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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.

Hits and misses in the Productivity Commission's IR review

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Australian unions will be delighted with the Productivity Commission review of the workplace relations framework released yesterday. Finally unions might be able to run another ‘it’s the horror of WorkChoices’ scare campaign. They’ve been longing for this since Abbott won government.

Unions have taken a beating in the Royal Commission into union corruption. The exposure of payola from corporations lining union financial coffers has been most embarrassing. It shows unions to be frequently more chummy with corporates than with employees. What a relief for unions that the Productivity Commission has recommended a cut in weekend penalty rates; it provides a handy shift of public focus. More...


Small retailers will suffer the ultimate penalty

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The political uproar that is the debate over penalty rates could almost be a hysterical comedy written for Australians by the ghost of Shakespeare.

Think of it. Some months ago as Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s popularity polling was crashing, he dared utter the thought bubble that penalty rates should be reformed. There was uproar from his surrogate political opponents, the union movement, headed by the ACTU. More...


Holden: The car maker's Australian exit is a good thing

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Thank goodness Holden is finally leaving Australia. The pain is over and no longer will ordinary Australian taxpayers and small business people have to pay to keep Holden going.

Yes, unions are crying ''What about the poor workers!'' Poor workers? These are privileged workers. 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...


The union hand on the wheel that doomed Ford

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

There's more to the Ford closure story than at first appears.

In fact, there's a monster truck crashing over the bonnets of the car manufacturing industry in Australia.  Unfortunately, no one seems capable of stopping its destructive progress. Sitting in the driver's seat are Australia's manufacturing unions shouting loud about 'workers' rights'.  These unions share a big part of the blame for the industry's progressive decline and job losses. More...


Pay for cooks shows IR madness

Thursday, May 09, 2013

 If there is a single example that the Australian industrial relations system has lost all balance and common sense, it's in the pay rates to cooks working on ships involved in the oil and gas industries. The cooks are on a $230,000 package for a rotating roster and they effectively work only six months a year. 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...


457 visas about union control

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Even though Julia Gillard's comments against 457 visa workers have horrible undertones of historical Labor racism, they aren't racist. Instead Labor, in my opinion, is involved in an old-fashioned protection racket of entrenched power and money. More...


Desperate solutions for a broken union brand

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Australian unions are on the attack against self-employed people and it's all because unions are under pressure. Their attack has unfolded as part of a brand defence campaign.

From a marketing perspective the trade union brand has taken a beating in the last year or so. The misuse of member funds in the Health Services Union kicked off the issue. The New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption is exposing allegations of senior Labor/union operatives playing lead roles in corruption. It's anticipated that a lot more will be exposed.  More...


Old work hour habits won't die

Monday, August 20, 2012
The Federal Court decision last week to uphold the legality of industrial relations deals that restrict the use of contractors and labour hire adds further concern about the declining productivity in Australia. And the court's ADJ Contracting decision contrasts sharply to a recent discussion paper from the Australian Institute of Management arguing that flexible work improves productivity.  More...

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