Edited by Kartik Roy and Jörn Sideras
Chapter 13: Globalisation and Institutional Change in the Australian Labour Market
Kyle Bruce INTRODUCTION It is widely agreed that the forces of globalisation have induced substantial changes in Australia’s (and other countries’) domestic macro and microeconomic management, most notably in the conduct of trade, industry, and monetary and ﬁscal policies. Part of this phenomenon is a dwindling role for government socioeconomic involvement and a substantial move towards neoliberal policy guidance. One area where this has, and continues to be, apparent in Australia is in the labour market. After almost a century of state-coordinated, centralised determination of wages and conditions and a relatively high density of trade union membership, the last decade has seen far-reaching deregulation (or more realistically, re-regulation), decentralisation, a shift in power towards employers and an emasculation of union power. In this way, Australia has moved into and/or been drawn into a global transformation of industrial relations systems (Erickson and Kuruvilla, 1998; Bray and Murray, 2000). As a starting point, this writer shares the views of Rodrik (1997) and also Champlin and Olson (1999), that the debates surrounding globalisation are much more than an ideologically charged discussion of the virtues of free trade: globalisation is a question of fundamental change in the cultural and political institutions governing a society. It might easily be argued that globalisation in any country, let alone Australia, is a result of the inevitable march of economic progress personiﬁed by technological and structural change, the spread of IT and an increase in tourism and in international trade and ﬁnance. Yet technological change in and...
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