The politics of class warfare: from Sydney to Washington, the gulf is deepening

In Australia, the economic transformation wrought by 22 consecutive years of economic growth and an unprecedented mining boom has played a crucial part in these changes, generating enormous prosperity. Entrepreneurs have increasingly tiered their business offerings to target this wealth. Australia is now one of the wealthiest countries in the world, vying with Switzerland and…

The joy of tax: why payment should be a pleasure

If economics was sexy, life would be very different. Thomas Piketty, the French professor who has recently published an acclaimed book about growing inequality, is now described as a “rock star economist”. But the truth is that the book is a boring read, and it is most unlikely that Piketty will imminently destroy a suite…

An apology from Australia to the rest of the world is now warranted

In August 2014, the Australian parliament voted to repeal a scheme that placed a price on carbon emissions. The carbon price was working as intended: reducing carbon emissions while supporting continued economic growth. Australia was once a leader in dealing with climate change; seven years after ratifying the Kyoto protocol, it is now something approaching…

Bullying Investigations: Unfair and Brutal

In possibly the most unusual case of workplace bullying I have encountered the bully kept a diary of his mistreatment of his victim. He catalogued the extensive and sometimes bizarre bullying acts on the company’s information technology system. In doing so, he was bragging to his cohort and encouraging them to join in. They obliged.…

Make no mistake: labour laws do nothing to hurt productivity

In October 2012, I gave a speech to an Australian Industry Group conference in Canberra, arguing that the public debate about industrial relations lacked any scientific or factual basis. I singled out for criticism a range of business leaders who had been arguing that labour laws were an impediment to productivity. My speech prompted the…

Government Takes Fight to Intellectually Disabled

Australia’s most vulnerable workers are being cruelly treated by the government. According to the promotional material for Australian Disability Enterprises, they are places where people with disability are given “the opportunity to have a real job, with real wages, in a real business”. Giving people with a disability the dignity that comes with work is…

Tony Abbott is right. Australia really is open for business

Australia is losing the battle against obesity. Before 1980, 10% of us ranked as obese. Now the figure is north of 25%. Each year, the junk food industry spends over half a billion dollars in advertising targeting consumers from cradle to grave. While exhorting us to consume more processed sugar, fat and salt, the junk…

The grand compact we had to have

Paul Howes’s idea of a grand compact has merit, but it should focus on things that really require action and not IR changes. The decision by Toyota to close its Australian operations will undoubtedly catalyse the odd industrial relations Ayatollah to declare another jihad on the Fair Work Act. The groundwork had already been laid…

Bullying the final frontier of Workplace Rights

While workplace bullying is a serious public policy problem, our existing legal and policy settings have been a resounding failure. The Tea Party politics that engulfed the federal Parliament last week succeeded in achieving one of its objectives: drowning out the Federal Government’s public policy initiatives in education and the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Although…

Neutral Milk Hotel Live Review

Twenty years ago, together with about 150 others, I attended a concert in a small pub in Collingwood. The headline act stumbled onto the stage completely shrouded in darkness. We could barely see him. He mumbled incomprehensively. The mumbling evolved into a dirge. The dirge became a song and four minutes later, as it finished,…

Mental Health And Productivity: A Love Story

My career as an employment lawyer has been dedicated to assisting employees (or ex-employees) with workplace issues including sexual harassment, workplace bullying, unlawful discrimination or wrongful dismissal. I have represented a range of different employees including the CEOs of listed entities, media and sporting professionals,  financial services executives and blue collar employees in a range…