association made submissions to the Victorian Legal Services Commission in their review of CPD requirements proposing that training for sexual harassment should be compulsory. In its reply, the VLSC stated such training is unlikely to be effective if ‘one-off’ and not embedded within a wider change program. However, flagging such behaviour as inappropriate to all lawyers via compulsory training is a step in the right direction.

Be a role model

Angela Priestley, publisher and owner of Women’s Agenda, provided a helpful example of role modelling and its effects in practice. When Angela became pregnant, she was worried about how her boss would react. When she mustered up the courage to tell her boss (Marina Go at the time), she simply hugged her and said it was fantastic. This conditioned Angela to have the same reaction to her staff.

Implement quotas

Marina Go highlighted the importance

of quotas to achieve equal representation

of women in leadership and board positions.

Quotas ensure diversity is met throughout the organisation, especially at board level. The benefits of diverse boards have been documented in studies time and time again.

Leaders must choose to challenge

‘Choose to challenge’ was IWD’s theme, and Fay Calderone did so with a call to action:

This year’s theme is an opportunity for

us all to consider and reflect why and how

we choose to challenge the status quo.

A challenged world is an alert world and

from challenge comes change.

I choose to challenge because gendered violence & sexual harassment remains prolific.

I choose to challenge because every woman in every workplace, walking on every street and in every home deserves to be safe.

I choose to challenge because I am one of the only 18% women in leadership roles.

I choose to challenge because I refuse to wait 100 years for gender equality.

[1] NSW Law Society Annual Report 2020

[2] Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner, Getting the Point? Review of Continuing Professional Development for Victorian Lawyers, Chris Humphreys, November 2020 – page 45.

By Melinda Woledge, Marketing & Communications Manager

Since the spy genre’s king, John le Carré, died in late 2020, many lovers of spy novels have been wondering who to read next. My pick is Mick Herron. If you haven’t discovered his ‘Slough House’ series, now is the time to do so.

The first book, Slow Horses, was released in 2010 but the series had a slow burn and only took off once re-released with another publisher from 2015. It is now justifiably acclaimed, with many of the novels being shortlisted or winning multiple prestigious awards. The seventh novel, Slough House, has just been released and Apple TV is reportedly filming the series.

The ‘slow horses’ are a bunch of MI5 rejects, former agents who have screwed up in some way and been exiled from Regent’s Park headquarters to ‘Slough House’, out of the ‘real spies’ way. In fact, HQ would prefer the slow horses to get so sick of pointless paperwork shuffling that they resign and disappear. Led by the brilliant yet repulsive Jackson Lamb (read the series to find out why), the slow horses somehow always manage to find themselves in the thick of operations.

Like le Carré, Herron’s cynical, witty novels go beyond cloak-and-dagger espionage tricks to examine the state of modern Britain – and it’s not a pretty sight. Ex-Cold War spies, Russian oligarchs, North Korean fanatics, establishment power plays, Brexit fallout and fake news: Herron’s villains and plots feel uncomfortably close to reality. The character trajectory of the flawed and unlovable slow horses makes this series even more compelling. If you haven’t yet discovered 'Slough House', I urge you to track it down and enjoy the ride.

By Peter Campbell, Director Client Solutions

A recent survey on Smarter use of Technology for in-house legal teams revealed an interesting disconnect.

We asked: how tech savvy are in-house legal teams? We looked at two angles: How savvy was the respondent; and how did that compare with the teams they work in?

Respondents generally saw themselves as reasonably tech savvy, yet saw their teams as lagging behind.

While it’s possible respondents over­estimated their abilities, the relatively poor perception of tech use among in-house legal teams shows there is work to do.

In-house teams thought the biggest area for improvement was document management. The good news is that there are many document management systems available in the cloud and on premise.

Many legal teams still use their personal folders and outlook folders to store and manage information. While document management systems exist, they often aren’t configured well for a legal and matter based context. And it is time and cost restrict that constrains improvement of LegalTech.

But there is tremendous opportunity for those who want to differentiate themselves, by developing their technology skills and have an open, curious mindset around technology. I have seen lawyers differentiate themselves as an invaluable resource much faster by bringing their tech skills to the team.

How is the employment relationship changing as we come out of COVID?

Join Hall & Wilcox’s national employment team for a three part webinar series on employment law. In the first webinar, we look at how the employment relationship is changing as we come out of the COVID pandemic.

When: Thursday 22 April,
1.00pm – 2.00pm AEST

Presenters: Iona Goodwin, Jillian Howard and Sean Sullivan

Facilitator: Fay Calderone

Where: Zoom webinar. Please email to request an invitation to this webinar.

The workforce challenges arising from the final report of the royal commission into aged care, quality and safety recommendations

Join AHHA, ACHSM, and Hall & Wilcox where we’ll discuss major workforce challenges, including a national registration regime, mandatory minimum qualifications and standards, increased education and training, increases in award wages, and strategic leadership and workforce planning.


  • Alison Choy Flannigan, Partner & Leader, Health & Community, Hall & Wilcox
  • Karl Rozenbergs Partner, Hall & Wilcox
  • James Saunders, Partner – Financial & Operational Management, Pride Living Where: Access the on-demand webinar.

What can we learn from the final report of The Aged Care Royal Commission?

Join leading industry experts for valuable insight into the Final Report from the Aged Care Royal Commission, and what the report means for the future of the aged care sector, including how the findings may affect future policies for Aged Care, and the regulatory and legal implications of the Report.

Hosted by Australasian College of Health Service Management (ACHSM), Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) and Hall & Wilcox, this event is available on-demand.


  • Alison Choy Flannigan, Partner & Leader, Health & Community, Hall & Wilcox
  • Rachael Arnold, Partner, Hall & Wilcox
  • Tim Hicks, General Manager Policy & Advocacy, Leading Aged Services Australia (LASA)

Where: Access the on-demand webinar.

Getting social infrastructure right in NSW and Victoria – a social and affordable housing perspective

Jim Miller, Chair of Infrastructure Victoria, and Deborah Brill, Executive Director Policy and Innovation at NSW Land and Housing Corp, discuss social and affordable housing approaches in Victoria and NSW. Robert Pradolin, Founder and Director of Housing All Australians, explores ways to incentivise private investment in the sector, and Greg Budworth, Group Managing Director of Compass Housing, covers some pressing challenges for community housing providers.

Where: Access the on-demand webinar.


Kathryn Howard

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

You might be also interested in...

Public Sector | 17 Dec 2020

Public Law – Holiday Edition

As we come to the end of a year like no other and look forward to the holidays, we farewell the year with a bumper edition of Public Law.

Public Sector | 2 Jun 2020

Public Law – Issue Eight

How times have changed since our last edition of Public Law, which was published just before COVID-19 hit Australia. In this issue, we aim to inspire, encourage and empower each other. We hear from clients finding new ways of connection, look at ways to encourage creativity and we share the latest legal developments.