Graham Harbord is Johnston Withers’ Managing Director and one of South Australia’s most respected lawyers.
While Graham practices across a wide spectrum of the law, much of his time is spent advising employees, and some employer bodies, on employment law issues. This includes unfair dismissal claims, employment contract issues, underpayment of wages, discrimination issues, bullying and harassment claims and workers compensation.
Graham has also had considerable success representing unions in industrial relations cases. It was his work that helped achieve a substantial pay rise and professional status for paramedics in South Australia.
Graham comes to this work with a very strong background in employment law, industrial law and workers compensation. After leaving university he worked with the PSA (the union for public servants) as an Industrial Officer. He then joined the South Australian Government’s Unit for Industrial Democracy as Legal Advisor, and subsequently became a Policy Advisor to the Government on Industrial Relations matters including representing the Government in National Wage Cases. In 1991 he was appointed to the Workers Compensation Tribunal as a Conciliator and Arbitrator, and continued in that appointment until he commenced with Johnston Withers in 1997.
The other driving force in Graham’s legal career has been his commitment to the legal rights of Aboriginal people. He acts for a number of Aboriginal communities including the Adnyamathanha and Pitjantjatjara people of South Australia. He is proud to have been part of the legal team that helped the Adnyamathanha people secure native title over the Flinders Ranges and surrounding areas. He has also advised and represented a number of Aboriginal organisations in negotiations with governments and mining companies. He regularly advises Aboriginal organisations on employment related matters.
Graham is also passionate about the rights of refugees and asylum seekers. In 2002 he helped form the Refugee Advocacy Service of SA, which represented detainees held at Woomera, and later Baxter, detention centres. He also helped establish STARRS (Survivors of Torture and Trauma Assistance and Rehabilitation Service) which provides wide range of counselling and other service to refugees.
Graham regularly presents papers at various conferences and publishes articles on a range of law-related topics. Click here for examples.
Personal interests include travel and hiking (having trekked in such places as the Himalayas in Nepal, the Andes in Peru and the Californian Sierras).