Australian Government Solicitor


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Introducing Australian Government Solicitor magazine!

Louise Vardanega
Welcome to the first edition of our new magazine.

Without an annual report to show you what we do and how we do it, we thought we’d create this new biannual publication to highlight some of our recent cases and tell you a bit about our practice and our people.

We are also delighted that Justice Gageler agreed that we could publish his inspiring speech from the launch of our recently released biography of Dennis Rose AM QC, the Commonwealth’s first Chief General Counsel.

Please send us any feedback and comments or request subjects you’d like covered in future issues by emailing

I do hope you enjoy our first issue.

Louise Vardanega PSM
The Australian Government Solicitor A/g


In this issue

GUEST WRITER – Justice Stephen Gageler of the High Court of Australia

What it is to be a government lawyer



Norfolk Island governance reform

Commonwealth v Director, Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources concessional loan schemes

FEATURE - Confidentiality

Confidentiality and the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013

Confidentiality and freedom of information

Confidentiality in Commonwealth contracts

Impact of non-disclosure obligations on pre-trial processes

Protecting confidential information before courts and tribunals

‘Top secret’ – the provisions keeping Commonwealth information confidential

AGS’s Office of General Counsel

AGS Dispute Resolution

AGS Commercial

Farewell to the Australian Government Solicitor Ian Govey AM

AGS workforce and market update



Issue 1: 2016

© Commonwealth of Australia, represented by AGS 2016. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 or unless otherwise expressly indicated all other rights are reserved. Requests for further authorisation should be sent to

The material in this magazine is provided to AGS clients for general information only and should not be relied upon for the purpose of a particular matter. Please contact AGS before any action or decision is taken on the basis of any of the material in this magazine.

ISSN 2206-7388 (Print)

ISSN 2206-737X (Online)

This biannual magazine is published by AGS Client Services. If you would like to subscribe to the print version, please email or call Tiff Brown on 02 6253 7246.

Editor and art director
David Whitbread

Guest writer
Justice Stephen Gageler

Sam Miley
Diana Icasate

Mandy Orr

Tiff Brown

Web publisher
James Gergely

Andrew Sikorski
Paul Chapman

ISSN 2206-7388 (Print)

ISSN 2206-737X (Online)


We’d like to hear from you

If you’ve enjoyed reading our new magazine and would like to continue receiving a printed copy, please subscribe. Note that we can only subscribe people with a ‘’ email address.

Otherwise, you can read it online at our website,

To subscribe, please email from your ‘’ email address asking for an ‘AGS magazine subscription’. Provide your Australian Government office’s postal address and a work phone number.

If you would like to provide feedback or suggestions for future content, you can email and, if you have any further queries, please call Tiff Brown on T 02 6253 7246.