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TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS
ON THE OCCASION
THE COMMISSION'S WELCOME OF
SENIOR DEPUTY PRESIDENT LLOYD
AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COMMISSION
THURSDAY, 12 AUGUST 2004
SENIOR DEPUTY PRESIDENT LLOYD
MR P. ANDERSON FOR ACCI
THE HONOURABLE KEVIN ANDREWS
MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS
MR A. WATSON FOR ACTU
JUSTICE GIUDICE: Senior Deputy President Lloyd.
SENIOR DEPUTY PRESIDENT LLOYD: I have the honour to announce that I have received a Commission from His Excellency, the Governor-General, appointing me to be a Member of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. I present the Commission.
JUSTICE GIUDICE: Mr Industrial Registrar, I direct that the Commission be recorded. The Honourable, the Minister.
MR ANDREWS: Your Honour, and may the Commission please, I am very pleased and delighted to be here today to welcome Senior Deputy President Lloyd to the Commission and I would like to congratulate him at the outset and wish him every success in his new role. Senior Deputy President Lloyd, you hold a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Melbourne University. You have worked in the public sector throughout Australia for over 30 years occupying senior administrative positions at both the State and Federal level.
Most recently you have served as the Deputy Secretary of the Australian Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, with the primary responsibility for the workplace relations elements of that portfolio. Prior to that you were the Chief Executive Officer of the Western Australian Department of Productivity and Labour Relations, a position you held from 1996 through to 2001, and from 1992 through to 1996 you were the Executive Director of the Victorian Department of State Development. Your outstanding service in the field of workplace relations was recognised earlier this year when you were awarded a Public Service Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours List, and in particular your contribution to the Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry was cited in relation to that award.
Could I say that in this regard that I hope that your knowledge from that Royal Commission is not required for the successful completion of the Commission's new building. You have also worked outside the field of workplace relations. For example, in 1997 you were Chairman of the Western Australian Emergency Taskforce, which progressed the implementation of a new structure to improve co-ordination and planning across the emergency services portfolio. You also served on the Board of the Cerebral Palsy Association of Western Australia.
This is a return to Victoria for Senior Deputy President Lloyd who was born in Ballarat, and I know that this will be a welcome return to you. You, sir, will be much closer now to Henry Buck's when you need to pop in there for a new tie, and depending on where your chambers are located within this building you will probably be within sight of Flemington Racecourse, and you won't have to rely on the music in your mobile telephone to hear "Good Old Collingwood Forever". But I must warn the Commission of a couple of things. First, your new Senior Deputy President prefers chardonnay to other wine varietals, but I don't think this makes him a particular brand of socialist, and I am sure your Associate has already discovered that the only brand of coffee worth drinking is International Roast. I can't see you becoming part of the cafe latte set in Collins Street.
But let me return to more serious matters. The Australian Industrial Relations Commission and its predecessors have been an important institution in Australia for just on a century. Like all institutions it has had to adapt and to change to new economic and social circumstances over that 100 years. Nevertheless it remains an important body in this nation and one which directly affects the lives of millions of Australians, and the prospects for hundreds of thousands of businesses. As a consequence the decisions of this Commission affect the entire economy of the nation.
So this is a significant appointment to a body of considerable moment within its place in Australia. Throughout your long and distinguished career you have particularly impressed people with your ability to identify and to analyse key issues, your calm and measured approach to dealing with difficult and complex matters, and your willingness to listen with consideration and respect to divergent points of view. I believe that these skills and personal qualities, along with your considerable knowledge and expertise will stand you in good stead as you face the new challenges in this new phase of your career.
So, to conclude, may I, both myself and on behalf of the Australian Government welcome Senior Deputy President Lloyd to the Commission and wish him the very best in this new important role. May it please the Commission.
JUSTICE GIUDICE: Thank you, Minister. Mr Watson.
MR WATSON: If the Commission pleases. Welcome, Senior Deputy President Lloyd. It is exactly 100 years to the day since Australia's first Labour Government effectively lost office. It suffered a 36:34 defeat in the House of Representatives over an amendment to its proposed Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. The defeat led to the resignation of the government the very next day, on 13 August 1904. In fact, in 1904 two governments lost office because of their industrial legislation proposals. Who knows? From our perspective perhaps 2004 will be half as good.
But, in any event, as we all know later that year, on 15 December, the Conciliation and Arbitration Act passed into law. So for nearly 100 years this Commission and its predecessors have played an integral part in Australia's workplaces, in the development of our economy, and in quite fundamental ways in the shape of our society. The Commission has stood as an independent arbiter of fairness in the workplace. Fairness for employers, and fairness for employees, all the while taking the public interest into account.
