Des Moore Write:
As some will already be aware, Workplace Express (WE) is an organisation which publishes daily reports on decisions made by the Fair Work Commission and by courts on workplace relations. It also publishes reports on events where presentations are made on workplace relations issues.
On 22 July WE published reports on the annual labour law conference held at the Hilton in Sydney under the auspices of the University of Sydney’s Workplace Research Centre. One of the eleven speakers was Josh Bornstein, a Principal of Maurice Blackburn and a self-described “employment lawyer”. Bornstein is well-known as a strong supporter of the regulatory system and as a critic of any who oppose that approach. On this occasion he did not hold back.
Below are the WE report of the speech by Bornstein and of my critique (made after forcing myself to read the full text). WE agreed to publish my critique after I contacted it and pointed out that Bornstein had made an error in his calculation of the increase in productivity over the past year. An AMMA official, Scott Barklamb (just back from a spell at the ILO), apparently also complained to WE about aspects of the Bornstein address and he (Scott) makes some very useful additional criticisms.
Given the current state of our universities, it is not surprising that even though the University of Sydney has a Workplace Research Centre, it appears to have arranged this conference without inviting speakers who advocate a deregulated system. Almost all the speakers appear to be regulator advocates or sympathisers, although the title for this year’s conference “Beyond ‘Groundhog Day’: Can productivity and fairness be improved without further ‘labour law reform’?” suggests that even those advocates may be thinking it has gone far enough.