In addition to the Sponsors' Seminar Series and the Labour Law Seminar Series, from time to time the Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law hosts conferences, roundtables and other events for members of the Australian and international labour law community. These events bring together scholars, practitioners of labour law, industrial relations and human resource management, and members of the public to focus on current issues in Australian, international and comparative labour law.
The Centre was delighted to co-host the 27th Foenander Lecture with the Faculty of Business and Economics from the University of Melbourne on Thursday 16 August. The Hon Professor Geoffrey Giudice AO spoke on the topic 'The Fair Work Act Review and its Implications'.
Please click here for further information.
Bullying and Harassment: Trying to Stop it!
The Centre co-hosted a seminar on Friday 22 June 2012 with the Department of Management and Marketing at the University of Melbourne. We were delighted to welcome Professor Phillip Beaumont from the University of Glasgow and Ms Sandra Stewart, Consultant to speak on this very topical subject.
Please click here for further information.
Lost Decade or Decades? Wages & Wage Inequality in the US
The Centre co-hosted a seminar on Monday 21 May with the Centre for Human Resource Management at the University of Melbourne. Mr Lawrence Mishel, President of the Economic Policy Institute (USA) discussed the new analysis of wage trends that will appear in the forthcoming State of Working America (Cornell University Press and Economic Policy Institute).
Please click here for further information.
Twenty Years of Enterprise Bargaining in Australia, 1991-2011
The Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law is co-hosting a Symposium on “20 Years of Enterprise Bargaining in Australia”, on Friday 4 & Saturday 5 November 2011 at the Melbourne Law School.
This event, marking the 20th anniversary of the AIRC’s October 1991 National Wage Case Decision, is being organised jointly with the Department of Management & Marketing here at the University of Melbourne, along with the Workplace and Corporate Law Research Group and the Australian Centre for Research in Employment & Work (ACREW) at Monash University.
Please click here for a copy of the program.
Workers and Tax Reform
The Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law and the Tax Group were pleased to host a symposium on "Workers and Tax Reform" on Tuesday 16 August.
This symposium hosted at Melbourne Law School, brought together celebrated US academic, Professor Jonathan Forman, author of Making America Work (2006) with an expert Australian panel to discuss options for reform of income tax rates, credits and transfers, that will achieve sustainable fairness and increase productivity for Australia’s workers.
Conference on Regulating for a Fair Recovery Network
The RDW Network's Second Conference on Regulating for a Fair Recovery will be held at the International Labour Office, Geneva, Switzerland on 6-8 July 2011. The Conference is organized by the International Labour Office in collaboration with the University of Manchester's Fairness at Work (FaW) Research Group and the University of Melbourne's Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law (CELRL).
For further information please click here to view the Regulating for Decent Work website.
Role of Community Organisations in Enforcing Labour Law
The Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law was pleased to host a forum on Thursday 9 June on “The Role of Community Organisations in Enforcing Labour Law”.
Effective enforcement is vital to Australian labour law: gaps in enforcement seriously undermine the integrity of the system. This forum considered this important issue – in particular, the role of community organisations – by bringing together different perspectives from the academic, government and community legal sectors.
Speakers at the forum included:
- Associate Professor John Howe – Director, Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law
- Gabrielle Marchetti – Solicitor, JobWatch Inc
- The Hon Tim Pallas MP – Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations
For further information please click here to view the flyer.
Employment Law Lecture - The Legal Construction of Personal Work Relations: A New Model for the Foundation of Employment Relationships
The Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law was pleased to host an Employment Law Lecture on Tuesday 12 April. Professor Mark Freedland FBA of Oxford University, one of the world's leading scholars in the law of employment contracts, spoke on the topic "The Legal Construction of Personal Work Relations: A New Model for the Foundation of Employment Relationships".
Professor Joellen Riley of the Sydney Law School responded to Professor Freedland’s comments from an Australian perspective.
For further information please click here to view the seminar flyer.
