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Public Sector Employment in the Twenty-First Century

Public Sector Employment in the Twenty-First Century

Marilyn Pittard
Phillipa Weeks
Copyright Date: 2007
Published by: ANU Press
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  • Book Info
    Public Sector Employment in the Twenty-First Century
    Book Description:

    This book addresses the transformations which have occurred in employment arrangements and practices in the Australian public sector over the past decade and the changes in responsibilities and accountability through employment contracts, whistleblower legislation and partnerships between government and the private sector. It provides a comparative context through studies of reconstruction of the public service in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Themes of contractualisation, privatisation and outsourcing are explored and critically examined, as well as influences of the industrial relations legislative framework including the Work Choices legislation.

    eISBN: 978-1-920942-61-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Phillipa Weeks 1953–2006: A Tribute
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Marilyn Pittard
  5. Contributors
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. Chapter One Public Sector Employment in the Twenty-First Century: Themes and Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)
    Marilyn Pittard and Phillipa Weeks

    Employment in the public sector has been caught up in the winds of change which have radically reshaped the legal environment for labour relations more generally in the last two decades. It has not been immune from the pressures for change in the private market sector.

    In Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand — to name but three jurisdictions which have shared a common approach in the past to employment in the public service, and in the public sector more broadly — legislation and practice has reformed and revised the concepts and structures which govern the employment relationship in...

  7. Chapter Two The Reshaping of Australian Public Service Employment Law
    (pp. 11-54)
    Phillipa Weeks

    There is a bundle of components constituting the legal regulation of public sector employment. To a large extent, these are the same components that regulate private sector employment: contract (both express and implied terms), awards and agreements made under industrial/workplace relations legislation, other specialist and general statutes (for example, occupational health and safety, and anti-discrimination laws), and general law (such as tort and criminal law). There have always been, however, some distinctive components and weightings in respect of public sector employment, such as the dismissal at pleasure principle, the application of administrative law, and a more prominent role for specialist,...

  8. Chapter Three The Australian Public Service: Statutory, Doctrinal and Institutional Arrangements for its Governance
    (pp. 55-80)
    John R. Nethercote

    The sixty years since the Second World War have seen a marked transformation of the Australian Public Service (ʹAPSʹ). Major changes have included a very substantial expansion of functions as the role of the Commonwealth within the federation has grown, particularly the emergence of a comprehensive welfare state; consolidation of Commonwealth administration, especially as a consequence of relocating it from Melbourne to Canberra; increasing educational standards such that what had been a largely (veteran) clerical workforce is now very much a graduate workforce; computerisation of administration; and a more diverse demographic composition in which women as well as many people...

  9. Chapter Four A Revised Legislative Framework for Australian Public Service Employment: The Successive Impacts of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (Cth) and The Public Service Act 1999 (Cth)
    (pp. 81-126)
    Mark Molloy

    This chapter considers the successive changes to the legislative framework governing employment in the Australian Public Service (ʹAPSʹ)² that have occurred since the election of the Coalition Government in 1996 to the present. In particular, it discusses the successive effects of:

    a. the Workplace Relations and Other Legislation Amendment Act 1996 (Cth) (which introduced the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (Cth));

    b. the Public Service Act 1999 (Cth); and

    c. the Workplace Relations Amendment (Work Choices) Act 2005 (Cth) (which significantly rewrote the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (Cth)).

    A major focus of the chapter is the legislative framework that provides for...

  10. Chapter Five From Workplace Bargaining to Workplace Relations: Industrial Relations in the Australian Public Service under the Coalition Government
    (pp. 127-154)
    John OʹBrien and Michael OʹDonnell

    The purpose of this chapter is to examine the implementation of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (Cth) (the ʹWR Actʹ) and the potential impact of the Workplace Relations Amendment (Work Choices) Act 2005 (Cth) (the ʹWork Choices Actʹ) within the Australian Public Service (ʹAPSʹ) — where the Coalition government has the greatest opportunity to influence the working conditions of its own employees. The chapter argues that when governments seek to regulate the working conditions and wages of their own employees in a decentralising industrial relations environment, there is potential for tension between the roles of government as employer, as policy...

