Wendy Ussher

Principal Lawyer

Wendy is a Principal Lawyer with a keen interest in constitutional law. Since graduating university with a Bachelor of Laws with Honours in 2009, Wendy has predominately practised in public law, particularly constitutional, administrative and employment law. In 2020, Wendy completed a Master of Law at Pennsylvania State University, with a concentration in constitutional law and civil rights. Wendy’s thesis papers were on the contemporary issues of structured proportionality review and constitutional interpretation in Australia.

As an experienced Principal Lawyer in Crown Law’s Constitutional Law Team, Wendy regularly acts for the State of Queensland instructing the Solicitor-General on behalf of the Attorney-General in constitutional cases before the Full Court of the High Court of Australia, Queensland Court of Appeal, and the Full Court of the Federal Court. Wendy drafts the written and oral submissions for the Solicitor-General and instructs the Solicitor-General at hearings. She also advises on significant and complex legal issues for the State and drafts advices on behalf of the Solicitor-General and Crown Solicitor on a range of issues including constitutional challenges to State legislation, the implied freedom of political communication, inconsistent Commonwealth and State laws, the scope of State and Commonwealth legislative, executive and judicial powers and statutory interpretation.

Prior to joining Crown Law in 2013, Wendy worked on the Queensland Children’s Hospital (QCH) Construction Project. In her role as a Director (Workforce), Wendy led and managed the workforce commissioning team and advised on complex legal issues involved in combining the entire workforces of the Royal Children’s Hospital and Mater Children’s Hospital into one state regulated workforce for the QCH (approximately 4000 staff from state and federal industrial relations jurisdictions), conducted regular all-staff information sessions and union negotiations.

Wendy also has extensive experience in employment law and industrial relations across multiple jurisdictions (NSW, Qld, Cth). As a prosecutor and duly appointed inspector she has conducted numerous workplace investigations and enforcement proceedings for offences against state and federal industrial laws, and recovery proceedings for unpaid employee entitlements. Her industrial relations experience includes appearing in significant proceedings on behalf of the State for the Industrial Relations Minister, instructing the drafting of legislation and progressing Bills through parliament.

Wendy was awarded an Australia Day Award in 2000 for her work in industrial relations for client service, presented at Parliament House.

  • Specialisation certificates in Constitutional Law and Civil Rights, Public Law, Corporate and Commercial Law, and General Law.
  • Acting for the Attorney-General for Queensland, instructing the Solicitor-General, in about 20 constitutional law cases before the Full Court of the High Court of Australia, Queensland Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, and the Full Court of the Federal Court, including with primary carriage of the following matters for the State:
    • Bell v Tasmania (High Court H2/2020)
    • Work Health Authority v Outback Ballooning (2019) 93 ALJR 212.
    • Australia, Pacific LNG Pty Limited & Ors v The Treasurer Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and Minister for Sport [2019] QSC 124.
    • Three appeal matters of: Northern Territory v Griffiths (No 2); Commonwealth v Griffiths (No 2); Griffiths v Northern Territory (No 2) (2019) 93 ALJR 808;
    • Attorney-General of the State of Queensland v Legal Services Commissioner & Anor; Legal Services Commissioner v Shand [2018] QCA 66.
    • BHP Coal Pty Ltd v Treasurer & Minister for Trade & Investment; BHP Coal Pty Ltd & Ors v Treasurer, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and Minister for Sports [2018] QSC 66.
    • Minogue v State of Victoria (2018) 264 CLR 252.
    • Brown v Tasmania (2017) 261 CLR 328.
    • Knight v Victoria (2017) 261 CLR 306.
    • Palmer v Ayres; Ferguson v Ayres (2017) 259 CLR 478.
    • ResourceCo Material Solutions Pty Ltd & Anor v. State of Victoria & Anor (High Court, Case No. M32/2016)
    • Alqudsi v The Queen (2016) 258 CLR 203.
    • North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency Limited v Northern Territory (2015) 256 CLR 569.
    • Duncan v Independent Commission Against Corruption (2015) 256 CLR 83.
    • Duncan v New South Wales; NuCoal Resources Limited v New South Wales; Cascade Coal Pty Limited v New South Wales (2015) 255 CLR 388.
    • Communications, Electrical, Electronic, Energy, Information, Postal, Plumbing and Allied Services Union of Australia v Queensland Rail (2015) 256 CLR 171.
    • Magaming v The Queen (2013) 252 CLR 381.
    • Lee v New South Wales Crime Commission (2013) 251 CLR 196.
  • Appeared for the Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations Queensland before Full Bench of Fair Work Australia in various major cases including:
    • Award Modernisation – Division 2B State Awards [2010] FWAFB 8558.
    • National Equal Remuneration Test Case ([2011] FWAFB 8800; [2011] FWAFB 2700; [2012] FWAFB 1000).
  • Working for Pennsylvania State University Law Faculty, Pennsylvania USA as a Research Assistant to Professor Jud Mathews, whose scholarship about techniques of constitutional rights adjudication particularly involves proportionality review.
  • Prosecuting scores of offence and wage recovery proceedings against employers under state and federal industrial laws as an inspector duly appointed under the former Industrial Relations Act 1999 (Qld) and Workplace Relations Act 1996 (Cth); Trading (Allowable Hours) Act 1990 (Qld).
  • Appearing with the Queensland Workplace Rights Ombudsman before the Australian Parliament Senate Standing Committee on Education and Employment’s Inquiry into the Fair Work Bill 2008 (Cth) and drafting the Ombudsman’s submissions to the Senate Inquiry.
  • Instructing the drafting of legislation including Queensland’s referral of industrial relations matters to the Australian Parliament under the Commonwealth Constitution.
  • As Principal Inspector and Senior Inspector (Prosecutions), managing the inspectorate and support staff in the Wide Bay/Sunshine Coast Regional offices of the former Department of Industrial Relations at Bundaberg and Maryborough, and conducting numerous workplace investigations.
  • Investigating and advising the Attorney-General on a 19th century crime led to the posthumous pardon of an aboriginal man known as Kipper Billy by his Excellency the Governor in 2018 (see Department of Justice and Attorney-General’s Annual Report 2018-19, p 63-64).