Human Resource Management


Employees of the ALRC are appointed under s 43 of the ALRC Act. At the close of the reporting period, on 30 June 2010, the ALRC’s full-time equivalent staffing level was 19.99 FTE. This figure does not include Commissioners.

Since 1996, all staff appointed under s 43 have been appointed on a fixed term basis, in accordance with the ALRC Union Collective Agreement 2007–10.

Table 11: Staffing profile, as at 30 June 2010

ALRC Classification Men Women Full-time Part-time Total
Total 4 17 14 7 21
Executive Director (SES-equivalent)   1 1   1
ALRC 6 ($83,029–105,179) 1 3 2 2 4
ALRC 5 ($83,029–93,451)   1 1   1
ALRC 4 ($46,448–76,772) 2 5 7   7
ALRC 3 ($60,605–76,772)   3 3   3
ALRC 2 ($46,448–58,840) 1 4 1 4 5
ALRC 1 ($33,556–47,842)   1   1 1

Table 12: ALRC Staff 2009-10

Team Name Role Full- or Part-time
Corporate Support Sabina Wynn Executive Director Full-time
Corporate Support Maria Zacharia Finance Manager Full-time
Corporate Support Dimitra Zinonos Finance Assistant Part-time
Corporate Support Gregg Diggs Payroll Officer Part-time
Corporate Support Tina O’Brien Executive/Project Assistant Full-time
Corporate Support Trisha Manning Office Services Coordinator Full-time
Corporate Support Alayne Harland
(resigned Aug 2009)
Executive/Project Assistant Part-time
Corporate Support Esther Naulumatua Administrative Assistant Part-time
Communications Marie-Claire Muir Website Manager Full-time
Communications Becky Bower Communications Officer Part-time
Communications Michelle Hauschild
(resigned May 2010)
Special Projects Officer Part-time
 Legal Carolyn Adams Senior Legal Officer Full-time
 Legal Bruce Alston Senior Legal Officer Part-time
 Legal Isabella Cosenza Senior Legal Officer Full-time
 Legal Maha Melhem Senior Legal Officer Part-time

Althea Gibson
(resigned May 2010)

Legal Officer Part-time
 Legal Lisa Eckstein
(resigned March 2010)
Legal Officer Full-time
 Legal Joyce Chia
(resigned April 2010)
Legal Officer Full-time
 Legal Anna Dziedzic Legal Officer Full-time
 Legal Katherine McGree Legal Officer Full-time
 Legal Jared Boorer Legal Officer Full-time
 Legal Sara Peel Legal Officer Full-time
 Legal Khanh Hoang Legal Officer Full-time
 Legal Amanda Alford Legal Officer Full-time
 Legal Christina Raymond Legal Officer Full-time

Photo of the Corporate Team - see caption

Photo: The Corporate Team, from left to right: Ms Tina O’Brien, Ms Trisha Manning, Ms Becky Bowyer, Ms Marie-Claire Muir, Ms Sabina Wynn, Mr Greg Diggs, Ms Dimitra Zinonos, Ms Carolyn Kearney, Ms Maria Zacharia and Professor Rosalind Croucher.

Employment conditions

All ALRC staff members, other than the Executive Director, are covered by the ALRC Union Collective Agreement 2007–2010. This agreement provides for annual salary increases of 4.2%, as well as a range of measures intended to facilitate retention of older employees and employees with family and/or carer responsibilities. These include:

  • paid maternity leave of 14 weeks;
  • paid parental leave of two weeks;
  • eligibility for parental leave in relation to long-term foster care placements;
  • paid adoption leave;
  • provision for older workers to sacrifice up to 100% of salary into superannuation; and
  • a Work From Home Policy to assist staff to balance work and personal responsibilities.

The ALRC Union Collective Agreement is due to be renegotiated by February 2011.

