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From the Desk of the Executive Director

Ken Phillips is co-founder and Executive Director of Independent Contractors of Australia. He is a published authority on independent contractor issues and directs research on related commercial and trade practices issues. Through his numerous articles in newspapers and think-tank and academic journals, Ken is known for approaching issues from outside normal perspectives and is frequently sought out for media comment.

Small business looks to Turnbull for confidence on contracts

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The new Turnbull government faces an immediate test of its small business credentials with the Small Business and Unfair Contract Terms Bill 2015 before parliament and needing a decision.

Big business interests oppose the bill. On Monday morning, the day of the spill against Tony ­Abbott, the bill was amended in the Senate, enlarging its reach to more small business contracts than the government’s plan. More...


The Senate's sensible small business stance

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

This is a tale that dispels the myth about a dysfunctional Senate. If anything, my recent experience with the current crop of senators indicates a grouping of real professionals performing diligently in a pressure-cooker environment.

Monday, of course, was an extraordinary day with the successful party room spill against Tony Abbott. What’s not well known is what preceded the spill on Monday morning in the Senate.  More...


The ACCC opens its eyes to Australia's dirty IR secret

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a big warning to corporate executives involved in doing deals with unions. They are now under a ‘watch’ notice.

Executives doing normal industrial relations negotiations over enterprise agreements and the like should not have cause to worry. But where the deals move into shady areas that could arguably have the effect of harming competition it’s now time to become ultra-careful! More...


A corporate challenge for Tony Abbott

Saturday, August 01, 2015

In his new book, When We Were Young & Foolish, The Australian’s foreign affairs journalist Greg Sheridan exposes the “weird silence in Australian politics” over the corporate money that funds internal union elections. Sheridan talks in historical terms. Bill Shorten’s evidence to the Royal Commission into union corruption exposes the same ‘weird silence’. Corporations still give generously to unions. This still funds union campaigns.

But the weird silence is now broken. Rather, truth screams loud to the non-political-junkie class of ordinary Australians. There is no ‘workers versus bosses’ war; that idea is a scam and a sham. Instead, corporations and unions are in intimate commercial partnerships. What’s changed from Sheridan’s historical explanation to Shorten’s current admission is what motivates the union-corporate partnerships. More...


Royal Commission: Shorten actions look corrupt

Friday, July 10, 2015

What’s becoming apparent from the royal commission into union corruption is something that’s bigger than just identifying corrupt individuals.

A picture is emerging that the way major business is routinely done in Australia is systemically ‘‘corrupt’’. Yes, that money changes hands for questionable favours. More...


How the ATO is oppressing small business

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The scariest thing about being a small businessperson in Australia is not the ‘normal’ commercial risks of business but rather that you’ll be targeted by the Australian Taxation Office. This is the conclusion that can be drawn from two official reviews of how the ATO deals with small businesspeople.

The first report is the Board of Taxation’s Review of Tax Impediments Facing Small Business released in February. (You can read my summary and comments here.) The second comes from the Inspector-General of Taxation into The Management of Tax Disputes released this month. (Again, you can read my summary and comments on this report here.) More...


Toll takeover should come with a TWU warning

Monday, February 23, 2015

The offer by Japan Post to purchase Toll Holdings looks like a smart move by the Japanese as explained by Robert Gottliebsen earlier this week (The Toll takeover exposes our institutions' ignorance, February 18)

Over the last eight years, Toll has built a logistics footprint into Asia that the Japanese clearly value, as is reflected in the significant premium they’re prepared to pay. More...


Abbott's policy muddle is taking its toll

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

It’s possible that Tony Abbott has finally twigged to just how close he is to being a one-term Prime Minister.

The ousting of the one-term Coalition government in Victoria demonstrates big change. Political commentator Laurie Oakes declared that the political mould is broken. The electorate, he said, is no longer automatically prepared to give a one-term government a second go. More...


An open letter to Boral’s Mike Kane

Friday, July 11, 2014

Mike,

I’ve just read your letter of July 7 to the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.

Congratulations on your strong determination to stand up to attempts by the construction union, the CFMEU, to put Boral out of business. As you state, you are being targeted by the CFMEU because you continue to supply concrete to the CFMEU’s hated construction firm, Grocon.  More...


How Abbott is rebuilding the construction landscape

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

There are plenty of naïve people at the big end of town who haven’t yet realised the extent to which the Abbott government is changing the landscape of business in Australia.

The first dramatic signals came early this year when the government announced the end of corporate welfare. This had substance, with the rejection of taxpayer bailouts to Holden, Toyota, Coca Cola’s subsidiary SPC Ardmona and Qantas. The message to corporations was straightforward: grow up and stop your dependency on taxpayers! More...



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