It is a system which has, of course, evolved over time. But the core ideas of independence and ensuring fairness have not changed and stand out like beacons of commonsense. Recently some commentators have suggested, as though it were axiomatic, that the involvement of the Commission in matters constitutes a restraint on productivity and an impediment to economic growth. One hundred years of history tells us that that proposition is just wrong. An independent Commission has proved to be a way, not just of balancing fairness and efficiency, but of enhancing both at the same time.
Now, obviously the Commission has not always got it right. No human institution has that luxury. But for nearly a century, time after time in case after case, big and small, the Commission has demonstrated that you can have standards in the labour market together with productivity; that you can have an effective safety net and still create opportunity; and that you can have fairness and economic prosperity. With the dramatic changes which have taken place in the labour market in recent years, with the challenges which are posed in balancing work and family, with increasing wage inequality and casualisation, to name just a few things, it is more important than ever that we have an independent arbiter of fairness in the workplace, and that is why we welcome your Honour's appointment, Senior Deputy President Lloyd.
Thirty one years as a public servant, serving governments of both political persuasions, shows the quality of independence so necessary in your new role. Your long experience in industrial and workplace relations gives you an understanding of the legislative and policy changes of the last 30 years, and the changes of the labour market and the economy which have occurred during that time. Your participation in the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission and ILO delegations will have given you an insight into the capacity for unions and employer organisations to work together constructively; and your community involvement bespeaks a commitment to the public interest which will serve you well as a Member of the Commission.
You transparently have the skills, experience and personal qualities necessary for your new position. There is just one thing however. I have been told that your Honour has been a dyed in the wool Collingwood supporter. I say has been, because I can only presume that on having agreed to take up your current position you must have renounced that particular passion. For as anyone knows, you cannot be a Collingwood supporter and believe in an independent umpire. Your Honour, we wish you well as a Senior Deputy President of the Commission, but just remember, in industrial relations not everything is black and white.
JUSTICE GIUDICE: Thank you, Mr Watson. Mr Anderson.
MR ANDERSON: Thank you, your Honour. Senior Deputy President Lloyd and Members of the Commission, on behalf of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the 33 member organisations, national and State that comprise the chamber, I wish to associate myself with the remarks of the Minister and Mr Watson in welcoming yourself, Senior Deputy President Lloyd, and congratulate you on your appointment. As has been noted, you have had a distinguished career, both in the field of workplace relations and public policy in Commonwealth and State public sectors over many years.
Your appointment follows in the footsteps of other current and former Members of this Commission who have had a distinguished background in public administration prior to taking positions in this institution. My informers though tell me that Senior Deputy President Lloyd's career in the public service has just been somewhat broader than purely industrial matters. As a young Commonwealth public servant he worked with colleagues on space research at the time of the moon landing, as evidenced in the interesting Australian movie, The Dish.
How space research equips one for a career in industrial matters is not, in classical terms at least, immediately easy to fathom, but perhaps something that we can ponder. That is not the end of the disparate sojourns of the public sector career of the Commission's newest Senior Deputy President. On taking senior roles in the Western Australian public sector in the 1990s he was made responsible for a time for public sector management of fire and emergency services. Having regard to the tempest that workplace relations can be, even in the relatively ordered and sedate forums of the Commission, that experience might come in handy.
Aside from these sojourns Senior Deputy President Lloyd's professional work on industrial matters has been outstanding and has been recognised, as the Minister has indicated, through the awarding of the Public Service Medal and wider recognition from his peers. He is known by the employer and business community in Australia as firm, disciplined, professional and true to his word and his work. These are attributes that will serve him well in this Commission. In recent years I have personally worked with Senior Deputy President Lloyd at close quarters on both workplace relations matters and as a fellow Commissioner of the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission.
He has been a public servant in the true sense of the word. Disciplined to the service of the government of the day, and committed to the standards of conduct that the community expects of its public officials. I have also had the pleasure of working with Senior Deputy President Lloyd in forums of the International Labour Organisation. At the ILO Senior Deputy President Lloyd has been an outstanding representative of the Australian government. This year his contribution was recognised by other world governments when he was appointed Chairperson of the government group on the subject of global migration.
Nor has he been intimidated by the environment of the international stage. He conspicuously held fast to his brief, especially in 2003, when in debate on the scope of the employment relationship he did not do what many other governments did: abandon their brief in favour of a consensus. To maintain his poise and independent view in the face of a tide of contrary opinion was a sign of discipline and strength which will augur well in the Commission, where one's independence and strength of decision-making according to law are paramount.
