Essays on Industrial Relations in Australia Case Study

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The paper 'Industrial Relations in Australia" is a perfect example of a macro and microeconomics case study.   The current economy of Australia is based on workplace relation structures that are flexible and connect efficiency to proper rewards, thereby encouraging innovation and competence edge in the contemporary workplaces. It is possible for employees to discuss flexible agreements with their employers and consequently, the industry reacts to the challenges it faces in the global business environment. This was, however, not always the case. In the decade of seventies, the bad state if trade combined with the shock that came from the oil prices significantly affected the capacity of the country’ s economy to uphold growing living standards without avoiding the devastation of imbalance of payments.

This led the following governments to propose a set of reforms which were meant to strengthen the industries in the global business market and hence the Australian economy (William, Timothy, 2009: 21). The reforms that were introduced a covered decrease in tariffs, elimination of foreign exchange controls and floating the Australian currency, all of which exposed the country to foreign competition.

With global competition, it was essential to making necessary changes to the labor market which resulted in the industrial relations agreements. They focus on giving dominance to the bargaining power of the organization and the environment instead of the former central-determined wage and working system. It is often argued that the Fair Work Act 2009 is a pale reflection of the Work Choices Act 2005 it replaced. In this paper, I shall analyze the statement to see how valid it is. Discussion In order to understand whether the Fair work act 2009 is a pale reflection of the work choices act 2005 or not, it is first important to understand the two acts, along with their special features.

The Workplace Relations Act 2005 (also known as the Work Choices Act 2005) was not a distinct or new law; rather it was a major revision of the Workplace Relations Act 1996. The main aim of the Work choices act was to individualize working relations and also to marginalize the industry sector and trade union (Work Choices Act 2005). However, as it was observed in the case of the 1991 reforms of New Zealand, this new set of reforms did not succeed in completely taking over the former structure and the system of employee regulation.

A few conventional components of the former system were present in this act as well but had lesser significance and scale. It basically offered a few noteworthy reforms, such as presenting the employers with a better chance in terms of conditions which they assess workers before offering employment as the workplace laws were now ruled by minimum statutory stipulations instead of awards (Work Choices Act 2005).

Also, it diminished the role of AIRC in deciding the conditions for the job and also their role in solving issues related to the workplace. Another feature of this was that it further complicated the entry of unions in workplaces or their capacity to organize industrial acts. Most importantly, it reduced to a great extent the employer’ s exposure to unreasonable and unjust dismissal claims (Work Choices Act 2005).


Andrews, Kevin (2005), Second Reading Speech, Workplace Relations Amendment (Work Choices) Bill 2005 (Cth), Parliament House, 2 November.

Bradon Ellem, Marian Baird, Rae Cooper and Russell Lansbury, ‘“WorkChoices”: Myth-Making at Work’ (2005) 56 Journal of Australian Political Economy 13 at 26.

Howard, John (2005), Prime Ministerial Statement: Workplace Relations, Parliament of Australia, 26 May.

Hugh Collins, ‘Justifications and Techniques of Legal Regulation of the Employment Relation’ in Hugh Collins, Paul Davies and Roger W Rideout (eds) Legal Regulation of the Employment Relation (2000)

O’Neill and I Kuruppu, Workplace relations reforms: a chronology of business, community and government responses, Background note, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 6 December 2007

P Punch and M Sheils, ‘Labor — "junking" or only "massaging" Work Choices? Australian Industrial Law News, Issue 10, CCH, 5 November 2007.

P Reith, Breaking the gridlock, towards a simpler national workplace relations system, (3 volumes) Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, October 2008.

R Grayden ‘Gone but not forgotten R.I.P. Work Choices 26.3.2006-24.11.2007; A brief but spectacular life’, Australian Industrial Law News, Issue 11, CCH, 6 December 2007.

Work Choices Act s 330; Braham Dabscheck, ‘The Contract Regulation Club’ (2006) 16 The Economics and Labour Relations Review 2.

Workplace Relations Amendment (Work Choices) Act 2005 which significantly amended the Workplace Relations Act 1996. The constitutional issues have been reviewed in the Parliamentary Library’s bills digests on both the Work Choices and Fair Work Bills; see respectively Bills Digest No. 66 2005-06 and Bills Digest No. 81 2008-09.

William L. Keller, and Timothy J. Darby: International Labor And Employment Laws, Volume Ii, Third Edition, With 2009 Supplement, 2009.

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