Document Type

Book Chapter


This chapter seeks to apply "new" regulation theory to industrial tribunals, in particular the functions and powers of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (Commission) in relation to enterprise bargaining and the making of collective workplace agreements. In a conventional economic sense, industrial tribunals have always been regulatory agencies, with their awards operating as labour standards setting minimum pay and conditions. Since the 1990s, though, the major work of industrial tribunals has changed from making awards to the facilitation and approval of agreements as part of the process of labour market" deregulation". As the powers of the Commission to supervise agreement-making have now been abolished, we are in a position to review the particular approach adopted for the regulation of workplace bargaining over the past decade. As industrial tribunals will no longer have a regulatory role to play in the setting of conditions by agreements, the opportunity also arises to consider what new type of institution might now be appropriate for the inevitable regulation which occurs within the labour market.