HR Nicholls Annual Dinner Report

The HR Nicholls Society successfully held its Annual Dinner on the 24th of November, with keynote speaker Stephen Sasse.

Workplace Express provided the following coverage of the event($):

Adopt Victorian code nationally, says IR consultant

A lack of managerial capacity is to blame for the huge cost blowouts on major publicly-funded infrastructure projects such as the Wonthaggi desalination plant and Melbourne’s Spencer St Station upgrade, and could have been prevented if the current Victorian construction code was in place, according to IR consultant Stephen Sasse.


Sasse told the HR Nicholls Society’s annual dinner in Melbourne last night that the Victorian code, which established a new benchmark that should be adopted by all state and federal governments, “is designed solely to modify contractors’ behaviours”.


“It exists to protect the short and long term interests of taxpayers by forcing contractors to take some responsibility for the effective management of labour productivity and labour costs” and ensure value for money.

He said the Victorian code is “designed to counteract the moral hazard that contractors may have a vested interest in de facto collusion on labour costs and productivity” while ensuring “that unacceptable industrial behaviour meets with appropriate consequences”. Read more

AGM Notice

Thursday 4 December 2014

level 2, CQ, 113-123 Queen Street Melbourne (NW corner with Little Collins St).

5 30 pm:                  


  1. Welcome to members
  2. Apologies
  3. Reports to the board
  4. President’s report
  5. Treasurer’s report
  6. Election of office bearers
  7. General business


Members wishing to stand for election to the board should seek a nomination form from Michael Moore, at

Please call Michael Moore – 0403 345 546 – or Adam Bisits -0438405527 – if you wish to discuss.

Royal Commission Submission

The HR Nicholls Society Submission to the Royal Commission into Union Corruption is now availiable for download, together with a cover letter by Publicity Officer Des Moore HERE:The Effect of Regulation on Union Governance and Corruption (covering letter by Des Moore) and you may click here for the media release.

Des Moore wishes to note that:

Firstly, the HR Nicholls submission is to an extent limited by the terms of reference which do not refer specifically to the economic effects of existing arrangements. As the Abbott government has indicated that the Productivity Commission will at some stage be asked to undertake a comprehensive economic review, our submission does not attempt to cover all the adverse economic effects of the regulations, such as the minimum wage. That will be for another day. But there are both legal and economic implications in the Commission’s identification of “criminal conduct which includes widespread instances of physical and verbal violence, cartel conduct, secondary boycotts, contempt of court and other institutional orders, and the encouragement of others to commit these contempts”.


Second, my covering letter argues that the absence of any specific mention of economic implications in the terms of reference should not stop the Commission referring to them in its report(s). There is in a sense an interconnection between the legal and economic effects. The importance of having regulatory arrangements which stop or markedly reduce secondary boycotts is but one example.


Accordingly, it is suggested that the Commission should in fact give more attention than appears so far to be the case to the adverse economic implications of the existing regulatory arrangements. The provision in the terms of reference to “the adequacy and effectiveness of existing systems of regulation” seems relevant and the identification of restrictive practices in the labour market indicates that adverse economic effects occur. Hence it is recommended that the Royal Commission draw attention to the likelihood of such effects in its report.


Media Release: Royal Commission Submission Calls for Minimal Regulation

3 November 2014
Royal Commission Submission Calls for Minimal Regulation

The HR Nicholls Society submission to the Royal Commission on Trade Union Governance & Corruption calls for existing regulatory arrangements under the Fair Work legislation and the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to be replaced with minimal regulation of employer/employee relations.

The submission, acknowledged by Commissioner Heydon, particularly addresses the reference on ‘the adequacy and effectiveness of existing systems of regulation and law enforcement’ (a)(j)

Analyses in the submission by two prominent lawyers show advantages conferred on trade unions which are unnecessary and unjustified. These include entry to work premises, ability to disrupt work performance, engagement in protected industrial action and forcing parties into regulated bargaining. Read more