On Thursday 8 August the ANU announced that it would ‘withdraw from delivery of the GDLP [Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice] and the MLP [Master of Legal Practice] programs’ with ‘the subsequent closure of the SLP [School of Legal Practice]’. The university is to discontinue ‘up to 29 … continuing academic staff positions’ and my position is one of those to go. In short, I am to be made redundant and dismissed from the University. My final date at ANU is yet to be negotiated.
It’s been an extraordinary career. I’ve met and worked with some wonderful people. Academics and emergency management practitioners with amazing intellects, passion and commitment to making the world a better and more resilient place. I’ve got to travel the world (largely at someone else’s expense) having been invited to conferences and events in Germany, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and around Australia. My family and I have had the joy of spending 2 sabbaticals in the UK – 9 months at the University of Hull in 2003/2004 and 6 months at Northumbria University, Newcastle in 2017.
Being an academic is a privilege. I’ve got to choose the areas in which I want to work and have been fortunate enough to establish an expertise in, and be recognised as an expert in, the area of emergency management and response law. Having been involved in emergency services since the age of 13 it has been a joy to turn that interest into a career. I’ve worked with members of the fire, ambulance and emergency services across Australia and I’m grateful for the respect they’ve shown me and in return I have tried to honour the work that they do.
As a lawyer that expertise is not something that I could have developed in private practice as there just is not enough work in that area. A legal practitioner becomes an expert in the work that comes in the door, not the work that they necessarily want to choose.
Whether I remain in this field remains to be seen. I retain a practising certificate as a Barrister in the ACT and I have a very small practice giving advice to emergency service providers, both public and private. There may be opportunities to expand that practice and to be available to offer training across the sector. I will continue this blog at least whilst I see what other opportunities arise. My time on the Board of Paramedics Australasia will end in November but I hope to continue to serve on the Board of St John Ambulance Australia (ACT).
This is an early transition to retirement and that is not a bad thing. I’m looking forward to avoiding interminable emails and hopefully finding some work where going home means knocking off. This is not a moment of sadness or anger; the forces of the Universe have come together to end my full-time career and force me to look for new opportunities. Those opportunities will include finding ways, and now time, to step back and give my wife time to focus on the interests that she has put on hold whilst our girls needed her attention, and whilst my career has developed.
There are exciting times ahead.
I’m glad that you are able to see the positives in this situation and wish you well in the next chapter. Your departure from the field will be a devastating blow to the industry and to the board of PA. Thank you for continuing this blog in the interim. I can’t convey on you enough just how useful it has been to me during my career. Best regards for the future.
Your contribution will be sincerely missed, good luck in the future Michael
Welcome to the world of free time (Hah!) Best wishes and thanks for the insights you’ve provided into the tangled world of emergency law. Particularly over the past several years in Queensland.
Thanks for your candor and and commentary over the years Michael.
You will be missed in the digital world with your opinion and expertise in the niche area of emergency services.
Thanks so much for you contribution.
Just to be clear, as I said I’m not planning to stop blogging and writing in the area, at least not just yet. So the blog will continue but, once I’ve finished at the ANU, it will be run by Dr Michael Eburn, Barrister rather than Associate Professor Eburn. But it will continue at least for the foreseeable future.
I have enjoyed reading your emergency law posts; they have been interesting, enlightening and thought provoking.
An enforced change of employment can throw up new opportunities or, as in my case, confirm that retirement is the preferred option.
Thank you for your contributions and I wish you well, wherever your path takes you.
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Sorry to hear your news, but pleased to hear you will continue to blog and answer our questions , at least in the short term. Very best wishes for the next phase of your career.
Michael, Thanks for your enormous contribution spanning several disciplines. You are right about the rewards of being an academic despite the issues that we have all faced from time to time. Welcome to the largely pro bono world of the semi-retired.
Michael, I must concur with previous posters in thanking you for your valuable contributions to our understanding of emergency law. I am a volunteer firefighter, law is an arcane science to me but you have clarified it when needed.
From my personal perspective it will be a major loss if we lose your insights at a time when fire services are transitioning in my home state of Victoria.
I wish you all the best in your future life. Redundancy can be a hard transition but I am confident that you have the skills and personal integrity to make it a positive move forwards. I look forward to hearing more from you in the future and wish all the best to you and your family.
WOW! YourBlogs have been very interesting and thought provoking and I believe your assessment of issues and legal answers is very good and will be missed. I believe the NSW Emergency Management Arrangements and what Agencies believe the Arrangement are still requires testing and assessing.
My famous quote is the NSW Emergency Management Arrangements are quite sound “if we would only use them”.
Most MAA’s and MOU’s within NSW actually undermine the EM Arrangements. This is what needs fixing.
I have always enjoyed your legal insights into the emergency services. I too have retired after 41 years service with NSWA. I will look forward to your blogs continuing, and best of luck in your future endeavours.
Michael, thanks for your great support of paramedicine over many years. Your expertise is greatly appreciated. This is a sad indictment of the values of Australian universities.
Thank you for your thoughts over the years. The ANU surely does not realise what it is about to lose.
All the best for the future. I look forward to continuing to read you blog.
The growing Event Medical Services industry will need lawyers to guide them throw the difficult times ahead. The problem will be (as with anything in this industry) to get appropriately remunerated for those services.
Sorry to here you have been made redundant. Unfortunately, having been made redundant multiple times myself, I’ve found success in your chosen area is no guarantee against redundancy. Even running one of Australia’s most viewed legal websites, writing books on your chosen subject and being an acknowledged expert doesn’t seem to work. However, I have found there’s always another employer/client out there who does recognise ability. All the best in the future.
Best wishes to you in your Next Big Adventure, may the universe shine down upon you, your wife, and your girls.
Thank you for a stellar and insightful contribution to the world of emergency management, with all the exuberant energy of a whipper-snapper! You’ll be missed in the classroom and lecture theatre, there is no doubt, and I hope you get a chance to dip your toe in the water now and again.
You may be lost to some, but you’ll be a fabulous find to those who are about to meet you!
My thoughts go with you.