Law and taxation
Arnold Bloch Leibler’s taxation practice, headed up by Mark, has developed an unparalleled reputation in Australia, achieving exceptional results, particularly in the areas of complex tax audits, corporate tax strategy, and tax, estate and trust planning.
Mark provides cutting edge advice on Australian taxation law and policy to numerous government and industry bodies. He has served on the Taxation Committee of the Law Council of Australia as a Member since 1984, as Deputy Chairman from 1986-88 and Chairman from 1988-91. He was a Member of the National Taxation Liaison Group from 1986-92 and served on its Capital Gains Tax Sub-Committee from 1987-92, was a Member of the Commissioner of Taxation’s Advisory Panel from 1989-92, and a Member of the Self-Assessment Steering Committee during 1991-92. In April 2008, he was appointed to the Australian Tax Office’s High Wealth Individuals Taskforce consultancy group.
He has shared his expertise as a lecturer on taxation and related subjects at a number of forums, including Monash University, the Taxation Institute of Australia, the Leo Cussen Institute, the Law Institute of Victoria, the Institute of Chartered Accountants, CCH, and the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.
A highly sought after keynote speaker, Mark regularly addresses industry groups on taxation issues and revenue law reform. He publishes articles on taxation and related subjects in major Australian professional and taxation publications and is a frequent media commentator on taxation issues.
Mark has been cited among the nation’s 30 pre-eminent lawyers by Australian Legal Business and was included in the inaugural Australian edition of Best Lawyers International published in 2008. He is praised by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific for his “razor-sharp skills for listening to others and getting to the crux of an issue”. Most recently, Mark was ranked by Doyle’s Guide as ‘pre-eminent’ in the category of Leading Tax Lawyers – Melbourne, 2015.
Social justice and public interest
An activist in the area of social justice and public affairs, Mark has a profound commitment to Indigenous rights and reconciliation. Under his leadership, Arnold Bloch Leibler has acted on behalf of the Yorta Yorta in their native title claim since 1983, and the firm continues to provide pro bono services to a range of Indigenous and charitable organisations.
Arnold Bloch Leibler was the first law firm to launch a Reconciliation Action Plan in March 2008, the year after Mark received a Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award from the Victoria Law Foundation for his tireless commitment to advancing Indigenous rights, both in the local and national settings.
Mark’s 2006 essay ‘Crossing the Wilderness: Jews and Reconciliation’, published in New Under the Sun – Jewish Australians on Religion, Politics & Culture, examined the parallels between the Jewish and Indigenous Australian experience and considered the importance of land to both cultures.
Former Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, appointed Mark in 2010 to co-chair the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians, after serving for more than a decade on the board of Reconciliation Australia, a not-for-profit organisation established by the Commonwealth Government to promote reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians for the wellbeing of the future of the nation. He was appointed to the board of Reconciliation Australia when it was established in 2000 and served as co-chair for six years from February 2005.
In December 2015, the Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, and the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, announced Mark’s appointment as Co-Chair (with Professor Patrick Dodson) of the Referendum Council on constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Mark’s leadership role will guide the steps towards a referendum on constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians.
Deep commitment to Jewish affairs
Mark is deeply involved in Jewish affairs, occupying senior leadership roles in several Australian and international Jewish bodies. In 2014 he was named in the Jerusalem Post as one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world.
He is one of a small number of recipients of the Israel Goldstein Award for distinguished leadership by Diaspora leaders, presented by Israeli President Shimon Peres in June 2011.
In Australia, he holds the positions of National Chairman of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, Life Chairman of the United Israel Appeal of Australia and Governor of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce. He is also a Patron of the Victorian Chapter of the Australian Friends of Tel Aviv University.
Mark served for 10 years as President of the Zionist Federation of Australia and for six years as President of the United Israel Appeal of Australia. Internationally, Mark is a past Chair of the World Board of Trustees of Keren Hayesod – United Israel Appeal, serves on the executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel, and holds office as a Governor of Tel Aviv University.
At the 2008 launch of the United Israel Appeal in Melbourne, Australia’s then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, publicly recognised Mark saying: "I acknowledge the great contribution you have made as an Australian business leader and as a member of the Jewish community. We thank you for your leadership".
Business leader and contributor to Australian community
Mark is an active contributor to Australia’s wider corporate community. At the invitation of former Prime Minister, John Howard, he was a delegate to the 2007 Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Business Summit in Sydney. He served almost 10 years as a director of Coles Myer Limited, then Australia’s largest retailer, where he was publicly acknowledged for his outstanding contribution in the areas of audit, corporate governance and legal issues.
Successive governments have recognised Mark’s outstanding contributions to political and legal life in Australia, his service to the Jewish community and Australia-Israel relations.
In 2003, then Prime Minister, John Howard, attended Arnold Bloch Leibler’s 50th anniversary celebration and observed of Mark whom he has known for more than 20 years: "I don’t think in my life I have met a person with a keener intellect, a sharper sense of advocacy for the causes in which he believes, and also a great capacity to generously see another point of view".
In 2013, on the occasion of Arnold Bloch Leibler’s 60th anniversary, Prime Minister Tony Abbott paid tribute to Mark Leibler and his significant role in trying to build a better society. Speaking about the need for Constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians, the Prime Minister said the reform must be a unifying and healing project, not one that divides us. “Mark, you have done a power of work in this area already,” he said.
Mark’s service to the nation was recognised in 2005 with appointment as a Companion of the Order of Australia, the highest degree for community service. This follows his appointment in 1987 as an Officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of his service to the community, in particular to the Jewish community. His appointment as a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia was made in recognition of his service to business, to the law, particularly in the areas of taxation and commercial law, to the Jewish community internationally and in Australia, and to reconciliation and the promotion of understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.