A House Built On Sand

This is a paper presented by HR Nicholls Society Board Member Kyle Kutasi at the 2013 Annual Conference on Recent developments in American Labour Law and what they mean for Australia:

Recent developments in American Labour Law and what they mean for Australia

Thank you once again to the H.R. Nicholls Society for allowing me to present this paper at what is the Society’s 33rd Conference. Who would have thought we’d have made it this far?!

In a large number of areas of law, Australians have a tendency to compare our laws and regulations to those in other parts of the world. Strangely though, few, if any, Australians – including the lawyers and politicians – have any awareness of comparative labour laws.

This paper therefore began life as a basic study in how the United States regulates the employer-employee relationships within its borders. The US is as good a place to start as any other, as its culture and institutions are very similar to ours, and we often follow trends that originated there. What I found in my research is that there are many good reasons for our ignorance of comparative labour law: in many respects, Australia is an ‘island’ with its unique system that makes comparison difficult; but in other ways, there is much that can be learned from our American cousins, few of which bode well for Australia’s industrial future. Read more