Fair Work Australia

Good policy, dumb cutesy name, concern over the scope of its powers.

Trevor Cormack has an excellent analysis at Solidarity.

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Posted in Federal Elections
22 comments on “Fair Work Australia
  1. David Rubie says:

    The word “fair” is now so devalued, surely they could have chosen something else.

  2. Pavlov's Cat says:

    It really is lame, isn’t it; what’s it supposed to mean, exactly? Grammatically speaking, the mind kind of trips over it and stubs its toe. Is ‘work’ supposed to be a verb or a noun (or even part of an adjectival phrase) here? Is it supposed to be some kind of echo of ‘fair go’ and therefore a sort of command to Australia (as in ‘Fair go, Bazza!’), or the descriptive name of a certain kind of ‘Australia’, or what? Either way, it still doesn’t really make sense.

    Did they outsource the naming process to the same consultancy that came up with ‘Knowledge Nation’, and if they did, what bright spark thought that was a good idea?

  3. Ken Lovell says:

    Yeah the ‘Fair Goes All Round Commission’ would have been better. It seems to have hit Howard where it hurts though so it’s clever politics. Avoids the ‘back to the future’ attacks.

    The truth is that the changes to IR that have occurred under the Howard Government can’t be unravelled. Australia is moving towards direct regulation of minimum standards by parliament with unions free to bargain collectively where they have worker support. This of course is the model that has operated in other industrialised countries for decades so Labor shouldn’t have any problem justifying it. It’s more democratic than delegating the task to a motley bunch of unaccountable individuals hand-picked by the government of the day.

  4. Lefty E says:

    Yes, I also loathe this newspeak political badging. Why not just create a federal system under the familiar AIRC?

    As for the constitutional position – someone help me out here. Isn’t this really just a rebadged AIRC, which itself ran wage cases (ie it did not ‘legislate’ rates, in fact, they only applied to the parties involved, and only set industry standards in a de facto/ indirect sense) and thus, there was no clash with its judicial functions.

    Are people are getting confused by the new Fair Pay commission – which has only been around 10 minutes and is getting the old el chop-chop?

  5. philip travers says:

    Lets give fair works the test. A. Can it turn into swear words and rhyming slang? B, Change spelling and letter be r combinations, C. Backwards! F AIRWOR K, yonder blows the Liberal crap, us of Labor with this pregnant pause as we breath to utter our new commission,the F K are their own admission and so our mission is is in the finely crafted tale ,that consists of four letter words as couple,and yee of bright intelligence can try to rework its intelligibility. As follows FA IR WO RK if a……And dont forget the letters before and after every Capital for workers letters. Fairs fair I always say,but havent been tested lately to see if I still think it is OK! Woe is me If I change my mind after a event,but you know ,work is work,and one must not shirk,for day and night we want to be elected, so this nation and its people wont perish.So perish the thought that FairWork will churn out unfair works ,for we are young and free,girted by sea and ready to fare de well the Howard ship and those who gave this sovereign nation hell!?If Howards lot continue there will be anarchy.For we will not create a forgery of what is fair and what is work,over our deadened bodies.

  6. John Greenfield says:


    I agree with you. What really steams me is that so many Labor voters hate Howard so much that they are giving Rudd a free pass. Rudd knows this. Rudd will do nothing to stop the destruction of the Australian settlement on IR. He will throw out cheesy jingles. That’s all.

  7. steve says:

    Cheesy Jingles looks like a reprieve compared to what Howard’s workchoices has thrown up.

  8. Katz says:

    Australia [post WorkChoices] is moving towards direct regulation of minimum standards by parliament with unions free to bargain collectively where they have worker support.

    Nonsense. Howard has replaced one dirigiste regime with another.

    The manifold prohibitions on the nature of agreements and on conditions under which collective bargains will be recognised simply replace a “pro-fair wage” regime with an employer dominated regime.

    If Howard were interested in the fantasy imagined above, he would have removed the dictatorial hand of government from IR altogether.

    Instead, he has added a whole new layer of executive oversight by virtue of the extension of the reach of the Commonwealth government’s corporation powers.

    We now have the absurd situation of the IR powers of the constitution sitting there as virtually, but not completely, a dead letter, while a whole new executive structure is thrown up along side it.

