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Team Members

Annie Smeaton

With many years’ experience as an advocate with a strong background in employment, industrial, safety, education (including pre-enrolment and enrolment) and anti-discrimination law, Annie provides her employer clients with strong representation and practical commercial advice.

With many years’ experience as an advocate with a strong background in employment, industrial, safety, education (including pre-enrolment and enrolment) and anti-discrimination law, Annie provides her employer clients with strong representation and practical commercial advice.

Annie acts for large corporations and institutions as well as employers in the SMEs market and education and training, resources and energy, transport and logistics, manufacturing and professional services industries. Annie acts for a range of independent schools, training institutions and institutions in the pre-university market.  Annie also undertakes employment and regulatory law work in the health sector including for registered medical practitioners.

Annie has extensive experience undertaking complex workplace investigations concerning harassment, bullying and safety breaches.

  • Bachelor of Laws – Griffith University
  • Bachelor of Commerce – Griffith University
  • Solicitor – Supreme Courts of Queensland, Victoria, High and Federal Courts of Australia
  • Member and Committee Member – Australian & New Zealand Education Law Association
  • Member – Industrial Relations Society of Queensland
  • Member – Australian Labour Law Association
  • Doyles Guide (2015, 2017, 2022) – Leading Queensland Lawyers – Employment Law (employer representation)
  • Best Lawyers Australia (2020-2023) – Labour and Employment Law

Industrial relations/employment relations

  • Presenting at Legalwise School Law seminar 2019
  • Presenting at TEN annual School Law Regulation Conference 2019
  • Providing front end strategic employment and industrial relations advice, drafting and negotiating enterprise agreements and defending dispute and other claims brought by the union and individual workers in the transport and logistics sector.
  • Representing a large corporation in Federal Court proceedings concerning alleged adverse action under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), including defending interlocutory orders.
  • Acting for a number of clients defending unfair dismissal applications before the AIRC, Fair Work Commission and the QIRC.
  • Representing a client in Fair Work Australia in regard to majority support determinations, scope orders and disputes under the Enterprise Agreements.
  • Advising on a number of Queensland public services matters, including industrial disputes, ill health retirement, anti-discrimination and disciplinary matters.
  • Advising a Queensland GOC on a number of workplace incidents, including undertaking comprehensive workplace investigations, managing ill and injured employees, and employee discipline matters.
  • Advising a variety of health professionals in regard to employment and registration matters.
  • Assisting clients to make and have enterprise agreements, including through the approval stage at the Fair Work Commission.
  • Acting for corporate clients in drafting employment contracts, conditions and executive service contracts and termination or redundancy arrangements, and providing advice on appointment processes; this includes drafting a CEO service agreement for a Queensland local authority.
  • Advising a variety of non-state schools in Queensland about a variety of matters under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), including negotiating and making a new enterprise agreement, general protections and dismissal as well as anti-discrimination in education and the workplace.
  • Representing a corporate client in the Federal Court concerning the protection of confidential information and enforce of restraint of trade provisions.
  • Providing advice to many clients about performance management, termination and redundancy of executive and non-executive employees and ill and injured employees.

Transport and Logistics

  • Providing industrial relations advice concerning union right of entry, enterprise agreements, including negotiating and making agreements and the application and interpretation of the Road Transport Awards.
  • Defending general protections applications and interlocutory proceedings in the Federal Court and disputes lodged by the union before the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal and Fair Work Commission.
  • Assisting transport operators manage ill and injured drivers and other workers and advising about workers’ compensation.
  • Assisting transport operators undertake disciplinary and performance management of staff and defending unfair dismissal and discrimination applications.
  • Preparing and implementing workplace policies tailored for the transport industry, including fatigue management, random drug and alcohol testing, work health and safety & NHVR and driver codes of conduct.
  • Preparing employment contracts and independent contractor agreements, advising about restraint of trade.
  • Advising about the application of the Federal Independent Contractors Act 2006 and applicable State laws.

Education, health and regulatory

  • Undertaking workplace incident investigations and preparing incident investigation reports.
  • Assisting clients in the non-state school sector deal with student protection matters, parent committee disputes, parent complaints, teacher misconduct and anti-discrimination.
  • Considering mandatory reporting obligations in education and other regulatory requirements, including Queensland College of Teacher matters.
  • Providing compliance training to a client following a reportable incident
  • Acting for large insurers providing advice to registered medical practitioners in the areas of employment, credentialing, AHPRA notifications, College matters.



  • Presenting at Legalwise employment law and workplace seminars from 2012 to 2019.
  • Presenting at the Legalwise school law seminar series and employment law series from 2015 to 2018.
  • Presenting at the TEN annual Schools Law and Regulation Conference 2016, Melbourne and 2018, Gold Coast.
  • Presenting at the LawSense School Law Conference from 2016 to 2018.
  • Presenting at the LawSense Law for School Counsellors and Guidance Officers from 2018 to 2019.
  • Presenting at the LawSense Law for Mental Health Practitioners in 2019.
  • Presented at the New IR Laws for HR Managers Conference in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.
  • Presented at the 2014 Australia and New Zealand Law and Education Conference in Adelaide.
  • ‘Adverse action – 2017 update’, Inhouse Counsel, Vol. 21 No. 10, December 2017, Lexis Nexis.
  • ‘The Fair Work Amendment Bill 2014: A snapshot’, Governance Directions, Vol 67, February 2015, Governance Institute of Australia.
  • ‘Major change to the definition of a worker in the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld)’, Australasian Legal Business, August 2013.
  • Adverse Action, Employee Rights and Workplace Management, Paper and Presentation at the Australian Labour Law Association Conference, 2012, Canberra.
  • ‘Extensions of Time for Unfair Dismissal Applications’, Employment Law Bulletin, July 2010.

Areas of Expertise


Podcast: Coffee with CGW – Get to know Annie Smeaton

In this episode of the 'Coffee with CGW' podcast, join us for a coffee chat with workplace relations and safety partner Annie Smeaton and private clients partner Scott Hay-Bartlem. Their candid conversation delves into Annie's background, explores her life outside work, and discusses what gets her excited about her work.

Can employers require an employee to work on a public holiday?

In a major decision regarding the application of the public holiday provisions of the Fair Work Act, the Full Federal Court has found that terms of employment that require employees to work on a public holiday will not be consistent with the National Employment Standards. This is the case even in circumstances where an employer’s operations are conducted over 365 days per year and an employee’s remuneration includes compensation for the requirement to work on those days.

Medical cannabis in the workplace – risks and challenges for employers

With an increasing number of employees taking prescribed medical cannabis in the workplace, it is important for employers to understand their legal obligations when managing these employees.