Ray’s Career as an Advocate

Hugh Morgan delivers a tribute to Ray Evans:

One always knew the presence of Ray by the frequent burst of extraordinary laughter that no one could miss as having come from any other person. I will return to his laughter trade mark later but recall the first time we met in Sydney in late 1981 when attending a meeting of the Centre of Independent Studies  and Ray approached me having already written to Sir Arvi Parbo seeking a job. Ray recalls this event in his farewell remarks to WMC colleagues and others in August 2001 and the following is drawn directly from some of that presentation.

The story of how I got to Western Mining as it then was in April 1982,is an interesting one, and is summarised in the letter I wrote to Sir Arvi Parbo in November 1981. A week or so later after despatching the letter I found myself attending a seminar in Sydney organised by Greg  Lindsay who had recently established the Centre of Independent Studies. Hugh Morgan who was a Trustee of CIS was also there, and rather nervously, I introduced myself and told him that I had sent a letter to Sir Arvi looking for a job. “yes indeed” said Hugh and pulled it out of his coat pocket.’

‘What have I done since (joining)? I’ve been a soldier in the culture wars”  He recall’s of  the 1980’s  the distemper evident in the universities observing –  ‘The slogan which these many hundreds of students chanted mindlessly as they marched (being) ‘Hey Ho – Hey Ho – Western Civ has got to go”

“The culture wars’ he wrote …’ I now believe to be embedded deep in Western Civilisation”. ‘The culture wars are fought out in every institution. We see them in the churches, within political parties, in the media, in the universities and in corporations”.

Out of these battle he notes the close friends that develop and one such friend was Bert Kelly who changed political life in this country having  attacked protection ‘making it intellectually and morally disreputable’. Bert Kelly he recalled as being a great Hero. Read more

Ray’s Career as an Advocate

Senator-Elect & former member of the HR Nicholls Society Board of Management Bob Day presents this Eulogy for Ray Evans:

Let me begin with a few of Ray’s own words recorded in introductory remarks he made some 20 years ago at the 1994 Conference of the HR Nicholls Society held in Perth.

“It is nearly twelve months since our last conference and it is appropriate to consider from a strategic perspective what has happened in these last twelve months. This paper then is an attempt to evaluate, without embellishment or distortion, the significance of the very important events which have taken place since May, 1993.

“The title to this paper comes from a poem I learnt at school, “Say not the struggle naught availeth”, by Arthur Hugh Clough, an early Nineteenth Century poet. Read more

IR Reform key to easing unemployment

The development of this trend does not mean higher unemployment but a much greater increase in those who have given up actively looking for work (you can’t be counted as unemployed unless you are actively looking).

You say that Kent mainly attributes this  development to an increased desire to retire and that only about 25 per cent are discouraged workers. But the sudden increase in drop outs coincides with the introduction of the greatly increased regulation of workplace relations and the accompanying employment deterrent effects experienced by employers, such as the absurd penalty rates.

The marked slowing in the  growth in employment to only 0.9 per cent over the past 12 months suggests that the budget forecast for 2014-15 of 1.5% growth will be very difficult to achieve unless major changes are made to existing regulations which markedly reduce deterrent effects. Read more

A Tribute to Ray Evans

I regret to advise the death, yesterday, of Ray Evans, the president of the society from 1989 to 2010 and one its notable founders.

John Stone, another founder of the society and the founding president, has kindly recalled Ray for us:

On 30 April, 1985 the Committee of Review of Australian Industrial Relations (the Hancock Committee) delivered its Report, and shortly thereafter Ray Evans, whom I had never previously met, got in touch with me. Along with Peter Costello and Barry Purvis, we formed the HR Nicholls Society. Read more

Our urgent jobs plan: labour market freedom in Australia

The following is a transcript of a presentation given by HR Board Member Alan Anderson to the HR Nicholls Society XXXIV Conference:

We have heard a good deal this morning about the problems with our industrial relations system and the economic impacts of its failings. Our President, Adam Bisits, has asked me, as a member of the Board, to deliver an overview of the Society’s position on the broad reforms that should be effected to reform Australia’s industrial relations system.

As a non-IR specialist, I claim no deep expertise in the operation of the current regime. In what follows, I draw with gratitude upon a paper prepared by Thereas Moltoni and Des Moore last year for the Society and accepted by the Board, highlighting some of the areas of our industrial relations system requiring the most urgent reform.

The foundation of the Society’s call for reform is a belief that there is no substantive imbalance of bargaining power between the 800,000 employing businesses in Australia and a workforce of 12 million. The dynamic and dispersed nature of our employment market makes it virtually impossible for employers to impose ‘unfair’ conditions on employees on a sustained basis. It follows that the costs of our complex and highly-regulated system are unmatched by any benefits to workers.

The HR Nicholls Society must strike a balance between purism and pragmatism; leading the debate but not so as to consign its recommendations to irrelevance.  It is in that spirit that we advance the following agenda, covering 10 critical areas. Read more

Media Release: Employment Grows –But Faster Growth in Drop Outs

Media Release: Employment Grows –But Faster Growth in Drop Outs

The May ABS Labour Force figures show growth in employment continuing but at a much slower rate than the growth in the working age population (WAP) – over the past 12 months employment rose by only 0.9% while the WAP increased at double that rate (1.8%).

This indicates further large increases in those who have given up actively looking for work.

Labour Force – Increases Since May 2013

000s             Percent

Employment                                 994                0.9

Working Age Population           3,398               1.8

Unemployed                                   43                6.4

Although the unemployment rate is unchanged at 5.8% (S Adj), this does not provide an accurate indication of the weakness of the labour market. A much more important test is whether the growth in employment is keeping up with the working age population increase. Before the Fair Work legislation employment was growing faster than the WAP.

Unless there is a major improvement in labour demand the Abbott Government will not achieve the budget forecast employment growth of 1.5% in 2014-15. And Abbott’s pre-election jobs target of a one million increase within five years will fall well short. Read more

Prime Minister’s jobs target and the forgotten people

Prime Minister Abbott’s target of creating one million new jobs within five years is unrealistic unless artificial barriers to workers and employers agreeing mutually satisfactory wages are removed.

If September 2013 is taken as the start date for the creation of the one million new positions, then to meet the September 2018 deadline an 8.7% increase in employment will be required, a 1.7% annual average, almost double the current annual growth (to April 2014) of just 0.9%.

In addition the one million jobs target will not keep pace with the growth in the working age population and more will be required than the trade and deregulation stimulus on which the target is based. Read more

Employment Growth and IR

I have previously suggested that one way of drawing attention to the need for reform of workplace relations would be to draw attention to the trend in employment growth and compare that with Abbott’s promise to create one million jobs over the next five years. Abbott’s press release made in late November 2012 may be seen here. You may also read an article from the SMH commenting on the jobs “promise” here. 

As to the actual figures, if it is assumed that the starting point for the additional one million jobs is September 2013 the additional million would not have to be achieved until Sept 2018, well after the next election. To achieve that would require an increase in employment of 8.7%, or an annual average of 1.7%.

This is considerably higher than the actual growth rate over the year ended April 2014, which was 0.9%, and well below the 1.8% growth rate in the population aged over 15 years. The following shows what happened to the increase in the over 15years:

Incr from April 2013 to April 2014 (000s)

Population 15 yrs & over     337.0


Employment                      106.5

Unemployed                        32.2

Drop Outs                          198.3

Last week’s press reports that the Chairman of the Minerals Council, Michelmore, called for a “root and branch” industrial relations overhaul and  that even the new head of Rio complained about union claims.

Des Moore is a member of the HR Nicholls Society Board of Management.