Book Launch and Panel Discussion - Money and Politics: The democracy we can't afford
On Tuesday 3 August 2010 Centre member Dr Joo-Cheong Tham's new book 'Money and Politics: The democracy we can't afford' was launched. At this event a panel discussed the key challenges posed by money in Australian politics.
Chair: Professor Keith Ewing, King's College, London
- Daryl Melham, ALP MP, Chair of Commonwealth Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters;
- Michael O'Brien, Liberal Party MP, Deputy Chair, Victorian Parliament Electoral Matters Committee;
- Lee Rhiannon, Greens NSW Legislative Council member, Member of NSW Parliament Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters;
- Joel Fetter, Director, Policy and Industrial Unit, ACTU; and
- Royce Millar, Age journalist.
Co-sponsors for the event:
- Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies
- Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law
- Social Justice Intiative - The University of Melbourne
Workshop on Temporary Migrant Work and Social Justice
On Wednesday 7 April 2010, the Centre along with the Social Justice Initiative from the University of Melbourne hosted a workshop which aimed to examine the challenging social justice questions arising in relation to temporary migrant workers in Australia.
The workshop aimed to:
- situate temporary migrant workers in the context of changing migration patterns;
- examine their working conditions, living conditions as well as their social and political rights; and
- discuss the research agendas for temporary migrant workers and social justice.
Workshop participants were drawn from a range of backgrounds with academics and representatives from the government and community sectors attending.
To view the presentations from the workshop, please click here.
The workshop was a significant success with rich discussion and debate informed by diverse insights. Another workshop on temporary migrant work and social justice is planned for 2011.
Bargaining Processes in the US - Including the Requirement to Bargain in Good Faith
The Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law and Fair Work Australia was pleased to host a seminar held on Tuesday 2 February 2010 at the Melbourne Law School. Speaking at the event were the heads of two leading United States labour relations institutions:George Cohen, Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service;and Ronald Meisburg, General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board.
About the lecture
Following the new good faith bargaining requirements recently introduced into Australian law (Fair Work Act 2009, Pt 2-4, Div 8) this lecture will provide an opportunity for academics and practitioners in workplace relations and labour law to gain an insight into the US experience of good faith bargaining. It will focus on related issues concerning representation, voting and the composition of bargaining units from two leaders in the field. The different roles of Mr Cohen and Mr Meisburg will provide both a legal and practical perspective of good faith bargaining under the U.S National Labor Relations Act.
About the speakers
George Cohen was nominated as the Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service by President Obama on 29 June, 2009 and confirmed by the United States Senate on 5 October, 2009. Mr Cohen has had an extensive and distinguished career as a labour lawyer, negotiator, and mediator. During the period 1966-2005 he was a senior partner at Bredhoff & Kaiser, a Washington, D.C. law firm with a national practice, specialising in representing private and public sector labour organisations in collective bargaining. He is a graduate of Cornell University and its Law School and earned a LLM degree from Georgetown Law. In the past three years he has been engaged in a solo practice as a mediator. He is a member of the prestigious Mediation Panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and has successfully mediated numerous complex, high profile disputes.
Ronald Meisburg was nominated as General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board by President Bush in July 2005 and confirmed by the United States Senate on August 3, 2006. From 1980-2003, Mr. Meisburg practiced labour law in Washington, DC, most recently in the firm of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart. Earlier in his career, he served at the Department of Labor in the Office of the Solicitor of Labor, and in the divisions of Employee Benefits and Mine Safety and Health. He received his BA degree from Carson-Newman College and his JD degree from the University of Louisville.
General Protections in the Fair Work Act and Anti-discrimination Workshop: Questions, Quirks and Quandaries
On Wednesday 11 November the Centre hosted a workshop which examined the interconnections between the new general protections provisions in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and longer standing anti-discrimination regimes at the federal and State levels. The focus was on both broader policy questions of the meaning of discrimination in the workplace relations context, and questions of practice to do with choice of jurisdiction and litigation strategy.
