This paper sets out the history of the philosophical understanding held by the major political parties towards the governance of the Australian industrial relations system. In so doing it notes the legacy of socialist and conservative ideological underpinnings of political support for industrial mediation in the form of conciliation and arbitration tribunals. The discussion notes the recent abrogation of this legacy under the political ascendancy neoclassical economic thought. It challenges the labour market assumptions upon which this thought is based, and in so doing argues against the asserted merits of the proposed Workplace Amendment (Workchoices) Bill 2005.
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