The Debate: Issue One

Regulating Work Relationships in Australia
October, 2008

Over the next few months the federal government will make decisions about the regulation of our work relationships that will shape how workers and employers think, feel and relate to one another.

This premier issue of The Debate explores the gaps that need to be filled in the Rudd Government’s Forward with Fairness policy, and includes contributions from Professor Ron McCallum, Professor Marilyn Pittard, Professor Joellen Riley, Mordy Bromberg SC, Mark Irving and Anne Gooley.

Contents include:

Charter Next Steps: the Accreditation System – Lisa Heap, Executive Director AIER
With legislation changing towards more cooperative employment practices, employers are seeking tools that will help them align their practice with the new system’s standards.  The Australian Charter of Employment Rights provides a useful guide.

Forward With Fairness: Filling in the Gaps – Professor Ron McCallum AO
Several areas of the Rudd Government’s Forward with Fairness policy need fleshing out.  Ron McCallum’s suggestions concern the proposed collective bargaining regime, the unfair dismissal laws, and the new agency Fair Work Australia.

The Freedom to Argue – Mark Irving, barrister and Victorian editor of the Australian Labour Law Reporter
Mark Irving explains why employers, workers and their unions should be left to determine the content of their agreements.

The Case for an Umpire – Joellen Riley, author and an associate professor in the law faculty of the University of New South Wales
If the United States is considering new legislation that would introduce compulsory arbitration for some interests disputes, why is Australia considering abandoning its industrial umpire?

Industrial Fairness: the Essentials
This report by AIER clearly articulates the gaps in the Rudd Government’s Forward with Fairness policy, offers solutions to these gaps, and argues that now is the time to lay the platform for fairness in Australian workplaces.

A Compelling Argument for Fair Dismissal – Marilyn Pittard, professor in the Faculty of Law, Monash University and founding member of the Australian Labour Law Association
There is a clear legal rationale for returning the unfair dismissal laws to the bulk of Australian workers.

‘Operational Reasons’ Means no Workers Job is Safe – Anne Gooley, Maurice Blackburn
It’s not only employees in small businesses who suffer from a lack of unfair dismissal rights.

Super Cop Has No Place in Industrial Relations – Mordy Bromberg SC, senior counsel at the Victorian Bar
Mordy Bromberg asks why the building industry needs a commission with ASIO-like powers to watch over it.

Download Issue 1 of The Debate Magazine.