Media Release: New President leads Fair Work Australia

24 February 2012

 Justice Iain Ross AO has been appointed the new President of Fair Work Australia (FWA), succeeding Justice Geoffrey Giudice who steps down on 29 February. 

Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten today said Justice Ross is eminently qualified to lead Australia’s independent industrial umpire.

“Justice Iain Ross is a highly respected Judicial Officer with extensive experience dealing with workplace relations matters, including during his time as Vice President of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission”.

Since 2009 Justice Ross has been a Victorian Supreme Court judge and last year became President of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. He is also Chair of the Council of Australian Tribunals.  He has held positions with the Australian Council of Trade Unions and worked with the law reform commissions in New South Wales and Victoria. From 1994-2006 he was Vice President of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. 

Consistent with FWA’s independence, the President has been appointed following an extensive, merit based process and in consultation with the Opposition, States and Territories.

Concurrent with his FWA appointment, Justice Ross has also been appointed judge of the Federal Court.

Justice Ross’ appointment headlines a further six FWA appointments made by the Government today.

“This is a carefully balanced package of appointments comprising candidates who are well qualified and will bring with them a depth of experience from both employer and employee organisations,” Mr Shorten said.

“I am confident that under Justice Ross and his team, FWA will continue to build on its excellent reputation for impartial arbitration, expert advice on workplace relations issues, an important role in strengthening the Australian economy and the practical enforcement of entitlements for employers and employees.”

The appointees are:

Deputy President

Anna Booth - Deputy President based in NSW. Ms Booth is an experienced facilitator, accredited mediator, mentor, trainer and owner/director of CoSolve Pty Ltd which specialises in workplace facilitation and mediation services.  She is also the current non-executive Chair of the board of Slater and Gordon and a member of Industry Super entities.  She has previously held senior positions with Star City and Sydney Harbour Casino as well as the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union, the Clothing and Allied Trades Union and the ACTU. She has served on various Boards including the Commonwealth Bank from 1990-2000.

Gregory Smith - Deputy President based in Victoria. A FWA Commissioner since 2009 and a Commissioner of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission since 1989, his previous roles embrace the Confederation of Australian Industry Industrial Council and the Meat and Allied Trades Federation of Australia. He is a Fellow of the Faculty of Business and Economics at Monash University.


Geoff Bull - Commissioner in NSW.  Currently the Director of Workplace Relations for the Australian Mines and Metals Association, Mr Bull has held legal, policy and managerial positions with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA, BHP Billiton, Goldsworthy Mining and the WA Department of Productivity and Labour Relations.

David Gregory - Commissioner in Victoria. Mr Gregory has been the Director of Workplace Policy at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry since 2009.  His previous employers have included the Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Confederation of Australian Industry, News Limited, and the Victorian Employers’ Federation.

Bernie Riordan - Commissioner in NSW. Since 1998 he has held positions in NSW with the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union, and the Electrical Trades Union of Australia.

General Manager

Bernadette O’Neill - FWA General Manager.  Ms O’Neill has been acting FWA General Manager since September 2011. She was previously Director, Unfair Dismissals, FWA and has occupied a number of senior management and leadership roles with the Victorian Government. Earlier employers include Maurice Blackburn Cashman Lawyers and the Australian Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union.