Workplace Law Conference

Explore the most significant issues, reforms and legislative developments in employment law for 2024. Hear from a leading panel of employment law specialists, as they scrutinise proposed future reforms and impacts of recent legislative changes. Get your annual update on general protections cases and a practical guide to general protections proceedings. Unpack how to deal with workplace risks, including psychosocial hazards and sexual harassment, protection of confidential information and restraint of trade. Plus, gain insights and valuable tips on how best to run a workplace investigation. 

Wednesday, 27 March 2024

Attend and earn 7 CPD units in Substantive Law
This program is applicable to practitioners from all States & Territories

9:00am to 10:00am Overview of Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023 (Cth)

Presented by Patrick Lawler, Senior Associate, Ashurst

Session 2: Managing Risks in the Workforce

Chair: Danny Clifford, Director, Clifford Gouldson Lawyers

3:00pm to 4:00pm Eliminating Psychosocial Hazards and Factors in the Workplace
  • Managing the risk of psychosocial hazards at work Code of Practice
  • Regulator trends
  • Focus points for 2024 and beyond

Presented by Harriet Smith, Senior Associate and Sarah Smith, Senior Associate, MinterEllison

4:00pm to 4:15pm Afternoon Break
Session 1: Workplace Law Developments, Reforms, and General Protections

Chair: Mitchell Devine, Principal, Devine Legal; Recommended Employment Lawyers (Employee & Union Representation), Doyle’s Guide 2023

10:00am to 11:00am Secure Jobs Better Pay Act: In Practice and Recent Cases

Presented by Matthew Cameron, Executive Counsel, Herbert Smith Freehills

11:00am to 11:15am Morning Tea
11:15am to 12:15pm General Protections: Case Update

Discuss the impact of the High Court’s decision in 
Qantas Airways Limited v Transport Workers Union, among other significant recent cases.
Presented by Edward Shorten, Barrister, Inns of Court; Preeminent Junior Counsel, Employment & WHS Barrister, Doyle’s Guide 2023

12:15pm to 1:15pm A Practical Guide to “General Protections” Proceedings in the Federal Court and Federal Circuit and Family Court

A practical guide on how to commence or defend a general protections proceeding and the main steps along the way, including:

  • Discovery
  • Affidavits: Practice of ‘Conversation Evidence’: Kanes Hire Pty Ltd v Anderson Aviation Australia Pty Ltd
  • The hearing
  • Damages

Presented by Maria Saraceni, Barrister, Francis Burt Chambers

2:00pm to 3:00pm Restraint of Trade and Confidentiality


  • Critical issues in drafting and enforcing of restraint of trade clauses
  • Protecting confidential information
  • Jurisdictional considerations and strategies

Presented by John-Anthony Hodgens, Principal Lawyer, Employment, Safety and Migration, Macpherson Kelley

4:15pm to 5:15pm Getting Beyond He-Said/She-Said: What you Need to Know to Investigate Unwitnessed Allegations in a Workplace Investigation


  • PLANNING to Get Beyond “He Said/She Said”
  • PREPARING to Get Beyond “He Said/She Said”
  • INTERVIEWING to Get Beyond “He Said/She Said”
  • REPORTING to Get Beyond “He Said/She Said”
Presented by John Farren, Director, Farren McRae


Mr. Patrick Lawler, Senior Associate, Ashurst
Patrick Lawler is a senior associate in our employment practice Patrick specialises in industrial relations, employment and health and safety law. Patrick has significant experience acting in employment and industrial disputes and litigation, including regularly representing clients in conciliation conferences, mediations and hearings before different tribunals and courts His experience includes acting in civil penalty proceedings, large-scale litigation (particularly in the Federal Court), and advising on a broad range of industrial relations and employment issues including termination of employment issues, industrial action, enterprise bargaining disputes and restructures. Patrick acts for large corporate and government clients across a broad range of industries including building and construction, mining, petroleum and gas, aviation, electricity, health and higher education. Patrick provides concise and practical advice having recently worked in-house at a major airline.

Mr. Edward Shorten, Barrister, Inns of Court
Edward is a barrister specialising in industrial and employment law, discrimination and human rights law, and appeals. He was called to the bar in 2015 after seven years as a solicitor at a leading law firm. He has appeared (led and unled) in applications, trials and appeals in the Queensland and Commonwealth Courts. He also acts as a mediator. Edward is recognised in Doyle’s Guide as a leading Junior Counsel in Queensland (Pre-eminent, Leading Employment & WHS Barristers) and Australia (Recommended, Leading Employment Law Junior Counsel). He is a member of the Industrial Law Committee of the Bar Association of Queensland.

