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The Commonwealth Quarterly – Issue 1

Insight and commentary from our national Government team in Australia

Australia Publication November 2019

Welcome to the inaugural edition of The Commonwealth Quarterly

Having provided legal services to Commonwealth clients for quite some time now, we thought long and hard about whether clients really needed another legal update getting between them and an empty inbox.

In the end, we decided that there was just about room for another publication. It would have to be concise, easy to read, in plain English, and with relevance to day to day government legal practice.

We’re not saying we’ve cracked it yet – but this first edition is intended to give you a flavour of what’s to come. You’ll find, among other things, Jeff Goldberger on managing the non-performing contractor, Katrina Monagle on the US CLOUD Act, and a very practical guide by Veronica Seeto and Ingrid Olbrei on signing of oaths, affirmations, statutory declarations and the like.

And because we really do care about things beyond the law, we’ve included a profile of some of the more interesting things our people do for other people and the planet.

Enjoy, and feel free to email us with feedback or suggestions for future articles. 

Holly McAdam                                     Catherine Whitby
Partner and Head of Office                Partner and Editor of The CQ
Canberra                                              Canberra

Norton Rose Fulbright in the community

Serving with the RAAF

Natalie Lonergan
Partner, Corporate (Oil & Gas)

Natalie Lonergan
Specialist Reserve Legal Officer, Royal Australian Air Force, with over 25 years service.

I had been working as a lawyer in private practice for seven years and was looking for more excitement in my life. I joined the RAAF (as it then was known) in 1994, and worked for a couple of years as a legal officer in the permanent forces before transferring to the Specialist Legal Reserve Panel when I returned to private practice.

My first posting in the Permanent forces was to the Directorate of Air Force Legal Services in Canberra, but then I served the remainder of my permanent force years at RAAF Base Amberley where I worked with the F-111 Squadrons. I lived and worked overseas for a couple of years, and during that time transferred to the Standby Reserve.

When I returned to Australia, this time to Sydney, I transferred to the Specialist legal reserve panel (now known as SERCAT 5 position) posted to 22 Squadron (RAAF Richmond). In this role, I’m required to provide a minimum of seven days service each year and am also required to maintain my operational readiness standards (fitness, weapon and health standards).

Most of my reserve service has been providing legal support to the Fuel Services Branch on fuel procurements and assisting the Inspector General Australian Defence Force with military justice compliance audits.

Natalie Lonergan

Most interesting experience
One of the most memorable things I have done while serving as a RAAF Legal Officer, apart from learning to fly a PC9, was during Kangaroo 1996 Exercise which was a joint military exercise with the US Air Force in the Northern Territory. I surveyed the Katherine Gorge and Timber Creek regions by helicopter with local Aboriginal Elders so we could plot their sacred sites on flight charts, to ensure aircraft avoided low altitude flying and/or dropping chaff over these areas. 

It was very interesting hearing the stories that related to these sites and rewarding to assist on that project even if it did mean spending seven days in a hot and noisy military helicopter.

Lessons learned
Defence has been a really interesting journey. I think one of the main lessons that has served me well in my practice and my personal life is to always expect the unexpected, and prepare for it. It means that I consider all contingencies and have options prepared, so I am more willing to take risks that I would otherwise not be comfortable with – an essential quality for an oil and gas lawyer.


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