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…

The solution to Australia’s woes: persuade people that there is no crisis

In the 2013 federal election campaign, both major political parties jockeyed to show who was better placed to inflict harm on persecuted people seeking asylum from Afghanistan, Iran and Syria. How has it come to this, and what can be done? Australia has a long tradition of treating asylum seekers badly. Barry Jones has recently…

No moral limits to what Rudd will do to win

What, if any, are the moral limits of political affiliation? As a lifelong ALP voter, I have reached mine. Recent political events have provoked a moral crisis in me. The elevation of Kevin Rudd was met with jubilation by many. At the same time, it posed sickening questions of morality for many lifelong ALP members…

What’s (also) wrong with the Left: Josh Bornstein on Helen Razer

Helen Razer’s recent angry excoriation of the Left  — for, among other things, its “conspicuous stupidity” and “cheesy individualism” — reminded me of the anger and frustration I experienced some years earlier sitting in an auditorium, listening to a speech given by one of the parliamentary Left’s best and brightest, Lindsay Tanner. When Tanner entered Parliament in 1993, he…

When you understand hate, you understand Rudd’s fall

The resurrection of Kevin Rudd was treated as inevitable, but anyone who had considered the esteem with which he was held by his colleagues would have known better. Robert Mitchum relished the role of an evil preacher in the 1955 expressionist thriller The Night of the Hunter, a film that still resonates in Nick Cave’s…