The Federation Press

The Australasian Labour Law Reforms

Australia and New Zealand at the end of the 20th century


The 1990s saw the end of Australia and New Zealand’s comprehensive conciliation and arbitration systems. Governments on both sides of the Tasman have found a rigid labour market to be incompatible with an ever more open and dynamic economy.

This book covers all jurisdictions. It collects the detail of the reforms with contributions on a national level and State by State in Australia. It analyses the nature of the reforms, their consequences and their prospects. The editor, Dennis Nolan, provides an international perspective and a comparison to American labour law reform.

In New Zealand, the Employment Contracts Act 1991, described as the most radical labour relations reform in the industrialised world in half a century, removed the old ways in one move. In Australia the federal system has meant a more diverse approach as the Commonwealth and States have experimented with various forms of deregulation.

Table of Contents

Examining the Australasian labour law reforms
Dennis R Nolan

Theories of Australasian Labour Law Reform

Labour law reform: context and foundations
Margaret Wilson
Common law versus specialist jurisdiction in labour law
Martin Vranken

The Nature of the Australasian Experiments

National Jurisdictions
New Zealand industrial law
Alan Geare
From industry to enterprise, from award to agreement: federal laws and workplace change in Australia
Greg McCarry
Change without labour law reform in the United States
Dennis R Nolan

The Australian States
Two approaches to industrial relations reform in New South Wales: the making of the Industrial Relations Acts of 1991 and 1996
Ronald C McCallum
The Queensland pendulum of industrial relations and labour law “reforms”
Loretta de Plevitz and Greg Bamber
Labour law reform in South Australia
Andrew Stewart
Tasmania’s move to flexibility and choice
Jim Garnham
Victorian industrial relations: from deregulation to devolution
Marilyn Pittard
Of waves and ripples: reform of employee relations law in Western Australia
Nii Lante Wallace-Bruce

The Consequences of and Prospects for Australasian Labour Law Reform

New Zealand labour law reform: consequences and prospects
Raymond Harbridge and Aaron Crawford
Australian labour law reform: consequences and prospects
Braham Dabscheck

An American perspective on Australasian labour law reform
Dennis R Nolan

Table of Cases
Table of Legislation

Of interest...