AGS 30: Recollections, reflections

AGS 30: Recollections, reflections

In 2014, AGS celebrated 30 years of operating under our present name and 15 years as a government business enterprise and statutory authority.

An anniversary publication, AGS 30: Recollections, reflections, was published for staff, alumni and clients of AGS as a souvenir, highlighting a collection of stories and recollections.

AGS's story is told through source documents of the time, including annual reports, legislation, staff newsletters, government reviews, emails and media reporting. It shows the experience through the eyes of our people, who have lived through the journey to AGS today.

The publication also touches on some of Australia's recent history, with selected legal matters and cases that AGS lawyers have worked on.

From 1 July 1984, when Tom Sherman was appointed as the first Australian Government Solicitor, to 2 July 1992, when user-pays was introduced, to 12 March 1999, when AGS became a GBE, the last 30 years have seen AGS evolve into a leading and respected legal services provider in the public law arena:

While not the largest firm in Australia, there is no doubt that AGS is the largest collection of public lawyers in Australia and the largest repository of knowledge and experience in the practice of public law in this country. (Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, 1 July 2014)

The various events and milestones presented in this book are accompanied by a light-hearted account of the AGS experience, with stories shared by AGS staff who experienced cultural and organisational changes over this time – from the tea lady and typing pools to the 'liberating' introduction of the personal computer. Travel stories are told by lawyers who conducted training around the country, often in remote areas. Others reflected on the satisfying feeling that came with hearing about their work in the news – matters that made a difference to the Australian community.

A recurring theme throughout the publication is the view by all who have been part of the AGS experience that the underlying values and commitment to the public good are as strong as ever.

AGS may have changed and matured into a successful commercial entity, but what remains strong and unchanged is its commitment to serving the Australian nation:

This publication serves as a further acknowledgment of the great contribution made by the employees of AGS to the Australian nation over the last 30 years. (Ian Govey, CEO, Australian Government Solicitor, 1 July 2014)

This is an extract from the 2013–14 AGS annual report