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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.

Some revolutionary thoughts for the New Year

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 a year of revolution
The Foreign Affairs Editor for The Australian, Greg Sheridan, has described 2016 as a year of revolution.  From Brexit to Trump, the rise and (current) fall of ISIL, global terrorism, the game play of Putin, military muscle-exercising by China and the election of the drug-pusher killer President of the Philippines all indicate revolutionary shifts from the status quo. Sheridan says that 2016 will be seen by historians as a “fundamental year of change of direction on par with other great pivot points of global history”. More...


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...


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...


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...


Truckies’ Act a dog that may bark again

Monday, May 16, 2016

The sleeping political lion that is the small business community is only occasionally truly woken. But the Road Safety Remuneration Act did just that, triggering high agitation that culminated in the act’s repeal on April 18.

The issue remains alive however given that Labor leader Bill Shorten has promised to reintroduce the act if Labor wins government at this year’s election.  More...


Why is Wesfarmers so opposed to the ‘effects test’?

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Wesfarmers’ chief executive Richard Goyder was a high profile player in the recent unsuccessful lobbying against changes to competition law which will see the introduction of an ‘effects test’. The Business Council of Australia, of which Goyder is a board member, likewise opposed the changes.

But big business opposition was not universal. The Australian Industry Group and the Shopping Centre Council of Australia for example did not oppose the changes. Although the AiGroup have expressed concerns on the detail, as have others. More...


Small business is losing confidence in the ATO

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

How would you feel if — after years of filling out your tax return in strict accordance with the Australian Taxation Office’s written rules and having your tax returns accepted by the ATO — you discovered that the ATO was accusing you of fraud?

Further, that the basis of the fraud accusation was that you were complying with ATO written rules. Confused? Go figure!

But this is the scenario confronting small business people today in their dealings with the ATO. 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...


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...



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