The Commonwealth of Australia was federated in 1901. Only three short years later the Federal Government established a court system to arbitrate over industrial disputes in a young country that already had a history of half a century of organised labour. This 2004 book is a thematic history of an important Australian institution, the federal conciliation and arbitration system, on the occasion of its centenary. The various chapters written by leading scholars deal with the system's political history, the work of the tribunal, the legal framework, economic and social effects, the effects on indigenous and women workers, the role of employers associations and unions, and the management of industrial conflict. It is a story rich in drama involving strikes, lockouts, imprisonment of union officials, noisy protests in courtrooms and in the streets, momentous High Court judgements, and the rise and fall of governments.
Foreword; Introduction; 1. Elusive middle ground: a political history Tim Rowse; 2. Arbitration in action Stuart Macintyre; 3. The law of conciliation and arbitration Michael Kirby and Breen Creighton; 4. Economic and social effects Keith Hancock and Sue Richardson; 5. Justice and equity: women and indigenous workers Gillian Whitehouse; 6. Employers' associations and compulsory arbitration David Plowman; 7. Unions and arbitration Malcolm Rimmer; 8. Managing industrial conflict Bill Harley; Appendix I. Main tribunal changes; Appendix II. Membership; Appendix III. The objects of the act; Notes; References; Index.