This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as
introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments. This Digest
does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be
consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the
Workplace Relations Amendment Bill 1997
Date Introduced: 26 June 1997
House: House of Representatives
Portfolio: Workplace Relations and Small
Commencement: On Royal Assent
The Bill amends the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (the
Principal Act) to exempt businesses employing no more than 15
workers from the unfair dismissal provisions of that Act.
Only those employees hired after the commencement of the Bill
are affected and the proposed law does not affect employee's rights
in relation to 'unlawful dismissal'.
'Unfair dismissal' refers to those situations where the
employer's conduct in bringing the employment relationship to an
end can be characterised as 'harsh, unjust or unreasonable'.
Actions for unfair dismissal are instituted in the Australian
Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) which under the present law
must give weight to the interests of the employer and the dismissed
worker in determining both the merits of the case and any remedy
'Unlawful' (as opposed to 'unfair') dismissal includes dismissal
for discriminatory reasons such as sexual preference, age, union
membership and family responsibilities. It is also unlawful to
dismiss a worker because they engaged in protected (lawful)
industrial action in negotiating a new certified agreement or
Australian Workplace Agreement. Allegations of unlawful dismissal
are initiated in the AIRC. The Commission must seek to resolve a
claim by conciliation before determining whether to refer it to the
Federal Court of Australia.(1)
History of Exclusions and Exemptions
The proposed amendments would add to what is a growing list of
exclusions and exemptions from federal unfair dismissal laws.
The Keating Government passed the first significant piece of
federal legislation dealing with the termination of employment.
That law, the Industrial Relations Reform Act 1993 (the
1993 Reform Act), came into effect on 30 March 1994. [The 1993
Reform Act amended but did not rename the Industrial Relations
Act 1988 (the IR Act 1988 ). The IR Act was later to be
heavily amended and renamed by legislation introduced by the Howard
Government and is now titled the Workplace Relations Act
1996 (referred to herein as either the Workplace Relations Act
or the Principal Act)].
Prior to March 1994, workers covered by State awards had enjoyed
access to statutory and award based remedies for some years but the
approximately 40 percent of Australian workers in the federal
system did not have access to similar remedies. Workers in the
federal industrial stream could not access State tribunals and
their rights were constrained by constitutional limits on the
jurisdiction of federal courts and industrial tribunals. Some
avenues of redress, including the AIRC's willingness to exercise a
de facto jurisdiction, were available but even these were
frequently cumbersome and relatively costly.
In a jurisdictional sense, the 1993 Reform Act went from one
extreme to the other, extending minimum protections to all workers
and also effectively establishing federal primacy over the
pre-existing State-based systems in relation to termination of
The other major feature of the 1993 Reform Act was that it
created a rights based regime, rather than one entirely dependent
on the discretionary standards and remedies.
Thus, as first enacted, the federal legislative scheme dominated
the field, was both rights-based and comprehensive.
Regulations made on 29 March 1994 excluded some fixed term,
casual and probationary employees.(2) These exemptions were
extended and clarified by further regulations made on 9 November
1994(3) thus denying protection to: (a) persons employed for a
fixed term of less than 6 months; (b) employees engaged to perform
a specific task; (c) probationary employees whose period of
probation was determined prior to hiring and to instances where the
probationary period was reasonable in the circumstances; (d) some
casual, including daily hire, employees; (e) specified classes of
trainees; and (f) persons engaged under the Australian Federal
Police Act 1979.
In the interim, the IR Act 1988 was amended by the
Industrial Relations Amendment Act No.2 1994 (with effect
from June 1994) to address employer concerns regarding access to
the new federal remedies. Specifically, the June 1994 amendments
restricted access to termination provisions and set upper limits on
the level of compensation that could be awarded.
From 30 June 1994, the Industrial Court's unfair dismissal
jurisdiction did not extend to workers who earned in excess of $60
000 per annum (indexed) who were not covered by a Federal or State
A second major amendment 'capped' the amount of compensation
payable to employees dismissed in contravention of the 1993 Reform
Act. (After the passage of the 1993 reforms, monetary compensation
was available where reinstatement was judged impracticable.)
