Gazing over Rough Terrain: A Review of Australia's New Industrial Relations Landscape

Publisher:
Hong Kong Baptist University
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Citation:
Proceedings of the 14th Internaitonal Employment Relations Conference, Family-Friendly Employment Policies and Practices: An East-West Perspective on Work-Life Balance, 2007, pp. 228 - 235
Issue Date:
2007-01
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Australia s industrial relations system, like the New Zealand system, for much of the twentieth century has been operating under the arbitral model, that is the arbitration institution played a central role in determining outcomes where the parties were unable to determine them themselves or where the outcomes determined by the parties would be against the public interest (Peetz 2005b). This system is in contrary to the bargaining system employed by most other industrialised nations (Peetz 2005b). In the 1990s, with increasing demands and pressures for Australia to maintain its competitive advantage on the global scale, it was deemed necessary to readapt the industrial relations systems and deregulate the labour market. These changes were considered necessary if Australia was to shift and develop into a more flexible and productive nation. This new movement of industrial relations reforms came initially in 1996, with the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (WR Act). The WR Act involved some compromise between the Coalition government and the Democrats. It introduced registered individual contracts in the forms of Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs). These AWAs were to be subjected to the no disadvantage test (NDT) which was to be applied by the new statutory authority known as Office of the Employment Advocate (OEA). The intention of the NDT was to ensure that AWAs leave employees no worse off than what they would be under their current relevant award.
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