Adopting the principles of the International Labour Organisation and its commitment to tripartite processes, the Australian Institute of Employment Rights works to promote the recognition and implementation of the rights of employees and employers in a cooperative industrial relations framework.

The AIER is independent of government or any particular interest group. Upholding the ILO commitment to tripartite representation the AIER is governed by an executive made up of some of Australia’s most respected labour law experts, including employers, employees, unions, academics and lawyers.

Information about major sponsors and funding partners may be found here.


 Our Staff

Renee Burns Executive Director

Renee Burns is the Executive Director of the AIER. Previously, she has held Management and Advisory roles in Human Resources and Industrial Relations in local government and the private sector.

Renee holds a Bachelor of Business (Human Resources/Industrial Relations) from the University of Newcastle and is currently undertaking a Master of Employment and Labour Relations Law at the University of Melbourne.




Jane Douglas Business Manager

Jane Douglas is the Business Manager at the AIER and in addition Jane holds the position of National Industrial Officer for Civil Air Operations. Jane took up the position as AIER Business Manager in 2009. Jane has previously held appointments with the Australian Industrial Relations Commission and the ACTU.

Jane manages the administrative and financial systems of the AIER

Jane holds a Bachelor of Business (Human Resources/Industrial Relations) from RMIT University.





Our Patrons

Emeritus Professor Ron McCallum AO

Ron McCallum is Australia’s leading labour law academic and commentator.  He was the foundation Blake Dawson Waldron Professor in Industrial Law at the University of Sydney, and a former Dean of Law at the University of Sydney.  In 2006 he was designated an Officer in the Order of Australia for his labour law work, his support for vision impaired persons and for social justice. The international community has recognised Ron’s many talents by electing him to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  On 26 January 2011 Professor McCallum was named Senior Australian of the Year.




Inaugural Patron – The Hon. Robert J Hawke 1929 – 2019

Bob Hawke was Prime Minister of Australia from 1983 to 1991.  He is Australia’s longest serving Labor Prime Minister.  Prior to entering federal politics, Bob was the leader of the trade union movement as President of the ACTU.  He worked for many years as an advocate for the trade union movement including in presenting applications for National Wage Cases before the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission.

Bob passed away on 16 May 2019, he is remembered as a staunch advocate for labour rights and social justice and was known for his sharp analysis and insightful public commentary.



 Our Executive Committee

Michael Harmer President and Chair

Michael Harmer is the founding partner, Chairman and Senior Team Leader of Harmers Workplace Lawyers, and has in excess of 35 years’ experience in industrial relations.

His practice places special emphasis on the preventive law approach in assisting clients in the informed management of a range of human rights, OH&S and employment issues and seeks to implement workplace fairness for all.

Michael has represented many of Australia’s leading corporations, senior executives and media personalities as well as having run some of Australia’s leading cases in employment and discrimination.



  Fiona Hardie Vice President – Employer Representative

Fiona Hardie is co-owner of one of Australia’s largest independent publishers.

Fiona and her partner, Sandy Grant, established Hardie Grant in Melbourne in 1997. The company now has offices in Melbourne, Sydney and London and San Francisco; publishes hundreds of titles each year, in a range of media – books, magazines, and digital; and employs 200 staff.

Over the past thirty years, Fiona has been involved with women’s, legal, publishing and workplace organisations, including setting up one of the earliest employer-based childcare centres in Melbourne.



 Professor Anthony Forsyth Vice President – Independent Representative

Anthony Forsyth is a Professor of Law in the Graduate School of Business and Law at RMIT University. Anthony is Vice President of the Australian Labour Law Association and in 2015-16 was the Chair of the Victorian Government Inquiry into the Labour Hire Industry and Insecure Work.

Anthony is a co-author of Creighton and Stewart’s Labour Law, 6th Edition, published by Federation Press, a founder and author of the Labour Law Down Under Blog, and a contributing author to CCH’s Employment Chat Blog.


 Keith Harvey Treasurer

Keith Harvey is a Trustee Director of Care Super, an industry superannuation fund and is Chair of Aspire Learning a not for profit company developing vocational education learning resources for business and community services occupations.

Keith is a life member of the ASU, and retired ASU National Industrial Officer having worked nearly 40 years with the trade union movement and has worked on a number of key cases including the Pay Equity case in social, community and disability services.





  Tim Gunstone Committee Member

Tim is a Lead Organiser at the NUW whose primary role is to coordinate the organising of the market research and contract call centre sectors across Australia. His other roles at the NUW include education and campaigning.

Prior to joining the NUW in 2008 Tim ran a carpentry business, worked in warehouses and manufacturing plants and completed a BA in Media Studies.



Michael McIver Committee Member

Michael works as a solicitor and Industrial Officer of the Australian Education Union — Victorian Branch. Before joining the AEU in 2015, Michael worked as an employment and industrial relations lawyer.

Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Graduate Diploma of Arts (Asian Studies) (UniMelb) and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) (ANU).





Sean Reidy Committee Member – Independent Representative

Sean is a barrister practicing in Queensland. He has worked in industrial and employment law for over 30 years. He is the author of the chapter on Effective Dispute Resolution in the Charter.