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From the Desk of the Executive Director

Ken Phillips is co-founder and Executive Director of Independent Contractors of Australia. He is a published authority on independent contractor issues and directs research on related commercial and trade practices issues. Through his numerous articles in newspapers and think-tank and academic journals, Ken is known for approaching issues from outside normal perspectives and is frequently sought out for media comment.

Truckies’ Act a dog that may bark again

Monday, May 16, 2016

The sleeping political lion that is the small business community is only occasionally truly woken. But the Road Safety Remuneration Act did just that, triggering high agitation that culminated in the act’s repeal on April 18.

The issue remains alive however given that Labor leader Bill Shorten has promised to reintroduce the act if Labor wins government at this year’s election.  More...


Union corruption shows why we need transparency in super

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Around 20 years ago, when I was writing for another news outlet, I received out of the blue a large cardboard box in the post. It contained the true financial records, including source documents, of a high-profile union. My suspicion was that it had come from a senior union official who’d just been kicked out of the union. When I checked the real records with the union’s officially declared financial returns, nothing matched. The official returns were a fabrication.  

On Monday the Victorian boss of the construction the CFMEU, John Setka, and his deputy, Shaun Reardon, were arrested and charged with blackmail. The blackmail charges relate to the CFMEU putting pressure on concrete company Boral to stop supplying the CFMEUs hated construction firm Grocon. More...


Royal Commission: Shorten actions look corrupt

Friday, July 10, 2015

What’s becoming apparent from the royal commission into union corruption is something that’s bigger than just identifying corrupt individuals.

A picture is emerging that the way major business is routinely done in Australia is systemically ‘‘corrupt’’. Yes, that money changes hands for questionable favours. More...


Victoria must brace for an election wrecking ball

Friday, September 05, 2014

In many respects, Victorian voters will have to choose between a Coalition government and a CFMEU-controlled Labor government at the looming state election.

The CFMEU has dominated the headlines in recent weeks, with evidence from the Royal Commission into union corruption unearthing serious allegations that it has engaged in potentially criminal behaviour. Its links with prominent crime figures have also come under scrutiny.  More...


Actions hurting small business

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Rudd Labor government is spending big on media advertising declaring that it's small-business-friendly. But the facts show a government intentionally damaging small-business people.

In the past two years, for example, the number of micro-businesses (one-person businesses) has collapsed by 130,000. This is a direct result of a package of anti-small business, anti-self-employed measures imposed by the Labor government. More...


Unions can't paint over a construction revolution

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The militant construction union the CFMEU has announced 'we've won', in its battle to stop the Victorian government's construction code. But closer attention shows the CFMEU's victory declaration is spin.

The code is designed to give the Victorian government control over its infrastructure construction costs. It's been put in place because blowouts in construction costs threaten the viability of the government's infrastructure budget. The code simply states that if a construction firm has bad, unproductive industrial relations agreements the firm need not bother to tender for government work. More...


How Abbott outflanked Labor on IR

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Coalition's industrial relations policy is a real disappointment to many.

It's disappointing for big business lobbyists who wanted a commitment to individual employment agreements. They wanted a dropping of good faith bargaining provisions and the reintroduction of employer friendly Greenfield agreements amongst many items. Most things on their wish list are technical legal issues relating to how union negotiations are to be handled. More...


Hope glimmers in Abbotts small business spotlight

Friday, May 31, 2013

Slowly the Abbott opposition is revealing just how dramatically different business regulation and policy is likely to be under an alternative government. In essence they are preparing to put small business at the centre of key business policy in a way never before seen. And particularly, it might seem, with competition laws. More...


Hospitality penalty rates killing our weekend cafe society


Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Penalty rate hikes in awards, particularly weekend and public holiday rates, are causing Australia to undergo a backward revolution. It's a step into the past by stealth. Restrictive trading hours are being imposed through the mechanism of business-breaking cost hikes. More...


Paralysed in a tax office trap

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Australian union movement has been quite open about its campaign to stamp out independent contractors wherever it can. Running parallel to this, it's instructive to see that the Australian Taxation Office has shifted to a decidedly anti-independent contractor stance over the last few years.  The outcome (intentional or not) is to aid the unions' objectives. More...



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