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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...


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...


Uber lessons in disruption

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Taxi alternative Uber is throwing all the rules about hiring a car with driver out the (taxi) window.

In turning the taxi industry upside down, Uber is causing political storms across North America. The controversy in Australia has only just begun.

It’s just one example of our “disruption addiction”.

Once, keeping everything the same made people feel comfortable. Now we’ve become the ­disruption generation, accommo­da­ting disruption in deeply personal ways. More...


Turn yourself into a brand

Sunday, December 15, 2013

If you don’t ‘brand’ yourself when you’re self-employed, your capacity to be your own business and make good money is diminished. This is an important message I took from a presentation at the Pan-Asia small business conference in Macau in November.

The presentation by Dr Paul Temporal of Oxford University explained how successful global companies create and maintain brands. More importantly, he identified precisely what a brand is. The messages Paul was delivering are as applicable to self-employed, small business people as they are to large businesses. More...


Freelance workers: hits and myths

Friday, November 29, 2013

Human resource management systems and the professionals who run them are failing to manage a big percentage of their workforces.

This view comes from the admissions of senior HR professionals at a series of workshops and seminars I’ve attended recently. More...


Australia got caught out by Freelancer.com

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The launch of Freelancer.com onto the Australian stock market last week created great excitement. Upon listing, its 50 cent shares skyrocketed to $2.60 settling at $1.60. Commentators referred to it as potentially Australia’s Twitter.

The story underpinning the share market hype reflects not just a new age technology but rather a transformation in the way business and work is organised. Freelancer highlights how the transformation is expanding and will continue to overpower human resource practices inside large organisations, labour and tax laws and the very idea of what constitutes a business.  More...


3D printing revolution = surge in self-employment

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Technology is – again – about to transform the way people work, resulting in another big surge in self-employment.

This next technological revolution is 3D printing. It’s here, it’s now, but it’s just in its tiny beginning. Simple 3D printers are already within a price range for most people – at under $1500. Certainly they’re a novelty at the moment, producing paper toys and the like, but could explode in affordable sophistication. More...


The 9th SMEs in a Global Economy Conference 2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012

"Rising to the Global Challenge: Entrepreneurship and SME development in Asia"

Some reflections on a regional small business conference held in the capital of Laos, Vientiane. November 2012.

Last week I attended a regional small business conference in the capital of Laos, Vientiane. Friendly people. Great value for money! Lao culture very much alive! If you visit, I’d recommend riding a bicycle around town. It’s dead flat with lots of interesting side streets, restaurants, temples and so on. The traffic appears slightly chaotic but in fact moves at a surprisingly gentle, courteous pace.  More...


Small business snookered by social media rule

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

There’s no question. The internet has liberated people and, in particular, for people who are or want to be self-employed it has opened up undreamt of business possibilities. It’s exciting and it’s only the beginning.  More...



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