A Simple Plan for Reform? The Problem of Complexity in Workplace Regulation
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"The Howard Government has claimed that its reform proposals will ‘streamline’ existing federal processes and eliminate the ‘complex, costly and ineffi cient’ overlap of State and federal laws. But while the Commonwealth may be able to use its constitutional power over corporations to expand the reach of federal regulation, without co-operation from the States it cannot create a ‘unitary’ or ‘national’ system, and even corporate employers are likely to remain subject to various forms of State regulation. Furthermore, the proposals seem unlikely to address more fundamental problems, such as the ‘layering’ of regulatory instruments and, in particular, the appalling complexity that has become a feature of federal legislation over the past 15 years. That complexity has made the Workplace Relations Act unintelligible to all but experts, not to mention creating cost and uncertainty for businesses, unions and workers alike."