Graham Harbord is one of South Australia’s most respected lawyers.

While Graham practices across a wide spectrum of the law, much of his time is spent advising employees, and some employer bodies, on employment law issues. This includes unfair dismissal claims, employment contract issues, underpayment of wages, discrimination issues, bullying and harassment claims and workers compensation.

Graham has also had considerable success representing unions in industrial relations cases. It was his work that helped achieve a substantial pay rise and professional status for the Ambulance employees association and paramedics in South Australia.

Graham comes to this work with a very strong background in employment law, industrial law and workers compensation. After leaving university he worked with the PSA (the union for public servants) as an Industrial Officer. He then joined the South Australian Government’s Unit for Industrial Democracy as Legal Advisor, and subsequently became a Policy Advisor to the Government on Industrial Relations matters including representing the Government in National Wage Cases. In 1991 he was appointed to the Workers Compensation Tribunal as a Conciliator and Arbitrator, and continued in that appointment until he commenced with Johnston Withers in 1997.

The other driving force in Graham’s legal career has been his commitment to the legal rights of Aboriginal people. He acts for a number of Aboriginal communities including the Adnyamathanha and Pitjantjatjara people of South Australia. He is proud to have been part of the legal team that helped the Adnyamathanha people secure native title over the Flinders Ranges and surrounding areas. He has also advised and represented a number of Aboriginal organisations in negotiations with governments and mining companies. He regularly advises Aboriginal organisations on employment related matters.

Graham is also passionate about the rights of refugees and asylum seekers. In 2002 he helped form the Refugee Advocacy Service of SA, which represented detainees held at Woomera, and later Baxter, detention centres. He also helped establish STARRS (Survivors of Torture and Trauma Assistance and Rehabilitation Service) which provides wide range of counselling and other service to refugees.

Graham regularly presents papers at various conferences and publishes articles on a range of law-related topics. Click here for an example.

Personal interests include travel and hiking (having trekked in mountain ranges such as the Himalayas in Nepal, the Andes in Peru and the Californian Sierras).


  • Bachelor of Laws
  • Bachelor of Arts (Hons)
  • Accredited mediator



  • The Law Society of South Australia, including former Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee and current Member of the Industrial Relations Committee
  • Australian Lawyers Alliance
  • Australian Labour Lawyers Association
  • Industrial Relations Society
  • Refugee Advocacy Service of SA, former Chairperson and current member of Management Committee
  • STARRS (Survivors of Torture and Trauma Assistance and Rehabilitation Service), Foundation Vice President




Favourite Quote

  • If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito – The Dalai Lama

Articles and Videos by Graham Harbord

Employment Law Australia – What to do if you’re sacked, Director, Graham Harbord 2019

You have just been dismissed from your employment. You think the dismissal was unfair. You are angry and upset.  It’s time to see a specialist employment lawyer.  You should not delay in getting legal advice. You only have 21 days from the date the dismissal takes effect to lodge an application in the Federal Fair Work Commission for instance, seeking reinstatement or compensation arising from an unfair dismissal.  In this video, Johnston Withers Lawyers Director, Graham Harbord explains what to do if you’re sacked.