Publication Details

Heino, B. (2014). 'Workchoices - Characterisation, Effects and Resistance: An AMWU perspective. Social Alternatives, 33 (2), 50-57.

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Social Alternatives


This article seeks to explore how the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) represented the Howard Government's 'WorkChoices' legislation in its official journal, AMWU News. Applying Kelly's (2008) study of industrial relations 'frames,' this paper seeks to explore the AMWU's characterisation of the legislation, the modalities of resistance it encouraged, and the level and nature of support given to the Australian Labor Party (ALP). It is argued that a consistent, total but untheorised vision of the negative impacts and key players of the WorkChoices legislation is forwarded, along with a campaign of resistance that is largely oriented to the political arena. When viewed as part of a broader timeline, both positions represent a marked departure from a historic tradition of critical political economy and industrial mobilisation, and are intimately tied to the political and economic transformations of Australian neo-liberalism.