Industrial legislation in 1996

The reform agenda

Therese Macdermott*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


Two pieces of legislation have been chosen to highlight the nature of reforms to industrial legislation in 1996. First, the Workplace Relations and Other Legislation Amendment Act 1996 (Cwlth) ('the Workplace Relations Act') will be examined, as it represents the new reform agenda directed at a reconfiguration of industrial relations through a dismantling of the collective apparatus of industrial regula tion.1 Secondly, the Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW) ('the Industrial Rela tions Act') will be considered, being part of an established and less controversial trend of legislative reform generally referred to as 'managed decentralism'.2 Each Act will be analysed as a way of exploring the theme of the future of collective labour law in Australia and the emerging new paradigm for the regulation of industrial relations. A further trend that will be examined is that of the integration of labour law and anti-discrimination principles, an important developing theme in industrial relations discourse. The acts are clearly driven by different ideological stances. The federal Act is imbued with notions of choice and freedom of bargain ing that consequently shape the framework for bargaining, the role of industrial tribunals in overseeing bargaining processes and outcomes, and the participation of trade unions within the new industrial relations framework established by the Act. The New South Wales Act appears to approach the regulation of industrial relations from a different perspective, which seeks to redress part of the deregulatory process undertaken in earlier reforms. Hence, the processes and structures established by the New South Wales Act differ considerably from their federal counterparts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-76
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Industrial Relations
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Industrial legislation in 1996: The reform agenda'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this