Following the 1994 amendments, the Industrial Relations Court could
only award up to six months' salary as compensation in the case of
employees covered by awards and not more than $30 000 or six
months' remuneration (whichever is the lower) for non award
employees as compensation for unfair dismissal. This amount was
A third modification to the 1993 provisions confined the onus of
proof imposed on employers to those matters concerning the giving
of valid reasons for dismissal and for proving that none of the
legislatively prohibited grounds for dismissal formed the (real)
reason for the dismissal. In all other respects, the onus of proof
rested with the employee. This evidentiary requirement also
operated to discourage some workers from seeking remedial relief
under the system.
In the face of continuing employer opposition, the Keating
Government further amended the law (with effect from 15 January
1996) providing that:
- the termination of employment provisions of the Act would not
apply where there was an alternative available under another law
that satisfied the requirements of ILO Convention No.158 relating
to termination of employment; and
- the Court must consider all the circumstances of the case in
deciding what remedy (if any) should be granted.(4)
The latter change was designed to lessen employer concerns that
the legislation placed too much weight on procedural fairness and
not enough on the substantive merits of individual cases.
The Howard Government was elected in March 1996 with a clear
policy commitment to further reforming the federal termination laws
to ensure that they provided a 'fair go all round'.The Coalition's
policy manifesto, Better Pay for Better Work, described
the existing law as ' far too detailed, too prescriptive and too
legalistic and hence a disincentive to employment.'(5)
The Workplace Relations and Other Legislation Amendment Bill
1996 (WROLA) was introduced on 23 May 1996 and was enacted into law
(substantially) on 31 December 1996.
The significant changes made by the WROLA include:
- The jurisdiction of the federal tribunal to hear unfair
dismissal claims has been reduced.The system is more comprehensive
than that which applied prior to 1994 but does give dominance over
all areas to the federal tribunal.
- The definition of 'fairness' has been changed. Before awarding
a remedy (if any) to the employee, account must be taken of the
ongoing interests of all the parties. This is encapsulated in the
slogan 'a fair go all round'. Allied with this, there has been a
rebalancing of the statutory test to ensure that procedural
fairness is only one factor in determining whether a dismissal is
- Separate streams exist for handling unfair and unlawful
- The power of the AIRC to award costs against employees has been
dramatically increased and has been coupled to a compulsory
- A $50.00 filing fee has been introduced.
- Whilst the Workplace Relations Bill was still before the
Parliament, the High Court held that the prohibition in the IR Act
1988 on 'harsh, unjust, or unreasonable' (ie 'unfair') dismissals
set out in subsection 170DE(2) of the former Act was invalid. The
provision had sought to rely on the external affairs power.
However, the High Court held that there was not a sufficient
connection between the relevant provisions of the IR Act and the
relevant international instruments.(6)
- The new Act retains the expression 'harsh, unjust and
unreasonable' in relation to unfair dismissals but confines the
operation of the federal statute to a narrower field, ie
Commonwealth employees; federal award employees employed by
foreign, financial and trading corporations; Territory employees;
some employees engaged in interstate and overseas trade; and
(latterly) Victorian workers. Hence some federal award employees
are not covered by the federal law and the five remaining State
systems are not subject to the overriding operation of the federal
law as was previously the case.
- As to 'unlawful dismissal', Subdivision C of Division 3 of Part
VIA of the Principal Act provides for grounds of relief where a
termination breaches the minimum notice
- requirement (section 170CM) or is for a prohibited reason such
as age, race, union membership or non membership etc (section
170CK). WROLA extends the IR Act's list of prohibited grounds by
making it unlawful to dismiss an employee for refusing to negotiate
in connection with, make, sign, extend, vary or terminate an
Australian Workplace Agreement [section 170CK(2)]. Proceedings for
unlawful dismissal are to be taken in the Federal Court of
Australia, or in the case of notice requirement, in a court of
competent jurisdiction. The remedies for unlawful dismissal are
broadly similar to those available under the old Act.
