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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.

Some revolutionary thoughts for the New Year

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 a year of revolution
The Foreign Affairs Editor for The Australian, Greg Sheridan, has described 2016 as a year of revolution.  From Brexit to Trump, the rise and (current) fall of ISIL, global terrorism, the game play of Putin, military muscle-exercising by China and the election of the drug-pusher killer President of the Philippines all indicate revolutionary shifts from the status quo. Sheridan says that 2016 will be seen by historians as a “fundamental year of change of direction on par with other great pivot points of global history”. More...


At last a fair deal for hard-working subbies

Saturday, December 10, 2016

In the commercial construction sector the people who always get it in the neck are the small subcontractors — the subbies — the people who actually do the real work on the ground.

This newspaper, The West Australian, has run a long and deserved campaign demanding action. But where’s the State Government response?

Well, finally, we have seen some action. More...


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...


Why is Wesfarmers so opposed to the ‘effects test’?

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Wesfarmers’ chief executive Richard Goyder was a high profile player in the recent unsuccessful lobbying against changes to competition law which will see the introduction of an ‘effects test’. The Business Council of Australia, of which Goyder is a board member, likewise opposed the changes.

But big business opposition was not universal. The Australian Industry Group and the Shopping Centre Council of Australia for example did not oppose the changes. Although the AiGroup have expressed concerns on the detail, as have others. More...


Small business is losing confidence in the ATO

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

How would you feel if — after years of filling out your tax return in strict accordance with the Australian Taxation Office’s written rules and having your tax returns accepted by the ATO — you discovered that the ATO was accusing you of fraud?

Further, that the basis of the fraud accusation was that you were complying with ATO written rules. Confused? Go figure!

But this is the scenario confronting small business people today in their dealings with the ATO. More...


Big firms aren’t budging on business behaviour

Thursday, March 10, 2016

This week Robert Gottliebsen praised the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank for quickly apologising over revelations of how some customers had been treated badly by the CBAs insurance arm (CBA’s mea culpa a sign of the times, March 7).

Robert’s point is that the apology is an indication of the cultural shift starting to occur in large Australian firms. Once the CBA, on legal advice, would have denied liability and sought to stare down the accusers. More...


Safe super depends on total disclosure

Friday, January 29, 2016

One of the most arrogant aspects of Australia’s industrial relations system is the treatment of workers as if they are stupid and cannot make decisions for themselves.

The existing superannuation system takes this assumption to high levels. It assumes that workers are so dumb that they must not be allowed to decide where their retirement superannuation money is parked. More...


How Turnbull can push through corruption reforms

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

On current form, the Turnbull Government won’t have the numbers in the Senate to pass the reforms recommended by the Heydon Royal Commission into union corruption. This predicted failure is of the government’s own making.

The cause is as I’ve explained in articles over the last two days (here and here). The government is presenting the Heydon report as a union condemnation report. It is not. It is a report exposing corruption in Australian unions and businesses and recommends reforms to fix this. More...


The Coalition must heed Heydon’s powerful message

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

The Coalition parties have a history of failing whenever they attempt workplace reform. Yesterday I explained that the Turnbull government is positioning itself for a fall by promoting the Heydon report as being anti-union.

The report isn’t anti-union; it’s anti-corruption. But by focusing on the report as if it is anti-union, the Coalition presumably believes this will give it political advantage. Wrong! More...


The government’s misstep on the Heydon corruption report is a gift for Labor

Monday, January 04, 2016

The Turnbull government’s response to the Heydon Royal Commission Report into union corruption sets the scene for policy and political failure. It has responded just as the union movement and Labor hoped they would.

Further, Labor and the unions have already started their process of a slow and steady ‘kill’ of the Coalition on the issue. They have a surprisingly high chance of success. For the government, my perspective is probably a counterintuitive unsettling of their obvious glee over the Heydon report. More...



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