Appointment - Australian Institute of Company Directors Law Committee

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I have accepted an invitation to join the Australian Institute of Company Directors Law Committee, one of the organisations' national policy committees.

The objective of the Law Committee is to consider, discuss and provide feedback to the AICD on legislation, regulations and legal issues affecting directors. In doing this, the Law Committee provides invaluable assistance and advice to the AICD in its advocacy work.  The membership of the Law Committee is a mix of senior in-house lawyers and private practitioners. 

Recently, the Committee has focussed its attention on issues such as reforms to combat illegal phoenix activity, the operation of continuous disclosure laws, the review and revision of the ASX Corporate Governance Council’s Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations, the implications of the Royal Commission into financial services, and other topical legal issues impacting on company directorsIt reviews and considers draft legislation, regulations, and legal issues affecting directors. 

The Law Committee holds 6 meetings per year, at the AICD’s new offices at 18 Jamison Street, Sydney and via teleconference.


http://aicd.companydirectors.com.au/about/policy-committees

Appointment - Chair, Futures Committee, Australian Bar Association

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I am excited to take on the role of Chair of the Australian Bar Association’s Futures Committee in 2019, under the leadership of new ABA President Jennifer Batrouney QC. Jenny and I worked together as successive Presidents of Australian Women Lawyers in the mid-2000’s, and I am delighted to support her work as only the 4th female President of the Australian Bar since the association’s establishment in 1963.

The Futures Committee provides advice to the ABA Council and Executive regarding threats or risks to the Bar.  The committee’s role is to promote, protect and enforce the role of an independent legal profession in the interests of its members, review market competition for legal services and consider challenges for working with in-house counsel and in overseas markets.

I also look forward to convening the ABA’s Commercial Litigation Conference in Singapore on 11-12 July 2019. For more details visit www.convergence2019.austbar.asn.au to register your interest and receive updates.

Pre-qualification as Independent Member for NSW Government Audit & Risk Committees

I am pleased to have been successful in becoming prequalified as an Independent Member for Audit & Risk Committees of NSW Government departments and statutory bodies.

All new appointments of independent chairs and members to audit and risk committees of NSW Government agencies must be made from the prequalified list.

I have previously served on the Audit, Risk & Compliance Committee of industry superfund, Club Plus Super, and routinely advise boards in the public and private sector about governance, audit and risk management issues.

The Department of Finance, Services and Innovation (DFSI) manages the scheme on behalf of the NSW Government. The scheme conditions and guidelines include a code of conduct for scheme members and specifically exclude current employees of NSW public sector agencies (other than State Owned Corporations) from serving as independent members or chairs.

Chairs and members need to meet the independence and conflict of interest criteria set out in the NSW Treasury Internal Audit and Risk Management Policy.

Prequalified independent chairs and members may be appointed to up to 5 NSW audit and risk committees at any one time (each shared 'cluster' committee counts as one).

Re-Appointment - National Broadband Network Arbitral Pool

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The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has approved my nomination for re-appointment as a Pool Member for a further 2 years from 22 December 2018 for determination of disputes between NBN Co and its Customers. 

NBN Co was established to design, build and operate Australia's new high-speed, wholesale local access broadband network

The appointment is pursuant to the dispute management regime included in the NBN Co's Special Access Undertaking given to the ACCC under section 152CBA(2) of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth). The term of my further appointment is 2 years.

Under the terms of the Wholesale Broadband Agreement, NBN Co and its Customers agree to manage and resolve disputes that may arise under or in relation to the agreement in accordance with a set of rules that are set out in Module G of that agreement (the Dispute Management Rules). NBN Co has incorporated the same Dispute Management Rules into its other Standard Forms of Access Agreements.

The Dispute Management Rules provide that certain functions and responsibilities, which contribute to the fair and efficient resolution of disputes, are to be performed by appointees to the roles of ‘Pool Member’ and ‘Panel Member’. 

The Dispute Management Rules provide various means by which a dispute may be resolved, including mediation, expert determination, an alternative agreed dispute mechanism, and panel arbitration. If the disputing parties do not agree to use mediation, expert determination or any other alternative agreed dispute mechanism to resolve the dispute, either of the disputing parties may refer the dispute to the Resolution Advisor to arrange for panel arbitration, in which case the members of the arbitral panel will determine the dispute by arbitration.

