Evaluating social partnership in the Australian context
Over the past two to three decades, many western countries have pursued an employment relations (ER) agenda involving labour-management cooperation or a form of ¿partnership¿; for example, the USA, Britain, Ireland and New Zealand (Ackers and Payne 1998; Kelly 2004; Johnstone et al. 2010; Macneil and Bray 2013; Cathcart 2014). Attracted by the success of partnership practices in the UK, Australian academics and policy- makers have previously investigated the viability of partnership models in the Australian context, both conceptually (Lansbury 2000; Gollan and Patmore 2006; Townsend et al. 2013) and through empirical case studies (Mitchell and O¿Donnell 2007; Jones et al. 2008). Yet little research has specifi cally examined the role of current industrial relations practices in promoting workplace partnerships within both union and non-union settings in Australia. Th is chapter will thus focus on exploring the current industrial relations and regulatory context for the support of workplace partnership practices within the political and socioeconomic environment in Australia.