Following an outline of some of the main issues by Carol Andrades, a number of representatives of the institutions and bodies engaged in the enforcement of the new Fair Work Act provisions provided short presentations:
- Ms Carol Andrades, Consultant, Ryan Carlisle Thomas, Senior Fellow, Melbourne Law School: Identifying the Questions, Quirks and Quandaries
- Ms Natalie James, Chief Counsel, Fair Work Ombudsman
- Commissioner Dominica Whelan, Fair Work Australia
- Federal Magistrate John O'Sullivan, Federal Magistrates Court of Australia
Around 30 people attended the workshop which included academics from other institutions, government representatives and legal practitioners.
Book Launch and Panel Discussion: 'Fair Work: The New Workplace Laws and the Work Choices Legacy'
The Centre was pleased to be host the book launch for the newly published book by Federation Press - 'Fair Work: The New Workplace Laws and the Work Choices Legacy' Edited by Anthony Forsyth and Andrew Stewart.
The book is a wide ranging, authoritative and accessible analysis of the profound changes to labour regulation under the Howard and Rudd Governments. The authors, leading scholars and practitioners, examine both the nature and legacy of the controversial Work Choices reforms and how workplace relations are set to change under the new Fair Work legislation.
The book will be launched by Commissioner Greg Smith AM (Australian Industrial Relations Commission), to be followed by a panel presentation and an opportunity for questions from the audience. The panellists will include Associate Professor Anthony Forsyth (Monash University), Professor Andrew Stewart (University of Adelaide), Chris Platt (AMMA) and Cath Bowtell (ACTU).
This is an excellent opportunity to hear some of the country’s leading experts talk about the Fair Work legislation and the Government's ongoing workplace reform agenda.
Please click here to view the flyer.
Forum on the Proposed Building and Construction Division of Fair Work Australia
The Centre hosted a Forum on the Proposed Building and Construction Division of Fair Work Australia at the Law School on Thursday the 26th of February 2009. The Forum was held at the request of the Honourable Murray Wilcox, who conducted an Inquiry into the Proposed Building and Construction Division on behalf of the federal government. Justice Wilcox attended the Forum which was intended to assist him in preparing his final report. Similar Forums were held in Sydney and in Perth.
The Forum consisted of two sessions, with presentations by academics, legal practitioners and representatives of organisations with an interest in labour relations in the building industry, with time allowed for questions and debate by Forum attendees. Speakers at the Forum included Professor George Williams (University of NSW), Herman Borenstein SC and Craig Dowling (Victorian Bar), Mordy Bromberg (Australian Institute of Employment Rights), Joel Fetter (ACTU), Peter Nolan (Director Workplace Relations, AIG), and Tom Roberts (CFMEU).
Labour Law Teaching Workshop
This workshop provides a forum for teachers of labour law subjects, broadly construed to include employment law and industrial law (taught to both law and non-law students) to come together in a collegial environment and discuss the challenging questions we face in our teaching, such as:
• Which text best suits my students learning needs and styles?
• How should I structure the syllabus?
• What innovative forms of assessment have other teachers used?
• How can I best engage my students in current debates and issues?
Date: Thursday 13 November 2008, 2pm-5.30pm
Venue: Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne (University Square, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton 3053)
This workshop was sponsored by the Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne and the Australian Labour Law Association.
'A Fair and Balanced Industrial Relations Policy for Australia' - Public Address by Julia Gillard MP
As part of the Centre's Seminar Series, the Deputy Labor Leader, Ms Julia Gillard MP, addressed a free public lecture on the topic 'A Fair and Balanced Industrial Relations Policy for Australia', outlining the industrial relations policy that the ALP is taking to the forthcoming election.
L-R Professor Michael Crommelin AO, Melbourne Law School Dean, Julia Gillard MP, Dr John Howe, Ms Anna Chapman
Labour Law Policy Dialogue III
Workchoices: Reform or Retrogression in Labour Relations? A View from the Other Side of the World
Professor Richard Freeman, Harvard University
Australia’s new labour relations law institutes the most radical change in labour institutions in any advanced democracy since legalization of unions. It comes at a time when unions in Australia and the other English-speaking countries are struggling to reinvent themselves and develop new policies for today’s workers and global labour market. Professor Freeman will examine its potential impact on employee voice, work well-being and economic efficiency, and compare it to recent and proposed changes in US and UK labour laws.
