Robert Gardini

Robert Gardini


Automotive, Banking and Financial Services, Corporate and Commercial, Competition and ConsumerGovernment


+61 2 9334 8612

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Robert is a Partner of HWL Ebsworth with over 35 years experience in Government and private practice. Robert has extensive experience in corporate governance, competition law and policy and in major commercial transactions, including franchise arrangements and disputes, particularly in the automotive industry and private equity investments in infrastructure in Australia and overseas. He has advised Governments in relation to corporatisation of government bodies and in relation to regulation of business across many areas. Robert is an accredited mediator with high level negotiation skills.

Franchising and Automotive

Robert has over 20 years experience advising peak industry bodies, motor car dealers and dealer councils in relation to all aspects of the automotive retail industry including negotiation of dealer agreements, disclosure documents, compliance with the Franchising Code of Conduct, buy/sell agreements and major dealership disputes with distributors. Robert’s review of the voluntary Franchising Code was a major catalyst to the introduction of the mandatory Franchising Code in 1998. 

Robert has the following experience and has been engaged in the following Projects:

  • Has over 20 years experience advising peak industry bodies such as MTAA and AADA, dealer councils and motor vehicle dealers in relation to franchise regulation and policy franchise agreements and franchise disputes;
  • Advises on franchise agreements, disclosure documents and other franchise documentation;
  • Advises and acts in franchise litigation;
  • A trained and experienced mediator and has successfully mediated a number of franchise disputes. Robert is a member of the panel of franchise mediators of the Office of the Mediation Adviser;
  • Adviser to franchise advisory councils in relation to the content and negotiation of new franchise agreements;
  • Former member of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Franchise Consultative Panel;
  • Has been engaged as a Consultant to the ACCC on franchising;
  • Appointed in 1994 by the Federal Minister for Small Business to conduct a Review of the then Franchise Code of Practice. The majority of the recommendations of the Review were adopted by the Government; and
  • In 1995 he was invited by the franchising sector to become the independent Chairman of the Franchise Code Council Limited which administered the then voluntary Franchising Code of Practice. The Council comprised representative of franchisors, franchisees, professional advisers and consultants.

Robert has considerable experience advising federal Government departments and agencies across a range of policy and regulatory areas including, competition law and policy, corporatisation of government bodies, compliance with international environments protocols, food standards, franchising, regulatory compliance and redirection. Robert has also advised peak national industry bodies in relation to regulatory changes and played a major role in assisting the Business Council of Australia promote the national scheme for companies and securities regulation in Australia.

Robert has the following experience and has been engaged in the following Projects:

  • Consultant to Government and national industry bodies in relation to business regulation including regulatory reform and design;
  • Consultant to the ACCC to prepare a guide for franchisors relating to Compliance with the Franchising Code of Conduct;
  • Consultant to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in relation to the corporatisation of the former statutory meat industry bodies;
  • Report to the Minister for Small Businesses concerning the effectiveness of the Franchising Code of Practice;
  • Consultant to the Australia New Zealand Food Authority relating to the National Competition Policy review of Foods Acts (State and Territory); and
  • Report to Department of Environment relating to amendments to the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act to give effect to the Protocol to the London Convention.
Competition Law and Policy

Robert is also an experienced competition  lawyer who is focussed on delivering outcomes for clients Robert was a former officer of the ACCC and was also a solicitor with the Attorney-General’s Department with responsibility for the carriage of litigation on behalf of the Commission.  Robert has been an adviser to the ACCC, corporations and industry associations in relation to the following:

  • Advising on all aspects of the Trade Practices Act but in particular in relation to restrictive trade practices and consumer protection;
  • Conducting trade practice audits and compliance programs;
  • Negotiating with the ACCC in relation to alleged contraventions and 87B undertakings;
  • Consultant to the ACCC in relation to compliance;
  • Appearances before numerous Parliamentary and other inquiries in relation to reviews of the Trade Practices Act;
  • Conducting trade practices litigation; and
  • Mediator on the panel of the Office of the Mediation Adviser.
Superannuation and Funds Management

Robert has extensive experience in advising superannuation funds and managed funds in relation to licensing, regulatory compliance, investment management agreements, dealings with APRA and ASIC, corporate governance design and compliance and director and trustee duties. Robert is highly experienced in advising, negotiation and carrying out due diligence in relation to major equity and public/private partnerships rating to investments in infrastructure in Australia and overseas.

Robert has the following experience and has been engaged in the following Projects:

  • Investment Management Agreements;
  • Outsourcing Agreements;
  • APRA Prudential Reviews and Investigations;
  • Trustee duties and directors duties;
  • Trustee governance and design;
  • Due diligence in relation to purchase and sale of commercial properties in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia; and
  • Due diligence in relation to private equity investments in infrastructure in Australia and overseas including toll roads, ports, airports and electricity generation.
  • Bachelor of Laws
  • Bachelor of Arts
Professional Memberships
  • New South Wales Law Society
  • New South Wales Supreme Court Panel of Mediators
  • New South Wales Law Society Panel of Mediators