Performance rewards and bonuses

The ALRC Union Collective Agreement 2007–2010 includes a salary scale, with each pay point in the scale representing a 3% increase in salary. The performance appraisal provisions of the Agreement allow for good performance to be rewarded through a combination of movement up the salary scale and one-off bonuses, as summarised below.

Table 13: Performance Rewards and Bonuses

Performance Rating Outcome
 Exceptional performance 2 pay point increase
 Performance between strong and exceptional 1 pay point increase plus bonus of up to 2% of salary
 Strong performance 1 pay point increase
 Performance between adequate and strong Bonus of up to 2% of salary
 Adequate performance No salary advancement

When an employee reaches the maximum pay point for his or her position, the President has the discretion to grant a bonus of up to 3% of annual salary based on a performance appraisal. During 2009–10, nine employees were awarded a performance bonus, amounting to a total bonus payment for the year of $36,811.

Details of total remuneration expenditure in 2009–10 are provided in the financial statements.

Staff development

The performance appraisal process is the main mechanism for determining professional development needs of employees but the ALRC also considers requests for education and training as they arise. The ALRC budgets for professional development at a whole-of-organisation level as well as for individual employees. Where appropriate, the ALRC organises tailored training for groups of employees with similar needs.

In 2009–10 Librarian Ms Carolyn Kearney attended a one-day refresher course in Sydney, on the Libraries Australia Document Delivery (LADD) new online platform. Ms Kearney also attended the 2009 Australian Law Librarians Association (ALLA) Annual Conference, held from 2–4 September 2009, in Darwin.

Finance Manager Ms Maria Zacharia attended an information session on the preparation for Appropriation Bills and Portfolio Budget Statements on 2 March 2010 and CBMS training on 3 March 2010, in Canberra. Ms Zacharia also attended a Fringe Benefits tax seminar on 25 February 2010.

Website Manager Ms Marie-Claire Muir, whose major project is developing a new website for the ALRC and Web 2.0 initiatives, attended a number of conferences for professional development including:

  • NSW Public Sphere: Government 2.0, Sydney, 4 September 2009;
  • Social Media for Government (Conference), Canberra, 11 September 2009;
  • Gov2 Conference, Canberra, 19–25 October 2009; and
  • Web Accessibility Techniques Workshop—Vision Australia, 22 April 2010.

On 13 May and 10 June 2010 Thomson Reuters presented training sessions to ALRC legal staff on the features of Westlaw, the major US-based legal database and on LegalOnline, the integrated online package of Australian legal publications.

Study assistance in the form of discretionary leave or reduction of work hours is available to staff undertaking tertiary studies at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. One employee sought and obtained approval for paid study leave in 2009–10.

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)

The ALRC is committed to equal opportunity in employment (EEO). EEO principles are applied in recruitment practices, and by providing equality of opportunity for training and development for all employees.

The ALRC has an EEO Policy and Reasonable Adjustment Guidelines. The EEO Policy is a statement of the ALRC’s commitment to the goals of equal opportunity and affirmative action in employment, and aims to provide a work environment for staff, contractors and interns that fosters fairness, equity and respect for social and cultural diversity, and that is free from unlawful discrimination, harassment or vilification. The EEO Policy also sets out procedures to ensure concerns and complaints are dealt with in a prompt and appropriate manner.

The Reasonable Adjustment Guidelines are designed to assist in fulfilling the ALRC’s legal and organisational responsibilities for providing a workplace that allows employees, contractors and interns with a disability to compete for vacancies and pursue careers as effectively as people who do not have a disability. The Guidelines require management to consider whether it is necessary and reasonable to make an adjustment to remove a barrier to enable a person with a disability to achieve equalopportunity, equal participation or equal performance at work.

The ALRC invites all new staff to participate in a voluntary EEO survey that allows the organisation to track the number of staff who are from groups or communities that are specifically identified in the EEO Policy. All information collected through the survey is treated as confidential and is used only for reporting in a de-identified manner.

