The industrial relations policies of the Howard government during its first three terms have produced a major change in the way decisions, especially over non-wage issues, are made in Australian workplaces: they have significantly increased the exercise of managerial prerogative.This has been achieved by reducing the scope and importance of awards, encouraging decentralized enterprise bargaining while at the same time greatly restricting the power of the unions, and promoting individual contracts, the effects of which are both to directly increase management power and to further undermine the power of the unions. This conclusion will be massively extended with the legislative proposals anticipated for the fourth Howard government and announced in late May 2005. Amongst other things, the further decline of awards, the elimination of unfair dismissal provisions for collective and individual agreements, the continued attacks on unions and the promotion of individual contracting will serve even further to enhance managerial prerogative.
Australian Bulletin of Labour Vol. 32, Issue 1, p. 45-61