International Society of Primerus Law Firms

Sydney Attorney
Peter Punch

Phone: +61 2 9291 7100


Languages: English

In practice for more than 30 years, Peter is widely acknowledged in the profession to be a highly effective employment and workplace relations lawyer. He has been nominated by his peers to be included in the Legal Who’s Who in Australia, a publication that highlights the pre-eminent practitioners in each specialty of the law.

Peter is the Senior Partner in the Employment and Industrial Relations Group at Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers. Peter’s expertise covers all aspects of employment and workplace relations law, including unfair dismissal, drafting and interpreting employment contracts, industrial associations law, industrial disputes, award and agreement interpretation and enforcement, enterprise bargaining, discrimination in employment and work health and safety.

Over the course of his career, he has acted for and advised all parties in workplace relations – employers, employees, unions, employer bodies, government and not-for-profit organisations.

Since joining Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers, he has been involved in a number of major test cases, concerned with establishing enduring principles of workplace law.

Peter has been an active participant in the workplace legal community. He was a foundation member of the Australian Labour Law Association and a member of its National Committee in 2010 and 2011.

He is widely regarded as an authority on workplace law and has been author, editor or contributor to a number of books on employment and workplace relations law including Australian Industrial Law, the Master Workplace Relations Guide and the Australian Labour Law Reporter.

In 2012, Peter acted for the Administrator of the Health Services Union East, in what was a unique set of circumstances in the history of industrial associations law in Australia.

Peter has also acted for clients in and appeared before various public or special inquiries over the years including the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

Areas of Practice:

  • Employment & Workplace Relations
  • Industrial Associations Law
  • Public Inquiries, Royal Commissions & Special Projects


