The Fair Work Act: As good as it gets?

Alison Barnes*, George Lafferty

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


The Your Rights at Work Campaign in the lead-up to the 2007 Australian federal election successfully mobilised a groundswell of community opposition to the radically anti-union Work Choices employment relations legislation of 2005. There were hopes that its successor, the 2009 Fair Work Act, would usher in a new regime of good-faith workplace relations, support for collective bargaining and vulnerable workers' access to enforceable labour rights. Major gaps are the failure to address workplace power imbalance, especially in small workplaces, and lack of support for employee participation and voice mechanisms. A case is made for the inclusion of such mechanisms in legislative National Employment Standards. The article concludes by arguing that it is a mistake for unions to expect too much from legislation, rather than investing in the pursuit of the sort of community alliances which, after all, have made a restoration of Work Choices untenable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalEconomic and Labour Relations Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010

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