Expectations of outcomes from changes to industrial relations laws

Dec 15, 2020

Q. The Federal Government has announced new workplace reforms requiring employers to offer permanent employment to casual workers who have been with the same employer for a year and have had regular shifts for six months during that time.

Do you expect these changes to industrial relations laws will be good or bad for the following?


Very good / Quite good

Neither good nor bad TOTAL:

Very bad / Quite bad

Don’t know
Big businesses 41% 34% 12% 14%
Small businesses 35% 33% 19% 12%
Employees 48% 24% 17% 12%
People looking for work 39% 28% 20% 13%
People in casual work 51% 20% 17% 12%


TOTAL: Very good / Quite good Total Federal Voting Intention
Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
Big businesses 41% 44% 42% 41% 44%
Small businesses 35% 40% 39% 30% 34%
Employees 48% 43% 57% 49% 48%
People looking for work 39% 39% 42% 37% 37%
People in casual work 51% 44% 42% 41% 44%
  • The proposed changes to the industrial relations laws are expected to be good news for those in casual work (51% think the changes will be very good, or quite good), and employees (48%).
  • It is expected that there will be less benefit to small businesses (35% think the changes will very or quite good) and those looking for work (39%) as a result of the changes.

Views towards changes to industrial relations laws and casual workers

Dec 15, 2020

Q. According to the Fair Work Commission, “A casual employee does not have a firm commitment in advance from an employer about how long they will be employed for, or the days (or hours) they will work. A casual employee also does not commit to all work an employer might offer. For example, an employee who works to a roster that could change each week and can refuse or swap shifts is casual.”

Which of the following is closer to your view?

  Total Gender Age Group Federal Voting Intention
  Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
The law should be changed now to make it easier for casual workers to become permanent employees if they want to, so they have greater certainty in their lives 57% 56% 59% 52% 57% 62% 59% 56% 55% 67%
Now is not the right time to make changes to the rules for casual workers, because economic uncertainty means there needs to be as much flexibility in the workplace as possible 43% 44% 41% 48% 43% 38% 41% 44% 45% 33%
Base (n) 1,071 539 532 339 374 358 356 406 102 107
  • Views are split on whether this is the right time to change the industrial relations laws regarding casual workers. While the majority think the laws should be changed (57%), there is a sizeable minority (43%) who believe now is not the right time to make these changes.

TRENDS: Bosses’ flexibility arguments a bit of a stretch

May 28, 2012

Jackie Woods says the bosses’ enthusiasm for casual workers is self interest at work.

Australia’s business lobby has donned its loose cotton pants and signed up for yoga. And like many fitness enthusiasts, they can’t stop talking about it. It’s flexibility, flexibility, flexibility.

Profits down, or just not high enough? Penalty rates getting on your nerves? Productivity sluggish? For big business, workplace ‘flexibility’ is the cure-all.

The employer-driven agenda to increase workplace flexibility has led to a rise in casual work arrangements in Australia, a sleeper issue catapulted into the headlines by the ACTU campaign on insecure work.

This has led to some extraordinary claims from business about the social benefits of casual work that follow a few predictable lines of argument.

Read more at the Drum


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