  9. John Greenfield says:


    Cheesy Jingles looks like a reprieve compared to what Howard’s workchoices has thrown up.

    I rest my case. Rudd’s Useful Idiots.

  10. philip travers says:

    Steve and his link win the bunger award from this Guy Fawkes vicinity poster.If the buggers cheat on workers,the buggers cheat on safety,if the buggers cheat on safety,the buggers cheat on insurance and assurance,if the buggers cheat on the listed,they also cheat on tax, if the buggers cheat on tax,they cheat on product quality,if the buggers cheat on product quality they cheat on their suppliers,if the buggers cheat on their suppliers the buggers are cheating in their contracts with suppliers,if the buggers are cheating their suppliers, the buggers are cheating their lenders of mamon,if they are cheating the mamon lenders, then the mamon lenders will just say..for Christ Sake down under what the bloody hell are you doing,we cannot by its shares so the buggers are cheating their shareholders,the buggers could of cheated the registrar of business and the legal matters of its registration,if the buggers are doing all of this they are well and truly rooted.

  11. Helen says:

    Yes, I also loathe this newspeak political badging.

    It’s corporate-speak, that’s why I hate it (as well as the fact it’s just so fashionable and will date so badly).

    Mmmmm, Cheesy Jingles. (Heads to vending machine)

  12. Graeme says:

    It’s sloganeering to put words in our mouth. PR over PS values.

    The ‘More Jobs, Better Pay’ Bill?
    ‘Fair Pay Commission’
    The ‘Quieter Homes, Happier Houses’ Bill (a Labor private
    member’s bill)

    US legislators started this, but the saving grace there is that once the law is bedded down, it is referred to by its number in the Code of laws, not the spin-doctored title.

  13. Lefty E says:

    WHy dont they just call it the Battler Bureau. Or Dinkum Income.

  14. anthony says:

    Gourmet Fair Work Australia Shoppe

  15. SJ says:

    Why not just create a federal system under the familiar AIRC?

    Trevor Cormack seems to think it’s a neat way of disposing of all of the Business Council types that Howard has installed at the AIRC. Makes sense.

  16. Ken Lovell says:

    I said ‘moving towards’ Katz … I didn’t say we were there yet. But we’re certainly never going back to having a tribunal set common rule wages and conditions for entire industries.

  17. Trevor says:

    Thanks for the plug, Kim.

    My latest post might be of interest. Another company, Vopak, has used “operational reasons” to sack long-term employees.

    The trouble is, the company is highly profitable and is in fact expanding that workplace. It looks like the real reason they were sacked is that they were about to take (protected) industrial action — in other words, “operational reasons” means “union busting”.

  18. Re the Constitutional issue:

    I heard Ms Gillard being worked over by a rather sulky ABC interviewer on PM. He was being wonderfully surly to her about the gutting of the right to strike, but on the constitutionality of FWA, Ms Gillard was effective.

    Her line was that she has advice that if the legislation is ‘drafted carefully’ then the constitutional problems raised by the Boilermakers’ case can be avoided.

    This is enough to neutralise the issue before the election. If people are in fact deserting Mr Howard because they dislike Workchoices, grey areas of constitutional law won’t stop them.

    Boilermakers’ case links:

    (Lecture by Justice Kirby :http://tinyurl.com/23z2ro and set-piece ‘primer’ speech by then Attorney-General Daryl Williams on separation of judicial and administrative powers http://tinyurl.com/2hmuu7)

  19. Evan says:

    Which goddam numb-nuts came-up with the moniker?

    Dunno about you lot, but I’ve had a gut-full of the Coconut’s Double Speak over the last 11 years.

    Christ, Kev, give it a rest.

  20. Kim says:

    No probs, Trevor.

    The Curious-Snail headline for tomorrow is framed by a huge picture of Rudd, and the headline reads something like “This man will help you”. The Queensland branch of the Murdoch Empire has obviously got the message.

  21. Kim says:

    The coverage of the conference from the C-M:

    QUEENSLANDER Kevin Rudd painted himself as Australia’s man of the future as he unveiled key election themes aimed at catapulting Labor into power.


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