As at 30 June 2010, 17 of the ALRC’s 21 staff were female. There were eight new appointments made during 2009–10 and seven of these new appointments fell within categories recognised in the EEO Policy (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people with a disability, people from a non-English speaking background, and women). A breakdown of staff by gender and classification is provided in Table 10.

Work/Life balance

The ALRC is strongly committed to providing a work environment that recognises the need for a work/life balance and that enables its staff to be employed, as far as possible, in a way that is consistent with family and other personal responsibilities. The ALRC Union Collective Agreement 2007–2010 contains a number of conditions that are intended to ensure work/life balance practices. These include:

  • formal flextime arrangements for most categories of employees and a discretionary time-in-lieu system for senior staff;
  • the ability to ‘purchase’ additional annual leave;
  • flexibility in the use of personal leave to care for family members;
  • generous maternity, adoption and parental leave provisions; and
  • provision to work from home in particular circumstances.

In 2009–10, six members of staff were permitted to work from home or part-time in order to meet family or personal commitments and/or to facilitate their return to work from maternity leave.

Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S)

The ALRC is committed to providing and maintaining the highest degree of health, safety and welfare of all employees by aiming to prevent all injury and illness potentially caused by working conditions. The ALRC recognises its responsibility to provide a healthy and safe workplace for employees and to provide employees with workplace-based, easily accessible information on health and safety matters.

Occupational health and safety is overseen by the ALRC Occupational Health and Safety Consultative Committee (OH&SCC), comprised of the Executive Director Ms Sabina Wynn, Senior Legal Officer Carolyn Adams (staff union representative from June 2009), Office Services Coordinator Ms Trisha Manning (safety officer), Payroll Officer Mr Greg Diggs and Executive/Project Assistant Ms Tina O’Brien.

During 2009–10 the ALRC reviewed its Health and Safety Management Arrangements (HSMAs) and its Occupational Health and Safety Policy in consultation with the OH&SCC and determined that both documents were still relevant and did not need to be changed.

The ALRC’s OH&SCC discussed a number of concerns that had been raised by staff including: managing stress and longer than normal working hours due to the current workload, diminished resources and the amount of change that the organisation had been through in the past twelve months. It was agreed that managing workloads would be very important in the coming months and that ensuring references were clearly and tightly scoped, so that the work to be undertaken was manageable within the timeframe and available resources, would be extremely important.

It was agreed that the OH&S training delivered in October 2008 was very beneficial for staff and that the ALRC should do such training at least every two years, so that people are reminded of safe working practices. In addition, as the ALRC has a number of new staff, it was felt that training would be appropriate. Training should encompass both ergonomics and workstation set up as well as managing stress. This training will be delivered in October 2010.

The ALRC makes every effort to ensure that staff have the equipment that they require to fulfil the requirements of their job without risk to their health. New staff are provided with information on OH&S as part of the induction process.

As a workplace health initiative under the ALRC Union Collective Agreement 2007–10, the ALRC provides free and voluntary influenza vaccinations to staff in autumn each year. In 2009–10, 15 staff took advantage of a free vaccination.

Michael Kirby Library

The ALRC’s Michael Kirby Library (Kirby Library) contributes to the ALRC’s objective—informed government decisions about the development, reform and harmonisation of Australian laws and related processes—through the provision of information resources and portals, and library reference services. During 2009–10, the library continued to support the work of the staff of the ALRC through organisation and delivery of journal subscriptions, monograph purchases, online databases, portals with links to relevant websites and materials, inter-library loans and reference services.

In March 2010, the ALRC purchased a stand-alone package of titles from a legal publisher which was being offered to Australian Government Attorney-General’s agencies at a discounted price. This collection is comprised entirely of Australian legal publications and greatly expands the Kirby Library collection of online titles. With six new legal officers beginning work at the ALRC, and in order to achieve maximum efficiency in the use of the new and existing online resources, training sessions for all legal staff were delivered by legal publisher representatives in April 2010.