See earlier: https://dhdsc.com.au/news/2016/12/7/national-broadband-network-nbn-arbitral-panel-appointment

See further: https://www.nbnco.com.au/sell-nbn-services/supply-agreements/dispute-management.html

Appointment - Chartered Accountants Australia & NZ Professional Conduct Committee

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I have been appointed to the Professional Conduct Committee of the Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand. The term of appointment is 3 years, from 1 August 2018 to 31 July 2021.

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand is a professional body comprised of over 117,000 members. 

The CA ANZ Professional Conduct Committee is required to ensure that appropriate and timely investigations, decisions and referrals are made in relation to complaints made and information provided with respect to the standards of practice and professional conduct of CA ANZ members, non-member practice entities and registered graduates.

Recognition - Doyle's Guide's Leading Commercial Litigation & Dispute Resolution Senior Counsel, 2018

I have again been Recommended in Doyle's Guide to the Australian Legal Profession as a Leading Commercial Litigation & Dispute Resolution Senior Counsel in NSW.

The list details Queens/Senior Counsel practising in commercial litigation, dispute resolution and arbitration matters in the NSW legal market who have been identified by NSW's commercial litigation solicitors for their expertise and abilities in these areas.

See earlier: 2017 Rankings and the 2016 Rankings.

 
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Report - International Bar Leaders’ meetings in Oslo

The International Bar Association's Bar Issues Commission (BIC) supports the interests of the IBA’s member organisations, including arranging events to discuss issues that affect the legal profession globally, and working groups that develop resources and guidelines for bar associations. 

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I attended the recent IBA Bar Leaders’ mid-year meetings in Oslo as a member of the BIC's Regulation Committee. The meetings brought together delegates from around the globe to discuss the latest developments, and thorny issues, affecting the profession of law today.

Running alongside the various committee and taskforce meetings were informative sessions on the Rule of Law under attack: an analysis of the situation in Poland, Hungary, Zambia and Venezuela; the role of Bar Associations in promoting trade in legal services; trends in legal education and lawyer competence; and Brexit and the likely consequences for lawyers and legal practice.

 
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A particular highlight was the keynote address by BIC Officer, Berit Reiss-Andersen, Chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awards the Nobel Peace Prize. Berit addressed the terms of Alfred Nobel’s will and the intention of the Peace Prize, and explored the relationship between the Peace Prize and the other Nobel Prizes.

Delegates were later hosted to a reception at the Nobel Peace Centre and an exhibition honouring the 2017 winner International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a global campaign launched in Melbourne in 2007.

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The meetings ended with an Open Forum, which included presentation of an interim report on the strategic review of the IBA (triggering a lively Q&A) and launch of the IBA’s Diversity Initiative, which will work to promote inclusivity and diversity within the legal profession on a global basis.

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Report - OECD Forum & G20 Business Dialogue in Paris

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With the future of international co-operation very much in question, I was delighted to be invited to join the 2018 OECD Week in Paris, for a series of high level meetings and discussion.  The G20's Business Dialogue held a Joint Task Force Meeting, which I joined as a member of the Integrity & Compliance Taskforce. Since this round of Task Force meetings was being held at the OECD, we also held a joint meeting with BIAC - Business & Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD. Finally, I joined the OECD Forum, which convened some of the leading voices in the global policy-shaping community, through the prism of three central and interconnected themes: Inclusive Growth, Digitalisation and International Co-operation. [For your interest, note that many of the hyperlinks below include webcasts of the particular event or session].

International co-operation: President Macron's address opened the OECD’s annual Ministerial Council Meeting with a call for countries to work harder to ensure that multilateral co-operation effectively addresses today’s global challenges. His speech was timely, although in some measures its message unheeded; shortly afterwards, the United States announced its unilateral decision to impose significant tariffs on European and Canadian trade.  

 

Other sessions on the theme of international co-operation explored new forms of global leadership (New Global Leadership,) and multi-stakeholder “coalitions of the willing” (Firms, Civil Society & Government with Purpose: The Global Deal). Other issues canvassed included those inherently global in nature, such as climate (Safeguarding Our Oceans), and trade (The Faces of Trade).

 

Speaking of trade, the G20 is a vital multilateral platform to address global challenges, including regulation of global value chains, and anti-corruption. Business 20, or B20, is the private sector's voice of the G20 community. It addresses the global challenges and priorities defined by the G20 countries, by building solid consensus amongst business leaders, international organizations and civil society regarding how they should be approached. 

