The ILO and the Australian Contribution to the International Labour Standards Debate
Summarizes the debate between those who are urging the World Trade Organization to adopt a social clause that links the right to engage in international trade with basic labour rights, and those who believe that this would harm the ability of developing countries to compete with the advanced economies because it would prevent them paying lower wages to their workers. Sets out the background to this debate, before examining how it has been carried forward in Australia, looking at the submissions made to the Duffy Report, published in 1996, and the subsequent debate. Analyses the positions taken by the Australian government, employers and the trade unions - the government (since 1996) and employers opposing formal linkages between trade and labour rights; the trade unions supporting them. Argues that the positions taken in Australia reflect the country's geographic position, its trading position, the ideology of the political party in government and the conflict between capital and workers.