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Australian public policyProgressive ideas in the neo-liberal ascendency$
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Chris Miller and Lionel Orchard

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781447312673

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447312673.001.0001

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‘Choice’ and ‘fairness’: the hollow core in industrial relations policy

‘Choice’ and ‘fairness’: the hollow core in industrial relations policy

(p.97) Six ‘Choice’ and ‘fairness’: the hollow core in industrial relations policy
Australian public policy

John Buchanan

Damian Oliver

Policy Press

This chapter charts the evolution of industrial relations (IR) policy in Australia. It argues the Industrial Relations Reform Act introduced by the Keating Labor Government in 1993 marked the turning point in IR policy, signalling a shift in underlying ideology from liberal collectivism to neoliberalism. In practice, this has meant IR policy is now directed towards the efficiency of bargaining at the firm and individual level and less concerned with coordinating employers and trade unions to deliver fair outcomes between and within industries. Consequently the IR framework lacks the means to address erosion of union representation rights, insecure employment and wage inequality.

Keywords:   industrial relations, wages, income, collective bargaining, precarious employment, inequality

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