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Election Report: Unfair Contract Reform. Big tick for both Morrison and Shorten

Friday, April 26, 2019

We’re pleased to report that, in this election, on the unfair contract reform front both Morrison’s Coalition and Shorten’s Labor are committed to major beefing-up of the laws.

We see this as a huge positive for small business people, for fairness in commercial dealings and as a boost for economic activity. We congratulate both the Coalition and Labor.

Their respective reforms are summarised in this table.

There is a bit of ‘splitting of hairs’ between the two parties about whether either has made ‘commitments’ or only promises to ‘consult’. We see these differences as only minor.
  • The Coalition has qualified its policy as being subject to a ‘Regulatory Impact Statement’ review. But this is a normal review process for all legislation.
  • Labor has promised to ‘consult’ on areas where it hasn’t detailed some reform specifics.
However, we believe the commitments from both sides are clear as shown in the table above. Here the core source statements from
Our comment:
For decades a common argument raised against people (workers) being self-employed, independent contractors and small business people was that ‘we’ did not have the ‘protections’ provided by employment laws. There has been truth in that. Big business has too readily screwed small business people in their commercial dealings.

The commitment by the Coalition and Labor to beef up the unfair contract laws is truly historic. It shifts and undercuts this ‘protection’ argument. Protections are now available to everyone.
  • Employees have protections from exploitation under employment law.
  • Self-employed, independent contractors (small business people) have protections from exploitation under unfair contract laws.
No longer can the ‘Left’ argue that ‘we’ are unprotected. We are protected but through a different process from employees. It’s hugely significant that both the Coalition and Labor are essentially ‘on the same page’ on this issue. Sometimes democracy really does work and social and economic justice progresses.

Election comment authorised by Ken Phillips, Melbourne.

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