Profile On

Max Costello

  • Maxwell Keith Costello was born (7/6/1945), raised, educated and (mainly) employed in Melbourne; retired 13/12/2013.


    Trained Secondary Teachers Certificate 1965 (Secondary Teachers College)

    BA 1970 (University of Melbourne)

    B Ed 1973 (Monash University)

    LLB 1991 (University of Melbourne)

    LLM 1997 (Monash University). My thesis, “Sanctions and Safety Nets”, was about criminal prosecutions to enforce employee entitlements under the (now former) State Award regime.


    Secondary teacher 1967–1992 (interrupted 1969–70 by compulsory National Service)

    Victorian State system secondary teacher (mainly high schools, some technical schools) of English, History, Geography, Social Studies and (after completing 2nd year LLB) Legal Studies.

    Prosecutions solicitor 1992–2013

    After completing the LLB and being admitted to practice, transferred in late 1992 from the Teaching Service to the (general) Public Service and worked as a solicitor in three areas of law (see below). My main role in all three was to review investigation briefs of evidence and, if the evidence and circumstances warranted, prepare and lay charges then, if a plea was entered, appear and conduct the prosecution or, if the charges were contested, instruct counsel in the case. I also carried out some policy, advice and drafting instructions work.

    1992–1995 industrial law

    In the Industrial Compliance unit of the Department of Labour/Business and Employment, I was involved in prosecuting employers who allegedly failed to comply with their wages and conditions obligations under the (then) State Award/employment agreements regime.

    1995–2000 health and safety law

    Working in the Department’s Health and Safety Organisation, then the Victorian WorkCover Authority (now ”WorkSafe Victoria”) to which all HSO staff were transferred in 1996, I was involved in prosecuting employers for alleged offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1985 (Vic). Occasionally, my caseload included workers’ compensation matters.

    2000–2013 environmental law

    As an Environment Protection Authority (“EPA”) solicitor, I prosecuted matters under the Environment Protection Act 1971 (Vic). Also, as ‘Manager, Authority decisions’, I vetted EPA documents for legal validity and clarity of expression before they were issued or published.

    University lecturer in Employment Law 1995–2011

    With the permission of my daytime employer, I taught Employment Law after hours at RMIT University as a sessional lecturer, one evening a week during second semester. Employment Law was a compulsory Management degree subject – a 'crash course' covering, in 12 weeks:

    • overview topics:– Commonwealth cf State constitutional framework, roles of the judiciary cf the legislature, statute law cf common law, precedents, criminal law cf civil law; and
    • the evolution and operation of laws governing specific topics:– work health and safety, awards and agreements, unfair dismissal, equal opportunity, workers' compensation.   


    Another retired WorkSafe Victoria officer and I co-wrote submissions to the Moss (late 2014) and Senate Select Committee (2015) inquiries into alleged sexual and other abuses of asylum seekers at the Nauru offshore processing centre – arguing that the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) imposes, on the Commonwealth/the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, a non-transferable, non-delegable duty of care for detainees’ health and safety.

Articles written by Max Costello (8)

Support IAIndependent Australia

Subscribe to IA and investigate Australia today.

Close Subscribe Donate