Mr John-Anthony Hodgens, Principal Lawyer, Macpherson Kelley Lawyers
John-Anthony Hodgens practises in workplace relations, industrial and administrative law. His experience covers the gamut of workplace relations issues and he has appeared regularly in both various State and Federal jurisdictions including the Industrial relations Commission, Anti Discrimination Commission and Tribunal, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Defence Force Disciplinary Tribunals and the Courts. John also has experience in conducting disciplinary investigations and has provided training seminars in many areas of risk management including Workplace Health and Safety and managing employees. He also presents papers on a wide variety of industrial matters through the Australian Institute of Credit Managers and the National Association of Payroll Specialists and tutors at the University of Queensland's School of Business and Law.

Mr. Matthew Cameron, Executive Counsel, Herbert Smith Freehills
Matthew Cameron is an employment lawyer with a particular focus on enterprise bargaining, industrial disputes, employment litigation, complex investigations and disciplinary processes. He has a broad practice across a range of sectors including mining and resources, energy, manufacturing, logistics and government.

Ms Sarah Smith, Senior Associate, MinterEllison
Sarah Smith is a Senior Associate in the MinterEllison workplace team. She specialises in work health and safety litigation and general employment law. Sarah regularly advises clients in the Queensland public sector, energy and health sectors. She regularly advises with respect to misconduct investigations, professional discipline, regulatory prosecutions and work health and safety incidents. Sarah is experienced appearing in and supporting clients through all stages of litigation across related Courts and Tribunals.

Mr John Farren, Director, Farren McRae Workplace Lawyers and Consultants
John has extensive experience in all aspects of workplace and employment law. He has advised and represented numerous employers and employees across the public sector, not for profit, statutory authorities and private sector before Workplace and Industrial, Administrative and Statutory Tribunals and Courts at both State and Federal levels. Dispute resolution through both advocacy in the courts and tribunals and skilled negotiation are John’s areas of special interest and experience. Before co-founding Farren McRae Workplace Lawyers and Consultants, John practised as a Barrister-at-Law at the Queensland Private Bar for over six years. John’s move to practising as a solicitor arose from his core drive to help individual employees and employers of all sizes effectively resolve complex workplace disputes and issues – a drive he believed was better achieved in practice as a solicitor heading his own firm. John is also a trusted legal adviser to both employers and employees in relation to a wide range of employment law issues. In 2024, John was included in the Doyles List in the Leading Employment Lawyers (Employer Representation) – Queensland category. In addition to his legal experience, John has over 20 years’ experience in undertaking complex workplace investigations relating to misconduct, corrupt conduct, bullying and workplace harassment, serious disciplinary matters (including Code of Conduct breaches), grievances, discrimination and worker’s compensation issues. John is an experienced workplace mediator, having developed his own distinctive style of mediation that focuses on assisting the parties to identify the root causes of their conflict and agreeing upon how their working relationships can move forward in a more positive way. He is also currently one of two Specialist Directors on the Board of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (QLD) Ltd and from 2012 to 2017 served pro bono as an independent Board member on the National Board of Management of the Salvation Army’s Employment Plus. From 2004 to 2007, John sat as a part-time member of the Queensland Public Service Appeals Tribunal (as it then was), as a delegate of the Public Service Commissioner.

Ms Maria Saraceni, Barrister, Francis Burt Chambers
Maria Saraceni is a barrister practising in regulatory and compliance law - particularly in workplace relations; employment-related matters and occupational safety and health. She is also an active non-executive director an accomplished public speaker and an Adjunct Professor at Murdoch University.


Workplace Law Conference


All Sessions
Wednesday, 27 March 2024
9:00am to 5:15pm Australia/Brisbane
CPD Points 7
Face to Face 20240418 20240327

Face to Face

Online 20240418 20240327


On Demand 20240418 20240327

On Demand

Morning Session
Wednesday, 27 March 2024
9:00am to 1:15pm Australia/Brisbane
CPD Points 4
Face to Face 20240418 20240327

Face to Face

Online 20240418 20240327


On Demand 20240418 20240327

On Demand

Afternoon Session
Wednesday, 27 March 2024
2:00pm to 5:15pm Australia/Brisbane
CPD Points 3
Face to Face 20240418 20240327

Face to Face

Online 20240418 20240327


On Demand 20240418 20240327

On Demand

Hilton Brisbane

190 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane City 


Due to one way road systems, please note that car access is via Elizabeth Street only. Please programme 190 Elizabeth Street if using a car navigational device.

Nearby Public Transport:

Train Stations - Central Station

Bus Interchange - George Square Bus Station

Parking Information

Parking is not included in your registration. There is valet parking available for AU$58.00

Parking is not included in your registration. There is valet parking available for AU$58.00. Other parking options:

Secure Parking, Elizabeth Street - Click here for rates
Wilson Parking - Click here for locations and rates