Essays on Did the Rudd Government Get the Balance Right with the Fair Work Act Case Study

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing

The paper 'Did the Rudd Government Get the Balance Right with the Fair Work Act" is a good example of a management case study. Australia’ s federal state of employment laws has been ardently challenged and considerably amended in the short span of two election succession. According to Hubbard (2012, p. 18) labour rights, as well as industrial law, have remained to be one of the decisive features of political victory along with grassroots activism drivers in the current political history of Australia. In 2007, the Labour party under Kevin Rudd went to the election with its industrial relations policy termed as forwarding with Fairness.

Fells (2014, p. 98) posit that this policy was introduced to Australian voters as a sharp counter to Howard’ s government legislation termed as Work Choices. Evidently, it was continually posited by spokespeople of labour party during the campaign trail that Howard’ s Work Choices could be ‘ ripped up’ and ‘ entombed’ . In passing the Fair Work Act 2009, the Rudd/ Gillard’ s government introduced its new-fangled legislation as responsibly and fairly balancing the distinct and repeatedly differing interests of employees as well as employers in order to guarantee productivity goals that are financially viable as well as Australian interest.

However, Stewart (2012, p. 5) thinks that the presentation of this issue obscure the likelihood that whilst the Fair Work Act has necessitated a number of important alterations, together with a reinforcement of the safety net, it propagates some challenging aspects of the previous legislation (Work Choices). Part of such aspects is the compulsory inclusion of a flexibility clause in Enterprise Agreements as well as Modern Awards. This paper will critically examine if the Rudd Government get the balance right with the Fair Work Act. Critical Review In 2012, the Labour Party government under Rudd/Gillard made considerable amendments to for building and construction industry’ s industrial relations regulation, considerably weakening the powers of the regulator.

The changes according to Stewart (2012, p. 7) extremely lowered the inspectorate’ s compliance as well as enforcement powers and exhibited the illegal demeanour in the building and construction industry. The previously Australian Building & Construction Commission (ABCC) that was acknowledged as extremely effective was substituted by the modified Fair Work Building & Construction (FWBC).

What’ s more, the Fair Work (Building Industry) Act 2012 substituted the Building & Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005. Unfavourable amendments that decreased deterrents to illegal union activities entailed: decreasing maximum penalties for illegal behaviour from $6,600 per violation for persons as well as from $110,000 to $33,000 for companies (as well as trade unions) (MacCallum, 2013). Another amendment was reducing the regulator’ s prosecutorial powers, blocking it from interfering in or instigating legal trial where other involved bodies to the conduct have decided. Another amendment was meant to undermining the provisions of anti-coercion with regard to creating, ending, changing or broadening industrial agreements, permitting coercive conduct to take place.

Finally, the amendments were meant to weaken the autonomy of the inspectorate, with the then minister being in a position to direct the regulator concerning its priorities as well as program and how it carries out its activities. With additional anti-business amendments to Australia’ s employment relations system lately enacted into law, the substitution of Kevin Rudd did almost nothing to reinstate business confidence that Labour party had promised in this vital policy area (Hubbard, 2012, p. 19).

In the Fair Work Amendment Act 2013, key provisions that of late came into law have not just shifted the Labour Government further outside its primary pledges of 2007 on workplace relations. However, it deprived of the wider economic effects of its workplace system as well as uncared for rising concerns in business concerning competitiveness, productivity, as well as Australia investment. Whereas it is at this moment apparent that Labour’ s pledges in the lead up to establishing the Fair Work Act are actually broken and improbable to be corrected under the Abbott government, Fells (2014, p. 99) maintain that the confidence of Australian business is as well affected by the same factual prospect of additional anti-business workplace regulation under the government.

Kevin Rudd in 2013, after being sworn in as Australia Prime Minister, he failed to keep his promise to ‘ closely work with the business community of Australia by crashing down the pro-union and anti-business amendment bills in the field of workplace relations.


Fells, R., 2014. Rediscovering Collective Bargaining: Australia's Fair Work Act in International Perspective - Edited by B. Creighton and A. Forsyth. Industrial Relations Journal, vol. 45, no. 1, pp.98-99.

Forsyth, A. & Stewart, A., 2009. Fair Work: The New Workplace Laws and the Work Choices Legacy. Sydney: Federation Press.

Freyens, B.P. & Oslington, P., 2013. A First Look at Incidence and Outcomes of Unfair Dismissal Claims under Fair Work, WorkChoices and the Workplace Relations Act. Australian Journal of Labour Economics, vol. 16, no. 2, pp.295-306.

Gahan, P., 2012. Fair Work Act, productivity and the balancing act between bosses and workers. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 7 May 2014].

Hubbard, L., 2012. Fair Work Act needs more work. The Lamb, pp.18-19.

MacCallum, M., 2013. The Mad Marathon: The Story of the 2013 Election. Sydney: Black Inc.

McCallum, R., 2008. Australian Labour Law and the Rudd Vision: Some Observations. The Economic and Labour Relations , vol. 18, no. 2, pp.23-32.

Sloan, J., 2011. Many costly, crippling flaws in the not so Fair Work Act. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 7 May 2014].

Smith, B., 2011. What Kind of Equality Can We Expect from the Fair Work Act? Melbourne University Law Review, vol. 35, no. 2, pp.545-77.

Stewart, A., 2012. Australian Labour Law in Transition: The Impact of the Fair Work Act. New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations (Online), vol. 37, no. 1, pp.3-21.

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
Contact Us