|Issue No 34||08 October 1999|
Shaw Slams Rio Tinto Decision
NSW Attorney General Jeff Shaw has raised doubts about the legality of this week's landmark decision by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission dealing itself out of enterprise bargaining.
Shaw, a leading industrial QC before he entered politics, describes the decision to refuse to arbitrate in the long-running Hunter Valley No 1 case as "curious".
The decision is being interpreted as a death knell for compulsory arbitration, after the Commission signalled it was prepared to let parties fight matters out rather than bringing them to a head by ending the bargaining period and forcing arbitration.
Shaw warns the decision puts the long-term viability of the Commission under a cloud, with unions and employers unlikely to put as much faith in the independent tribunal that has overseen industrial relations for the past century.
And he is scathing of the Commission's "risky venture into literary illusion" where it applied the 19th century proverb "all is fair in love and war" to justify its hands-off approach.
"Since there are international conventions and laws which govern warfare and since most would think that there are norms and values applicable to love, it seems arguable that the adage applied to the case is self-evidently wrong," he says.
"It was an invitation to error to consider that there were no standards of fair play applicable to an industrial dispute."
Shaw argues the minimalist arbitration conducted by the Commission does not seem to have been the result of any legal requirement. "The statutory prohibitions against arbitration did not constitute an effective barrier," he says.
Interview: A Crack to the Skull
Rail, Tram and Bus Union state secretary Nick Lewocki took on the Carr Government’s radical rail refrom agenda and walked away a winner. He looks back on the week the trains stood still.
Economics: Green Backs and Dirty Dollars
Paul Ehlrich says the real culprit behind the environmental crisis isn't so much the huge numbers of people in the world or conspicuous over-consumption in the West but an economic system that confuses price with cost.
Unions: Tally Ho!
A landmark meat industry decision might not have the impact the reith cheer-squad hopes for.
History: The Western Express
West Australian historians are undertaking a project to chronicle that state's rich rail history.
Republic: The Referendum: A Spot of Reading
John Passant looks a the propaganda passing as information in the lead-up to the referendum.
Indigenous: Australia Snubs Nose at the UN
The United Nations General Assembly will be told that Australia has breached an international convention on racial discrimination that Malcolm Fraser’s Government ratified 24 years ago.
International: Desert Flashpoint
The United Nations has confirmed that demonstrations were suppressed in Western Sahara last month.
Review: Temper Democratic
Humphrey McQueen has been a fearless critic of received opinions across a range of subjects for many years, and as a consequence has been criticised or more often ignored in debates in Australia.
Satire: Tax Cuts Come in the Nick of Time for Struggling Packers
Welfare groups have called upon on the Federal Government to bring forward the date of proposed capital gains tax cuts.
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