Journal of Work and Ideas

Volume – 2024

Man with glasses working in workshop

Book Review – The Shortest History of Economics, Black Inc, 2024

By Keith Harvey

Article 2024/05      AI generated image

In this review, Keith Harvey dissects Andrew Leigh’s recent “The Shortest History of Economics,” praising its accessible approach to tracing human economic development while highlighting some of the book’s limitations.

Man with glasses working in workshop


Film Review – A Fitting Farewell: Ken Loach’s The Old Oak, and his Magnificent Legacy of Social Critique

By James Fleming

Article 2024/04      Image courtesy of Zeitgeist Films.

In this review of Ken Loach’s last and final film, ‘The Old Oak’, James Fleming explores the film’s nuanced examination of immigration and working-class xenophobia but also the potential for solidarity in post-Brexit Britain. It is an impressive finale to Ken Loach’s illustrious career and one of a number of his films that reflect intelligently on work and socio-economic change from a working class perspective.

Man with glasses working in workshop



Respect@Work: Isolated or Integrated Frameworks Between the Positive Duty and Termination of Employment?

By Nicola Street

Article 2024/03      AI generated image

Abstract: Australia’s multi-jurisdictional Respect@Work reforms address the widespread issue of workplace sexual harassment. This article examines the alignment between the Sex Discrimination Act’s (Cth) new positive duty on employers and related Fair Work Commission (FWC) decisions on sexual harassment dismissals. Potential misalignments between jurisdictions could impede efforts towards prevention and accountability. Importantly, there remains no single, nationally consistent framework exhaustively addressing workplace sexual harassment, highlighting a need for employer vigilance across multiple legal domains.

From the editors

In these first two articles for 2024 of the Journal of Work and Ideas, Ron McCallum and Liam O’Brien reflect on the themes of voice and inclusion, expanding upon their thought-provoking speeches at the 2023 Ron McCallum Debate on Voices and Work:

Man with glasses working in workshop

Workers' Voice – a Matter of Life and Death

By Liam O’Brien

Article 2024/02      AI generated image

Abstract: Only collective worker voice can ensure fair wages and safe workplaces and also protect dignity and diversity at work. The decline in real wages and collective bargaining in recent years is the result not only of inflation but the collapse of collective bargaining and an unfair industrial relations system that allows the suppression of wages through loopholes, as highlighted by Qantas’ use of labour hire. Loopholes in the system also create unsafe and even deadly workplaces as shown by the ongoing issues with silicosis caused by handling engineered stone.

Man with glasses working in workshop

Moving The Dial: Employing People with Disabilities

By Ron McCallum AO

Article 2024/01      Photo by Carter Yocham on Unsplash

Abstract: Despite increased education, technology, and legal protections, the labour force participation rate for people with disabilities in Australia remains much lower than the general rate and has been stagnant for many years. Ron McCallum reflects on why this is so, his own disability, the sheltered workshops of the past, and the impact of technological and legal changes on the employment of people with disabilities. He discusses the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the Royal Commission’s recommendations for bridging the persistent employment gap.

Volume – 2023

Compensating Work Injuries for Precarious Workers: an Historical Perspective

By Joellen Riley Munton & Keith Harvey

Article 2023/01      Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash

Abstract: Media attention to serious accidents affecting on-demand food delivery workers has prompted debate about whether (and if so how) such workers should be provided with insurance coverage for work-related injury. This article reviews current workers’ compensation laws in the Australian states, and interrogates the historical rationale for the introduction of special provisions deeming certain kinds of workers as ‘employees’ for the purpose of coverage notwithstanding that they were not engaged under employment contracts. We discover that arguments which convinced parliaments in the 1900s, 1920s and 1950s to include the likes of ‘tributers’ and ‘pick up’ workers in the past, are equally persuasive today.

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Disclaimer: The Journal of Work and Ideas is a forum for debate and dialogue between a range of views on industrial relations, human resources, economics, political economy, labour law and related issues. The views expressed in the Journal of Work and Ideas are those of the authors only. They do not represent the views of the journal, its editors, nor the AIER.   


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