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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.

Labor’s culture spells trouble for the Victorian economy

Monday, June 15, 2015

I’ve previously argued that the circumstances have developed for a politically induced recession in Victoria. It’s a big claim and only time will tell if my analysis has substance but it’s a claim that has historical precedent.

The central reasoning for the claim comes from an understanding of the Victorian Labor Party and union movement. These bodies don’t view commercial contracts as things having an integrity removed from politics. Instead, they see contracts as being entirely subject to political interests and whims. In fact, they view business deals as instruments to further political objectives. More...


Victoria is building the conditions for a recession

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Recessions can be politically induced. In Victoria, there are flashing red signals to suggest that scenario may be developing.

Let’s begin with last week’s Victorian budget.

The previous Coalition government spent four years keeping public sector wages under control. They had a ‘war’ with just about every public sector employee group and suffered electoral backlash as a result. More...


Victoria is heading down NSW's path of corruption

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The current attacks against the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption for overreaching its authority are a comparative diversion from a larger systemic problem.

New South Wales has a long history of ingrained corruption. It’s a bigger issue than just corrupt individuals.

Rather, individual corrupt behaviour is the end result of a political, governance and business system that masks, almost legalises and certainly facilitates corruption.

The problem goes back a long way. More...


Victoria is no longer the place to be for business

Monday, April 20, 2015

The events of last week in Victoria where the government is spending $600 million to $1bn to not build a vital road link isn't just a colossal trashing of taxpayers’ money, but something much more.

It should be seen by anyone who wants to invest, develop or do business large or small in Victoria as a signal of the state’s unprecedented environment of risk. This is because the usual rule-book of commercial activity has been dumped and replaced with new rules in which business is exclusively reliant on political favour. It is a risk environment of third-world proportions. More...


Something doesn't add up in the East West Link settlement

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The announcement by the Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews of the ‘settlement’ to not go ahead with the East West road link has all the signals of a significantly incomplete picture.

There are three major components to the cancellation costs confronting the government. The first is to pay out the construction consortium, East West Connection for the costs they have incurred in starting the project but having it cancelled. Some $339 million has been agreed and allocated to this, the government says. More...


Victoria's building union crackdown reaches the next level

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

In a significant development the Victorian government this week imposed the first sanction against a construction firm for breach of the Victorian Construction Code.

McConnell Dowell Contractors is no minnow in the construction game. It reports around $3.5 billion in construction works on its books at any one time, operating in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. It is a major builder of infrastructure, currently building, for example, large-scale water supply tunneling in Brisbane and the Gold Coast Light Rail. 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...


An open letter to Boral’s Mike Kane

Friday, July 11, 2014

Mike,

I’ve just read your letter of July 7 to the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.

Congratulations on your strong determination to stand up to attempts by the construction union, the CFMEU, to put Boral out of business. As you state, you are being targeted by the CFMEU because you continue to supply concrete to the CFMEU’s hated construction firm, Grocon.  More...


How Abbott is rebuilding the construction landscape

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

There are plenty of naïve people at the big end of town who haven’t yet realised the extent to which the Abbott government is changing the landscape of business in Australia.

The first dramatic signals came early this year when the government announced the end of corporate welfare. This had substance, with the rejection of taxpayer bailouts to Holden, Toyota, Coca Cola’s subsidiary SPC Ardmona and Qantas. The message to corporations was straightforward: grow up and stop your dependency on taxpayers! More...


How Napthine could get back on track in Victoria

Saturday, March 22, 2014

After nearly four years of being behind in the polls, there are early signs that the Victorian government could be turning around its electoral fortunes. Due to go to election this November, the government has in fact been behind in the polls since unexpectedly winning government in late 2010.

To combat the fall in popularity, the Liberal Party tried changing its leader, dumping Ted Baillieu a year ago and replacing him with Denis Napthine. But this has had little success, and Labor leader Daniel Andrews is already behaving as a premier-in-waiting. More...



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