Regulations were made on 11 December 1996 imposing additional
restrictions on the classes of employee protected from unfair
dismissal.(7) On 26 March 1997, the Senate debated the disallowance
of the 11 December 1996 regulations, questioning the policy of
excluding such wide classes of employee from the Act by regulation.
Contrasting the effect of the regulations with exclusions made
under the previous law critics, including Senator Jacinta Collins,
- from November 1994, only employees hired for a specified period
which did not exceed six months were excluded from the protection
offered by the federal unfair dismissal law. It was asserted that
the 11 December 1996 regulations reverted to the pre-November 1994
position and excluded all employees hired for a 'specified
- the new regulations deny protection to casual employees until
they have been engaged as such for a continuous period of 12
months. Under the previous law, casuals with 6 months service or
longer with an employer were protected;
- under the pre 1996 regulations the maximum length of a
probationary period of employment was not defined.However, such a
period could not be 'unreasonable'. (Hence the Industrial Relations
Court had been prepared to find that in some cases a reasonable
period of probation would not extend beyond a week or two depending
on the task being performed.) The 11 December 1996 regulations deem
any period of probation up to 3 months to be reasonable;
- the restriction on terminating employees defined as
'temporarily absent' from work due to illness or injury is also
eroded. Employees are now subject to lawful dismissal where they
are absent from work for a continuous period of 3 months (or for
more than 3 months in a period of 12 months) except where they are
in receipt of paid sick leave; and
- the new regulations introduced the foreshadowed filing fee of
$50.00 (a measure contemplated by the 1996 amendments and fully
debated by the Parliament and agreed by the Parliament, ie
contentious but not a surprise).
The essence of these criticisms was that the regulations not
only derogate from the rights of some workers but also do not fully
conform with the terms of the relevant international treaty in that
they may make it simpler for employers to structure their
employment relations so as to avoid their responsibilities under
The Opposition failed in its attempt to disallow the 11 December
On 24 March 1997, Prime Minister Howard issued a Statement
entitled More Time for Business which responded to the
report of the Small Business Deregulation Task Force chaired by Mr
Charlie Bell, the Managing Director of McDonalds. The Statement
promised new regulations to exclude from the protection of federal
unfair dismissal laws, employees who have less than a year's
continuous service, and who work for a small business with no more
than 15 employees.(10)
Regulations were made on 30 April 1997 to give effect to the
Prime Minister's undertaking and were to commence on 1 July
The present Bill was introduced on 26 June 1997, with Minister
Reith noting in his Second Reading Speech that:
a regulation has already been made under the Workplace
Relations Act 1996, to give effect to the exemption, with
effect from 1 July 1997. But that regulation is subject to motion
of disallowance in the Senate - which must be dealt with this week.
If that motion is withdrawn or defeated, then this Bill will be
withdrawn from the notice paper. But if that motion is carried,
then this Bill will proceed.
On 26 June 1997, the Senate disallowed the regulations(12) and
accordingly the present Bill is to proceed.
The disallowance motion was moved by Australian Democrat
spokesperson, Senator Andrew Murray, who amongst other things,
claimed that the regulations breached the Government's election
commitments(13) and were also contrary to the agreement made
between the Government and the Australian Democrats which had
allowed the passage WROLA.(14)
The disallowance motion was also supported by the ALP, Senator
Harradine and Senator Margetts.
Senator Harradine has also recently indicated his opposition to
In mid July 1997, it was reported that the Prime Minister would
be prepared to seek a double dissolution if the Senate were to fail
to pass the present Bill.(16)
The Public Service Bill 1997, introduced in House of
Representatives on 26 June 1997, provides that Departmental
Secretaries, Agency Heads and members of the Senior Executive
Service may not seek relief under the termination of employment
provisions (Division 3 of Part VIA) of the Workplace Relations
Act 1996. This excludes senior Commonwealth officials from the
protections of unfair and unlawful dismissal provisions of the
Workplace Relations Act.
