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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.

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...


Why the new unfair contract laws are good news for soloists

Monday, August 08, 2016

Brendan is a persistent fella. He’s a highly skilled IT consultant. Don’t ask me what he actually does. He tried to explain to me once but it was way beyond me.

What I do know with Brendan is that he has a high sense of justice. He gets really angry when a client ‘screws’ him over.  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...


How Turnbull can realise his innovation dreams

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Dear Prime Minister,

It’s fantastic that that you’re excited about ‘being alive’ and that you’re encouraging Australian’s to get out and ‘do things’. Yep, it’s people power that makes our society and economy vibrant and strong. If anything, you’re asking us to be entrepreneurs!

But I want to put my piece of caution to you as you drive us down the innovation road. More...


Small business looks to Turnbull for confidence on contracts

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The new Turnbull government faces an immediate test of its small business credentials with the Small Business and Unfair Contract Terms Bill 2015 before parliament and needing a decision.

Big business interests oppose the bill. On Monday morning, the day of the spill against Tony ­Abbott, the bill was amended in the Senate, enlarging its reach to more small business contracts than the government’s plan. More...


The Senate's sensible small business stance

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

This is a tale that dispels the myth about a dysfunctional Senate. If anything, my recent experience with the current crop of senators indicates a grouping of real professionals performing diligently in a pressure-cooker environment.

Monday, of course, was an extraordinary day with the successful party room spill against Tony Abbott. What’s not well known is what preceded the spill on Monday morning in the Senate.  More...


Abbott's 'small' reform step is a big deal

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Abbott Government is moving forward with a microeconomic reform that will prove a comparatively simple and costless measure. Small Business Minister Bruce Billson has just released the draft (exposure) Bill to extend unfair contract protections currently available to consumers to small businesspeople.

In initiating this, the government is locking in a central plank of its small business election promise and reform package. The measure has wider and more positive implications for how the economy operates than most people might think. 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...


Abbott’s competition review will weigh on big business

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

There’s concern from large business interests that in the competition review being organised by the Minister for Small Business, Bruce Billson, big business is going to be unfairly targeted, perhaps even clobbered.

Reflecting this view, Stephen Bartholomeusz last week expressed relief that the review panel is a “surprisingly balanced one" (Muscle and might: A panel to protect Australian competition, March 27). Further, that “the review won’t be loaded against competitors purely because of their size.” More...


Mall for one but not for all

Monday, January 20, 2014

You’ve got to feel sorry for the billionaires and highly paid executives of the multi-billion dollar corporations who own and control Australia’s major shopping centres. At least that’s what you’d take from the article (Mall owners are wrapped in red tape) in Business Spectator last week by their representative lobbyist, Milton Cockburn of the Shopping Centre Council. More...



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