Industrial Relations

The Australian Democrats support an industrial relations system that provides for the orderly regulation of employment practices in a way that maximises and balances productivity, jobs growth, and job security while ensuring fair and just pay, conditions, and treatment.

The Democrats are committed to your right to:


The Australian Democrats will pursue the practice of these principles within Victoria and nationally:

Work and Family

The Australian Democrats recognise the growing pressure felt by the 60% of workers who have family responsibilities, and the need for flexible work places that are friendlier to families. Australia needs to improve the security and conditions of part-time work and to assist working families on the birth of children.

Parents should have more choice about whether they enter the paid workforce, or assume full-time parenting responsibilities. State and Federal governments must recognise the economic value of work performed in the home (estimated as the equivalent of $261 billion in 1997 or 48% of our gross domestic product), and the enormous burden of what many working mothers call the "second shift"—the average of 44 hours a week of work in the home they perform on top of their paid employment.

The Australian Democrats propose:

Youth Wages

Youth wages are one of the worst examples of age-based discrimination. The Australian Democrats remain steadfastly opposed to an arbitrary discriminatory approach to wage fixing, and have argued strongly against both Labor and the Coalition for those over 18 years having a skills-based system substituted for age-based wages.

"Youth" has an absurdly wide definition under current Australian federal and state youth wages law. Employees who are 18-22 years can be paid junior rates in many industries—notwithstanding the facts that at these ages they can vote, have a family, and join the armed forces to fight for their country.

This situation is often used to exploit young people as a cheap work force for menial "McJob" labour, and is in breach of the Universal Declaration Human Rights that Australia signed in 1948 which declares that "Everyone, without discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work."