Stacking the Commission: has it occurred and does it matter in unfair dismissal arbitration?

Paper


Southey, Kim and Fry, Simon. 2010. "Stacking the Commission: has it occurred and does it matter in unfair dismissal arbitration?" Barnes, Alison, Balnave, Nikola and Lafferty, George (ed.) 24th Conference of the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand: Work in Progress: Crises, Choices and Continuity (AIRAANZ 2010). Sydney, Australia 03 - 05 Feb 2010 Sydney, Australia.
Paper/Presentation Title

Stacking the Commission: has it occurred and does it matter in unfair dismissal arbitration?

Presentation TypePaper
AuthorsSouthey, Kim (Author) and Fry, Simon (Author)
EditorsBarnes, Alison, Balnave, Nikola and Lafferty, George
Journal or Proceedings TitleProceedings of the 24th Conference of the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand: Work in Progress: Crises, Choices and Continuity (AIRAANZ 2010)
ERA Conference ID50265
Number of Pages12
Year2010
Place of PublicationSydney, Australia
ISBN9780980608526
Web Address (URL) of Paperhttp://airaanzweb.weebly.com/uploads/2/1/6/3/2163987/all_refereed_papers.pdf
Conference/Event24th Conference of the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand: Work in Progress: Crises, Choices and Continuity (AIRAANZ 2010)
Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand Conference
Event Details
24th Conference of the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand: Work in Progress: Crises, Choices and Continuity (AIRAANZ 2010)
Parent
Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand Conference
Event Date
03 to end of 05 Feb 2010
Event Location
Sydney, Australia
Event Venue
Sydney Trades Hall
Event Details
Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand Conference
AIRAANZ
Abstract

The Keating and Howard governments were accused of stacking the personnel of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) with appointees from respectively, union and employer associated backgrounds. By January 2010, the Labor Government will have its version of an industrial umpire, Fair Work Australia (FWA), fully operational. Labor’s claim is that the FWA appointment process will prevent the making of biased selections of members by the party in power. The unresolved question is whether such stacking, if it has occurred, matters? By conducting an examination of 883 unfair dismissal claims subjected to arbitration by the AIRC from 2001 to 2005, we conclude that the representation of employer and union members hearing unfair dismissal claims during the data collection period, is reasonably balanced in spite of the various figures produced by different bodies. A mildly significant correlation exists between the work background of the members and their substantive arbitration decisions, that is, members may be more likely to make a decision that is congruent with them having worked in either employer or worker focused positions, prior to AIRC appointment. Although when non-substantive arbitration decisions were analysed, the correlation between the members’ backgrounds and their decisions was insignificant. Here it appears that jurisdictional guidelines may logically limit the potential to exercise bias in arbitral decision making.

Keywordsunfair dismissal; arbitration; bias; AIRC; Australian Industrial Relations Commission; stacking; employer; Liberal; union; Labor; FWA; Fair Work Australia
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020350504. Industrial and employee relations
480504. Legal institutions (incl. courts and justice systems)
480104. Labour law
Public Notes

No evidence of copyright restrictions.

Byline AffiliationsSchool of Management and Marketing
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT)
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