B20’s trademark is the development of consensus based concrete policy proposals from the private sector with the objective of generating more and better jobs, sustained growth and development. The process involves the constitution of taskforces of around 100 business representatives of the entire G20 and invited countries. After a 7-month period of discussions the B20 is ready to submit its policy recommendations to the G20 leaders - which in 2018 will occur in October in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

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Digitalisation:  the OECD Forum also explored the potential and realisations of companies, start-ups, and individuals (Start-Up Ecosystem), and examined the actions needed to promote quality jobs and well-being in a new world of work (The Future of Work: How?). As policy makers and shapers around the world look to develop the new cognitive and regulatory frameworks to accompany the shift from analogue to digital, the Forum considered the ethical ramifications, (Universal Digital Rights & Digital Inclusion), the implications for the security, society and the economy (Cybersecurity) and the importance of a civic debate on the rise of artificial intelligence.

During OECD Week, the French Data Protection Authority (CNIL) released a fascinating report on the ethical issues raised by the rapid development of digital technologies - how can humans keep the upper hand? This is an issue about which I first wrote for the Judicial Commission of NSW in 2017 (see “Computer Says ‘No’ - automation, algorithms and artificial intelligence in Government decision-making“ published in The Judicial Review). The CNIL report made 6 important policy recommendations intended for both public authorities and civil society:

  1. Fostering education of all players involved in “algorithmic chains” (designers, professionals, citizens) in the subject of ethics;
  2. Making algorithmic systems understandable by strengthening existing rights and organising mediation with users;
  3. Improving the design of algorithmic systems in the interests of human freedom;
  4. Setting up a national platform for auditing algorithms;
  5. Increasing incentives for research on ethical AI and launching a participatory general interest research project;
  6. Strengthening ethics within businesses.

Inclusive Growth: this included panels on seeking tangible ways to address inequalities, through the built environment, (Panel with lunch on Housing), through access to quality education and lifelong learning (Reskilling: How Difficult Is It?), and navigating employment in a disruptive digital environment (Recruiting in a Digital Age). The Forum ventured down less trodden paths, looking at the implications of loneliness for people’s health and the fabric of our societies (Loneliness), and what robots and humans can learn from each other in the age of ‘singularity’ (Singularity). 

The Forum also welcomed a host of authors who shared the insights of their work through a series of “Meet the Author” sessions. One of those was Colm Harmon, Professor of Economics and Head of the School of Economics at the University of Sydney, who led a discussion of what it will take for schools to be able to help students think for themselves, develop a sense of right and wrong, and be sensitive to others’ views as part of the World Class: How to Build a 21st-Century School System session.

The University of Sydney (my alma mater) is a long time knowledge partner with the OECD, so I was delighted to be invited by Professor Harmon to also join a University of Sydney/Sciences Po Roundtable, held in the Château de la Muette during OECD Week. It was wonderful to see these young university students meeting several Australians working at the OECD, including Australian Ambassador to the OECD, Brian Pontifex

 

Appointment - Economic Regulation Authority Arbitral Pool

The Economic Regulation Authority has appointed Dominique Hogan-Doran SC to the pool of arbitrators for disputes involving non-scheme pipelines in Western Australia under the National Gas Rules. Australia is on the cusp of becoming the world's largest liquefied natural gas exporter, having seen investment of more than $200 billion in the past decade. This appointment complements Dominique’s earlier appointment by the Australian Energy Regulator for the remaining States and Territories.

CPD - Banking Executive Accountability Regime

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I was delighted to join the Centre for Law, Markets & Regulation seminar on the new Banking Executive Accountability Regime regime, responding to APRA Chairman Mr Wayne Byres, former Barclays CEO of Mortgages, Mr Steve Weston, and Ms Cris Parker of the Banking & Finance Oath. 

The BEAR legislation passed the Australian Senate on 7 February 2018, and comes into effect on 1 July 2018. The legislation amends the Banking Act 1959 to impose accountability, remuneration, key personnel and notification obligations on authorised deposit-taking institutions. It is intended to make senior bankers more accountable for management decisions, and includes criminal liability amongst its sanctions.

You can download my slide deck presentation here and a transcript of my oral remarks.

Wayne Byre's speech, "Beyond the BEAR necessities" is available on the APRA website.

CPD - Royal Commissions: Strategic Considerations

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The papers for my presentation to the members of the South Australian Bar Association in Adelaide on 20 March 2018 are now available for download: