Summer is in the air…briefly

For those in Melbourne we had a lovely (albeit fleeting) experience of some of the weather we will hopefully have over Summer. It fell over the AFL Grand Final weekend which, despite the result (no Collingwood fans in this office!) made for a very enjoyable long weekend for us all. Yee then quickly jetted off to Japan and is currently having a three-week family holiday including a bike-ride (see Diversions below for more information). The photo for this edition of the newsletter was taken by Yee on the Shimanami Kaido while they were riding.

Though the weather has reverted back to Winter, we have been keeping busy with some M&A and capital raising transactions on the go. We have also launched our Member Portal for Alliance clients which we hope will be a useful resource for our valued Alliance members

Best Wishes

Andrew, Roxie, Yee, Dani & Ash


Quarter Highlights


Altina Drinks

We were pleased to assist Altina Australia with their acquisition of the ‘Parc Pils’ non-alcoholic beer business from Monceau. The Parc Pils beer will be a great addition to Altina’s other non-alcoholic beverage options. Congratulations to Founders Christina and Alan on the successful acquisition.

Altina drinks are no alcohol wines made differently where the alcohol is removed from premium Australian wine and then blended with non-alcoholic native ingredients and botanicals to enhance the varietal characteristics and add depth and complexity. To celebrate the launch of Parc under the Altina brand they have created a bundle including Sparkling Rose, Sparkling Brut, Sparkling Sangria and Parc Pilsner – the perfect drinks as we head into the warmer months.

Christina and Alan have kindly provided readers of our newsletter with a discount code which can be used to purchase their wonderful products at their website https://altinadrinks.com/. Simply use the code ELEVATE for 10% off your order at checkout. These non-alcoholic alternatives come highly recommended by the team here, so we suggest you get ordering!


Other M&A transactions

Apart from the Altina acquisition, we’re currently working on two business sales and one acquisition. More details to follow once the deals are public…


Congratulations to CEO Amy and the team at Diolog on their platform going live! Diolog, by utilising two-way communication, aims to strengthen investor relationships, better understand how to keep investors happy and establish risk management for investor communication for ASX listed companies.

Amy has also been named in The List: Top 100 Innovators 2023 by The Australian which showcases leaders, entrepreneurs and changemakers who are making waves in their industry. Congratulations to Amy on this well-deserved recognition.

Alliance – Member Portal

We are pleased to have released our new Alliance Member Portal. This portal contains guides, templates and other legal information we think Alliance members will find useful, including on creating and managing companies, shareholders and equity (including ESOPs), employment, capital raising, commercial contracts, intellectual property and buying/selling businesses. We’ve loaded some initial content and will be adding new content regularly.

If you are a current Alliance member and haven’t yet received a logon email (or you need help accessing) please email alliance@elevate.legal. We’d also really appreciate feedback and requests for further content. If you are interested in joining our Alliance subscription service please contact us at alliance@elevate.legal.


Legal briefing


Employment Law Updates

Proposed Changes to Casual Employment

A new Fair Work Bill has been introduced into Federal Parliament, which proposes substantial updates to industrial relations in Australia. The Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023 (Bill) includes proposed changes to casual employment that employers need to be aware of:

  • Meaning of casual employment. Currently the definition of a casual employee is by reference to the terms of their employment contract. The Bill proposes to revert to the previous test where the employer is required to continuously consider the true nature of the individual employment relationship despite the type of contract that is in place. The new definition states that an individual is a casual employee if there is no firm commitment to continuing work and indefinite work and the employee is entitled to casual loading. Employers will need to consider various factors when deciding if there is a true casual employment relationship, including:
    • Is there a regular pattern of work?
    • Can the employer choose when to offer work and can the employee choose to reject it?
    • Are there part-time or full-time employees performing the same kind of work?
    • Is the type of work being performed by the employee reasonably likely to be of an ongoing nature?
  • Employee notification of conversion. The existing casual conversion framework will remain however in addition, employees will be able to give their employer written notification of their ‘choice’ to convert to permanent employment (whether full-time or part-time) after 6 months of employment (or 12 months for small businesses), if they believe their employment no longer meets the definition of casual employment. Employers will have 21 days to respond to this notification (after consultation with the employee). An Employer will only be able to reject the employee’s written notice where:
    • the employer believes the employment arrangement still meets the definition of casual employment;
    • major changes to the individual’s employment terms and conditions are required to convert the employee without breaching the relevant Award of Enterprise Agreement; or
    • the conversion would cause the employer to be non-compliant with its recruitment obligations under law.
  • Fair Work Commission to deal with casual employment disputes. An employee can refer a dispute in relation to a written notification or casual conversion to the Fair Work Commission if they have not been able to resolve the dispute through discussions with their employer.
  • Casual Employment Information Statement. Employers will need to provide a casual employee with a copy of the Casual Employment Information Statement:
    • before, or as soon as practicable, after the employment starts; and
    • as soon as practicable after 12 months has passed since the beginning of the employment.

Employers who have casual staff should be aware of these potential changes to casual employment arrangements.

Changes to Professional Employees Award 2020

The Fair Work Commission has also announced some changes to the Professional Employees Award 2020 which came into effect on 16 September 2023. These changes are around the payment of overtime (or equivalent time in lieu) to employees under this award. If you believe this change may impact your business, we suggest that you seek specific Human Resources or Employment Law assistance from a specialist in that area.

Australian Anti-corruption Landscape

A recent decision of the High Court in The King v Jacobs Group (Australia) Pty Ltd [2023] HCA 23 has highlighted the current emphasis and crack-down on anti-bribery and corruption in Australia. The decision has clarified that where a maximum penalty is determined by the benefit obtained from the offending conduct, the Court will calculate the penalty by reference to the gross amount received and not the ‘net benefit’ after costs.

The Court’s interpretation in this case created the potential for much higher penalties for bribery of a public officer. In this particular case, the decision increased the maximum penalty available from USD$11 million to approximately USD$30 million.

If you frequently work with Commonwealth government or other foreign governments, you need to be aware of the significant potential consequences of corrupt conduct.

Review of Unfair Trading Practices

The Commonwealth Government, on behalf of all jurisdictions, is leading a public consultation on options to address unfair trading practices. Treasury has released a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (available here) which seeks further evidence of the nature of unfair trading practices in Australia including the extent of harm caused to consumers and small businesses arising from potential gaps in the Australian Consumer Law. Treasury is also seeking stakeholder feedback about policy options which will address unfair trading practices.

Interested parties can submit a response up until 29 November 2023 and submission guidelines can be found here.

Unfair Contract Terms – another reminder

This a reminder that the changes to civil penalties relating to unfair contract terms that we have mentioned in previous newsletters commence on 10 November 2023.

Important things to note:

  • There are harsh monetary penalties for contracts being found to have unfair terms – not just the contracts being unenforceable.
  • The definition of ‘small business’ has expanded to be a business with fewer than 100 employees or an annual turnover of less than $10 million.
  • Contracts can be considered ‘standard’ even if there is a chance to negotiate them.
  • Clauses to be aware of include: autorenewal, one-sided indemnities, one-sided termination, and one-sided variation clauses.



A selection of things taking up time outside work:

  • Firebomb, the most recent series in the ABC’s Unravel podcast. I have found myself not having as much time for ‘reading for fun’ in the last couple of months, but I have listened to some good podcasts. One of these was Firebomb. This podcast series is about Chinese restaurants being firebombed in Western Australia in the late 1980s as part of a series of coordinated terror attacks targeting the Asian community. Crispian Chan, who investigates this part of Australian’s history in the podcast, is personally involved as his parent’s restaurant was targeted in 1988. I had never heard of this story despite it taking place not that long ago. (Roxie)
  • ‘The Call’, episode 809 of This American Life podcast. I love This American Life and this episode was a standout. It is a story that starts with a caller to the ‘Never Use Alone’ hotline (a hotline set up so drug users can call if they are going to use drugs by themselves so that someone is on the line in case they overdose). It follows the stories of the people involved in one particular call. It is an amazing story which stayed on my mind for a long time after listening. (Roxie)
  • The Matildas: The World at our Feet, Disney+. I am definitely one of the people who was completely swept up in the excitement of the 2023 Soccer World Cup (even attending the match between Columbia and Jamaica in Melbourne!) and now have an undying love for the Matildas. This documentary is brilliant and follows some of the main players in the lead up to the 2023 World Cup. (Roxie)
  • Shimanami Kaido, our family recently embarked on a thrilling journey along the Shimanami Kaido, a 70km route that connects six islands in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea via six breathtaking bridges. The stunning views along the way made it a must-do for any bike enthusiast. More info: https://shimanami-cycle.or.jp/cycling/en-02.html (Yee)
  • Books I haven’t been reading (!) I’m usually keen to share some good books (and will next edition); but this time I’m ‘fessing up to the books I’ve started but never finished. I’m now channelling Tim Ferriss’ advice – don’t feel guilty about not finishing a book (or movie) you’re not enjoying…life’s too short. Here’s the most recent pile: (Andrew)
    • The Power Broker (Robert Caro) – monumental biography of Robert Moses, the man most responsible for New York’s public works and infrastructure; awesomely detailed, I ran out of steam page 787 out of 1,162.
    • The Laws of Human Nature (Robert Greene) – reviews and table of contents looked good, but I found it enervating and weirdly Ayn Rand-like. (More fool me – I bought his The 48 Laws of Power at the same time – likely to stay untouched!)
    • The Day of the Assassins (Michael Burleigh) – with a subtitle ‘A History of Political Murder’, how could I resist? I should have. Interesting source material ruined by poor writing.
    • The Boy and the Dog (Seishu Hase) – a Japanese novel. By all accounts an international bestseller; just not for me.
    • The Idiot (Fyodor Dostoyevsky) – I enjoyed the first 100 pages or so but then ran out of puff. I know it’s a classic; but so is The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes, and no one I know has finished that book (including me).
  • What I’m listening to…in the car: 8 FM, Kiss Dance Music Australia (not the other Kiis FM). No inane chatter, no talkback crazies, no shouty ads: just dance music, all the time. Check it out: https://kissfm.com.au/. (Andrew)
  • What I’m listening to…live: James Reyne and band, live at the Palais Theatre, St Kilda, Melbourne, 16 September. I’m very fond of my Australian Crawl albums, more for the nostalgia than anything else: memories of halcyon teenage / early 20s summers, trying to parse the lyrics of Beautiful People, or get the innuendo in The Boys Light Up, or get moody and whiny in Downhearted. Now in his 60s, Mr Reyne is still going strong, with his solo work also (remember Fall of Rome). He still looks great in a tightish white T-shirt, pale jeans and boots. Enough said. (Andrew)
  • What I’m reading: The Fastest Way To Fall book, (Denise Williams). What do you get when you mix fitness apps with two journalists on a challenge? A compelling look into women’s self image, ethics, professionalism and a controversial romance. (Dani).
  • What I’m listening to: The Imperfects Podcast – S5 E39 Every Body is Perfect (Taryn Brumfitt). Australian of the Year, Taryn Brumfitt, talks about changing the landscape about body image for everyone after making a documentary called Embrace. (Dani)
  • How I’m challenging myself: [mo]re than a run for Movember. For years I’ve been involved in Movember campains to support men’s mental health. The last 3 years, I’ve been involved in championing the Melbourne event that continues to grow. On 25 November, I will host a running event at Princes Park that expects over 800 people. If you’d like to attend or support in some way, please contact me. (Dani)