The Honourable Professor Emeritus Joseph Ezra Isaac AO has passed away aged 97. Joe was considered one of Australia's most distinguished scholars and practitioners in the field of industrial relations and made very significant contributions to the fields of economics, industrial relations policy and practice, dispute settlement, and social and economic development.
Fair Work Commission President, Justice Ross AO said ‘Joe was a great Australian and made a monumental contribution to workplace relations and in particular labour economics in this country. I will personally miss him as my dear friend and mentor’.
In 1973 Joe was appointed as a Deputy President of the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, where he was a Member of the Full Bench for many of the National Wage Cases determined by the Commission between 1974 and 1986. Joe retired from the Commission at the statutory retirement age of 65 in 1987.
Joe was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1989 for service to industrial relations and to education. In 2001 Joe was awarded the Centenary Medal for service as Deputy President of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission.
Joe launched the Commission’s Sir Richard Kirby Archives in 2002, and in 2012 was declared ‘living treasure’ in the Treasures of the Archives Exhibition.
In August 2018 the Commission was honoured to have Joe deliver a lecture as part of the its Workplace Relations Education Series based on his paper Why are Australian wages lagging and what can be done about it? published in the Australian Economic Review in June 2018. The lecture can be viewed on the Commission’s YouTube page. Joe will be remembered by current and former Commission Members and staff with great fondness.