By any reckoning, the year 2005 will long be remembered as a watershed year for Australian industrial relations. While there were the usual types of industrial disputes, on-going enterprise bargaining and another round of arguments over the Australian Industrial Relations Commission’s (AIRC’s) annual safety-net review, the year was dominated by the looming re-writing of Australia’s industrial relations regulatory regime, made possible by the Government’s surprise majority in the Senate, granted to them in late 2004. Viewed as a looming dark cloud by some or a shining light by others, most of 2005 was spent in anxious anticipation of the Howard government’s impending ‘WorkChoices’ legislation. Employer groups spent much of the year lobbying the Howard government for the types of reforms long cherished, but only dreamed of by employers, for arguably 100 years. A once in a lifetime opportunity had presented itself and employer groups were determined to take full advantage of the situation, by ensuring that the government did not lose its nerve. Perhaps more importantly, however, in addition to lobbying the government, major employer organizations devoted significant resources to building the case for industrial relations reform and attempting to sell that message to the electorate. By year’s end, employers had succeeded in the first objective, but had seemingly failed in the second.
Field of Research
150306 Industrial Relations
Socio Economic Objective
970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services