ABSTRACT

Agreement making and collective bargaining have been an established part of Australia’s traditional model of compulsory conciliation and arbitration since its inception (Macklin, Goodwin and Docherty 1992: 12-13). Although its signifi cance varied over time and across industries, it nonetheless remained a secondary component of the formal system of wage determination until the 1980s. From the mid-1980s, however, new wage-fi xing principles and legislative changes have paved the way for diff erent forms of agreement making as the primary mechanism through which wages and conditions of employment have been determined, evolving towards a predominance of enterprise-level collective agreements (Alexander, Lewer and Gahan 2008: Ch. 6).1