Supporting the Right to Work Campaign

The following is a speech given by HR Nicholls Society President Adam Bisits at the launch of the Australian Liberal Students’ Federation Right to Work campaign to abolish 3 hour shift minimums: 

With Aaron Lane I thank Jack Aquilina and Evan Mulhulloand for the invitation to support this Right to Work campaign.

The HR Nicholls Society stands for freedom of employment including the employee directly agreeing terms of employment with the employer.

Thus the employee should be able to decide and agree his or her minimum hours of work.

A 3 hour minimum shift imposed by delegated legislation denies that freedom. The “modern award”, as the delegated legislation is called, is not made in settlement of a dispute, which might have led to a  ceding of freedom. The award operates as a plain denial or taking of freedom. 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

What Charles Copeman Achieved at Robe River

Charles Copeman died on June 27. At the annual conference of the H.R. Nicholls Society eleven days later, his role in the 1986 Robe River conflict was remembered by former president Ray Evans. He described Charles as the Daniel confronting a den of the great and good of Australian politics.

Charles was also remembered in the award of this year’s Copeman Medal for service to freedom of employment to Dr Chris Roberts, chief executive officer of Cochlear Limited. In years past, Charles himself was present for the award of the medal. This year, the award was honoured by the presence of Charles’s widow, Alison.

As recalled at the Thanksgiving Service for his life on July 3 at St James’s Church, Sydney, Charles Copeman was a “business leader of lasting impact”, due in part to his reform of work practices at the Robe River iron ore mine. This brief note is to recall the Robe River affair of twenty-seven years ago. Read more

Out with the old in Fair Work Act

Uncompetitive wage rates – whether imposed by modern awards, for instance after-school wage rates for a country hardware store, or imposed by muscle-in unions and hapless employers in the greenfields of the recent mining boom – cause unemployment, or send jobs overseas, as with the processing of Browse gas on a remote floating plant to avoid high Australian wages.

Modern awards are centrally imposed wage terms divorced from any dispute or settlement between employer and employee. In their pervasiveness they continue the antiquated award system. To be really modern the awards should only apply if the parties want them. Greenfields agreements now involve negotiations with unions before even the first worker has appeared on site. However, the arriving workers should be allowed to decide how they will deal with the greenfields conditions offered them. If these changes were made, two significant obstacles to employment or to competitive wage rates would be removed. Read more

2013 Conference Update

The Society’s annual conference is going to be held on Monday July 8 with a half day format to encourage broader participation and media coverage.

VENUE:         Morgan’s 401 Collins Street, Melbourne.
DATE:            July 8, 2013
TIME:             12.00 – 1800

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Public Policy Corrupted

The government may now have resorted to union conscription for aged care workers, as it is reported that commonwealth funding for aged care providers would be tied to union-based enterprise bargaining agreements.

This proposal amounts to a direct intervention in the private sector by the commonwealth to seek a favourable outcome for a vested interest – the union movement.

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No Excuse for Delay

Media reports today that the coalition will delay any meaningful reform of the workplace relations system until after 2016 are disappointing at best.

To use the shield of a Productivity Commission review of the workplace relations system is not an excuse to shirk the immediate changes to the workplace system that should take place.

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