The fair work act and worker voice in the Australian Public Service

Cameron Roles, Michael O'Donnell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The Australian Public Service (�APS�) has always been something of a testing ground for federal governments� industrial relations policies. Under the Coalition government from 1996 to 2007, workplace relations laws and strict parameters regulated bargaining in the APS and promoted managerial unilateralism, individualism, and union exclusion. By contrast the Labor government�s Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) favoured collective agreement making, but retained some features of previous workplace laws such as tight regulation of industrial action. The Labor government�s bargaining framework provided increased recognition of trade unions and for the role of workplace union representatives in the bargaining process. This article examines the role of worker voice during the 2011�12 APS bargaining round. The government as employer, through the Australian Public Service Commission, sought to limit Average Annualised Wage Increases to three per cent and also proposed a range of cuts to working conditions. The paper demonstrates how worker voice was mobilised in APS agencies following campaigns by public sector unions and workplace representatives for �no� votes in response to initial agency offers, for �yes� votes for protected action ballots, and through engagement in creative forms of industrial action.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)93-117
    JournalAdelaide Law Review
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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