Essays on Role that Governments Have Played in Developing Australia System of Employment Relations since 1980 Case Study

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The paper "Role that Governments Have Played in Developing Australia System of Employment Relations since 1980" is an outstanding example of a business case study.   In the past years, Australia has experienced great development in its system of employment relations. The relationship between employees and employees and employers and employees has been improved since the 1980s. The development has not only harmonized the relationship between management and employees but also between the workers, employees and the state. Therefore, the three main actors in developing a system of employment relations are employers, employees and the government.

In Australia, the government is the main actor in developing the system of employment relations. The central and state governments of Australia have played a great role in developing the system of employment relations through the formulation of laws, agreements and rules. This paper, therefore, seeks to evaluate the role that governments have played in developing Australia system of employment relations since 1980. For the past two decades, Australian Central and states governments have played a great role in reforming the system of employment relations. The governments have been concentrating a lot in workplace development so as to improve the system of employment relations.

The most interesting aspects of workplace development, in Australia, have been the association between changes at micro or enterprise-level and macro or institutional level. The interrelationships have been improved by various political parties which have been in power since 1980. Lansbury (2000) argues that several governments, which have been in power since 1980 have played a great role in attaining both the micro and macroeconomic reforms. The governments such as Hawke labor government greatly assisted in the establishment of enterprise bargaining.

As a way of a decentralizing system of employment relations, the Hawke Labor government commenced the enterprise bargaining process through the introduction of the union movement. This, therefore, assisted in developing the system of employment relations since, with the unions, employees found it easier to raise their grievances without affecting their relationship with either the employers or the state. The Hawke labor government developed systems of employment relations from centralized wage determination to managed decentralization. In the first years, when the Hawke government entered into power, there was a small return to centralized wage determination.

This was part of the initial agreement among the Australian Labor party (ALP) and Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU). In this period, the Hawke government claimed that the collapse of a centralized system of employment relations in the previous Liberal-National Party Coalition government (the government that ruled from 1975 to 1983) resulted into economic crisis and stimulated industrial disputation. The Hawke government, therefore, in this period, aimed at minimizing the likelihood of renewed price or wage that was highly experienced in periods of more decentralized bargaining.

The agreement also aimed at improving the relationship between the unions and the government on matters pertaining to economic and social development. However, the main focus of the accord was to minimize inflation. The accord largely highlighted that consultation was essential in the transformation of industry, workplace and enterprise levels (Bamber & Lansbury, 2004). In the commission, headed by Professor Keith Hancock, the Hawke government ordered for evaluation of the system of employment relations. The commission recommended the preservation and consolidation of the centralized system with a major role for Australian industrial relations commission (AIRC).

The preservation of the centralized system was believed to assist in implementing income policies, which in turn, was to minimize unemployment and inflation levels. The Hawk government, in its first two years in power, did also disclose its aim to nurture industrial democracy and involvement of workers in management, so as to fully engage employees in making of decisions at the enterprise level. In 1986, a policy was released, which stated that workers participation is the main government priority.

In the policy paper, the participation of workers was also viewed by the government as an important aspect in a successful response to essential challenges at the present time (Lansbury, 2000).


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Blanpain, R., & Bamber, G., 2010, Regulating Employment Relations, Work and Labour Laws: International Comparisons Between Key Countries. Kluwer Law International.

Fairbrother, P., & Rainnie, A., 2006, Globalisation, State And Labour. McGraw Hill Professional.

Lansbury, R., 2000, Workplace change and employment relations reform in Australia: prospects for new social partnership? University of Sydney.

Lansbury, R., & Bamber, G., 1998, the end of Institutional Industrial Relations in Australia? Perspectives on Work, 2 (1) 26-30.

Townsend, K., & Wilkinson, A., 2011, Research Handbook on the Future of Work and Employment Relations. Edward Elgar Publishing.

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