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Evaluation Of The System Of Employment Relations In Australia

Australia is known for settling industrial disputes and promoting co-operation by its system of arbitration and conciliation. This system has helped to defend the rights of Australian workers as well as promote the workers well-being. This addresses the needs and the future of the whole community for several decades already. Over the past fifteen (15) years, the Australian industrial relation system has undergone significant changes. A systematic shift away from centralized wage determination toward enterprise-based wage determination can be observed.

Collective arrangements’ role applied across the workforce has diminished. Unions are faced with harsh legal measures that are designed to reduce their ability to organize as well as participate in the workplace. In addition to that, the industrial arbitration and coalition system of Australia is slowly being dismantled and replaced with the institutions that are controlled by federal (central) government (Burgess, 2006; Isaac, & Landsbury, 2005; Peetz, 2006). During the past two decades, in Australia, reform of employment relations has been centralized to political as well as economic debate.

In the late 1980’s with the cooperation of the union movement, the process of enterprise bargaining begun , by Hawk Labour government as an attempt to decentralize employment relation system. Since the mid 1990s, Howard Coalition government, have introduced more radical reforms which are designed to individualize employment relationship as well as reduce union involvement. However, employer’s responses on the recent changes varied. While some attempted to introduce non-union agreements, against strong opposition from existing workforce, others have introduced more cooperative approaches to change (Lansbury, 2000).

II. OBJECTIVES Generally, this paper will try to analyze and assess the employment relations systems in Australia and specifically, the study aims to: 1. understand the systems of employment relations in Australia; 2. understand the approaches to the employment of labour in Australia; 3. critically analyse the operation, structure and effectiveness of its employment relations systems; and 4. draw lessons from the study of the employment relations systems concerning the management of employment relations in the Australian context.