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