79 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2010
Date Written: December 1, 2009
Following 13 years of Labor government at the Federal level a Liberal/National Party Coalition government was elected to office in the Australian general election of 1996. This government was subsequently re-elected in 1998, 2001, and again in 2004, before finally losing power in the 2007 Federal election. Industrial relations and labour law policy were critical aspects of the Coalition’s political and social platform throughout its entire period of office and in pursuance of these policies the government introduced many significant changes to employment relations legislation. These were more than changes of detail, representing fundamental shifts in the distribution of power between the parties to employment relations, and in the means of determining terms and conditions of employment.
This report is designed to provide a summary and review of research published over the period 1997-2008 on the impact of the reforms to employment relations legislation which occurred during that period. The report is not a legal analysis per se, although the work does include some published studies carried out by labour lawyers. Rather, the main aim of the report is to assess what practical impact the Coalition’s legislative programme had upon various aspects of labour market and employment relations institutions, arrangements and behaviour; an assessment, then, not of why and how the law changed in a technical sense, but of the consequences and outcomes of legal change. The report also aims to say something about the nature of research in this area, and some of the disciplinary difficulties associated with it.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Arup, Christopher Jon and Forsyth, Anthony and Gahan, Peter G. and Michelotti, Marco and Mitchell, Richard and Sutherland, Carolyn and Taft, David, Assessing the Impact of Employment Legislation: The Coalition Government’s Labour Law Programme 1996-2007 and the Challenge of Research (December 1, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1544028 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1544028