PwC bites again; and 'insouciant' barrister spars in Federal Court tax dispute - Australian Financial Review

International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia was held on May 17 2017 to raise awareness of the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people internationally. Principal Lawyer Andrew Jewell comments on the implications of a workplace not being accepting of those who identify as LGBTI.

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PwC bites again; and ‘insouciant’ barrister spars in Federal Court tax dispute – Australian Financial Review

Firms hot for IDAHOT

Finally, a high-five to the firms that turned on a show in support of International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia & Transphobia this week. MinterEllison hosted Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren, who introduced the 2013 Same-Sex Marriage Bill in Western Australia, in Perth, and Australians 4 Equality philanthropy director Brooke Horne in Sydney.

“It is important to us that our people can bring their whole selves to work and not feel the need to hide their gender identity, sexual orientation or gender expression from colleagues or clients,” said MinterEllison partner Katrina Groshinski.

 Upping the celebrity ante, Herbert Smith Freehills held a panel discussion of “leading lesbians in the field of sport and business” in its Melbourne office, including former Victorian cricket captain Kelly Applebee, facilitated by Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission executive director Catherine Dixon. Its London, Hong Kong, Perth (joined by Woodside, Shell and GE) and Brisbane offices also had events. In Brisbane, the star attraction was Olympic beach volleyball gold and bronze medallist Nat Cook.

There was no disputing the message of global disputes head Justin D’Agostino (we know; Hearsay could have aimed higher with that pun): “We see daily reminders of the challenges that LGBTI individuals face. These events… represent our commitment to, and celebration of, gender identity and sexual orientation diversity.”

A recent local survey found almost 40 per cent of LGBTI people hide their sexuality at work. That is at a possibly large cost to productivity: a UK report by insurer Lloyds found a 15 to 30 per cent boost to productivity and 10 per cent increase in retention rate for staff who were “openly out”.

“If there is a workplace culture of not accepting those who identify as LGBTI can cause a myriad of issues, not only ethically and culturally but also legally,” said McDonald Murholme Principal Andrew Jewell.

The rockstar of the judicial world, former High Court judge Michael Kirby, saved his appearance that day for a less likely venue: Katoomba, the Blue Mountains village famed for its Three Sisters and frosty winters.

Johan Van Vloten, his partner of almost half a century, whose family lived in Lawson at one point, joined.

Their speaking circuit included a pitstop at the smashing local high school nestled a few blocks from those rock-steady sisters.  Hearsay has it on excellent, unbiased (ahem) authority that the school is a good one.

Top notch, judge.  Keep re-writing the rule book.

Reference: PwC bites again; and ‘insouciant’ barrister spars in Federal Court tax dispute, Australian Financial Review, 18th May 2017.