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Each episode, Partners Timothy Stutt and Melanie Debenham are joined by an expert third wheel guest to explore the issues from their unique perspectives.

Mel is an expert on business-critical environment, planning, heritage and native title regulation in Australia. Tim specialises in ESG from a corporate governance perspective, including market disclosure, risk management and shareholder engagement/activism.

We wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands Mel and Tim are recording from, the Whadjuk people of the Noongar nation in Perth and the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation in Sydney. We wish to acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this country.

Latest episode

Episode 36 – Australia releases its Sustainable Finance Strategy

Lucy McCullagh, Alice Molan and Anna Coroneo return to “the wheel” to discuss Australia’s Sustainable Finance Strategy, recently released by Treasury and including a range of measures to underpin sustainable finance markets as the country transitions to net zero. They unpack the strategy’s three core pillars, being improved transparency through credible and accurate information, financial system capabilities, government commitments and leadership on aligning to global frameworks.

Episode 35 – A COP of action?

Lewis McDonaldCarolyn Pugsley and Tim Stutt set the scene ahead of COP28 in Dubai with a stocktake of past COPs and sign-posts to the way forward, including new "regulatory technology" and continued investment to support innovation across the energy transition. They also discuss the ‘trilemma’ of energy security, affordability and sustainability.

Episode 34 – Global Bank Review – Balancing Acts

Jacqueline Wootton, Hannah Cassidy and Antony Crockett take the wheel to explore trust in banking, as the sector faces a number of stress tests, including carving out credible positions on social and climate issues, creating new carbon offset markets which operate with integrity and transparency and other challenges explored in HSF’s latest edition of the annual Global Bank Review. They discuss how embracing calls for greater diligence, disclosure, reporting and transparency around ESG issues across the wider business sector might just help banks to balance the competing demands - meeting shareholder expectations and leading on social imperatives. 

Episode 33 – Sustainable Finance 2023 – Australia’s time to lead

Lucy McCullagh, Alice Molan and Anna Coroneo take the wheel to debrief their key takeaways from the Australian Sustainable Finance Summit 2023, including Australia’s progress toward a financial system aligned with sustainability commitments, the creation of an Australian sustainable finance taxonomy, the development of disclosure and reporting standards and the importance of transition financing. They discuss recent innovations such as taking longer term approaches to natural capital and the environment, ongoing partnerships with First Nations communities for better outcomes and the provision of “Blended Finance” to bridge the execution gap between intent and bankable opportunities.

Episode 32 – A First Nations Voice in the Australian Constitution

Melanie Debenham is joined by Gemma McKinnon and Bianca Janovic from our Pro Bono and Responsible Business teams to take us through the Regional Dialogue process that led to the Uluru Statement from the Heart and how it relates to the Voice referendum proposal. They discuss the proposed constitutional amendment and principles of the Voice to Parliament. They address some of the more “lawyerly” considerations and practicalities of implementing a Voice to Parliament – as well as its accountability to the community and recognition of 65,000 years of continued care for country by First Nations people.

We recognise that voters must make their own decision at the ballot box and hope to assist people to make their own informed decision.

For more information, we provide some further resources:

Episode 31 – Climate Governance Forum 2023 – a call to action

Melanie Debenham and Timothy Stutt wrap up their reflections on this year’s Climate Governance Forum, hosted by the AICD and the Climate Governance Initiative Australia. Kicking off with a keynote from Mike Cannon-Brookes and followed by sessions on mandatory reporting, transition planning, greenwashing risks and an address by Senator Jenny McAllister (Assistant Minister for Climate Change), the day was rounded out with discussions on understanding stakeholder expectations and the role for boards in addressing biodiversity and nature. Speakers underlined not only the urgency of the issues but in seizing the opportunities in making climate action core business strategy.

For more, read our latest legal briefing on Australia’s proposed mandatory climate reporting regime and short podcast series Reporting for Duties.

Episode 30– Is the Australian Modern Slavery Act moving into a new phase?

Tim Stutt and Aoife Xuereb are joined by Jacqueline Wootton and Olga Klimczak for a Talking Shop X The Third Wheel podcast collaboration episode. Following the statutory review of the Modern Slavery Act and its report being tabled in parliament, the Government is yet to confirm its position in relation to the reform recommendations, many of which seek to align with overseas regulatory trends for enhanced human rights due diligence, supply chain transparency and penalties to support corporate accountability. Our team discuss the importance of monitoring developments, applying a continuous improvement approach to supply chain risk identification and management (which can be particularly complex in the consumer sector) and working to ensure your business has in place robust payroll compliance governance processes. For more, read our recent legal briefing on the Modern Slavery Act review or visit our Business and Human Rights hub.

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Timothy Stutt photo

Timothy Stutt

Partner, Sydney

Timothy Stutt
Melanie Debenham photo

Melanie Debenham

Partner, Perth

Melanie Debenham

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