Sekler, Irene

Senior Executive Lawyer

In-House Counsel

Irene has a counsel practice encompassing areas of law of particular importance to the Commonwealth such as public interest immunity and information protection law, national security, statutory interpretation, administrative law, parliamentary privilege, aspects of employment and compensation law as well as bankruptcy and insolvency.

She has been briefed as counsel for diverse Commonwealth clients such as the Minister for Industrial Relations, the Director-General of the National Archives, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department, Australian Transport Safety Bureau, Deputy Commissioner of Taxation and Comcare.

She has appeared for the Commonwealth in a wide range of courts and tribunals. This includes proceedings in the High Court, the Federal Court (and the Full Federal Court), various State Supreme Courts (including in the Appellate jurisdiction), the Family Court, the AAT, the Fair Work Commission, as well as before courts martial, coronial inquests and other types of inquiries.

Irene has also worked, as part of her previous solicitor practice, on many cases of particular significance to the Commonwealth, such as a number of royal commissions and proceedings before international tribunals or concerning international treaties. She led the AGS team responsible for the public health and jurisdictional aspects of the Phillip Morris Asia v Government of Australia (tobacco plain-packaging) for a number of years.

Recent experience

Irene’s recent work includes appearing:

  • in the High Court and before that, the Full Court of the Federal Court (led by Tom Howe QC in both matters) for the now Minister for Industrial Relations in matters concerning the interpretation of the paid personal carers leave provision s 96(1) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Mondelez Australia Pty Ltd v AMWUMinister for Jobs and Industrial Relations v AMWU)
  • before the Full Court of the Federal Court (led by Tom Howe QC) for the Minister for Industrial Relations in CFMMEU v Minister for Industrial Relations concerning the validity of certain delegated legislation
  • before the Federal Court and, on the papers, before the Full Court of the Federal Court  to defend applications to set aside a bankruptcy notice issued at the request of Comcare in Dunkerley v Comcare.
  • for various clients concerning public interest immunity and other information protection claims
  • in various Hague Convention Child Abduction matters for the Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department
  • in various matters in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for the Director-General of the National Archives (led by Kristina Stern SC and unled)
  • in the AAT for Comcare concerning applications pertaining to the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act
  • various matters in the Fair Work Commission’s Stop Bullying and Unfair Dismissal jurisdictions.

Qualifications

Masters of Public and International Law (H1), Melbourne University Law School, 2016

Bachelor of Laws (H1) / Bachelor of Arts, Macquarie University, 2003

Recognition

Australia Day Award, 2013 ‘in recognition of her high-quality, hard work for clients in the intelligence and law enforcement communities and recently for her central role in the team defending tobacco plain packaging in international proceedings.’

AGD Secretary’s Award, 2020 ‘for displaying dedication and technical excellence in Commonwealth litigation in Mondelez v AMWU & Ors’ by the Mondelez team.