This paper argues that the introduction of the Workplace Relations Amendment (Work Choices) Act 2005 in combination with the Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Amendment (Welfare to Work and Other Measures) Act 2005 constitutes a new phase in the ongoing assault on the working class to eradicate impediments to the pursuit of profit. WorkChoices builds on the foundation of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 to further entrench employer prerogatives through legal and institutional changes designed to exert downward pressure on wages and working conditions through restricting the scope of awards and agreements, limiting collective bargaining, and marginalising the AIRC. AFPC decisions are likely to force workers into bargaining agreements in an effort to forestall real wage reductions. Welfare to Work complements WorkChoices by cutting income support payments and increasing labour supply by co-opting some of the most disadvantaged groups into the labour force where they must accept any employment offered or participate in Mutual Obligation requirements such as Work for the Dole.
Full Employment or WorkChoices and Welfare-to-Work Conference 2006 (Incorporating the 8th Path to Full Employment Conference and the 13th National Conference on Unemployment). The Constraints to Full Employment: Fiscal and Monetary Policy, WorkChoices and Job Insecurity (Newcastle, NSW 7-8 December, 2006) p. 83-96