Old Churches As 'New Actors': The Role of Christian Churches in the Work Choices Industrial Relations System in Australia

John Hicks, Parikshit Basu, Richard Sappey, John Burgess

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paper

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Abstract

The role of established Christian churches in attempting to influence the final outcome of the Federal industrial relations legislative framework is examined in the context of the emerging literature on 'new actors' in industrial relations. These churches have a history of intervening in political systems where they anticipate the consequences of government policy and legislation contravenes church doctrine in relation to social and economic justice in the treatment of working people and the unemployed, particularly those most at risk of poverty. Throughout 2005-6, the three main Christian churches and their associated organisations in Australia engaged in media activity, presented submissions to parliamentary committee and engaged in a coalition with social and union groups in the clothing manufacturing industry to amend the Work Choices Bill. They challenged the Federal Government to meet its responsibilities to the most vulnerable workers. It is argued in this paper that in doing so the churches adopted a policy position which constituted a partial and temporary 'new actor' role. The activities of the churches demonstrate that there is a growing diversity of forms of participation in industrial relations which expand the 'patchwork' of actors in a less regulated institutional environment yet affording increased scope for less hierarchical network arrangements. The activities also should indicate to other actors, particularly unions, that they could become a formidable ally.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication7th Pacific Employment Relations Association Conference
Place of PublicationAustralia?
PublisherPERA
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Event7th Pacific Employment Relations Association Conference - Caloundra,QLD, Australia
Duration: 14 Nov 200716 Nov 2007

Conference

Conference7th Pacific Employment Relations Association Conference
CountryAustralia
Period14/11/0716/11/07

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