The Coalition’s Proposed Industrial Relations Changes: an Interim Assessment
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"The Prime Minister’s recent statement outlining the Coalition Government’s plans for industrial relations heralds a period of profound change in Australian labour regulation. Proposed alterations to the institutional landscape for regulation of wages and other minimum standards, including a diminishing of the role of the AIRC and further promotion of enterprise bargaining, represent a major regulatory shift and are likely to have a signifi cant impact on working conditions and trade unions, The exclusion of businesses with 100 employees or less from the federal unfair dismissal regime will mean that statutory regulation of termination of employment is substantially reduced. And the Prime Minister’s plan for a national industrial relations system is the most radical restructuring of federal labour regulation in almost a century. The changes, however, do not represent a wholesale replacement of the collective system with institutionalised individualism. Among other things, key institutions of the conciliation and arbitration system will remain in place, although it will be some time before we can fully assess the nature and likely impact of the Government’s policy."