Australian Tour of International Labour Market Expert Prof Bernd Fitzenberger

The HR Nicholls Society would like to warmly invite you to participate in the Australian Tour of Professor Bernd Fitzenberger of Freiburg University, one of the world’s leading labour market experts, on “Labour Relations for a Resilient Economy”.

Professor Fitzenberger will be speaking in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Perth on the German model for labour relations, and its contribution to German competitiveness and employment in the last decade.

The HR Nicholls Society presents this speaking tour as a contribution to the reform of Australia’s system of labour relations.

Professor Fitzenberger is Full Professor for Statistics and Econometrics at the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg.  His areas of study include trends in wage inequality, trade unions and coverage and evaluation of labour market programs. He is co-editor of the Journal for Labour Market Research.

Professor Fitzenberger’s academic work contends that regional flexibility in labour markets was key to the German economy being able to weather the global financial crisis better than other economies in the European Union.

The society believes Professor Fitzenberger’s addresses will attract interest from government, industry and industrial relations practitioners. The society’s object is to bring new and practical perspectives to debate about Australia’s labour relations.

Professor Fitzenberger will be speaking as follows – and numbers are strictly limited, so please book now to secure your spot: Read more

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

Stopping the decline: US ‘turnaround’ expert heads speaker list for HR Nicholls Society conference

One of the world’s leading business “turnaround” specialists, American Greg Rayburn, will headline the HR Nicholls Society’s 34th annual conference, to be held in Brisbane next month.

Mr Rayburn will talk about the hard lessons learned from the Hostess Brands collapse in the United States, in which a heavily unionised workforce overplayed its hand.  Mr Rayburn will discuss the industrial and productivity challenges confronting Australian businesses.

The conference, Stopping the Decline: Our Urgent Jobs Plan, will be held at The Brisbane Club on Saturday May 17.

Other speakers include Allan Drake-Brockman, Managing Partner of DLA Piper (Perth), on the difficulties businesses are experiencing in keeping their heads above water in the face of increasing militancy across the waterfront.

The Hon. Roger Gyles AO QC, Chairman of Transparency International Australia and Royal Commissioner into Productivity in the Building Industry in New South Wales will examine the impact of unlawful union activity on the building industry.  And MiniMovers founder Mike O’Hagan will discuss the challenge of job losses to cheap overseas labour.

Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie will address the conference dinner in the evening on state industrial relations powers, the abuse of safety as a tool for workplace disruption, and the challenges facing our construction industry.

The conference comes at a time of great challenges for Australia on the industrial relations policy front, but also a time of great potential for reform and productivity gains.  It is an event not to be missed for anyone with a genuine interest in business productivity and labour market reform.

For more information, or to register for the conference, visit

EVENT: Sydney Launch of Superannuation Paper

The HR Nicholls Society is pleased to announce the launch of a new paper by Barry Rafe on our superannuation system.

Attendees at our 2013 conference would recall the paper by Paul Fletcher MP on how superannuation as presently structured advances the union agenda, and this paper makes a vital contribution to the debate.

The report shall provide an overview of the system for selecting and specifying default funds in awards and enterprise agreements,  provide an overview of the changes made by the 2012 Fair Work Act amendments as they relate to default superannuation, and comment on how those changes will likely be applied by the Fair Work Commission.

Details for the launch are as follows:

TIME: 11:00am
DATE: Tuesday 13 August
PLACE: Waratah Room, Parliament of NSW, Macquarie St, Sydney
SPEAKERS: Barry Rafe & Richard Gilbert (former head of the Financial Services Council)
COST: Free

We hope you will be able to join us!

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

Read more