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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.

Gig economy and unfair contract laws suit self-employed

Friday, November 18, 2016

Two current events occurring some 17,000km apart reveal regulatory tension over the “gig” economy. One event tears at the new economy while the other is working with this economic change.

Last weekend, Australia’s unfair contract laws covering small business people began. Late last month, a precedent-setting judgment in London declared two of Uber’s 40,000 British drivers to be employees and thus entitled to minimum wages.

The Australian event is accommodating the gig economy within a regulatory framework. The London event assaults the structural heart of the gig economy. 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...


The ACCC needs to try harder on collective bargaining

Thursday, December 17, 2015

It’s illegal to smoke marijuana but it’s okay to use a bong! That seems to be the type of message the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission is sending in its latest decision to allow the Transport Workers Union to collectively bargain with the giant Japanese-owned transport company Toll.

Collective bargaining under industrial relations laws gives unions the legal authority to bargain collectively for employees, frankly whether employees agree to that or not. It’s the union that owns and controls the process, not the employees.  More...


A welcome disruption to the economy

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

The Unfair Contracts Act for small business people was proclaimed on November 12 this year and will go through a 12-month implementation period. The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission has immediately began reviewing commercial contracts for compliance.

The Act is a significant microeconomic reform, holding promise as a driver of innovation and jobs.

Economies are experiencing on going innovation upheaval. As a taste, banks are likely to halve their costs (and staff numbers) through technological innovation over the next decade. Automated cars  will start eliminating taxi driver jobs in the near future. Kenya has revolutionised financial transactions through phone-to-phone transfer, eliminating banks. More...


The ACCC opens its eyes to Australia's dirty IR secret

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a big warning to corporate executives involved in doing deals with unions. They are now under a ‘watch’ notice.

Executives doing normal industrial relations negotiations over enterprise agreements and the like should not have cause to worry. But where the deals move into shady areas that could arguably have the effect of harming competition it’s now time to become ultra-careful! 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...


Reaping the rewards of a fair go for small business

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Abbott government’s review into competition laws organised by Small Business Minister Bruce Billson shouldn’t just be considered as a revisiting of the laws' technicalities. The design of competition laws say a lot about the moral authority of the very system of market capitalism.  More...



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