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Labour Market Deregulation in Australia: The Slow Combustion Approach to Workplace Change
journal contributionposted on 2017-06-08, 06:20 authored by Campbell, Iain, Brosnan, Peter
Since the beginning of the 1990s Australia has experienced a gradual but far-reaching process of labour market deregulation. Labour market deregulation has proceeded primarily through the dismantling of the distinctive system of awards - the main avenue of external, protective regulation in Australia for much of the twentieth century. This paper examines labour market deregulation and its implications for the Australian workforce. It situates the changes in terms of their institutional starting point in the award system and the growing pressures in the 1980s for increased labour market flexibility. It argues that labour market deregulation is amplifying existing trends to growth in precarious employment, wage dispersion and the development of a lowpay sector amongst full-time employees. In addition, it is sponsoring a significant fragmentation of working-time arrangements.