  11. Chapter Six Whistleblower Protection and the Challenge to Public Employment Law
    (pp. 155-188)
    Robert G Vaughn

    The last three decades have witnessed a dramatic but often unheralded revolution in the character of public employment law. Beginning with the federal government in the United States in 1978, protection of federal-employee whistleblowers has emphasised concepts of personal responsibility and accountability, long accepted in principle, but rarely implemented. The whistleblower provision of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978¹ also marked the acceptance that disciplinary actions might be commenced against high-level government officials through an administrative process initiated outside an agencyʹs chain of command.²

    Subsequent amendments in federal law strengthened the enforcement of these whistleblower protections for federal employees.³...

  12. Chapter Seven Outsourcing and New Employer Entities: Challenges to Traditional Public Sector Employment
    (pp. 189-228)
    Marilyn Pittard

    Outsourcing is a contemporary business practice in both the private and public sectors. Typically outsourcing involves an organisation engaging under contract the services of another entity to carry out certain functions which that first organisation had performed itself. The Federal Court of Australia noted that whilst there may be varying details of the outsourcing arrangements in particular instances, outsourcing usually involves a contractor being engaged to carry out ʹa function or operation, previously undertaken by the enterprise itself, in a more efficient way; perhaps by the use of more sophisticated equipment, perhaps by using specialised labourʹ.¹ The Australian Public Service...

  13. Chapter Eight ʹThe Politics of Partnershipʹ: The Evolution of Public Sector Industrial Relations in Victoria
    (pp. 229-252)
    Peter Gahan

    The Australian Labor Party (ʹALPʹ) unexpectedly won the Victorian State election in October 1999. The election win followed an extended period of conservative government in which the Victorian public service — and the public sector more generally — had undergone a dramatic transformation and restructure.¹ In many areas of government, the outcome of the process of reform, informed by the ideas associated with ʹnew public managementʹ, had challenged both the rationale for public ownership of certain assets and the delivery of services by public sector employees. Like many governments across the globe, Victoria had discovered ʹprivatisationʹ, ʹcorporatisationʹ, and ʹpublic-private partnershipsʹ....

  14. Chapter Nine Reconstructing State Employment in New Zealand
    (pp. 253-280)
    Jane Bryson and Gordon Anderson

    New Zealand, in common with much of the developed world, spent a decade or so deconstructing its traditional public sector structures. Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s the New Zealand public sector entered a brave new world of public management. These reforms were derived from the United Kingdom experience during the Thatcher years, where neo-classical economic ideals dominated. The reforms were therefore typified by the theories of public choice, agency and transaction cost economics. The application of these theories in New Zealand radically altered the systems of institutional, organisational and management control within the public sector, with the aim of...

  15. Chapter Ten The Privatisation of the Civil Service
    (pp. 281-308)
    K D Ewing

    In 1953 the Scottish legal scholar, DM Walker published an article entitled ʹThe Legal Theory of the Stateʹ.¹ Professor Walker was concerned by the lack of ʹan adequate legal theory of the State which takes account of modern social, political and economic developments as well as of the true legal positionʹ.² Although there were many philosophical and political theories of the state, his aim was to develop a purely legal one. In developing a ʹjuristic theory of the State applicable to British conditions since 1947ʹ,³ Professor Walker drew upon the private law concept of the corporation. According to Professor Walker,...

  16. Chapter Eleven Challenges Ahead: Workplace Relations Legislation and the Future
    (pp. 309-316)
    Marilyn Pittard

    In Chapter One of this book it was stated that:

    The contributions in this book weave together the themes of, and influences on, public sector employment in contemporary Australia, whilst exploring parallels and differences between public sector employment in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, with some discussion of whistleblowersʹ legislative protection, including developments in the United States.

    These themes embrace developments over time and up to the early part of the twenty-first century. What of the period beyond? What influences are emerging? What is likely to occur in public sector employment? What challenges are ahead?

    In these concluding pages,...

  17. Table of Cases
    (pp. 317-318)
  18. Table of Statutes
    (pp. 319-326)
  19. Index
    (pp. 327-332)