The Federation Press

Industrial Relations Reform: Looking to the Future

Essays in honour of Joe Isaac AO


Industrial relations is critically important for economic performance as well as the social cohesion of a nation. In Australia, industrial relations has been subject to numerous reforms by both Labor and Liberal-National Party Coalition governments during recent decades.

This book critically analyses recent changes in work and employment relations and their policy implications for Australia. Scholarly essays by prominent experts in the field examine the lessons that can be learned from previous attempts to reform industrial relations by governments with different political agendas and challenges which may lie ahead.

Some of the key questions addressed in this book include:

  • What can be learned from past attempts to reform the industrial relations system?
  • What have been the impacts of recent legislative reforms from the Howard government’s ‘WorkChoices’ to the Rudd/Gillard government’s ‘Fair Work Australia’ and the recent Abbott/Turnbull government’s policies on industrial relations?
  • How does politics influence proposals for industrial relations reform?
  • What reforms are required in relation to women, work and family issues?
  • How should collective bargaining and dispute settlement systems be reformed?
  • How have wages and productivity been affected by reforms of the industrial relations system?
  • What are the key issues facing Australia in relation to immigration and workforce skills?

The book is based on a symposium which celebrated the outstanding contributions of Professor Joe Isaac to scholarship and the practice of industrial relations in Australia and at the international level for more than seven decades.

Table of Contents

Table of Statutes

Tribute to Joe Isaac AO
           Keith Hancock, Russell D Lansbury and Chris F Wright

1. Introduction to Industrial Relations Reform: Looking to the Future
           Keith Hancock and Russell D Lansbury

2. Reforming Industrial Relations: Revisiting the 1980s and 1990s
           Keith Hancock

3. Continuity and Change in Australian Labour Regulation: WorkChoices, Fair Work and the Role of the ‘Independent Umpire’
           Andrew Stewart

4. ‘Dead, Buried, Cremated’ and Exhumed? Consensus in Industrial Relations Policy and Politics in Australia 2007-2015
           Rae Cooper

5. Policy Tensions: Women, Work and Paid Parental Leave
           Marian Baird

6. Reforming Collective Bargaining
           Mark Bray and Johanna Macneil

7. Productivity, Wages and True Measures of Economic Gain
           Sue Richardson

8. Australia’s Shifting Skills Ecosystem: Contemporary Challenges in Education, Training and Immigration
           Damian Oliver and Chris F Wright

9. Towards a New Workplace Relations Framework? A View from the Productivity Commission
           Peter Harris


Of interest...