The Bill will principally affect businesses with no more than 15
permanent employees, whose workers are subject to federal awards.
However, as the unfair dismissal law is principally confined to
businesses which are 'constitutional corporations', not all
businesses with federal award workers will be affected.
('Constitutional corporations' are 'foreign corporations' and those
domestically formed companies which are regarded as carrying on
financial or trading activities within the meaning of section
51(20) of the Australian Constitution.) In short, unincorporated
bodies such as sole traders and partnerships are not presently
subject to the federal unfair dismissal regime and will accordingly
not need to rely on the proposed exemption. Similarly, corporations
not bound by federal awards may also not need to rely on the
proposed exemption as they may not be subject to federal unfair
Persons who are engaged in defined types of interstate and
overseas trade or who work within a Territory or in Victoria (17)
will be affected. Commonwealth entities with fewer than 16
employees are also affected.
The Bill does not affect the rights of persons already employed
by a small business but will affect persons who join a small
business after the new law comes into operation.
Pros and Cons
Supporters of the Bill argue that the proposed
- are necessary to ensure the continuing growth in employment in
- are consistent with the Government's stated policy which was
fully canvassed prior to the 1996 General Election
- reflect special burdens carried by small business in defending
unfair dismissal claims (Larger businesses have greater expertise
for establishing recruitment and termination procedures whilst
small business can find that just defending unfair claims places
intolerable strains on their resources.)
- do not affect the rights of existing employees
- do not affect the rights of apprentices
- do not extend to cases of alleged unlawful dismissal
- are consistent with exemptions available under the
International Labour Organization's Termination of Employment
- mirror the precedents (for the size of business excluded)
established by the Wran Government's Employment Protection Act
1982 (NSW) and the decision of the then Australian
Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in the 1984 Termination,
Change and Redundancy Test Case.
Those opposing the Bill have three basic lines
of attack. Those are that the changes are inequitable, unnecessary
and at odds with Australia's obligations at international law.
The principal argument going to the fairness of the changes is
that they leave a significant section of the workforce without
basic protections enjoyed by workers employed by medium to large
businesses (including workers in comparable jobs).
Further, it may be that proposed changes to unfair dismissal
laws will only have a marginal impact on the viability of most
small businesses. Insufficient capital, poor management, general
inexperience and predatory conduct by competitors are arguably more
pressing problems for small business (and indeed for the job
prospects of persons employed by small firms).
Critics may argue that all employers should take reasonable care
in selecting staff and that workers should not be dismissed
capriciously. Arguably, these are sound business principles which
should apply to all firms irrespective of their size.
Similarly, the Bill readily accepts that an action for unfair
dismissal may harm the employer, but does not acknowledge the
likely effect on the worker of losing his or her job.
Excluding some businesses from the federal law a priori
ousts the jurisdiction of third parties who may be able to resolve
the matter by conciliation. This is not only likely to produce
unfair results but is also bad industrial relations practice.
Size is not a universal proxy for profitability or capacity to
pay. The Bill (in effect) says that in every instance where the
employer is a small business, the business is less well placed to
carry the costs of a breakdown in the employment relationship than
the dismissed worker. Only in some instances will this be true.
It has been suggested the Bill may encourage some employers to
create artificial business entities to avoid the law by reducing
the nominal size of their workforce below the statutory
With continuing high levels of unemployment, the removal of
access to unfair dismissal remedies further enhances the already
considerable bargaining power of many employers. This, it may also
be argued, undermines the basis for genuine/free collective
To the extent that the provision does actually advantage small
businesses, it gives them an unfair competitive edge over other
businesses (including those which may employ as few as 16
It is arguable that the changes already enacted by the present
and the previous government have sufficiently redressed any
imbalance in the legislation against employers.
General changes to the termination of employment law since June
1994 have advantaged all employers, and small business has
benefited as much as other businesses.