Having so far been complimentary towards Senior Deputy President Lloyd it is important to maintain perspective, and as the Minister and Mr Watson have noted, he is a Collingwood supporter and fervently so, and that is a bias that many of us find unacceptable in the Commission, although probably not fatal. He has in fact been known to attach a magpie sticker to his office window, so clearly the building manager of the Commission's new premises in Melbourne will need to be out and on the watch for that form of graffiti.
Kevin Sheedy, the coach of the Essendon Football Club, addressed a dinner of the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission six weeks ago. Senior Deputy President Lloyd was in attendance. After publicly disclosing his black and white allegiances to Sheedy, Sheedy turned away aghast, then after a moment of silence turned back to Senior Deputy President Lloyd and said, "At least you are the best looking Collingwood bloke that I have ever met." So even a Collingwood supporter, Senior Deputy President Lloyd, has redeeming features.
As Mr Watson said the labour market is changing, and we all know that many challenges present themself in the modern world of work. For many workplaces this Commission and its awards are not the main game, and Senior Deputy President Lloyd knows that. However, the Commission maintains responsibility in crucial areas for a large body of law, standard setting, agreement approval and dispute resolution. They are no small matters, and as a Member of the Commission business and industry sees Senior Deputy President Lloyd and his colleagues as responsible for the efficient management of the quality and conduct of that body of regulation in Australian workplaces.
Senior Deputy President Lloyd knows the work of the Commission and the oath of office are substantial and serious responsibilities vested in its Members by the Parliament, and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the employer community as a whole is very confident that the Commission's newest Member is well equipped to meet those responsibilities, and we offer to him our warm support and best wishes in that endeavour. If the Commission pleases.
JUSTICE GIUDICE: Thank you. Senior Deputy President Lloyd.
SENIOR DEPUTY PRESIDENT LLOYD: Thank you, President. President, Members of the Commission, the Bar table and guests, I thank you for your presence here this morning. I regard my appointment to the Commission as a great honour. As is customary in such proceedings I affirm I will carry out my new functions faithfully, in accordance with the oath I took last week. I actually took the oath on my 55th birthday. Someone whose views I place great store in advised me that it was a good time to come to the Commission. Another friend, however, reminded me that by turning 55 I am now eligible for the Australian Pensioners Insurance Scheme, which was rather a jolt and advice I wasn't too pleased to hear.
As I enter this phase of my career it is striking how Australian workplaces have changed over the time I have been working in workplace relations. The level of industrial disputation is one tenth that of 1973. In 1973 53 per cent of the workforce was a trade union member. The figure today has fallen to 23 per cent. In 1973 the average total weekly earnings were $90.80. The figure today is $900. In real terms the increase in earnings over the last 30 years is 41 per cent. In 1973 the typing pool was in vogue, and the electronic typewriter had just been introduced into my workplace. Today every worker, and many others, use their own personal computer with Internet access.
This fundamental and rapid change has made the workplace relations field a most and challenging and interesting area of work. All institutions, agencies and people in the field have had to adapt to change. Some have done it more effectively than others. The Commission has retained an important and central role throughout this period. I am sure that far-reaching change will continue to be a feature of the Australian workplace and in globalised settings of the 21st century. The challenge of all of us in this field is to manage the change in a fair and productive manner. This is the only way to protect and advance the living standards of all Australians.
I greatly appreciate the three welcome speeches this morning. I have had the opportunity to undertake immensely interesting and challenging work throughout my public service career. The last 12 years have been in roles where I have been closely involved in advancing workplace relations reform. I have had the opportunity to work with some great Australians with a deep personal commitment to their country. I have the utmost respect for the skill and professionalism of my Department, and of the Australian public service, which I have gained through that period.
Employers, employees and unions make the system work in the national interest. The ACCI, the ACTU and other employer groups I have always found to be strong and effective advocates on behalf of their members. This has been highlighted in recent meetings I have attended at the International Labour Organisation, where Australia, through the presence of Mr Anderson and others present today, has continued to give the country an impact beyond its weight. I have had the pleasure of working with Peter Anderson over a number of years, as you have occupied a variety of roles. I have always found him to be a most effective workplace relations practitioner and a valuable source of advice.
The support of family is crucial to any career achievement. I am pleased that members of my family are with us this morning. Some members cannot be here but those, particularly my darling Ruth, are with us in spirit. Thank you.
JUSTICE GIUDICE: On behalf of all of the Members of the Commission may I add my congratulations and best wishes to those so well expressed by the speakers this morning. The Commission will now adjourn.
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