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Human Resources Law Trace The Historical Tradition Of Australian Labour Law Using Relevant Legislation And Case Law To Support Your Analysis. Do You Think The Current Direction Of Labour Law In Australia Is Defensible?

2046 words - 9 pages

On 7th December, WorkChoices was passed by parliament. According to the Howard government, the WorkChoices reforms are all about creating 'freedom', 'choice' and 'flexibility' for Australian workers and their employers, balanced by a commitment to a 'fair and enforceable' set of minimum employment conditions.There are some good grounds to see WorkChoices as merely an extension of the national industrial relations policies of the last generation and obviously as a way for the Howard government to overcome the compromises forced on it in the making of the Workplace Relations Act in 1996. And some proponents and opponents of these policies have argued that WorkChoices is not a fundamental ...view middle of the document...

Both of these Acts, passed in the very jurisdictions which had pioneered liberal state intervention in the late nineteenth century, abolished awards and aimed, it seems doing the same thing to unions. At the national scale though WorkChoices is a radically new intervention, although one shaped by the reaction of business and lobbyists to legislation in these other places at earlier times.Now, let's talk about what is new and where the Workplace Relations Act and more markedly still WorkChoices differ from previous policy agendas is in the forms which regulation takes. 'Deregulation' - describe the industrial relations policy. Firstly the labour market should be no exception if all other markets and policies have been 'deregulated'; secondly work and workers have totally changed in the last century. The first claim can be disposed of quickly, the argument which sees labour markets as equivalents to other markets, despite labour power being vested in human beings. Its analytical and empirical bases, such as they are lie in the questionable claims already discussed, that a so-called deregulated labour market is a more efficient one. The second claim, about changes in the nature of work, would not in itself be contested by labour historians but raises important points for a historical evaluation of WorkChoices. The wage-fixing principles of the arbitral systems were based on the assumption that the typical worker in this new Commonwealth was understood as a received fact of nature, workers would be paid a 'fair and reasonable' wage on the assumption that they were or would become the breadwinner for a family.In the recent Family Leave Test Case- a worker returning from parental leave has no 'right to request' a return to part-time work. And there remains no mandated paid maternity leave in Australia. Awards will no longer be allowed to include provisions for casual employees to convert their employment status, and small businesses will not be required to make severance payments in the event of redundancy, even though the Australian Industrial Relations Commission(AIRC)'s test case on the issue found that not all small businesses required a exclusion from this requirement. In this particular respect Work Choices makes good the government's several attempts to exclude small businesses from the obligation to make severance payments in the event of redundancy.Over a decade ago, early stages of the shift from tribunal regulation in Australia, Buchanan and Callus argued that the word deregulation was unhelpful because all workplaces and employment relationships are necessarily regulated. There are two quite distinct processes: the first is the scale at which the employment relationship is regulated which was decentralization from national or industry levels to the enterprise level; and the second one is the agents involved in these processes.On the labour side, it is accepted that unions act not merely as agents for their current members, but as parties...

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