Very few people saw the Coalition’s win coming. If it was, as opposition leader Bill Shorten contended, “a referendum on wages” then it follows that Australians were content with sluggish wage growth and didn’t want a more substantial pay rise.
But that would be a great oversimplification. Labor had a more ambitious program of workplace reform, part of a much wider agenda for economic change and wealth redistribution, that it simply couldn’t sell to the electorate.
Where does this leave the industrial wing of the labour movement, which pushed the Labor Party to adopt sweeping re-regulation of the labour market?
For two years through its “change the rules” campaign the Australian Council of Trade Unions has had remarkable success in entrenching in public consciousness the twin themes of wage theft and insecure work.
Being ‘broken’ was a broken record
- ^ #changetherules (twitter.com)
- ^ how he sees his workforce (www.afr.com)
- ^ Migrant Workers Taskforce (docs.jobs.gov.au)
- ^ inquiry into workplace relations (www.pc.gov.au)
- ^ How the major parties stack up on industrial relations policy (theconversation.com)
- ^ made it clear (twitter.com)
- ^ Why are unions so unhappy? An economic explanation of the Change the Rules campaign (theconversation.com)
- ^ Young Workers Centre (www.youngworkers.org.au)
- ^ Migrant Workers Centre (www.migrantworkers.org.au)
- ^ current amalgamation proposal (anewunion.org.au)
- ^ labourlawdownunder.com.au (labourlawdownunder.com.au)
Authors: Anthony Forsyth, Professor of Workplace Law, RMIT University