Partnerships at Work Round Table Discussions and Seminar
Thursday May 31 and Monday June 4
Partnerships at Work is a research project, funded by the ARC, examining the interaction between several key factors in the creation and sustainability of 'partnerships at work'.
As a component of this research, the Centre of Employment and Labour Relations Law, in conjunction with the Centre for Corporate Law and Securities Regulation will host a Round Table Discussion and a Seminar.
The Round Table Discussion will consider the topic 'Should Institutional Investors Use their Considerable Market Power to Influence the Human Resources Practices of Companies?' The discussions will be introduced by Michael O'Sullivan, President of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors. Professor Ian Ramsay and Shelley Marshall will present 13 detailed case studies, with opinions and reactions invited from participants.
Speaking on the topic 'Employee Participation in a Unionised Environment: What do Workers Want?', Christina Cregan, Associate Professor in Industrial Relations at the University of Melbourne, will address the Seminar. She will present findings of a study which investigated the willingness of workers in a unionised environment to be involved in employee participation in the form of a company's joint consultation committee.
Labour Law Policy Dialogue
The meeting was very successful and a further roundtable is proposed to deal with a range of other issues.
Corporate Governance Workshop 7/8 December 2006
The High Court's Work Choices Decision: Analysis and Implications for Employment Law and Constitutional Law
Labour Law, Equity and Efficiency: Structuring and Regulating the Labour Market for the 21st Century
During 2005 (8-9 July), a two day conference was held at the Melbourne Law School on the theme Labour Law, Equity and Efficiency: Structuring and Regulating the Labour Market for the 21st Century. The conference was jointly organised by the Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law in conjunction with the Australian Labour Law Association, the Bowater School of Management at Deakin University, the Law School, Griffith University, and the Law School, Victoria University. The event was extremely successful, with 115 attendees. Notable contributions and outcomes of the conference included:
- The Opening Address by Professor Glyn Davis, Vice Chancellor, the University of Melbourne.
- Thirty four papers were presented during two plenary sessions and four series of concurrent sessions.
- A book drawn from the Conference proceedings will be published by Federation Press in 2006.
- Centre members actively participated in the Conference, with Richard Mitchell, Anna Chapman, John Howe, Shelley Marshall, Joo-Cheong Tham, Sean Cooney and Anthony O’Donnell presenting papers, and Colin Fenwick and Glenn Patmore chairing sessions.
- Centre administrator Elena Goodey organised the preparation and running of the Conference. Kathryn Taylor, Hannah Fitzgerald, Lucie O’Brien, Marc Trabsky and Julia Mitchell were also of great assistance during the conference.
Panels and Round Tables
During 2005 the Centre organised several ad hoc panel discussions and round tables, as joint events with other Centres within the University of Melbourne and/or with external institutions:
- Panel Discussion: Labour Rights in Asia: The ILO’s Decent Work Agenda. The panel was jointly organised by the Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law; Asialink; the Asian Economics Centre; the Asian Law Centre; and the Australian Centre for International Business. The event was held at the Melbourne Law School on 7 April and over 80 people attended. Panel participants included: Mr Kari Tapiola, Executive Director, Standards and Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Sector, ILO Geneva; Advisory Board member Mr Alan Boulton, Country Director, ILO Indonesia and Timor Leste; Ms Myra Hanartani, Head of the Legal Bureau, Department of Manpower and Transmigration, Republic of Indonesia; and Mr Manuel G. Imson, Under Secretary for Labor Relations, Department of Labor and Employment, The Philippines. Ms Sharan Burrow, President of the ACTU, and Professor Breen Creighton acted as commentators. With the support of Professor Michael Crommelin, Dean of the Law School, the panelists and commentators were later hosted as guests at dinner. They were accompanied by other invited guests including Justice Robyn Layton (Supreme Court of South Australia, and chair of the ILO’s Committee of Experts), and Justice Geoffrey Giudice (President, Australian Industrial Relations Commission).