Spurious actions are now less of a problem for all businesses as
there has been a marked decline in the number of claims in recent
Figures supplied by the Department of Workplace Relations and
Small Business comparing the period January-July 1997 (under the
Reith laws) with the January-July 1996 period (under the last
version of the Keating law) show a national decline of about 20
percent in the number of unfair/unlawful dismissal applications
lodged. Similarly, the number of applications in the federal
jurisdiction has fallen from 8423 in January-July 1996 to 3796 in
Whilst the causes of these shifts may be argued, what seems
clear is that the new laws have had a not insignificant impact on
the number of allegations of unfair treatment being made against
employers, particularly employers in the federal arena. Although no
firm data is available, there appears no reason for believing that
this decline in actions against employers has been confined to
medium and large businesses.
Critics of the present proposals might also argue that changes
to the general law have not only reduced levels of litigation, but
have also lowered the risk to all employers of being subject to an
adverse finding. Relevant factors include:
- the 'fair go all round test' introduced (spelled out) under
WROLA downplays the importance of procedural fairness and to some
degree lessens the attendant requirements for excessive record
keeping (etc) by employers in connection with the dismissal
- remedies of reinstatement or (capped) compensation are no
longer available to a dismissed worker as of right
even where the termination is found to be harsh, unjust or
unreasonable. The AIRC, in making an order of compensation, must
have regard, among other things, to the effect that the order may
have on the viability of the employer's business [section
- as the present Government has claimed, introducing a filing fee
and extending the Commission's capacity to award costs should
further shield all employers from unreasonable claims; and
- the extension of the former legislation's exclusions in respect
of casual, fixed-term and probationary employees also works to the
advantage of some employers (including, of course, small
Lastly, and on a slightly different tack, it is arguable that
the alleged mischief created by the 1993 Reform Act (including that
done to small business) was always overstated. It will be recalled
that amongst the claims made by employers were that:
- the legislation encouraged too many claims, many of which were
'try-ons' and simply unjustifiable, representing increased pressure
in terms of legal costs and time on employers; and(18)
- the law cost jobs (the Executive Director of the NSW Employers
Federation, Garry Brack, was reported as suggesting that the
anecdotal evidence indicated that the unfair dismissal laws may
have dissuaded Australia's small business from creating an extra
100,000 to 200,000 jobs).(19)
Such claims, by their nature, are easily made but not so readily
In its 1995-1996 Annual Report, the Industrial
Relations Court of Australia, however, provided a detailed critique
of many of the employer criticisms of the previous law.The Report
provides the statistical support for the claims of Chief Justice
Wilcox during the 1996 Election campaign that the then law was
generally 'working well' and that the main problem was the bad
conduct and sloppy human resource management practices of some
employers. Comments in the Industrial Relations Court's 1995-96
Annual Report include the following:
- the controversy was fuelled by a degree of deliberate
- the previous Government did not make a major effort to explain
and justify the new laws, hence public perceptions were able to be
- in 1994 95 only 928 (or 12%) of the finalised cases were
resolved either at or after trial with the corresponding figures
for 1995 96 being 1605 and 15.8% (ie most cases did not come to
- from late 1995 onwards, the total number of unfair dismissal
applications represented only about 2% of total involuntary
- employers had a good success rate under the old law;
- contrary to some suggestions, people who bring unfair dismissal
claims represent a fairly normal cross-section of the
- although ABS figures show that 91.7% of employers have fewer
than 20 employees, a survey of employers involved in unfair
dismissals showed that only 33% of respondents were small
businesses (had fewer than 20 employees), ie small business is
under-represented in unfair dismissal actions; and
- the median amount of compensation awarded was $6 000.00 and the
average cost of defending a claim less than $5 000.00.(20)
Subject to the important qualification that employer concerns
such as employee threats of legal action are not captured by the
above data, what emerges from the Industrial Relations Court's
findings is that the 'problems' caused by the 1993 legislation may
have been overstated. In relation to small businesses, the apparent
under-representation of small businesses in termination matters
coming before industrial tribunals and the Court is particularly
interesting in the context of the present Bill.
