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Connecting government lawyers

Australian Government Legal Network

The Australian Government Legal Network aims to support the professional development of government lawyers, enhance the delivery of legal services to the Australian Government, and support the Attorney-General as First Law Officer.

The network facilitates information sharing by lawyers employed by the Australian Government. Objectives of the network include:

  • professionalising government in-house practices
  • creating a support network for government lawyers
  • further developing the Australian Government's role as an informed purchaser of legal services
  • improving the attractiveness of government legal practice through a range of development opportunities.

The Australian Government Legal Network was launched on 28 February 2013 by the Solicitor-General.

Australian Government Legal Network Board

A board has been appointed to develop the network. The board is comprised of nine senior lawyers from the Australian Government public sector.

The members of the board are:

  • Chair - Ms Elizabeth Carroll: Chief Legal Counsel, IP Australia
  • Ms Elissa Keen: Deputy General Counsel, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
  • Ms Janine Webster: Chief Counsel, Fair Work Ombudsman
  • Mr Alan Grinsell-Jones, Branch Manager, Department of Social Services
  • Ms Bernadette O’Sullivan: Principal Legal Officer, Department of Immigration and Border Protection
  • AIRCDRE Chris Hanna: Director-General Legal Services, Australian Defence Force
  • Ms Petra Gartmann: Assistant Secretary, Office of Legal Services Coordination, Attorney-General’s Department
  • Simon Writer: General Counsel, Department of Environment and Energy
  • Paul Barrett: Corporate Counsel, Australian Sports Commission.


The network is open to all legal service providers employed in Australian Government agencies.

If you are an Australian Government lawyer and wish to join the network, email the Australian Government Legal Network Secretariat at agln@ag.gov.au.

General Counsel Working Group

The General Counsel Working Group is a representative group of 12 senior legal services practice leaders from across the Australian Government.

The group was established in August 2010 and considers strategic issues facing the Australian Government legal services market.

The members of the group are:

  • Attorney-General's Department
  • Australian Securities and Investment Commission
  • Australian Taxation Office
  • Defence Materiel Organisation
  • Department of Communications and the Arts
  • Department of Defence
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Jobs and Small Business
  • Department of Finance
  • Department of Human Services
  • Department of Immigration and Border Protection
  • Department of Social Services.

Our department provides secretariat support to the General Counsel Working Group.​