Sooner or later it had to be faced. The unintended consequences of the operations of the Industrial Relations Reform Act preoccupied the minister, Mr Brereton, for some months. Last Monday he acknowledged that “the unfair dismissal provisions of the new act have been the subject of a great deal of exaggeration, misrepresentation and scaremongering”. This was not part of the script.
In the aftermath of the Victorian State election in 1992, the election of a conservative administration and the enactment of new State labour laws, momentum gathered within the labour movement to utilise ILO Conventions as a means of striking down the Victorian laws.
Employee share benefit arrangements were one of the casualties of this year’s federal Budget. The government proclaimed that it would stamp out tax avoidance arrangements posing as employee share arrangements. Some doctors and other types were cited as typical rorters.
Co-written with Tom Forrest, Economics and Labour Relations Review, Vol. 5, No. 1, June 1994, pp. 117-136. Another version of this paper appeared under the same title in Jim Hagan & Andrew Wells, editors, Industrial Relations in Australia and Japan, Allen & Unwin, St Leonards [Sydney], 1994, pp. 153-164.
This article was co-written with Michael Costa and Tom Forrest, probably in mid-1993, and was for internal discussion in the Labor Council of NSW.
Some of the early history of trade union training in Australia is covered in an article by Peter Mathews in an article in the Journal of Industrial Relations in 1966.
Whoever thinks that anything the Prime Minister said last week on industrial relations reform was accidental or merely imperfectly phrased is kidding themselves.
It is difficult at the best of times to speak with certainty about the future. It is particularly difficult to do this with industrial relations at this time.
The NSW government should be more ambitious in tackling the problems of unemployment in NSW. The release of recent unemployment figures consistently show that NSW accounts for the vast majority of job losses.
Perhaps the most valuable role the Lloyd Ross Forum can play is to assist in the promotion of discussion within the labour movement and the wider community about the policy, strategic and practical options facing the union movement. What Should Unions Do? is an attempt to assist that discussion.