The extent of industrial democracy in Australia is limited, with generally few formal mechanisms for employee participation and voice in the governance and management of organisations despite the normative claims of the human resource management movement. Along with low levels of union density, the Workchoices legislation clearly set out to reduce representation and participation even further by attempting to facilitate the exclusion of unions from the workplace. However, we see some scope for extending industrial democracy and implicitly trade union presence through the lever of industry superannuation funds. An initial study of the investment practices of industry superannuation funds identified few actively pursue socially responsible investment. We contend, therefore, industry funds, within their obligations imposed under the relevant superannuation law, to promote labour standards and improved industrial relations practices.
23rd Conference of the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand, AIRAANZ 2009, Labour, Capital and Change: Proceedings of the 23rd Conference of the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand, Vol. 1. Refereed Papers (Newcastle, NSW 04-06 February, 2009) p. 1-10