Australia ratified the ILO Convention on the Termination of
Employment, 1982 (Convention No.158) on 26 February 1993.
Having ratified such a Convention, the Commonwealth undertakes
to ensure that Australian domestic law and practice remain in
conformity with the terms of (what is in effect) the treaty and
with the relevant international jurisprudence.
In the context of the present Bill, some doubts may be raised as
to whether the proposed exemption for small business from the
unfair dismissal laws is at odds with Convention No.158.
The relevant substantive provisions of Convention No.158 are
articles 2(5) and 2(6).(21)
Article 2(5) provides:
In so far as necessary, measures may be taken by the competent
authority or through the appropriate machinery in a country, after
consultation with the organizations of employers and workers
concerned, where such exist, to exclude from the application of
this Convention or certain provisions thereof other limited
categories of employed persons in respect of which special problems
of a substantial nature arise in the light of the particular
conditions of employment of the workers concerned or the size
or the nature of the undertaking that employs them (emphasis
It is open to question whether the broad exclusion contemplated
by the Bill extends beyond ' limited categories of employed persons
in respect of which special problems of a substantive nature exist
'. At face value, all persons employed by small business is simply
not a very 'limited' or 'specialised' class of employee. An
exclusion which exempted businesses in a particular/special
industry engaging a handful of workers would arguably meet this
test. The present proposal to exempt all small businesses in
relation to new staff arguably punches too big a whole in article
2(1) of Convention No.158 which evinces the intention that the
Convention starts from the proposition that it 'applies to all
branches of economic activity and to all employed persons.'
Current practice within the ILO would, however, seem to run
against such a restrictive view of article 2(5). The International
Labour Conference Report of the 82nd Session (1995) instances a
handful of countries where unfair dismissal laws have limited
application to firms with relatively few employees. However, it may
be noted that of these, two of the four countries mentioned have
very limited exceptions. One applies to firms with 4 workers
(Republic of Korea), the other to 6 workers (Germany). Austrian
practice is tied to other legislation and Sri Lanka sets the bar at
Article 2(6) provides that:
Each Member which ratifies this Convention shall list in the
first report on the application of the Convention submitted under
article 22 of the Constitution of the International Labour
Organization any categories which may have been excluded in
pursuance of paragraphs 4 and 5 of this Article, giving the reasons
for such exclusion, and shall state in subsequent reports the
position of its law and practice regarding the categories excluded,
and the extent to which effect has been given or is proposed to be
given to the Convention in respect of such categories.
It is suggested that article 2(6) does not allow for subsequent
exclusions once the first article 22 report has been made.(23)
Commenting on this very issue, a leading commentator on industrial
law, Breen Creighton, has noted that:
Given that Australia submitted its first report on Convention
No.158 in September 1995, this means that it would not now be
permissible in terms of the Convention to adopt regulations under
section 170CC(1)(d) or (e) to exclude categories of workers (for
example those whose employers employed fewer than five employees) -
even though it would have been quite in order to do so before the
first report was submitted.(24)
Schedule 1 provides for the small business
exemption by amending section 170CE of the Principal Act.
The new provision exempts employers from the unfair dismissal
provisions of the Principal Act in relation to any person engaged
after the commencement of this Act where:
- that person was not an apprentice; and
- the business employs no more than 15 persons.
The relevant time for calculating the number of employees is
either the time that notice is given by the employer to the
dismissed worker or the time that the contract of employment ceases
(whichever happens first).
In calculating the number of persons engaged by the employer at
the time that notice is given or dismissal is effected, the
dismissed worker is included. However, casual workers who are not
engaged on 'a regular and systematic basis for a sequence of
periods of employment of at least 12 months' do not form part of
It may be noted that the Bill provides a wider exemption from
the Principal Act than did the regulations disallowed on 26 June
1997. The regulations excluded only employees who had not been
engaged by the (dismissing) employer for less than 12 months. The
Bill excludes all workers who join a small business after the new
provisions come into effect.
