Australian Resources and Energy Group AMMA welcomes the appointment of five new members to the Fair Work Commission (FWC), adding significant legal and business experience to the tribunal’s bench strength whilst further balancing its gender representation.

The Australian Government today announced the following appointments to the FWC:

Michael Easton: Very highly regarded industrial relations legal practitioner who was admitted to the NSW Bar in 2004. Appointed as Deputy President.

Alana Matheson: Legally qualified current Director of KPMG’s Workplace Relations Advisory service and former Deputy Director of Workplace Relations at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Appointed as Commissioner.

Sophie Mirabella: An experienced lawyer and barrister who represented the electorate of Indi for 12 years from 2001 to 2013. Also brings recent corporate executive leadership experience to the tribunal. Appointed as Commissioner.

Bernadette O’Neill: The FWC’s general manager since 2012, with decades of employment and industrial law experience. Appointed as Commissioner.

Phillip Ryan: Longstanding advocate and advisor for hospitality and tourism industry operators, who co-founded the Australian Hotels Association’s incorporated legal practice. Appointed as Commissioner.

“Today’s FWC appointees have a diverse range of backgrounds and experience, but all are very highly regarded and eminently qualified in the employment law and workplace relations fields,” Steve Knott, AMMA Chief Executive, said.

“The addition of three more highly capable women also continues the Coalition Government’s longstanding action to better balance the gender representation of the tribunal.

“With today’s appointments, 14 of the past 25 FWC appointees have been women, leaving the tribunal with an overall female representation of 43%. This is a great improvement on the 28% female representation at the tribunal in 2013.

“AMMA congratulates both the new appointees and the Government for making them. Today’s appointments were necessary to bolster the FWC’s resources, with three tribunal members retiring, one resigning, and another sadly passing away, all within the past two years.

“There is a very strong case for additional appointments to be made later in the year. Even with today’s additions, the tribunal is two members short of its size when the ALP left office in 2013.

“As the economy and labour market recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, and additional workplace complexities arise from the vaccine and other matters, the FWC should expect its workload to increase and seek to welcome additional new members.”

Find here a breakdown of the Fair Work Commission’s composition following today’s appointments.

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