First listed on: 06 June 2019

Chief Legal Counsel 

DHA reports to two shareholder Ministers, the Minister for Defence and the Minister for Finance, and has a Board of Directors appointed by the Government.

The DHA Board comprises of nine directors:

  • a Chairman appointed by the Shareholder Ministers;
  • four directors with expertise in residential property, real estate, building, social planning or finance;
  • three directors nominated respectively by the Chief of the Defence Force, and the Secretaries of the Departments of Defence and Finance; and
  • the Managing Director of DHA (also the Chief Executive Officer) appointed by the Board and who is the only Executive Director.

The Board is responsible for ensuring good corporate governance, determining and approving corporate strategy and providing guidance and oversight to senior management.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

As chief legal counsel, you are responsible for leading DHA’s corporate strategic and tactical legal initiatives. The general counsel provides senior management with effective advice on company strategies and their implementation, manages the legal function, and obtains and oversees the work of external counsel. The general counsel is directly involved in complex business transactions, negotiating critical contracts and other high-risk matters.

You will have broad commercial legal experience, including litigation, and knowledge and understanding of dealing with regulatory bodies. You will be familiar with corporate control and risk and a familiarity with constitutional, administrative and privacy law.

Our ideal candidate will have:

  • excellent communication skills and be able to negotiate persuasively;
  • the ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships;
  • a demonstrated ability to shape strategic thinking and achieve results;
  • experience working on matters of corporate governance and with a board of directors;
  • an understanding of constitutional law involving Commonwealth and State matters;
  • experience managing lawyers, building in house capability and experience with cost-effective management of external legal resources;
  • experience in directing strategy and managing litigation cases;
  • knowledge of State based residential tenancy laws and Commonwealth Government Business Enterprise Guidelines; and
  • strong leadership and problem-solving skills/analysis and exemplify personal drive and integrity.


The duties for this role include:

  • Serve as chief legal advisor on all major business transactions, including acquisitions and divestitures.
  • Judge the merits of major court cases filed against or on behalf of the company, work with the appropriate executive(s) to define a strategic defence and approve settlement of disputes where warranted.
  • Assume ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the company conducts its business in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
  • Structure and manage the company’s internal legal function and staff.
  • Oversee the selection, retention, management and evaluation of all external counsel.
  • Advise on legal aspects of DHA’s customer service model, including assessing and advising on current and future business structures and legal issues and advise on constitutional and administrative law issues. 
  • Participate in the definition and development of corporate policies, procedures and programs and provide continuing counsel and guidance on legal matters and on legal implications of all matters.


A Bachelor’s degree in law is essential with preferably ten years legal experience or more. You will need to currently hold an unrestricted practising certificate in the ACT or competent jurisdiction, or be eligible to hold.


This position requires the successful candidate to have (or the ability to obtain) a Negative Vetting Level 1 security clearance.


The successful candidate will be offered ongoing employment under the Public Service Act 1999.


A Total Remuneration Package (TRP) reflecting the importance of the position will be negotiated with the successful candidate. The TRP comprises of:

  • Base salary
  • Superannuation
  • Motor vehicle allowance
  • Official parking

Other entitlements (in addition to TRP) may include:

  • Airline lounge membership
  • Home office support
  • Provisions for leave and relevant allowances (e.g. travel) etc.
  • Relocation assistance (if relevant)


To be eligible for engagement to the Australian Public Service (APS), applicants must be Australian citizens or have permanent residency status pending the granting of Australian citizenship.  There are also restrictions on the employment of people who have received a redundancy benefit from an APS agency or the Australian Parliamentary Service and who is still within their 'redundancy benefit period' or restriction period. These arrangements do not apply to persons who have received a redundancy benefit from a non-APS Commonwealth employer, from a State/Territory Government employer, or from the private sector. There are no restrictions on such persons competing on merit for APS employment.

Prospective appointees will be required to satisfy health, character and security checks.

Please note that, with any vacancy, it is important that you check your own circumstances and ability to meet the eligibility requirements.

Operating Environment

This is a full-time position.  DHA’s core business hours are between 8.30am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday.  DHA operates under flexible working hours and staff may be required to work outside core business hours at times.


RecruitAbility applies to this vacancy. You will be invited to participate in further assessment activity for the vacancy if you choose to apply under the RecruitAbility scheme; declare you have a disability; and meet the minimum requirements for the job.

For more information see:


Defence Housing Australia (DHA) is a Government Business Enterprise established under the Defence Housing Australia Act 1987. DHA reports to two shareholder ministers, the Ministers for Defence and Finance, and has a Board of Directors. The Managing Director role is one of the positions on the Board. DHA provides housing and related services for Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families and some other Federal Agencies.  DHA delivers its products and services in a commercial environment with a Services Agreement as the contractual vehicle in place between Defence and DHA.

DHA’s revenues in 2017-18 were in excess of $1b and earnings before interest and tax was $78m. DHA is a tax paying entity and makes annual dividend payments to the Government. DHA has more than 600 staff in 19 locations to manage the following business operations:

  • A portfolio of over 17,000 properties in all states and territories of Australia valued at more than $10 billion;
  • Housing allocation services for 16,500 ADF members each year;
  • Rental Allowance for 14,000 ADF members;
  • On-base accommodation for 11,000 ADF members;
  • Financing Defence owned properties;
  • Property development and construction; and
  • A sales and leaseback program to generate capital in the order of $250 million a year.

DHA is engaged in significant property development activities of more than $2 billion to provide modern housing for ADF members and their families as well as selling excess property on the market under commercial terms. It operates in all states and territories around Australia. 