  •  Anti-bullying laws: the FWC is getting ready
    Published 22 Nov 2013
    As first published in WorkPlace Info 21st November 2013 ( Australia’s national workplace relations tribunal, the Fair Work Commission, will have a new set of powers commencing from 1 January 2014 to deal with allegations of bullying in the workplace. This jurisdiction was conferred by provisions in the Fair Work Amendment Act 2013 (Cth) enacted earlier this year (during the last few months of the previous Federal Labor Government) but with a delayed commencement date of 1 January 2014.
  • Not-For-Profit Newsletter – September 2013
    Published 18 Sep 2013
    In this newsletter we report to you on: some recent legislative amendments concerning Australian anti-discrimination law and the impact of those changes on Commonwealth-funded religious aged care providers, the introduction from 1 October 2013 of mandatory prescribed forms for village contracts and supporting disclosure documentation under the Retirement Villages Act 1999, the recent Australian Federal decision concerning the Hunger Project where it was found that a public benevolent institution does not need to provide direct relief for poverty, the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the passing of the revolutionary New South Wales Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 during NAIDOC Week, and some Good News concerning the charities Give Directly and Connecting Hands and their good works. The Carroll & O’Dea Workplace Solutions Team report in this newsletter on the anti-bullying amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 which will commence on 1 January 2014.
    Published 05 Jul 2013
    As first published on Workplace Info ( It is not uncommon for us here at the Workplace Solutions Group to get enquiries or requests for advice from employers about what they can do about excessive annual leave accumulations, including “cashing out”.
  • ‘Go away money’— will it now go away?
    Published 21 Feb 2013
    First published in WorkplaceInfo. One of the most common complaints to the Fair Work Act Review was that the Act has led to employers increasingly having to pay compensation (‘go away money’) to settle claims, irrespective of their merits. All experienced advisors, however, are well aware that ‘go away money’ has always been a feature of the system. Have amendments to the Act meant that this will finally go away? A Sydney law firm comments, based on its experience.
  • Not-For-Profit Newsletter – February 2013 (2nd Edition)
    Published 20 Feb 2013
    An update on New Workplace Gender Equality legislation.
  • Fair Work Act Review
    Published 15 Aug 2012
    The recently released Report of the Independent Panel conducting the Review of the Fair Work Act — “Towards more productive and equitable workplaces; an evaluation of the Fair Work legislation” has attracted very considerable comment, much of it is politically motivated.
  • Seminar Invitation
    Published 09 May 2012
    Employment Law & Workplace Safety Update
  • God’s Work or Fair Work?
    Published 16 Mar 2012
    Church entities generally speaking would have no trouble with the precepts of the Fair Work Act, with its aims inter alia of fostering fairness in the workplace and prescribing wages and conditions that are a fair safety net for employees. Whether those precepts should not be applicable to particular “workers” in a church setting because of their faith based commitment is potentially controversial.
  • Workplace Conflict
    Published 09 Feb 2012
    Conflict between individuals in a workplace is not an easy matter for most managers to deal with. It distracts them from dealing with the core responsibilities of the organisation and in many cases can be unnerving to even the strongest of managers.
  • Fair Work Act Review – Don’t Expect Too Much Now!
    Published 22 Dec 2011
    First published by CCH AUSTRALIA
  • “Phantom” Paid Annual Leave – Is it there even though you can’t see it?
    Published 16 Dec 2011
    First Published by CCH Australia Limited
  • Workplace Solutions@ Carroll & O’Dea – a new name but still in the same frame…
    Published 21 Nov 2011
    On Thursday 17 November, Peter Punch and our specialist employment law team announced to a well attended briefing held for the Firm’s employment and industrial law clients and contacts in our 18th Floor Conference rooms that, not only does the team have new location – Level 17 of the St James Centre — but they will have a slightly different name – “Workplace Solutions @ Carroll & O’Dea”. More about that if you read on !
  • Anti-social media: extending the employer’s tentacles…
    Published 28 Sep 2011
    There can be no doubt that social media in the workplace has become a live legal issue: judgments reflect it, company policies address it and we have all heard nightmare stories of comments on social networking sites costing people their job. Peter Punch, Partner at Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers, examines a recent social media decision and the blurring of our personal and working lives.
  • Long suffering over Long Service Leave
    Published 22 Aug 2011
    First published by CCH Australia Limited
    Published 05 Jul 2011
    The decision of Justice Pembroke in Seven Network (Operations) Limited & Ors v James Warburton (No 2) [2011] NSWSC 386 is a very useful one for employment lawyers, dealing as it does with most of the general principles of the common law concerning post employment covenants in employment contracts and providing an interesting example of the modern application of some general contractual principles in the context of senior executive employment. First published in CCH
  • Paid Parental Leave Guide
    Published 26 May 2011
    On 1 January 2011, Australia’s first national paid parental leave scheme will commence. Paid parental leave will be available to eligible employees in addition to unpaid leave from their employers (which is presently available to most employees under the “National Employment Standards”), as well as any additional paid parental leave offered by employers.
  • ALERT for Not for profit employers – Equal Remuneration test case gets partial decision
    Published 17 May 2011
    In a bit of an anti climax the Full Bench of FWA handed down a decision today on the ASU’s Equal Remuneration case that was only half of a decision – the Bench found that gender was an important factor in creating the gap between pay in the Social and Community Services sector and pay in comparable state and local government employment, so that was an important win for the ASU and the union movement generally. The problem is that the Bench is not sure yet what if anything should be done to remedy this disparity. They are now seeking submissions so that the Bench can if possible identify the extent to which gender has inhibited wages growth in the SACS industry and to mould a remedy that will address that situation.
    Published 06 May 2011
    First Published by CCH AUSTRALIA LIMITED
  • “THE PUNCH LINE” Number 1 – APRIL 2011
    Published 27 Apr 2011
    First Published by CCH AUSTRALIA LIMITED
  • Banning Bullying – But What Is It?
    Published 01 Apr 2011
    The recent initiative by the new Liberal State Government in Victoria to introduce the “Crimes Amendment (Bullying) Bill 2011 has drawn attention again to the apparent epidemic of “bullying” in Australian workplaces and the need for a legislative response to this spreading disease.
  • Managing Chronic Sick Leave
    Published 01 Mar 2010
    “I have a senior employee who is regularly sick (due to colds, flu, etc). This person calls in sick approximately once a fortnight, sometimes for days at a time, and it’s hard to plan work around this person. He/ she is genuinely sick (displaying obvious signs of illness). The employee follows protocols, provides genuine medical certificates and abides by company policies, and while the employee is in the office, he/she performs ok. The problem is that the employee occupies a full-time position and he/she is not meeting the expectations of the role because he/she is only present around 80% of the time. How do I deal with this issue without breaching discriminations laws?”
  • The National Employment Standard – The devil is in the detail!
    Published 01 Feb 2010
    A central feature of the national industrial relations system proposed by the Rudd Labor Government was the establishment of certain minimum employment standards applicable to all employers and employees within this national system. This feature is now found in Part 2-2 of Chapter 2 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (“the FW Act”) and became operative on 1 January 2010, at the same time as the Government’s national system of industrial relations came into effect (with some minor exceptions in Western Australia).
  • Employment Law Newsletter – NFP Focus – October 2009
    Published 01 Oct 2009
  • Unfair Dismissal Claims Bulletin
    Published 01 Jul 2009
    Important news about unfair dismissal claims Some important parts of the Fair Work Act 2009 (C’th) start on 1 July 2009, including the new rules concerning unfair dismissal claims
  • Fair Work Act 2009 now enacted – National Employment Standards Start 1 January 2010
    Published 01 May 2009
  • HR Policies that promise too much …
    Published 01 May 2009

Key Professional Achievements:

  • Peter has a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees from the University of NSW and a Master of Laws (Honours) from the University of Sydney.
  • He was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW in 1982 and a solicitor of the High Court of Australia in 1988.
  • He joined the firm in 1983 and became a partner in 1988.
  • A NSW Law Society Accredited Specialist in employment and industrial law since 1994, the year the Accredited Specialty Scheme was introduced by the Law Society.
  • Member of the Accredited Specialist’s Advisory Committee, which assesses applicants to the Scheme, from 1994 to 2013, and Chair of the Committee from 1999 to 2013.

Contact This Firm

Carroll & O'Dea Lawyers

Level 18, St James Centre
111 Elizabeth Street
Sydney, New South Wales, 2000

Law Firm Contact: Selwyn Black

Tel: +61 2 9291 7100

Fax: +61 2 9221 1117



Member Since: 2014

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