New intranet portals containing links to relevant online resources were developed by the ALRC Librarian for two new inquiries in 2009–2010, Family Violence and Discovery Documents in Federal Courts. These intranets allowed the legal teams access to a base collection of online materials for research, saving duplication of research, ensuring currency and reducing research time. The Librarian also maintains an intranet portal containing updated links to general legal resources and the library catalogue, which remains the key research tool for legal staff.

Photo: ALRC Librarian, Ms Carolyn Kearney and Legal Officer, Mr Jared Boorer in the Michael Kirby Library.All these intranet tools took on extra importance in 2009–10, due to the joint Inquiry into Family Violence. Relevant staff of the New South Wales Law Reform Commission could share use of the ALRC intranet resources offsite, from their own offices.

The Library is also the ALRC’s gateway for locating updated news and legal materials worldwide that are relevant to the ALRC’s current research. The Librarian is responsible for online current awareness services and disseminating relevant electronic information to staff. The Librarian tracks and records media mentions of the ALRC’s work, a task which aids in reporting on the ALRC’s impact and importance of its work in the wider community.

The Library also has a presence within the various networks of law libraries in Australia and New Zealand. These networks are invaluable for professional collaboration and to share expensive resources.

Photo: ALRC Librarian, Ms Carolyn Kearney and Legal Officer, Mr Jared Boorer in the Michael Kirby Library.


Purchasing within the ALRC is guided by the Purchasing Policy and Procedures, which are consistent with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines (January 2005). As an agency expending public money, the ALRC must be accountable for its resources and expenditure. The Government requires the ALRC to promote the proper use of resources within the framework of policies that the Government has set for itself and its agencies. These policies aim to achieve efficient, effective and ethical procurement outcomes with a focus on value for money and provide guidelines as to how these outcomes may be realised when undertaking procurement.

The ALRC’s Procurement and Purchasing Policy was updated in May 2009 and sets ‘value for money’ as the core principle in procurement decisions. ‘Value for money’ is determined with reference to efficiency, effectiveness, accountability, transparency, ethics, Australian Government policies and environmental considerations. In a procurement process this principle requires a comparative analysis of all relevant costs and benefits of each proposal throughout the whole procurement cycle (wholeof- life costing) making decisions in an accountable and transparent manner.

The ALRC’s Procurement and Purchasing Policy recognises that ‘value for money’ also involves adopting processes that reflect the scale and risk profile of a particular procurement and that simple procurements should be undertaken using simple processes.

Risk management is built into the ALRC’s procurement processes and the extent of risk management required will vary from following routine procurement processes, to a significant undertaking involving the highest level of planning, analysis and documentation.

Where the Government establishes a coordinated procurement contract for a particular property or service, the ALRC will use the government contract established for that property or service, unless an exemption has been provided.

The ALRC publishes an Annual Procurement Plan on the Austender website. During 2009–10, the ALRC published one tender on the Austender website, for the development of the ALRC’s website.

The ALRC has an Environmental Management Policy that commits the ALRC to consider the environmental impact of any purchases and to seek to minimise the ecological footprint of the ALRC’s activities. Reference to this policy is made whenever the ALRC seeks to purchase major office equipment, office supplies, printing and publishing services, and other consumables and services that might impact on the environment in a negative way.


The ALRC did not employ any consultants during 2009–10. Some services that cannot be provided within the ALRC’s existing staff resources—including web-hosting and IT services—are accounted for in the expenditure budget of the ALRC. However, these service providers do not constitute ‘consultancies’ as the services they provide do not involve the development of an intellectual output that assists with agency decision-making, nor do they produce an output that reflects the independent views of the service provider.

Advertising and market research

As required under Section 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the ALRC reports that, during 2009–10, it did not undertake any advertising or market research with advertising agencies, market research organisations, polling organisations, direct mail organisations, or media advertising organisations.