Not a fair cop


The Age, Letters - excluding minor editing,

30th April 2007


Forward to the 1950s


The Australian, Letters - excluding minor editing,

30th April 2007 



Dispute over the legality or otherwise of Labor's proposed Fair Work Commission is missing the fundamental problem with the proposal. A scheme establishing such a Commission would, in essence, allow a return to the old workplace relations system, with provisions for wage awards, additional legislated minimum conditions, unfair dismissals, and dispute resolution (subject to ballots for strikes).


As we know from experience with the Industrial Relations Commission in its previous format, the notion that this would provide a "fair go" is, of course, absolute nonsense. Whether or not the new set of commissioners included any of the existing appointments made by the present Government, they would again make decisions based on legislation predicated on the totally mistaken notion that there is an imbalance of bargaining power between employees and employers. The popular but now to-be-abolished Australian Workplace Agreements, extensively sought by employees, have demonstrated the falsity of this notion.


A Fair Work Commission with the powers envisaged would be fairly characterized as a "Forward to the 1950s" development: Australia could then again be proud (sic) of being the only country with a government institution subjecting the labour market to comprehensive, employment deterring regulation.