The Changing Face of Australias Industrial Scene

The Changing Face of Australia's Industrial Scene




The changing face of Australia’s industrial scene.

The industrial relations arena in Australia is a very complex area. It comprises of businesses, employer groups, employees, unions, governments as legislators and the court system in respect to common law. Australia’s industrial laws have been developed over many years both by the court system and the legislative powers of the Federal, State and Territory Governments. Since 1996 there has been a stark change in the direction that the legislators and courts have taken to continue building Australia’s industrial scene. It is moving away from a state managed system to a more national combined system with the Federal Government assuming more control over industrial relations and employment conditions. This is being achieved by the use of the Australian Constitution (Cth) and rulings of the High Court of Australia.
The Commonwealth Government does not have the power to legislate directly on the industrial relations and or employment conditions throughout all of Australia.   The Australian Constitution (Cth) (“the Constitution”) underlies the relations between the federal and state governments in the industrial arena. The Constitution provides the foundation for federal legislation in all areas of the Federal Governments legislative powers and also sets out that the state parliaments continue to have their original (colonial) legislative powers except where the Constitution vested a power in the Commonwealth or withdrew a power from the state. This is outlined in section 107 of the Australian Constitution (Cth).
Where there is a direct conflict between a commonwealth law and a state law, the commonwealth law will prevail under section 109 of the Constitution and override the state law.
By virtue of section 122 of the Constitution the Commonwealth has plenary power to pass laws on any subject in relation to the territories....