Industrial relations

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Briefing paper

30 Jan 2018

This resource outlines how, across the national economy, work stoppages have become extremely rare – and the extraordinary discretionary ability of industrial authorities to restrict or prevent industrial action is an important reason why.


5 Dec 2017

The arrival of Amazon in Australia may signal a change in how we navigate industrial relations and workers rights.

Working paper

1 Dec 2017

The complex system of occupation and industry-specific minimum wages has the potential to close the gender wage gap by ensuring equal minimum pay for equal jobs, but it also has the potential to widen it by discriminating against jobs more commonly held by women.


21 Aug 2017

The informal work practices of the so-called “gig” economy are widening existing cracks in Australia’s system of labour regulations, and should be repaired through active measures to strengthen labour standards in digital businesses.


18 Aug 2017

The Andrews Labor Government has introduced the Firefighters’ Presumptive Rights Compensation and Fire Services Legislation Amendment (Reform) Bill 2017 to among other things, restructure Victoria’s fire services.

Research report

14 Aug 2017

The phenomenon of the rapidly growing cohort of American men who are out of work is not unique to the United States. Australia, it seems, has its own silent crisis in male employment.

Research report

9 Jul 2017

This report argues that Australia faces a number of major demographic and technological challenges which require substantial reforms to our industrial relations framework.



17 Mar 2017

Sally McManus, the new secretary of the ACTU, has copped a caning for asserting on ABC TV’s 7.30 that it is legitimate to break the law in some circumstances. The example she gave was of trade unionists laying down tools at an unsafe worksite, and...



24 Feb 2017

NOTHING is more central to Labor’s view of what makes Australia such a great place to live in than our long tradition of having an independent umpire to stop employers exploiting workers. Former Liberal prime minister Sir Robert Menzies shared that view; like others in...

Other text

7 Nov 2016


It is almost twelve months since the Productivity Commission completed its Inquiry Report into Workplace Relations.

The Government has yet to formally respond and given the nature of the topic, that is probably understandable.

We can all hope that the...

Audio program

12 Oct 2016

A former Emergency Services Minister in a Victorian Labor government is calling for a backflip on the controversial CFA/MFB dispute. Andre Haermeyer says the current government has given too much ground to the firefighters' union, and a new deal for paid firefighters risks public safety....

Research report

4 Oct 2016

The Unions NSW report provides a case study of Airtasker, looking specifically at the industrial implications for workers. Airtasker is the leading provider of online facilitated task-based work, and is representative of the industrial risks associated with the disintegration of traditional jobs into short term...

Audio interview

5 Sep 2016

A former union official, Grace Collier, has called for greater scrutiny of 'deals' between unions and employers, which leave some workers worse off. Recently the Coles group had an enterprise agreement struck out because it disadvantaged some workers.

Collier, now a private consultant, says...



8 Aug 2016

Penalty rates for working on weekends were an important 'sleeper' issue in the recent federal election. On the surface, both Labor and the Coalition agreed the future of penalty rates would be determined by the Fair Work Commission (FWC). But that superficial consensus couldn’t hide...

Research report

1 Jul 2016

In December 2015, the Committee for Gippsland initiated a project to inform and drive a recommended approach to industry transitioning in the Latrobe Valley. The project established a number of methods of data gathering to inform this report’s findings and recommendations. These included a business...

Working paper

17 Jun 2016

An amendment to legislation in 2009 enabled New Zealand firms with fewer than twenty employees to hire new workers on trial periods. The scheme was subsequently extended to employers of all sizes. The policy was intended to encourage firms to take on more employees, and...

Research report

2 Jun 2016

The problems in Australia’s manufacturing sector are well-known, and many Australians have concluded that the decline in manufacturing is inevitable and universal: that high-wage countries like Australia must accept the loss of manufacturing as an economic reality. But international statistics disprove this pessimism. Worldwide, manufacturing...



2 Jun 2016

The next decision that Daniel Andrews makes on firefighters could well determine his legacy and the length of his government.

Will he back the Fair Work Commission's non-binding recommendations that give much of what the militant united firefighters union want and is desperately opposed...


27 May 2016

Vulnerable workers need to be protected. Existing laws need to be strengthened. The recent exploitation of vulnerable workers by 7-Eleven, for example, demonstrates that more needs to be done to protect vulnerable workers.

The 7-Eleven scandal revealed not only a systemic underpayment of workers,...

Research report

25 May 2016

The Commission's report covers a wide range of schemes such as licensing, audits, inspections, and various restrictions. The Commission was not asked to focus on specific industries, but to provide general guidance for application to any industry. The terms of reference were preventative. They were...