Phillipa Weeks Lecture in Labour Law 2014

Why can’t ‘they’ leave our labour laws alone?

Politicians, policy-makers and participants in the industrial relations process appear to be driven by a compulsive need to introduce new labour laws in response to every ‘problem’ â€" real or imagined â€" with which they are confronted.

This paper will explore the origins of this compulsion, examine a number of its recent manifestations, and question whether this constant legislative churn best serves the interests of the participants in the system, and of the broader polity.

Breen Creighton was a Professor of Law at RMIT University from January 2009 until June 2014. Since July 2014, he has been an Honorary Professor at RMIT. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of the South Pacific, and a Consultant to Corrs Chambers Westgarth. Breen’s principal research interests are in the fields of employment law, industrial law, occupational health and safety, equal opportunity law and international labour law. He has published extensively in all of these areas.

Immediately before joining RMIT, Breen was a partner in the Workplace Relations Group at Corrs Chambers Westgarth from 1999â€"2008. He has also held academic posts at Edinburgh University, the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University. He was a Legal Officer at the ACTU from 1986â€"88, a Principal Legal Officer at the ILO 1988â€"91 and in 1991â€"92 headed a Taskforce on Ratification of ILO conventions for the Commonwealth Government. He has been a member of various public bodies, and has acted (and continues to act) as consultant to governments, businesses and unions in Australia and overseas.