DHA's head office is in Canberra and provides operational, financial, information technology, human resources, communications and corporate support to the organisation. The Managing Director has six direct reports, the Chief Financial Officer, General Manager Governance, General Manager People and Corporate Capability, General Manager Portfolio Management Group, General Manager Property Provisioning Group and General Manager Property and Tenancy Services.

Some of the benefits of working at DHA include:

  • Generous employee benefits with a competitive salary package
  • employer superannuation contribution of up to 15.4%
  • flexible work arrangements, including family friendly provisions
  • benefits of working for the APS, while in an outcome focused Government Business Enterprise
  • a diverse range of interesting projects in high performing and collaborative work environment.

More information

More information about DHA is available at:

Preparing your application

Your application should include a CV and a statement of claims (a short ‘pitch’ of approximately 1000 words or 2 pages) drawing out why you are interested in the role, what you offer the agency, your skill set, relevant career history and achievements, and your leadership attributes. In preparing your application you may also wish to take account of the following selection criteria which apply to SES roles in the APS.

Selection criteria

1. Achieves Sustained Results

Relevant capabilities and behaviours:

  • Builds organisational capability and responsiveness
  • Marshalls and develops professional expertise
  • Steers and implements change and deals with uncertainty
  • Ensures closure and delivers on agreed results (time, cost and quality)

2. Cultivates productive working relationships

Relevant capabilities and behaviours:

  • Nurtures internal and external relationships
  • Facilitates cooperation and partnerships
  • Values individual differences and diversity
  • Guides, mentors and develops people

3. Exemplify personal drive and integrity

Relevant capabilities and behaviours:

  • Demonstrates Public Service professionalism and probity
  • Engages with risk and shows personal courage
  • Commits to action
  • Displays resilience
  • Demonstrates self-awareness and a commitment to personal development

4. Communicates with influence

Relevant capabilities and behaviours:

  • Communicates clearly
  • Listens, understands and adapts to audience
  • Negotiates persuasively

5. Shapes strategic thinking

Relevant capabilities and behaviours:

  • Inspires a sense of purpose and direction
  • Focuses and acts strategically
  • Harnesses information and opportunities
  • Shows judgement, Intelligence and common sense

About Executive Intelligence Group

Executive Intelligence Group is a Canberra based executive search and recruitment management firm. We specialise in finding, selecting, developing, coaching and mentoring senior executives across a range of different contexts and sectors.

We are held in high regard by senior decision makers and would be recognised as having exceptional coverage in terms of the number and nature of agencies for which we have completed assignments.

We have extensive experience in generalist, ‘difficult to fill’ and specialist executive roles, bulk rounds, statutory appointments and private sector positions and an outstanding reputation in dealing with Secretaries, senior executives CEOs and Boards.

If, after reading the selection documentation, you require further information please contact Tricia Searson or Karina Duffey on (02) 6232 2200.

Applications must be submitted through the Executive Intelligence Group website.

How to apply

Executive Intelligence Group has the capability to receive applications online via our website.

A major benefit of lodging an application through our system is that your details will now be saved in your personal, confidential account. This means that, should you apply for any future roles through us, you will not have to re-enter this information and this will hopefully make the application process easier for you. If at any time your personal details change you are able to update this via your account. It is important to us that you find our website easy to use.  If you have any feedback on how we can make the website more user friendly to assist you in completing an application or downloading candidate information, please let us know.

At Executive Intelligence Group, we respect the confidentiality of the personal information you provide to us and understand that your privacy is critical.

To review our Privacy Policy please click here:

Important things to note:

  • When you apply for the first time, please create an account and make a note of your username and password;
  • For subsequent applications, you will need to log in to your account and submit your application along with your CV and statement of claims/pitch. I.e. you will need to submit an application for EVERY vacancy you are interested in - submitting one application does NOT mean you will automatically be considered for other vacancies with Executive Intelligence Group.
  • Please have your CV and statement of claims/pitch ready to upload in a single document. Make sure you take account of the requirements of the position and the selection criteria (if required) against which you will be assessed. In your CV, it is useful for you to provide a quick snapshot of the key responsibilities you have had in each role over the last 5 years;
  • You will have an opportunity to review, edit and print your application before you submit. However, once it is submitted you will not be able to make any changes;
  • In the event that you do not receive an automated email confirming your application has been submitted it is very important that you contact us as there may be an issue with your application lodgement;
  • If you do not hear from us about the progress of your application within 3 weeks from the close date, please contact us for an update; and
  • If at any time, you wish to withdraw from this process you will need to send an email to to let us know. You are unable to withdraw your application directly from the website.

We can be contacted on 02 6232 2200 or

How to apply online:

  1. Go to the Executive Intelligence Group website and navigate to the Vacancies page (;
  2. Find the vacancy you are interested in applying for and click ‘More Info’. This will enable you to download the candidate information pack. This will assist you on how approach your application;
  3. When you are ready to apply, find the vacancy you are interested in applying for and click ‘Apply’;
  4. Read the information about applying and press ‘Start’;
  5. This is where you will create your account if you are applying for the first time. If you have used our system previously you can log in with your user name and password;
  6. From here you will be guided through an online application form;
  7. At the end of the form you will be prompted to upload your CV and selection criteria/pitch. You MUST have your name referenced within the document/s you upload. Please note you should have this already saved in a single document it is preferable to keep the file name of the document short and without symbols for example: Surname First Name Ref No Job;
  8. If you wish to change any of the sections before you submit you can click on the ‘Summary’ table on the right-hand side which will take you to the specific page;
  9. Submit your application; and
  10. You will receive an automatic email with a copy of your application.



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