- Panel Discussion: Human Rights in Burma: What More Can the International Community Do? This event was held in conjunction with Asialink; the Asian Law Centre; the Institute for the Study of Global Movement; Monash University; and the Australian Council of Trade Unions. The event was held on 23 June at the Sidney Myer Asia Centre, and over 60 people attended. Panel participants included: Mr Clyde Roxon, Human Rights Advocate; Justice Robyn Layton, Supreme Court of South Australia and Chair of the ILO’s Committee of Experts; and Professor Sarah Joseph, Director, Castan Centre for Human Rights, Monash University.
- Reflecting on International Labour Rights: Roundtable Seminar. Professor Philip Alston, Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Global Justice, New York University, visited the Centre in September. Professor Alston’s visit provided the opportunity for Centre members and associates, as well as invited participants, to deliver short papers engaging with Professor Alston’s work on international labour standards. Papers were delivered by Centre members and associates Sean Cooney, Colin Fenwick, John Howe and Jarrod Lenne, and by Shae McCrystal, Australian National University.
- FairWear International – Fair Work Standard Information Session. This information session was co-hosted by FairWear and the Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law on 29 November. The event was held at Melbourne Law School, and over 15 people attended. Speakers: Annie Delaney, Fair Wear; Serena Lillywhite, Brotherhood of St Laurence; and Shelley Marshall, Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law.
- Reconceptualising Remedies Round Table. This event was co-organised by Colin Fenwick with Associate Professor Di Otto, Lia Kent, and Caroline Lambert of the Institute for International Law and the Humanities. The event’s goal was to help generate fresh thinking about whether, and if so, how, to adopt an Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, which would include a mechanism for making individual complaints against States parties to that convention. Some thirty human rights lawyers and activists from around Australia spent the afternoon of 1 December reviewing progress to date; considering case studies of the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights in Australia; and developing approaches to move both the Australian government and the international community closer to the adoption of an Optional Protocol.
Corporate Governance and Workplace Partnerships Project Events
The Corporate Governance and Workplace Partnerships Project is a joint venture of the Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law and the Centre for Corporate Law and Securities Regulation, the University of Melbourne. The project holds a regular series of seminars. During 2005, seminars included:
- Mr Gideon Haigh, cricket and corporate governance commentator, on ‘Executive Remuneration and Corporate Governance’ (23 February).
- Professor Geoff Stapledon, Managing Director of ISS Australia, regional headquarters of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), and Professor at the Melbourne Law School, on ‘Institutional Investors and Corporate Governance’ (25 May).
- Mr Anthony O’Donnell, Research Fellow, Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law, on ‘Shareholder Value, Corporations Law and Labour Law: Aspects of the Australian Experience’ (27 September).
- Professor Ian Ramsay, Director, Centre for Corporate Law and Securities Regulation and Ms Kirsten Anderson, Research Fellow, Partnerships at Work Project, on ‘Shareholder Activism: A New Industrial Frontier for Australian Trade Unions’ (24 November) (held in conjunction with Centre sponsor Holding Redlich).
Labour Law Teachers’ Workshop
On 7 July the Centre convened a meeting of labour law academics in Australia to gauge the interest in holding an annual or biennial workshop for teachers of labour law. The meeting was attended by around 15 people who expressed their strong support for the organisation of such a teaching workshop. It was decided that the most appropriate vehicle for this was to attach the workshop to the Australian Labour Law Association national conference planned for the second half of 2006, with the workshop to be convened under the joint auspices of the Association, and the Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law. A working group was formed by Centre members Anna Chapman, John Howe and Glenn Patmore; Paula Darvas (Monash University); Shae McCrystal (Australian National University); and Belinda Smith (the University of Sydney), with Anna Chapman as the co-ordinator of the group.