It has been suggested that the Government is prepared to treat
the failure to pass the present Bill as a possible trigger for a
Section 57 of the Australian Constitution deals with deadlocks
between the two houses.
In relation to section 57 it may be noted that:
- for the Government to have a trigger to call a double
dissolution, the Senate must have twice rejected or failed to pass
a proposed law or passed the law with amendments to which the House
of Representatives will not agree; and
- there must be a gap of three months between the first failure
to pass and the second passage of the proposed law through the
The Senate's disallowance of the regulations providing for the
exemption of small businesses from the Principal Act does not count
as the first failure to pass.
In very general terms, what amounts to a 'failure to pass' for
the purposes of section 57 depends on the particular circumstances
including the history and nature of the Bill and normal Senate
practices at the time.(25) Sending the present Bill to a Senate
Committee for report would not (of itself) amount to a failure to
pass; whereas keeping the Bill in the Committee without any
intention of dealing with it may.
If the 1914 precedent is followed, the political or policy
significance of the proposed law is not material to any decision by
the Governor-General to accede to a request that both Houses be
simultaneously dissolved under section 57.
A double dissolution election cannot take place within six
months before the date of the expiry of the House of
Representatives by effluxion of time.The present House is due to
expire on 30 April 1999, ie 3 years after its first meeting. The
possible last date for a double dissolution election is Saturday 24
- It is generally acknowledged that relatively few actions will
be brought for 'unlawful dismissal'. Refer Chief Justice Murray
Wilcox, 'Dismissal: A Fair Go All Round', speech to Workplace
Relations Acts Conference, Brisbane 14 March 1997:10.
- Statutory Rules 1994, No.79.
- Statutory Rules 1994, No.386.
- Industrial Relations and Other Legislation Amendment Act
- page 11.
- Victoria v Commonwealth (1996) 138 ALR 129.
- Statutory Rules 1996, No.307.
- Not withstanding sub-regulation 30B(2) which seeks to prevent
conduct deliberately aimed at escaping the operation of the
- CPD, Senate, 26 March 1997: 2573 2580.
- page 85.
- Statutory Rules 1997, No.101.
- CPD, Senate: 5287.
- Senator Murray has alleged that Mr Reith had given a commitment
during the election campaign (SMH, 20 February 1996) that there
would be no small business exemption from the unfair dismissal law.
CPD, Senate, 26 June 1997: 5278.
- Canberra Times, 25 August 1997.
- Sydney Morning Herald, 17 July 1997 and Canberra Times, 21 July
- The combined effect of Workplace Relations and Other
Legislation Amendment Act (No.2) 1996 (Cwth) and the Commonwealth
Powers (Industrial Relations) Act 1996 (Vic).
- Bryan Noakes, President of the Australian Chamber of Commerce
and Industry (ACCI), Sydney Morning Herald, 28 February 1996.
- Australian Financial Review, 11 April 1995.
- See Report, especially pages 5-6 and 4
- Pre-existing exemptions covering casual workers, probationary
employees and fixed term employees come within Article 2 paragraph
- ILO, Protection Against Unjustified Dismissal, Geneva, 1995: 27
- ibid: 30.
- 'The Workplace Relations Act in International Perspective',
Australian Journal of Labour Law, April 1997: 31 49, 42.
- Victoria v Commonwealth (1975) 134 CLR 81.
- Refer to Senate Brief No.7, 'Disagreement Between the Houses',
February 1997 for a concise but slightly lengthier exposition of
the workings of section 57.
25 August 1997
Bills Digest Service
Information and Research Services
This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other
sources should be consulted to determine whether the Bill has been
enacted and, if so, whether the subsequent Act reflects further
IRS staff are available to discuss the paper's contents
with Senators and Members and their staff but not with members of
© Commonwealth of Australia 1997
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Last updated: 26 August 1997
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