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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.

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...


Labor’s culture spells trouble for the Victorian economy

Monday, June 15, 2015

I’ve previously argued that the circumstances have developed for a politically induced recession in Victoria. It’s a big claim and only time will tell if my analysis has substance but it’s a claim that has historical precedent.

The central reasoning for the claim comes from an understanding of the Victorian Labor Party and union movement. These bodies don’t view commercial contracts as things having an integrity removed from politics. Instead, they see contracts as being entirely subject to political interests and whims. In fact, they view business deals as instruments to further political objectives. More...


Victoria is building the conditions for a recession

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Recessions can be politically induced. In Victoria, there are flashing red signals to suggest that scenario may be developing.

Let’s begin with last week’s Victorian budget.

The previous Coalition government spent four years keeping public sector wages under control. They had a ‘war’ with just about every public sector employee group and suffered electoral backlash as a result. More...


Victoria is heading down NSW's path of corruption

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The current attacks against the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption for overreaching its authority are a comparative diversion from a larger systemic problem.

New South Wales has a long history of ingrained corruption. It’s a bigger issue than just corrupt individuals.

Rather, individual corrupt behaviour is the end result of a political, governance and business system that masks, almost legalises and certainly facilitates corruption.

The problem goes back a long way. More...


Victoria is no longer the place to be for business

Monday, April 20, 2015

The events of last week in Victoria where the government is spending $600 million to $1bn to not build a vital road link isn't just a colossal trashing of taxpayers’ money, but something much more.

It should be seen by anyone who wants to invest, develop or do business large or small in Victoria as a signal of the state’s unprecedented environment of risk. This is because the usual rule-book of commercial activity has been dumped and replaced with new rules in which business is exclusively reliant on political favour. It is a risk environment of third-world proportions. More...


Small retailers will suffer the ultimate penalty

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The political uproar that is the debate over penalty rates could almost be a hysterical comedy written for Australians by the ghost of Shakespeare.

Think of it. Some months ago as Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s popularity polling was crashing, he dared utter the thought bubble that penalty rates should be reformed. There was uproar from his surrogate political opponents, the union movement, headed by the ACTU. 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...


Victoria's building union crackdown reaches the next level

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

In a significant development the Victorian government this week imposed the first sanction against a construction firm for breach of the Victorian Construction Code.

McConnell Dowell Contractors is no minnow in the construction game. It reports around $3.5 billion in construction works on its books at any one time, operating in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. It is a major builder of infrastructure, currently building, for example, large-scale water supply tunneling in Brisbane and the Gold Coast Light Rail. More...


Victoria must brace for an election wrecking ball

Friday, September 05, 2014

In many respects, Victorian voters will have to choose between a Coalition government and a CFMEU-controlled Labor government at the looming state election.

The CFMEU has dominated the headlines in recent weeks, with evidence from the Royal Commission into union corruption unearthing serious allegations that it has engaged in potentially criminal behaviour. Its links with prominent crime figures have also come under scrutiny.  More...



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