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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.

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...

How Napthine could get back on track in Victoria

Saturday, March 22, 2014

After nearly four years of being behind in the polls, there are early signs that the Victorian government could be turning around its electoral fortunes. Due to go to election this November, the government has in fact been behind in the polls since unexpectedly winning government in late 2010.

To combat the fall in popularity, the Liberal Party tried changing its leader, dumping Ted Baillieu a year ago and replacing him with Denis Napthine. But this has had little success, and Labor leader Daniel Andrews is already behaving as a premier-in-waiting. More...

Unions can't paint over a construction revolution

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The militant construction union the CFMEU has announced 'we've won', in its battle to stop the Victorian government's construction code. But closer attention shows the CFMEU's victory declaration is spin.

The code is designed to give the Victorian government control over its infrastructure construction costs. It's been put in place because blowouts in construction costs threaten the viability of the government's infrastructure budget. The code simply states that if a construction firm has bad, unproductive industrial relations agreements the firm need not bother to tender for government work. More...

Contract killers for the mining boom

Monday, April 15, 2013

Woodside's announcement last week that it would pull out of its $45 billion onshore Browse LNG project in Western Australia is a horrid whack in the head for Australia's wealth creation capacity. No responsible government can afford to ignore what's happened because there's surely more of this to come. More...

States blow cartel apart

Monday, March 18, 2013

There's a dramatic economic reform under way in Australia, the extent of which is little understood. It's not a vision from Canberra or economic theorists. It's instead coming out of competitive federalism from state governments desperate not to be ripped off when building their infrastructure.  More...

Lend Lease skirts Victorian building foundations

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

On Monday Robert Gottliebsen discussed the big battle that's occurring in construction (Who'll join Baillieu's construction revolution, October 15) where Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu has put in place tendering arrangements designed to bring construction costs under control. Monday's coverage concerned the national industrial agreement of Lend Lease that arguably puts it in conflict with Baillieu's tendering requirements.  More...

NSW link risks a desal-style disaster

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The New South Wales government is walking into dangerous territory that will test their capacity as a government. Last week the O’Farrell government announced they had received strong interest from major construction firms for the building of the $8.5 billion budgeted North West Rail Link for Sydney.

But if things go badly the construction project could blow up in the O’Farrell government's face. The circumstances are set for just this to happen. The scenarios afflicting the disastrous Victorian desalination plant are real and in play for Sydney’s North West Rail Link project. More...

Readying for an IR showdown

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Workplace relations reform is caught in a quagmire and it's going nowhere. Prime Minister Gillard says it doesn't need to go anywhere and productivity improvements can be achieved through other methods. Gillard claims the NBN and the carbon tax will drive productivity. But the big end of town is 'blowing the whistle' in ways we've not seen before. Simplot's CEO has come out stating they cannot achieve the needed productivity from their workforce (Simplot's simmering sabotage, July 17).

Mining's red IR alert

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Australia's corporate bosses need to be alert as union agendas threaten to create a profit black hole.

The industrial campaigns conducted by unions are no longer restricted to a process of hard negotiations, followed by strikes and hearings in industrial commissions. Union campaigns now have multi-layered techniques, first developed in the US but currently applied with great skill by Australian unions.  More...

Victoria sets up an IR domino

Friday, June 24, 2011

In an unexpected announcement on Wednesday, the Victorian government entered the industrial relations debate in a seemingly quiet way but in a way that will have a major impact. The move in Victoria is probably the biggest development in industrial relations since Julia Gillard introduced the Fair Work Act. More...

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