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Damien O'Donovan AAT appointment Feb 2019


Damien O’Donovan appointed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal

AGS’s Senior General Counsel Dispute Resolution Damien O’Donovan has been appointed as a Senior Member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

Over a 22-year career with AGS, Damien has established himself as a skilled senior advocate before both first instance and appellate courts, a formidable and creative advice-writer and, perhaps most significantly, a generous and helpful supervisor, mentor and colleague.

Damien’s contribution to the Commonwealth through his work at AGS includes representing Australia in the challenge to Australia’s tobacco plain packaging laws in the World Trade Organization; conducting on behalf of the Commonwealth the litigation arising between former Speaker of the House of Representatives Peter Slipper and his staffer James Ashby; and dealing with the fall-out from the evidence given by Godwin Grech at Senate Estimates which suggested that then Prime Minister Rudd had mislead the House of Representatives.

Damien acted as counsel on a host of ACCC merger matters, including opposed mergers like Breville and Sunbeam, AXA and National Australia Bank, and Metcash and Pick’n’Pay.

In addition, he conducted or appeared as counsel in a host of public inquiries, inquests and royal commissions including the Home Insulation Royal Commission, the ACCC Inquiry into Grocery Prices and an independent inquiry into the operation of the Franchising Code.

Damien has a long association with the AAT. He said, ‘I remember the very first time I appeared in the AAT. It was in 1998 and I was defending a decision to cancel the passport of a former director of Bond Corporation. It was the first of many, many days spent arguing cases before the Tribunal. It is a jurisdiction I have always enjoyed appearing in and I am looking forward to continuing the important work that is done there on the other side of the bar table.’

On his departure, the Australian Government Solicitor Michael Kingston said, ‘AGS will miss Damien’s talent and judgment. His continuing legacy at AGS is the considerable role he has played in the development of other AGS lawyers. I know you will join me in congratulating Damien on this senior appointment and wishing him every success in his new role.’